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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).

    « Selling Christianity Part 3: Become a Christian in 3-5 Easy Steps | Selling Christianity Part 2: The Church "Service" »
    Tuesday
    Jun072011

    Jesus Responds to Other Religions: A Few Notes

    One thing I love to research are other religions. Being an English major, I enjoy the variety of stories, literature, and history of other cultures. People are quick to point out the similarities between religions, and they are usually right; there are a lot of similarities. That makes sense because human nature is the same the world over.

     

    It is highly interesting to me then, as a Christian, to compare and contrast what the Bible says to what other religious works and traditions say, especially in relation to Jesus. With that in mind, I present a growing list of Jesus’ contrasts with the gods and beliefs of other religions.

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    Resource: This is one of the best websites I’ve come across that gives very detailed and well-researched information about Jesus in relation to other religions’ gods.

    http://thedevineevidence.com/jesus_similarities.html

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    Taoism

    Taoism literally means “the way”.

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

     

    Confucianism

    Confucianism’s Golden Rule of reciprocity predates Christianity. Many people point to this and assume that Jesus stole the idea and reworded it. Confucius’s rule states, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.”

    Jesus however takes it to the next level by saying, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). This goes beyond mere reciprocity (you give to me, I give to you back), calling people to bless others before and regardless of reward or acknowledgement.

    It is immediately followed with a command to love one’s enemies,

    “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?

    Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:32-35)


    Hinduism

    In many cultural and spiritual traditions, seekers kiss, wash, or worship the feet of their spiritual teachers. The Bible contains thirty-three references to this phenomenon, including the gospel scene in which Mary Magdalene bends to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and olive oil (as a symbol of deep respect for him and as a form of penance).

    India’s reverence for this tradition is so old that it is recorded in the Veda and the Upanishads, and is lovingly referred to as “touching the lotus feet of the guru.”

    (Touching the Lotus Feet of the Guru, Shannon Sexton, https://www.himalayaninstitute.org/yogaplus/article.aspx?id=3694)

     

    The author misunderstands the reason for Jesus’ feet being washed. First off, the Bible does not state it was Mary Magdalene, but a “sinful woman” who washes Jesus’ feet. Secondly, the passage in Luke 7:36-50 states the woman wet Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured perfume on His feet. Thirdly, Jesus says that she washed his feet as a sign of “great love” for Him (Luke 7:47).

    I am not familiar with any other Biblical references to a person displaying this, and the author unfortunately does not give any other specific examples.

    It is however a Hindu custom, and is interesting to note that rather than many other people worshipping His feet, Jesus deigned to wash His own disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).

    When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. (John 13:12-14)

     

    Some have alleged that Krishna and Jesus are the same figure; that Jesus derived from Krishna. This is however, untrue. For more details see: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/krishna02.html

     

    Mormonism

    The Bible is most explicit in stating that God is not a man (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Hos 11:9).  God the Father, the eternal God is Spirit (Isa 55:8-9; 6:1-5; 57:15; Pss 90:2; 113:5-6; 123:1; Jn 4:24: 8:23)  Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Lk 24:39)

     

    "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man...I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in a form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1973 ed., p. 346)

    "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also." (Doctrine & Covenant 130:22)

     

    Paganism 

    In many forms of paganism, there exists a dying sun-god who dies during the fall season, and is reborn (not resurrected) every spring. Many see Jesus as an extrapolated sun-god.

     

    “In reading the New Testament we must cease to think of the man Jesus, and even of the “Son of God”, and think of him rather of the sun of god, for this is a solar myth, and its dying hero, a dying sun.” (http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/cross_pagan_origins.htm)

     

    However, Jesus died ONCE. He was resurrected once. He died for all for the sins of the world, very unlike the pagan gods. Also very unlike the pagan gods, Jesus never married or have children.

    For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

    26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:24-28)

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    “Jupiter was patron of the strongest, purest, sacrificial grade wine, and controlled the weather on which the autumn grape-harvest would depend.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_%28mythology%29)

     If this is true, I hypothesize Jesus was trumping Jupiter/Zeus when He turned the water into wine at wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11).

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    "The Golden Bough" (part 1) by J.G. Frazer (an atheist and anthropologist), was written in 1890 and looks scientifically at a multitude of pagan practices from a vast variety of cultures. Throughout the Bible, God proves Himself to people of all cultures in the Old Testament by performing miracles specifically aimed at “trumping” a particular culture’s god(s). Jesus follows this pattern in the Gospels.  

     

    "The word is above all the instrument of the gods; it seems to suit the high conception of their power better than mere muscular effort" (241).

     

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

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    "Further, I pointed out that the public magician occupies a position of great influence, from which, if he is a prudent and able man, he may advance step by step to the rank of a chief or king....Among the objects of public utility which the magician may be employed to secure, the most essential is an adequate supply of food" (245).

     

    Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedeck, meaning He is both a priest and king as was Melchizedeck (Hebrews 6:20; and especially Hebrews 7).

    Furthermore, Jesus' miracles of providing lunch for those who came to hear His teachings reflect Frazer's assessments about the cultural expectations of kings and chiefs (See: "feeding the 5,000" in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and especially John 6:1-15 and also: "feeding the 4,000" in Matthew 15:32-39 and Mark 8:1-13).

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    "Of the things which the public magician sets himself to do for the good of the tribe, one of the chief is to control the weather and especially to ensure an adequate fall of rain" (247). Pages 326-327 describe various magical attempts of other cultures to control the wind.

    35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 

    Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)

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    Pgs 356-357 Describe medicine men as often becoming chiefs of their people as well, however even if they stayed as medicine men, they were always regarded as powerful, owed respect, listned to and obeyed, and rich from the offerings, sacrifices, and gifts of the people.

     

    Jesus is described in the Bible as “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6), and known inferentially as “The Great Physicain”. Furthermore, Jesus was rarely paid respect or obeyed, neither was He rich. In fact, He was born poor, lived poor, and died poor (See also: A Response to the “Name It and Claim It” Trend).

     

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    P357, “He [the magician] is feared, on account of his power to do evil, viz. to cause the death of a person, to ruin his undertakings, to render him unsuccessful in the hunt by driving away the game from his path, to cause the loss of his property, of his strength, of his health, of his faculties, etc.”

     

    p. 358 “…It was his [Maidu shaman] business to inflict disease and death on hostile villages.”

     

    p. 387 describes some incarnate deities as inspiring extreme fear, to the point of human sacrifices in some cases.

     

    I don’t think anyone would describe Jesus this way. Jesus healed, never hurt; provided, never took away; did good and not evil.

    "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25)

     

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    P 360-361 describes the distinctive for of dress and emblems expected of a magician and/or king. Though the Bible says He was the only one worthy of them, Jesus did not wear these things.

     

    P 378-379 describes the use of intoxicating drinks, inhaling incense, chanting, and dancing. P. 381 describes drinking blood. Not listed in the book, but well-known is the use of hallucinogenic substances such as drugs or mushrooms to usher in the temporary “inspiration”. (See also: On Spiritual Manifestations)

     

    Neither Jesus nor any of His disciples are described, alluded, or inferred to have used any of these techniques. 

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