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 Aren't All Religions the Same?

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Molly
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PostSubject: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Fri May 23, 2008 11:12 pm

The following article explains a lot of the reason why Christianity is so much different from every other religion. It also reinforces the reason why here at MAD 4 Christ, we practice no religion. It's a great, not-too-deep, short article from http://www.heart4teens.com/home

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AREN'T ALL RELIGIONS BASICALLY THE SAME?

We've both worked with students a long time, and this question
is one that we've heard over and over again. It's a good question.
One that deserves an answer: NO! Now, that may sound a bit harsh,
but it makes total sense when you stop to think about it.

Almost nothing in this world is "all the same." When you go to
Baskin-Robbins to get ice cream, the flavors aren't all the same.
You have 31 different types of ice cream to choose from! Starbucks
sells all kinds of coffee. You can get a one-dollar cup of plain ol' stuff
or pay five dollars for one with mocha, caramel, and whipped cream.
Try going to a bike shop and saying, "I'd like to buy a bike, please.
Any bike will do since they're all the same." The mullet-headed,
nose-pierced, bike-shop-owner dude would look at you as if you
looked weird or something.

Religions aren't all the same, either. They may have some things
in common, but they aren't all the same. Some of the ways religions
are different from each other include what they teach about God, what
they teach about Jesus, what they teach about getting to heaven, and
what they teach about the Bible. There are other differences, but
those are the biggies.

Another question we hear a lot is, "Are all religions true?" Again,
another good question that deserves an answer: NO! The reason all
religions can't be true isn't just because they're different. Different
types of coffee are still true coffees, and different ice cream flavors
are still true ice creams. The reason all religions can't all be true is
because they all hold different beliefs that they claim as truth...beliefs
that are totally opposite from each other. If beliefs about the same thing
are opposite from each other, they can't both be true.

A simple example is how somebody gets to heaven. Christianity
says that heaven is a free gift. Many other religions believe a
ticket to heaven must be earned. Christianity believes that the
gift of heaven is given to us through Jesus, God's Son. Many
other religions believe that Jesus was a good guy but wasn't God's
Son and has nothing to do with heaven. How can both be true?

Another difference between Christianity and other religions?
Christianity isn't just a religion. Most religions make a big deal
out of making sure you say the right stuff, do the right stuff, and
stay away from the wrong stuff. Most religions focus on looking
good on the outside. And while Christianity holds outward behavior
as important, it's not the most important thing--it's about friendship
with Jesus. And a true friendship with Jesus doesn't have a whole
lot in common with religion.
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HeyUnfaithful

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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Tue May 27, 2008 2:41 pm

Wow. That article is GREAT! It's so true. Christianity ISN'T a religion, and it's sad how people who don't even know the meaning of the word call themselves Christians. That article was FABULOUS xD
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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Sat May 31, 2008 11:35 pm

I thought so, too! And I know, it is sad. So many people are blind to the fact that being a Christian - being a follower of God - is so much more than just living a religion and following a bunch of rules. It's all about having a relationship with Jesus. Laws and rules will never bring you salvation. Good works won't get you to Heaven. It's all about living life for Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:21 pm

How does that differentiate Christianity from other religions?

Every religion is the basically the same because every religion makes supernatural claims.

Saying "the teachings of Christianity are TRUE because they offer a relationship with God." is the same as saying "the teachings of Buddhism are TRUE because they offer true Enlightenment.".

Just because a religious teaching claims to offer some spiritual benefit doesn't mean that that religion's teachings are more likely to be true than another religion's teachings.

Every religious faith, including Christianity, that is successful in attracting followers, has at least these traits in common:

1. The religion makes claims about supernatural people, places, things, events, miracles, resurrection, reincarnation, visions, communication with spiritual beings, etc.

2. The religion claims to offer benefits to followers. Whether it is spiritual comfort, enlightenment, salvation, heaven, reincarnation, or unity with departed ancestors and/or the universe itself, the religion usually offers benefits that you don't get until after you're dead.

Therefore, the religion never has to offer evidence that it's followers ever received these benefits.

3. The religion offers moral teachings and instructions on how to be a better person, how to interact with other people in society, etc.

These are generally good principles to live by, and there is often overlap among different religions. For example, Christianity and Islam both preach that you should give a percent of your income to help poor people.

4. All religions have members who genuinely believe that they are achieving some spiritual goal and have "religious experiences" alone or together.

