Christianity versus Other Religions
It’s occurred to me that all religions have at least one thing in common — they all offer that one’s life will continue on after they physically die;
for lack of a better way to put it, it’s a big “selling” point, no? If someone’s looking for a religion to grasp onto what would set Christianity apart, make it more appealing as opposed to other religions? May be too much to cover, but could I at least get your thoughts on the facts (not sure but I think its facts) that all religions offer eternal life and the significance of that, if any. Thank you.
I agree with both Alan and Champe that Christianity is based upon the truth about God and His character of love, and love requires freedom. Christianity teaches that love is more than an emotion, but a principle upon which life is based and that reconciliation with God results in restoration of this principle into the heart/mind of the believer. In other words Christianity teaches that we are terminal and that God freely offers to heal us, and if healed we will live forever, if not then we die, not as punishment from God, but as a result of our own terminal condition.
Other religions fall short on this point. Many have gods which require appeasement, or some offering be made to the god in order for the god to grant some favor, including eternal life. Sadly, some within Christianity have accepted this pagan idea and teach God required the blood of His Son in order for God to be forgiving and offer eternal life. This of course, is not true. Christ’s death was necessary for our salvation, but not to somehow influence or change the Father.
Other areas in which Christianity stands apart include:
- Grace – God seeks us rather than us seeking Him. “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” “For God so loved the world He sent His only Son…” etc. God is love and actively pursues us, the object of His love. Genuine Christianity is about transforming people from self-centered beings to other-centered beings, humans who love others more than self. This is the secret of life, health and happiness, and this is God’s work in human hearts.
- God is a real, personal, being with identity and individuality. Many religions of the world don’t have a personal God. They have a force, an essence, an energy without intelligence or individuality. Christianity has a personal God who created us and longs to be reunited with us.
- Genuine Christianity teaches people to reason and think. God calls for us to reason with Him (Isa 1:18) and develop by practice the ability to tell right from wrong (Heb 5:14). Many religions of the world, including some versions of Christianity, teach their followers not to think, to “just believe” or “just have faith.” But the God of Christianity is the God of truth, the God who created us in His image with intelligence and capacity to think, and longs for us to engage our God given reasoning powers and learn to think and weigh the evidences for ourselves.
- Christ’s tomb is empty! Only Christianity has Christ, and Jesus Christ “destroyed death andbrought life and immortality to light” (2Tim 1:10). All other religions of the world may promise life eternal, but only Jesus Christ has defeated death and lives again! And thus eternal life is found only through Jesus Christ!
- God’s character fully revealed. Only Christianity has God, the Creator Himself, humbling Himself, becoming human, allowing His creatures to abuse Him, mock Him, scourge Him and execute Him. In Jesus Christ we see that the all powerful God will never use His power to force us to obey Him, but would rather die at our hands, allow us to kill Him, than use His power to stop us! No other religion of the world has a God like this – a God who would sacrifice Himself for His creatures. This is the real gospel, the real good news, the real power that sets people free – the truth about God as revealed in Christ! When we see God in Jesus, when we realize that Jesus is God then our fear of God is destroyed and we are won back to genuine trust. And in trust we open our hearts and allow God to heal and transform us. And it is this supernatural healing which results in eternal life. Only Christianity has the truth about God and therefore only Christianity can fulfill its promise of life eternal. “This is life eternal that they might know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3).