Aside from Christianity, there are many other religions in the world. Or are there? Perhaps there are only two religions – Christianity and everything else.
Christianity & Other World Religions
According to reference.com, there is an estimated 4,200 religions in the world. This number includes the larger religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, but also smaller more obscure ones.
Compared to the other world religions, Christianity is still the most prevalent. As of 2020, Christianity comprises of 29% of the world’s religions, with 2.3 billion followers. Islam is a close second at 24% or 1.9 billion people. And coming in third is Hinduism at 15.4% or 1.2 billion people.
But what is the difference between Christianity and the other religions in the world? Can we pinpoint an inconsistency between them? Can we identify a shared characteristic among all the other religions which Christianity does not share? And if we can, perhaps this will provide a logical and apologetic case for Christianity’s validity.
The Two Religions – Christianity & Everything Else
What is the main difference between Christianity and other religions in the world? What characteristic do all other religions share?
Upon analyzing the major world religions, we quickly find a common belief system among them. One in which the Christian doctrine does not share. This being the tenet of human-based salvation or spiritual advancement. As John MacArthur states:
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.
As MacArthur explains, the doctrines of other religions of the world are rooted in the belief of human achievement, rather than divine achievement. They claim that salvation/spiritual achievement/enlightenment are contingent upon human works or deeds. They all share a humanist foundation or core.
Some notable examples of human-achievement religions:
- Judaism – Jews believe they must follow the Old Testament laws and rituals.
- Catholicism – Catholics have a faith plus works doctrine. They believe they must do good deeds, confess sins to a priest, get baptized, etc. to remain in a state of grace with God before they die.
- Hinduism – Hindus believe they must do good works so that their good karma outweighs the bad.
- Islam – Muslims believe they do certain works like fasting and praying 5 times a day to gain salvation.
- Buddhism – Buddhists believe they must meditate for an entire lifetime to achieve “nirvana”.
Christianity is the only world religion which affirms that salvation is through the divine and finished achievement of Jesus on the cross. No amount of human works or achievements can bring us into good standing with God. As Isaiah 64:6 states:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
This is why Christianity sets itself apart from all other world religions. This is why essentially there are only two religions in the entire world – Christianity and everything else. Perhaps this distinction is a testament to the divine and absolute truth of Christianity. The truth which no other belief system shares. Perhaps the fact that Christianity’s core doctrine contradicts all other world religions is a confirmation of it’s validity.