A Comparison Of World Religions:
Christianity

And ye shall know the truth, and the
truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)



Both Christianity and Islam originated from Judaism, and many of their teachings are similar to that of Judaism. All three religions are similar in their monotheistic tradition, which is characterized by their belief that there is only one God, who created the heavens and the earth. Each also believes that there is no other God to be worshiped but him. However, there are also very distinct differences in their view of God.

As early as Gen. 1:26, God referred to Himself in plural form: "And God said, Let us make man in our image. John 1:1-3 says: "In the beginning was the Word, (Jesus) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 3:16-17 also states: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

There are many other verses that prove the deity of Jesus Christ. All of Christianity hinges on the deity of Jesus Christ; either He was, indeed, the Son of God, who died for our sins, but was resurrected, the firstfruits of the dead, or else all of Christianity is a farce, and we have no more hope than the lost world around us. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (I Cor. 15:19-20)

It is important that we acknowledge the unique role of Jesus Christ. He said "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me. (John 4:16) There are not many ways to God, there is only one way, despite what Oprah and her followers would have you believe. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:11)

Who started this religion, and when?

Started by Jesus himself, when He told Peter "Upon this rock (Peterís faith in Jesus as the Christ, and the Son of God) I will build my church". Advanced by Jesus Christís own apostles of in the first century after his death approximately 2000 years ago. This church very quickly spread from Jerusalem across the entire Mediterranean world. By the second century AD, it would be known as the Universal, or catholic, church, despite worldwide persecution from both the Jewish religious system and the Roman government that ruled the world at that time.

What do they say about God?

God existed before the creation of the world, and consists of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Not three separate gods, but one God with three separate functions. Just as the white, the yolk, and the shell are three parts, but just one egg, so the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all form one God. We call this the Trinity, or the triune God: three in one, yet they are all one. God is love; He is pure, holy and righteous. God created all things, and man was the crowning glory of his creation. Formed in Godís own image; made by His own hands; created by Him and for Him.

Who is Jesus Christ, and what did He do?

Christianity is based on the fact that God, in the form of His son Jesus Christ, came to earth, for one purpose and one purpose only: to redeem sinful man, and make us acceptable to our pure, holy, and righteous God.. Jesus Christ is the whole basis of Christianity. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is wholly God, and yet wholly human. As God, He is perfect, pure, holy and righteous. As human, He was tempted in all ways just as we are, and yet He never sinned. (Heb. 4:15) His birth, death, and resurrection fulfilled all the prophecies spoken of in the Old Testament. He suffered a cruel death on the cross as an atonement for our sins to reconcile us to a pure and holy God. He became sin for us, and we become the righteousness of God

Fritz Ridenour, in his book "So What's The Difference" states: "Biblical Christianity is like a huge canopy that covers many denominations and groups, all of which have beliefs or interpretation of Scripture that they prefer to emphasize. But what draws all of these groups together are the basic biblical doctrines that center around one plain and simple teaching: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, but was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Cor. 15:3-4) He now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for believers. (Rom. 8:38; Hebrews 10:12, et al) until the day He returns, when all His enemies will be made His footstool.

What do they base their teachings on - the Holy Bible, and/or something else?

The Holy Bible is the Christianís sole authority. One of the major battle cries of the Reformation movement was "Sola Scriptura", or "Scripture alone". Not Scripture plus sacred tradition, (as the Holy Roman church believed) not Scripture plus other books, (as Judaism and Islam teach) but allowing Scripture to speak for itself and interpret itself. Christians believe "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Tim. 3:16-17) Christians also believe they should "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim. 2:15) Each believer is to read and study Scripture for themselves, and allow it to speak for itself, rather than placing strange interpretations on it that God never intended.

The Bible is the inerrant word of God, given by Divine inspiration (the Holy Spirit) to the men God chose to write it. Written over a period of 1600 years, by a variety of Godly men, it is perfect, complete, and infallible. In it, God reveals Himself, in all three of His separate but same entities: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He also reveals His entire plan for mankind, from beginning to end.

What is sin, and how do they get forgiveness for it?

The first man and woman were created perfect, free from all sin. They succumbed to the lies of the evil one, and were sent away from their Paradise home by God. This was an act of mercy, that they would not eat of the Tree of Life, and thus live forever in their fallen state. This was when the curse was placed on man, on woman, and on the earth.

Ever since that time, we are all born in a sinful state, and cannot be reconciled to a pure and Holy God by ourselves. However, He made a way for our sins to be paid for: Jesus Christ, Godís only begotten Son, died as an atoning sacrifice for our sin. When we accept Him as Savior, which simply means placing our faith and trust in His atoning sacrifice to save us from the curse of our sins, then our sins are forgiven, and we are made acceptable to God. We are saved by Godís grace, through Christís sacrifice; not by our own works. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) We are saved by faith alone, not by our own deeds, however good they may be. Our own works would leave us totally hopeless if it were not for Jesus Christ.

The culture we live in teaches that there are no absolutes; truths and morals are are all relative; what may be true for one isn't necessarily true for another. Since no one person's opinion is any more valuable than anybody else's each of us must personally decide what is right and wrong for us., according to today's culture. This teaching, widespread though it may be, is not Biblical. God's Word says that there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and Jesus Christ is the measuring stick by which we must measure. We cannot compare ourselves to others and think that we are doing alright. The standards laid down in the holy Bible are the only standards by which we can measure. Because God is pure and holy, our sins form a barrier between us and God. And because we are born in sin, there is no way for us to reconcile ourselves to him. No way for us to redeem ourselves. Nothing we could ever do could be good enough to deserve His grace, His mercy, and His salvation.

What happens when they die?

The Bible teaches that to be absent in this body is to be present with the Lord. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (II Cor. 5:8)

This has only been true since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, however. Prior to that, the Bible teaches that a person who died either went to hades (hell, or the grave) to await their final judgment, or to paradise, to await their reward. In both places, a person was aware of their surroundings, and persons in hades were aware of their own torment and suffering. (See Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16) But when Jesus died, He descended into the grave, (Acts 2:31) and defeated death and hell. (I Cor. 15:55) Then, when He ascended into heaven, to take His place at the right hand of the Father, he took paradise, and all those in it, to heaven with Him. That is why He told the thief on the cross, "This day you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, the spirits of those who die in Him (those who have trusted in Jesus as their Savior) go immediately to be with Jesus in heaven. Their bodies will be resurrected when He returns, the event we call the Rapture. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (I Thes. 4:16 Ė17) Those who die without Christ continue to await their final judgment: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (Heb. 9:27)

Christians, who have trusted Christ as their Savior, do not face the same judgment that unbelievers face, as Christ was made sin for us, and He took our judgment, and we are made righteous in Him. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Cor. 5:21) "For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb 10:14)

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References:
Holy Bible, King James Version and New International Version
So What's The Difference? ©1967, 1979, & 2001 by Fritz Ridenour; Regal Books, Ventura, CA

http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp
http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/major.html
http://www.allaboutreligion.org/christianity.htm


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