Aren't all religions basically the same?

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by luke.
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    • #383

      How can anyone know which religion “is the one”? Don’t all religions teach basically the same thing: Help others, be generous, be forgiving etc… 
And if there is a God, wouldn’t he be pleased about them all?

    • #384

      This is a very broad question and requires several aspects to be addressed and I will attempt to answer it, albeit briefly. I will begin with the statement that every religion is the same, or teaches the same thing fundamentally. This is inherently false. Often people will group the major world religions into the same basket saying they all teach tolerance, forgiveness, peace etc. While certainly they do overlap in some of these more general areas, there are distinct differences between them. This should be the logical conclusion otherwise they would all be teaching the same thing and we’d have no need for such a diverse array of world religions. For example, while Islam and Christianity both believe in the God of the Old Testament (Allah to the Muslim and Jehovah or simply, God to the Christian) Islam denies that Jesus was divine in any way, and certainly denies that he was the son of God. They believe he was merely a prophet and a “good’ teacher. This presents us with a clear differentiation, especially given that the Christian faith is based almost exclusively on the idea that Jesus was God Himself, incarnated in human form to suffer and take on the punishment for our sins on the cross so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to a holy and just God. Thus if you remove the deity of Jesus from the equation, clearly it cannot and would not constitute Biblical Christianity. 
An important and interesting thing to note in this discussion, is that Jesus Himself made an extra-ordinary claim. He claimed that He was the son of God and that He was God incarnate in the flesh and that He was the ONLY way to the Father, or to heaven. In making this claim Jesus therefore put Himself in his own category. He set Himself apart from all other religions and faiths. The question then becomes, is what Jesus claimed actually true? If what He claimed was really true, it means that all the other religions must by default therefore be FALSE. This requires one to carefully research the Bible, it’s textual veracity and integrity, historical accuracy and it’s claims of truth to determine if it indeed is the inspired, infallible Word of God as it claims to be. 
Furthermore, it might be said that Christianity is different form all other religions in the sense that all other religious systems require some form of “works righteousness” in order for the person to be “saved” or to end up in Paradise or utopia. They all involve some form of work on the part of the individual in order for them to be “good enough” to make it. Christianity claims something quite different. It claims that none of us are good, that no one can ever be good enough or do enough good things to enter heaven. Rather, it is only by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone that one can be saved. That is, our sins and our bad nature was put upon Jesus while He was on the cross and His goodness and righteousness was transferred to us in exchange. Therefore, the Christian does not go to heaven because they are a good enough person, but rather because they are a bad person who could never be good enough, but who has been saved by a good and merciful God through the atoning work of His son Jesus Christ on the cross. This is called “imputed righteousness” because the righteousness of Christ was imputed or transferred across to us, and He suffered the wrath and anger of God against our sin that we rightfully deserved,  in our place. The Bible makes it clear that we are credited with His righteousness after repentance from sin and putting our faith and trust in Him. 
So the question is ultimately a question of truth. Is what Jesus claimed really true? Is what the Bible claims really true?

    • #385

      Thanks for that Luke. How do we know the bible hasn’t been changed over the years though? And wasn’t it written by heaps of different people? How can we verify that everyone of these men knew what they were talking about and not just expressing their own mixed up ideas?

    • #386

      There are certain criteria an ancient document may be subjected to in order to test it’s veracity. 
For example, one of these would be it’s internal consistency. Is the text internally consistent? Does it contain logical contradictions? 
Another is it’s historical accuracy. The Bible is actually remarkably accurate historically. Through the discipline of archeology, to this day we are 
yet to discover one single historical contradiction. All the ancient geographical locations, city’s, people groups etc that the bible refers to have all been confirmed to have actually existed. It is also highly internally consistent, particularly given that it was written by 40 different authors 
over a period of some 1500 years. It actually reads like one book, with a consistent overarching theme throughout.This alone is convincing evidence that it 
was ultimately authored by someone with a higher intelligence and purpose than a mere random collection of men, with each one penning out their own delusional ideas. 

      Another area we can look at is the manuscript evidence. There are over 24,000 partial manuscripts and 5,000 complete manuscripts of the Greek NT; far more than the next best, Homer’s Iliad, which has about 630 copies. In other words, if you want to question the accuracy of the Bible, you should also question the accuracy of all other ancient documents pre 1000AD. If we can’t be sure the Bible is accurate, we can’t be sure Alexander the Great existed either. Or Plato, or Aristotle for that matter. In fact most scholars estimate there are, at most, 400 words out of the entire NT text that could be disputed, and none of these are critical to any of the essential Christian doctrines.

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