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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Who Do We Think We Are? | Tell Me What I Want to Hear »
    Friday
    Aug062010

    We are One! Or are We?: A Brief Description on the Uniqueness of Christianity

    There is a growing trend in religions and individuals to underscore all the similarities between people and their religious beliefs in an attempt at unification.

     

    There are even several religions like Baha’i and Uniformitarianism that have combined all the modern major religions under one roof; a one-stop-shop where homage is paid to each, equally. But sincerity of belief does not equal truth.

     

    Holy- “set apart”. Different. Not of this world. As you read the Bible, you might find that these are heavily recurring themes. God made Adam and Eve different from the animals and plants. God brought Abram out of the land of Ur to be different-to worship Him.

     

    All of the famous Biblical heroes from Moses to Job to Esther to Elijah to Peter were different. Different, set apart, because they loved God. The people of Israel were set apart to be a witness to other nations (scripture)-they were a tiny nation, prone to being enslaved, and they had no king (at first anyway) because God wanted them to be “different”.

     

    Ancient and modern Christianity is also supposed to be “different” from the rest of world’s religions. In fact, Christianity was never meant to be a “religion” in the first place, but rather a relationship with God.

     

    Phrases like “I have decided to follow Jesus” and “Take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23) are misunderstood today. We are not meant to merely struggle along, stumbling and attempting in vain to fill the huge footprints of God-we are meant to walk beside Him (but not as "one" with Him).

     

    It is to our shame that many who call themselves Christians have little to no true relationship with the Living God. It is to our shame that many who call themselves Christians act no differently (or worse) than those who do not classify themselves as a “Christ Follower”.

     

    It is to our shame that the current trend is to lump all religions and belief systems into one hodge-podge of “unification” and we who call ourselves Christians do nothing because secretly, it sounds good to us too.

     

    There are so many ways in which people are being told that Christianity is no different than any other religion or belief system. The truth is Christianity (based on the New Testament “Acts” church), is a very unique concept. Not a religion, not a so-called "belief system", but a relationship (which is itself unique). 

     

    There is something very special and unique about the Bible. While all religions have a holy book (or ongoing collections of writings like Buddhism), none of them are quite like the B-i-b-l-e.

     

    "The Bible is surprisingly unique. It has 66 books, “written over a 1600-year span, during 60 generations, and by more than 40 authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars, and others. 

    The Bible was written in a variety of places and customs, during times of war and peace, on three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek).  Yet, when the Bible is analyzed as a whole, it speaks with amazing unity and harmony about hundreds of controversial subjects about which there are hundreds of opposing opinions!”

    (http://www.newtestamentchurch.org/html/Christian_Evidence/ Uniqueness_of_the_Bible.htm) I encourage you to read this web article. It has many references and quotes and shows how the Bible has stood the test of time as far as accuracy, circulation, and more.

     

    The Bible claims to be God’s actual, written word to man-not man’s interpretation of God’s nature; written by God through man, as opposed to written by man about God. There is no other holy book which makes such a claim.

     

    How the Bible is treated is unique as well; Very few, if any other holy books receive the same amounts of both reverence and derision from people. The Bible is acknowledged and held up as a moral compass for many different people regardless of their faith.

     

    In fact, it is not uncommon for a religion or cult to use the Bible as a base for their beliefs and then add their own book(s). The Koran, Book of Mormon, Catholic Apocrypha, and the Jewish Talmud, are just a few.

     

    The flip side is all the groups and individuals out there who attempt to prove the Bible is merely a collection of false myths/nice stories. Outside of Christianity, there are few people who try to prove The Book of Mormon, Talmud, Koran, etc. false.

     

    What the Bible discusses about the nature of God and salvation are also different from other holy books. When it comes to God, He defines Himself as “the Father” (Psalm 68:5; 89:26; and Isaiah 9:6 among others), the Creating Life Force and Sustainer of Life, but close enough to have a father-child relationship with people, His apex of Creation, His pride and joy.

     

    No other religious book or belief system tells of an All-Creating God/Force that also counts the very tears of every person (Psalm 56:8), even those who do not acknowledge Him.