Look at Buddhist monks meditating, Christian monks meditating, Christians chanting or singing at a worship service, Pagans chanting or singing at a worship service, Muslims kneeling and praying, Christians kneeling and praying, Christians sitting and listening to a 45-minute sermon from a minister, Jews sitting and listening to 45-minutes of teaching from a Rabbi, etc.

Doesn't it just seem, when you really do take a long, hard look at the practices and experiences of people of many faiths, that the same sorts of things appear to be happening among all religious groups?

Isn't it really somewhat of a stretch to suggest that all of the religious experiences observed among Christians are totally genuine and all of the other religious experiences observed among practicers of other religions are totally fake.

5. All religions have split into different factions and sects.
Sunni/Shiite
Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox
etc.

6. All religions have changed or redefined their beliefs over time.

For example, Christians hundreds of years ago in Europe believed in buying indulgences from representatives of the church, purgatory, a geo-centric solar system where the sun revolved around the Earth, a 6,000-year old earth, the infallibility of the Pope, etc.

7. All religions have sacred texts and/or traditions that they believe contain spiritual truth revealed from God.

Jews claim to believe in what Christians call the "Old Testament"
Christians claim to believe the Bible (Old and New Testament) was revealed from God
Muslims claim to believe that the Bible contains a lot of truth, but that much of it is distorted, and they look to the Koran as their holy scripture.
Scientologists study the works of L. Ron Hubbard.
Mormons have the Book of Mormon.
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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:10 pm

Christianity is the leading relgion in the world.
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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:32 pm

You made some really great points. It seems like you've studied religions a lot and really know your stuff about them. I've taken a world religions course and really learned a lot about religions through that. One thing that I learned is that they really bring Christianity across in a shallow and boring way. If I didn't know anything about it and would learn about it like that, I would want nothing to do with it. But there is much more to it than the rules and rituals and even everything that you listed.

First of all, yes, you are right that all religions have things in common. All of the things that you listed are true of Christianity as well - at least in general. But Christianity is not a religion. In general, yes, because that's what people have made it. America is a "Christian" nation. Many people say that they are Christians because they have grown up in Christian families or because they go to a church that teaches Christian principles. Some say that they are Christians just because they believe in God. The thing is, it's not just about being called a Christian. It's about having a personal and growing relationship with God. It is not a religion. And that is a huge difference between Christianity and any religion in the world. It is not a religion.
Something you said that really stuck out to me was this:

"2. The religion claims to offer benefits to followers. Whether it is spiritual comfort, enlightenment, salvation, heaven, reincarnation, or unity with departed ancestors and/or the universe itself, the religion usually offers benefits that you don't get until after you're dead.

Therefore, the religion never has to offer evidence that it's followers ever received these benefits."

Like I said, that is true - in general. Jesus offers His free gift of Salvation to anyone who will receive it. And as a result of having a relationship with Him, you will live eternally in Heaven with Him and all those who have died who had a relationship with Him as well. But there is plenty of evidence that you have received Salvation after you received it. Eternal life starts right when you accept Christ. Eternal life does not start after you die. It starts when you accept Him, here on earth. I know for me, I want to please God in all that I say and do, because I follow Him. I realize that eternal life starts NOW for me, because I have accepted God and I follow Him. Every choice that I make today affects my forever. I have plenty of evidence that I have been saved and that I will spend the rest of eternity in Heaven with Christ. God's Word, for one thing. I also have proof that God is real because of everything around me; everything that He has done in my life. And unlike many religions in the world, having a relationship with God is not about feelings or experiences. It just is. And I know that it is because of everything He has done for me and around me. Yes, I have spiritual experiences and feelings. I think God sends those as reminders that He is real; along with the beauty of every sunrise and sunset and just the beauty of every day. I don't need signs or miracles to know that He is real, yet He sends them anyway through "little" everyday things.

Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship. And therefore, it is remarkably different from every world religion.

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PostSubject: Re: Aren't All Religions the Same?   Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:33 pm

I love every point Molly has made so far!! It's so amazingly true!

One thing is, that people who don't believe in God/Jesus or having a relationship with God, they call us "narrow-minded" which first I am going to say is a good thing in the respect of only seeing what God's way is. {I've been recently called narrow-minded and I said, well at least I'm not stupid and try to impress people with things that could kill me...---that's besides the point of what we were actually talking about---} Anyway, the thing is, they don't understand. And I feel sorry for those who don't get it, because they will not have an awesome relationship with God.

Anywho...I kinda started getting off subject there..

Great post Molly!
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