Christianity seems to make some pretty explicit claims about being the only true path to God. Within Christian theology there are some concessions made for “virtuous pagans,” and there is always and above all the reminder that no one can know the mind and the ways of God. So there is (correct me if I am wrong) no explicit claim that the only people in heaven are practicing Christians.
Nevertheless, those virtuous pagans and others would just be — within Christian theology — the exceptions that prove the rule. Generally speaking, one might squeak into heaven as a result of ignorance of Christ, but never through a rejection of Christ.
Now there are syncretists like Steiner, Guénon and Schuon, who seem to want to say that all religions are a path to God, each one suited to a particular people. I don’t wish to argue the truth or falsity of this point today (it seems to me at least to be a non-absurd notion). But in modern times, how does one make this claim without then immediately falling into relativism?
And then, if one has a relativistic view of the truth-value of the various religions, how can one square this with the explicit claim of Christ? How can a syncretist say, “All religions are potential paths to God, including this one that claims to be the only path to God”?
Either the syncretist is not thinking very hard; or he must claim that Christ never said any such thing and the Christians just made it up after; or Christ did claim that but there’s some other mitigating factor (perhaps some gnostic initiation claimed by syncretists?).
This is, as far as I can tell, a dilemma that only comes up for Christianity. Pagans, Hindus, and Zen Buddhists can presumably get signed on to the syncretist project without any such trouble.