This can be a very confusing issue for people.
For now I'd just like to share a couple of thoughts on this topic:
1) All religions other than Christianity are based on 'works' to achieve a certain enlightenment or state of being 'good enough' to be right with God..or in some cases 'become your own god'. Christianity is quite the opposite of that. Christianity tells us that we will never be good enough, as a matter of fact, all of our good deeds that we do in our own strength are as filthy rags to the Lord. We lack God's righteousness. Apart from Him we can do nothing. We certainly don't like to think that before being born again...and people will often respond "but i am a good person"... etc.. The truth is, there is a perfect moral standard that people cannot attain on their own, although we certainly try.. It is God's standard. It is shown to us in the 10 commandments. We falter when we try to reach this perfect standard on our own because we never can. This shows us we need a Saviour.. Jesus Christ is Saviour.
2) All religions other than Christianity are people trying to reach God.. Christianity is God's reaching us. Jesus came to earth and lowered Himself to become just like us (without the sin). Jesus is fully God and fully man. No on else could do what He did. God took the responsibility of reconciliation upon Himself...and He is in the process of reconciling humanity to Himself through Jesus Christ.
3) Christianity is unique in that it is a front-end loaded miracle.. This is the miracle of rebirth. The core of who we are changes. The person who is reborn of God now loves Him where they once hated Him. This same person hates their sin, where they once loved it. This person now desires the things of God, and wants to be like Jesus.. The born again believer wants to walk as He walked. Persecution, trials and tribulations will not deter the new believer from following hard after the Lord, because this miracle of new birth has occured.. it is a mystery.. as a matter of fact, these tribulations, trials and persecutions only cause the new child of God to draw closer to the Lord and seek refuge in Him.
I am looking forward to hearing more thoughts from other brothers and sisters in Christ...
Question: "How is the Christian religion different from all the other world religions?"
Answer: Religion is the practice of faith; that is, religion is the external or ceremonial observance of a set of beliefs. Technically, there is a difference between faith (the internal attitude) and religion (the external works), but for the sake of this article, we will define “Christian religion” broadly as “the faithful observance of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.”
James 1:27 says that religion that is “pure and faultless” before God is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In other words, care for the needy and personal virtue are externals which are present when one has a true love for God. And, since James specifies that he is speaking of “pure and faultless” religion, there must exist an “unclean and imperfect” type of religion as well—a religion not based on love for God.
Here are five reasons why the Christian religion is better than non-Christian religions (why observing the teachings of Jesus Christ is better than not observing them):
Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Way to God.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because that which leads to God is better than that which leads away from God. We have sinfully wandered away from God (Isaiah 53:6), and we need a Guide to lead us back. Jesus is that Way (John 14:6), the One to seek the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus claims not to be one of many ways, but the one-and-only Way to God. He is, in fact, God Himself in human flesh (John 20:28), so to find Jesus is to find God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” He said (John 14:9). The Christian religion is unique in that it offers a close, intimate relationship with the personal God of the universe.
Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Truth.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because things that are true are better than things that are false. Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He is the embodiment of truth, the revelation of God to humanity (Colossians 2:9), and the conveyor of God’s words (John 17:8). The Christian religion is grounded in truth, being based on a historical Person whose acts were verified by eyewitnesses and recorded by four different biographers. Parodies of Christianity often spring up through the work of “false prophets” (1 John 4:1), but only Jesus is true. In following Christ, Christians have the utmost regard for truth, as opposed to hollow externals and the hypocrisy of false appearances. The Christian religion is unique in that it forces us to face the truth about ourselves and speak the truth with others.
Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Life.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because life is better than death and heaven is better than hell. Jesus is “the Life” (John 14:6); He is the source of life, and without Him one cannot truly live (John 1:4; 3:36; 5:24; 10:10). Jesus provides what we need: the Bread that satisfies forever (John 6:35), the Water that gives eternal life (John 4:14; 7:37-38), and the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). These are more than empty claims; Jesus proved His ability to give life by raising from the dead Lazarus (John 11), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5), and the boy from Nain (Luke 7). Then, after His own death on the cross, Jesus rose again the third day, having conquered death forever (Matthew 28). The Christian religion is unique in that it is based on the actual, physical resurrection of its Founder.
Christian religion - Jesus Christ transforms mankind.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because righteousness is better than wickedness. Other religions may impose conformity to a certain code of behavior, but they have no power to change the heart. Christianity teaches that the believer is “dead to sin” and now lives “in newness of life” (Romans 6:2, 4). The authenticating mark of a Christian is his transformation from practicing sin to having a zeal for good works (Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian’s zeal for doing good has resulted in the founding of countless orphanages, hospitals, clinics, schools, homeless shelters, and emergency relief agencies—all in the name of Christ. The Christian religion is unique in that it does not force change from without but revolutionizes lives from within.
