Isn’t every religion essentially the same?
It is so easy to get Christianity lost in the vast myriad of global religions and various religious systems. There have been so many different religions and denominations created in the past that it can be extremely difficult not to lump them all together as one conglomeration of delusion. According to some estimates, there are approximately 4,200 religions in the world. It’s no wonder they are hard to keep straight! Many people have become so jaded by this hotbed of religious systems that they are turned off from the concept all together and dismiss it as man-made folly.
I fully sympathize with these feelings and notions as I used to feel the exact same way. With all of these divisions and segments, it’s hard to believe that any of the options are valid. Is religion merely a man-made construct that we keep perpetuating in order to answer life’s biggest questions?
And how is Christianity any different? What sets it apart, if anything, from the other 4,200 world religions?
1) There are only two religions in the world, Christianity and everything else.
I know what you’re thinking, what an incredibly arrogant statement. But this is actually pretty accurate. The original quote is from a famous Christian preacher named John MacArthur.
There are just two religions in the world. Just two. In spite of the myriad of claims, there are only two. One is called the religion of human achievement, and it is based upon man’s own effort and ability. The other is the religion of divine accomplishment, and it is based solely and only on God’s sovereign ability. One is by human effort the other is by divine grace.
MacArthur submits that there are two basic structures of all organized religions, and they can be separated into two categories. One being works and the other faith. If you look at any religion other than Christianity, the doctrine is about human achievement. Hindu’s believe in doing good works to stack up good karma for your next life. Muslims and Jews believe in human works for salvation. Buddhists & New Age religions believe in meditation to achieve enlightenment.
2) Christianity splits the calendar in two.
Christianity was so influential in it’s early years that it literally split the calendar in two, from B.C. to A.D. Our history is literally split into two sections based on the life Christianity’s central figure. It would be hard to argue that another religion has had the influence that Christianity has.
3) Jesus Christ’s name is used as a curse word.
Now this may seem like an insignificant point, but I would argue that it has deeper implications. We constantly hear in our movies and TV shows when characters are angry or upset using Jesus’s name as a curse word. Have you ever wondered why they don’t yell, “Muhammad!” or, “Buddha!”? No they always curse in the name of Jesus. Perhaps this idea goes deeper than just a random choice for a swear word.
4) Christianity’s central figure has an empty grave site.
5) Jesus Christ is written about in other religious texts.
No other religion can say that their leading figure was written of in other religious texts. Other than the Bible, Jesus Christ is referenced multiple times in the Islamic book the Quran. In fact, the Quran even speaks about Christ’s virgin birth from Mary!
He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son. 20 She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” 21 He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.” (19:19-21, Yusif Ali)
And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples. (21:91, Yusif Ali)
Not to mention Jesus is also mentioned in other ancient Gnostic texts which unfortunately deny his deity like the Quran.
6) Religions say “this is the way”, Jesus said “I am the way”
All other religions claim that their practices or procedures are the way to salvation. Jesus claimed that he himself was the way to salvation. No other religious figure has claimed something so bold.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.