Category Archives: Defending Your Faith 101

Defending Your Faith 101: World Religions and Christianity – A Comparison

“I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity.” -Oprah Winfrey

As we saw last week, there is prevailing thought in culture today that all forms of faith will lead a person to God and Heaven, especially the view that if we do our best to be a ‘good person’ in the end God could not possible send us to hell. However, if your worldview does not put Jesus at the center and foundation of all you believe, then you should not call yourself a “Christian” because by definition a Christian is a follower of only Jesus, the Christ, and all that He taught and did.

Jesus said:  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6

Listen to Dr William Lane Craig, in this short clip, explain what sets Christianity apart from other faiths:


Most of the major religions and beliefs systems do have some things in common: The care and welfare of its citizens, high view of morality, a desire to live life better, etc., but does that mean that they all have the same beliefs on the most important questions of life? For the sake of discussion we will categorize the major belief systems and how they would answer five of the most important questions humans ask about life:

Major Belief System Who is God? Where did I come from? What’s wrong with the world? Is there a solution? What is my purpose?
Biblical Christianity Creator of everything; Monotheistic; Triune Nature Created in the

Image of God

The Fall: Original sin = Human responsibility Salvation by atonement through Christ’s death and resurrection Do God’s will;

spread the Gospel; bring truth and hope to a fallen world

Judaism Creator of everything; Monotheistic Created in the Image of God The Fall: Original sin = Human responsibility Following of the Law/Torah Follow the Mosaic Law; live a sacrificial life; look for Messiah to come
Islam Allah; Monotheistic Created by Allah, NOT in the image of Allah NO original sin; evil deception; the self Salvation by arbitrary will of Allah; do more good than bad Submission to Allah; if you earn it then it is possible to get to paradise
   
Eastern Religions All matter and space is god; pantheistic/

polytheistic

World is an illusion; we are part of the universe Bad karma;

Ignorance;

human desires

Mystical experiences;

eliminate desires

Accept karma-reincarnation;

deny self/ personal extinction

New Ageism Humans are gods; a higher power exists; pantheistic Eternal universe—we’ve evolved and are evolving Oppression;

Western Civilization;

religions

Personal autonomy;

tolerance enforced by law;

decon-structionism

To create a utopian earth; self-improvement and enlightenment
Secular Naturalism/

Atheism

No god exists; only matter exists We are a product of undirected evolution;

Time + Chance

Humans NOT responsible:

Genes, disease, environment, culture, etc.

Secular ideology; Humanism; better education/law Self-fulfillment; being a good person

Listen to Ravi Zacharias explain “Why Christianity is right”

 Different religions and worldviews do not agree on the most fundamental, foundational and salvational questions about God and life:

1. The world’s religions are fundamentally different as seen in the chart above, and these differences are logically irreconcilable on vital questions such as:
• What is my origin?
• Who is God?
• Who is Jesus?
• What is sin?
• What is my purpose?
• What constitutes salvation?
• Where do we go after we die?

2. The world’s religions are foundationally different:
• Each has a different historical beginning
• Each has a different, or many different holy books
• Each one looks to a founder or leader who taught very different concepts about this life and the afterlife, none of whom claimed to be the Son of God, except one
• Each leader or founder’s essential views are in opposition and contradictory at best

3. The world’s religions are salvationally different, teaching very different pathways about very different eternal destinations:
• Heaven/hell (Christianity and Judaism)
• Paradise/eternal damnation (Islam)
• Brahman (Hinduism)
• Nirvana (Buddhism)
• The Bridge (Zoroastrianism)
• Jiva/Ajiva (Jainism)
• Utopian afterlife (New Ageism)
• Nothingness (Secular Naturalism/Atheism)

Attempts to reduce all religions to a common meaning are futile based on their core beliefs.

A Professor of Christian Apologetics, and former Muslim, once said that he did not switch teams when he became a Christian, He came to know the one true and living God and not a false dead god that is taught in Islam. Now he doesn’t have to strap a bomb to himself in order to be assured of paradise.

The difference is clear:
Only Christianity offers…
1. Intimacy: I am a child of God, I can have a relationship with Jesus
2. A Savior: Jesus died for me and my sins
3. Grace: Forgiveness with a gift, not just mercy
4. Acceptance: We can come just as we are, we don’t have to do anything first
5. A God who loves us and would die for us: Not a god that we have to die for

If you’d like to go deeper into the big questions that point to the truth of the Christian faith, watch this panel of five leading Christian Thinkers: J.P, Moreland, William Lane Craig, John Lennox and moderator Hugh Hewitt:

Paul models the essentials of the faith, and what a Christian believes that makes us different from all the others, in his letter to the Romans:

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;  …For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:1-6; 16

Reflection:
1. How would you respond to Oprah Winfrey’s statement above?
2. What makes Christianity unique amongst the other beliefs?
3. Prayer focus: What God has done for us uniquely through His Son, Jesus.

Please continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7) for Nabeel Qureshi’s family, and the continued ministry of his wife Michelle. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen.

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You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

1 Peter 3:15

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