Christian religion - Jesus Christ is loving.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because love is better than the absence of love. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is the greatest of His gifts to us (1 Corinthians 13:13)—not the fickle, so-called love of the world, but the selfless, unconditional love which always seeks to benefit the one loved. God showed His love for us in sending His one-and-only Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Jesus showed His love for us in providing for our salvation by dying on the cross (John 15:13). Jesus gave His followers a new command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Love, not duty or debt, is what motivates the believer and impels him to greater humility and greater service for the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is unique in that it is not a system of rules but a celebration of unselfish love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Man, in his creativity, has invented innumerable religions in his attempt to reach God. God, in His love, has given us the truth: the one religion, Christianity, in which God attempts to reach man.
Question: "What is true religion?"
Answer: Religion can be defined as “belief in God or gods to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct and ritual” or “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics.” Well over 90% of the world’s population adheres to some form of religion. The problem is that there are so many different religions. What is the right religion? What is true religion?
The two most common ingredients in religions are rules and rituals. Some religions are essentially nothing more than a list of rules, do’s and don’t's, that a person must observe in order to be considered a faithful adherent of that religion, and thereby, right with the God of that religion. Two examples of rules-based religions are Islam and Judaism. Islam has its five pillars that must be observed. Judaism has hundreds of commands and traditions that are to be observed. Both religions, to a certain degree, claim that by obeying the rules of the religion, a person will be considered right with God.
Other religions focus more on observing rituals instead of obeying a list of rules. By offering this sacrifice, performing this task, participating in this service, consuming this meal, etc., a person is made right with God. The most prominent example of a ritual-based religion is Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism holds that by being water baptized as an infant, by partaking in the Mass, by confessing sin to a priest, by offering prayers to saints in Heaven, by being anointed by a priest before death, etc., etc., God will accept such a person into Heaven after death. Buddhism and Hinduism are also primarily ritual-based religions, but can also to a lesser degree be considered rules-based.
True religion is neither rules-based nor ritual-based. True religion is a relationship with God. Two things that all religions hold are that humanity is somehow separated from God and needs to be reconciled to Him. False religion seeks to solve this problem by observing rules and rituals. True religion solves the problem by recognizing that only God could rectify the separation, and that He has done so. True religion recognizes the following:
True religion does have rules and rituals, but there is a crucial difference. In true religion, the rules and rituals are observed out of gratitude for the salvation God has provided – NOT in an effort to obtain that salvation. True religion, which is Biblical Christianity, has rules to obey (do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not lie, etc.) and rituals to observe (water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper / Communion). Observance of these rules and rituals is not what makes a person right with God. Rather, these rules and rituals are the RESULT of the relationship with God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as the Savior. False religion is doing things (rules and rituals) in order to try to earn God’s favor. True religion is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and thereby having a right relationship with God – and then doing things (rules and rituals) out of love for God and desire to grow closer to Him.
The word Religion is not a bad word though so many Christians want to separate themselves from it. It should not be so. We should not let the world define for us what is correct or not. I am a religious man who has a relationship with the living God - I have no problem with that statement. Family the word is a good word, found in scripture. We know the word has been attached a negative connotation to it, but the word remains a usable one.
Why Christianity and not ________________________ (fill in the blank).
BECAUSE ONLY CHRISTIANITY LIVES UP TO ITS CLAIMS AND NO OTHER RELIGION COMES CLOSE TO THE BEAUTY FOUND IN THE RELIGION (PRACTICES AND TEACHINGS) FOUNDED BY CHRIST, NOR DO THEY HAVE THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE WE HAVE.
1. Manuscript evidence
2. Archeological finding
3. Prophecy fulfill
4. Statistical evidence
This is true David.. It's the connotations of the word 'religion' which i personally prefer to not be associated with. There has been so much damage done to Christianity because of the meanings associated with the word, it has become easier in many ways to make a clean break from using it...although I recognize that may not be the right thing to do.
While Christians may understand the distinction, non-believers may not. I think it's important that they understand that there is a distinction, and becoming a Christian does not mean following a list of rules and rituals because we have to attain a certain measure of being 'good enough'... rather, the rules which belong to Christianity are followed out of Love and dedication to our Lord. The motivation of our heart is Love for Him.. If that is what we want to call 'Religion' now than I am all for it. Otherwise, while the confusion lasts, I am not going to associate much with the particular word. Blessings, Carla
Amen beloved :)
Kayla, you have received some great answers and I encourage you to read them and study the Bible verses you have been given by the folks ahead of me here.
I would like to offer you some frame work to think along with the God of the Bible and what He says. The God of the Bible is a God who makes contractual agreements that bind Him legally to perform things on behalf of people. The Bible calls these agreements "covenants". So, above everything else: the God of the Bible is a covenant making and covenant keeping God.