     

    As for Salvation, where else is it written about a Creator God who sends His innocent Son to die for the sins of people (many of whom never love this God back in their lifetimes), so that those few who do decide to love Him (not just “appreciate” what He’s done) can live with Him after they die?  


    **There are plenty of ancient and neo-pagan beliefs about “sun gods” that die and are reborn annually with the seasons. These are similar to the Jesus story, but are lacking key details (I will discuss chronology of religions in another post).

     

    Jesus himself is a major matter of contention amongst people. Did/does He really have authority to give salvation? AKA, is Jesus God? The Bible records in many different places that Jesus claimed He was (Matthew 27:11 & 37; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33, 36-37; John 19:19).

     

    After His death and resurrection, it is clear the new Christians believed Jesus was God as the disciples wrote in the Epistles (John 20:31; Acts 2:36, 9:20, 10:36; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 2:11, just to name a few).

     

    Some people claim that Jesus never existed (which is silly since His birth and death were recorded in various ancient writings, “Before Tacitus, Suetonius or Josephus, Thallus wrote about the crucifixion of Jesus.

     

    His writing date to circa 52 A.D. and the passage on Jesus was contained in Thallus' work on the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to 52 A.D. Thallus noted that darkness fell on the land at the time of the crucifixion. He wrote that such a phenomenon was caused by an eclipse... (http://dmc.members.sonic.net/sentinel/naij3.html)).  

     

    Even other religions acknowledge Jesus did live and die, but most people do believe that He did live, was a good man and a great teacher, and then died a sad death due to religious persecution. There are really only three ways to consider Jesus. He was either lying, crazy, or really God (I cannot take credit for this argument.

     

    It has been around for centuries, but is well expounded upon in Josh McDowell’s book, “More Than a Carpenter”). Since Jesus claimed multiple times to be God/the Son of God and able to forgive sins and heal, etc., if He was lying, we can’t say that He was a great man or teacher to lead so many people astray (in fact, this was why He was killed). Likewise, He is not a great person to follow or honor His teachings if He were crazy.  

     

    Without going into a vast amount of detail here, the Bible is also unique when it comes to other issues such as education and the treatment of women. The Bible extols the virtues of education as opposed to works such as the Tao Te Ching which call for oppression of education, (Number 20) “When we renounce learning we have no troubles.”

    (Proverbs 19:2) – “It is not good that the soul be without knowledge.”


    (Proverbs 4:7) - "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

     

    On Women:  (Taken from ComeReason.com)

    “…Given this history, let's see how God approaches women in the Bible. The first person to see the resurrected Christ was a woman (John 20:15-18). The first European convert was a woman (Acts 16:14). The only followers of Jesus to stand with Him in his crucifixion were women.

    There were woman in the upper room and anointed with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14, 2:1-4). Jesus was born to an earthly mother, but not an earthly father(Matt. 1:18,etc.). Only a woman understood Christ's upcoming death (Mark 14:8).

    These actions show that women played a part as crucial to Christ's ministry as the men. (In fact, if someone was "making up" stories for their new religion, as has been charged to the writers of the New Testament, they certainly wouldn't have the women as the only ones brave enough to stand at Calvary or the first ones at the empty tomb.

    Remember, a woman's testimony was inadmissible in a court of law, so the incident not only makes the disciples look bad, but actually undermines from their assertion that it happened at all! Luke 24:11 states that even the disciples thought their story was "nonsense, and they would not believe them." This is actually a benefit in proving the validity of the Gospel account.)” Read more: http://www.comereason.org/bibl_cntr/con030.asp#ixzz0vsnmz0Ox

     

    There is no doubt about it. When the Bible is read, people gain a true understanding of God for themselves, and change for the better. No wonder there is such a variety of ways the Bible is attacked and thwarted.

     

    The thing that would do the most good for people is to read these religions’ holy books for themselves and compare and contrast them. The entire “Tao Te Ching” is shorter than the Bible’s book of Proverbs. Borrow a copy of the Koran/Q’ran/ and see what it has to say about the treatment of women and infidels (or do a Google search). Just the introduction of book of Mormon is very telling.

     

    Do one more thing. Research the lives of the founders of all these religions. It is a well-established fact that authors write themselves and their beliefs into their own works.

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