In Eden, God made a covenant with Adam. Keep the Garden, eat of any tree except one and you will have every need met and you will walk with me. (Adam broke the covenant).
Next, God made a new covenant with Adam: he slaughtered animals to make clothing for the two people and said he is going to send a redeemer that will crush Satan.
Then, God made a covenant with Abraham. It was a unilateral covenant where He promised to make Abraham the father of many nations and that Abraham would be the forebear (great great grandaddy) of the Savior (Messiah). This covenant was entirely binding on God and simply received by faith from Abraham.
Then, God made a covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. This covenant was mostly conditional, offering blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Although, God promises that when Israel breaks it, He will still redeem them in the end. (Israel broke the covenant).
All of the prophets of the Old Testament were operating under a legal premise that God had committed to speak to the world through the Israeli-Hebrew people. All of the writers of the Bible, from Moses to John (the author of Revelation) were Hebrews (Jewish). All of the Apostles were Hebrew. Then, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the final word from God to mankind (and in fact Jesus is really the author of the Book of Revelation, John is just the Scribe).
The entire point of the New Testament is that Jesus himself is the creator of the New Covenant (which is why we call that part of the Bible “The New Testament”). Most importantly, the New Covenant is the Eternal Covenant – the final one for all time.
This is the distinctive: the Bible talks from beginning to end with the same voice, the same message: God wants to have a relationship with mankind and He is willing to bind himself to us by law. That law is sealed with his own sacrifice. It cannot be broken, it cannot be modified.
All other religions want to tell you about what you have to do to be accepted by God. None of them talk about any covenant that God makes to bind himself to you.
Simply beautiful my bro.
Christianity has all the markings of religion and yet is so much more at the same time. Thus Christianity is a religion and at the same time is focused on having a real relationship with the living God, the God who created everything, the only true God. Almost all religions have a belief regarding a deity, they have a book or guidelines, and deal with man’s responsibility towards that deity. Christianity goes further, as Scribe mentioned, and details God’s covenants, Him binding Himself to men.
You asked “How do we know which religion is true?” There is only one key to knowing if Christianity is true or not. That key is “Is Jesus actually who He claimed to be?’ History shows without a doubt that Jesus lived and died in first century Palestine which was under the rule of Rome and specifically under Pilate. The question is “Is Jesus God?”
Is Jesus God?
The O.T. was written well before the birth of Jesus, with the last book being written about 400 years before His birth. In the Bible we find over 300 prophecies given regarding the coming Messiah (Jesus). Jesus fulfilled all of these that pertain to His birth, life and death. There are over 30 that He fulfilled in the last 24 hours of His life alone. Mathematically the odds of anyone fulfilling these prophesies is astronomical. Some argue that He knew these prophecies and took steps to fulfill them and thereby fool us. There is no way He could have done so. For example, He was born in Bethlehem. He could not set that one up. Some will argue that the O.T. has been tampered with over the years. The Dead Sea Scrolls put that argument to rest.
We have proof of the resurrection, including eyewitnesses to the fact He is alive. Without going into all the details here, the resurrection is proof of Jesus deity. We have eleven men, of which, ten died as martyrs for their faith. These men knew the truth. If they had lied about Jesus they would have known it, for this was not third party information. They knew for a fact if Jesus lived or not. If they had lied there was no reason for them to die. Their life as a Christian did not bring them fame and fortune, but trials and tribulation, and eventually death. We have Saul the persecutor of the church. A young Pharisee on the way to the top of this group and yet he gives that up and is radically transformed on the road to Damascus. There is no explanation for Saul the persecutor becoming Paul the Christ follower, but for Christ.
So, is Christianity true?
There are two things required on our part to accept that it is true. Intellect and spirit. We have the Word and the proof given through prophecy. We have the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. Now keep in mind that intellect alone will not lead you to Christ, for finding God is a spiritual journey that begins with the Father drawing us to the Son and then the Son revealing the Father to us. When I talk to people about Jesus I do not tell them what I simply know about Him, I tell them that I know Him and am known by Him. He is my living Lord and Savior.
Thus, you are not seeking to find the right religion, but the living God. To find the Father we must come through the Son. To come through the Son we must believe He is who He said He is. To believe this, God has to do a work in us opening our Spiritual eyes.
Lastly, knowing He is God is not enough. We must come through repentance and believe in order to be born-again. Repentance means that we have a change of mind, we now know that He is God, we are sinners and need forgiveness. We have to believe that Jesus died for us and through His shed blood we can find forgiveness and new life. Knowing these things is not enough. We must receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Is Jesus God? The answer is yes. This means that all other religions serve a false God and only Christianity leads you to eternal life, for eternal life is not found in religion, but in Jesus.
I love it "when the plan comes together" LT -Nice my brother.
We serve an awesome and living God who loves us ... amen :-)