The Uniqueness of Christianity
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“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”—John 11:25–26
God created the entire universe by His supernatural power, and this is something we must believe, regardless of explanations and theories that try to persuade otherwise. The conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, His miracles, teaching, His resurrection, ascension and indwelling of His Spirit are all a supernatural work of God, which we must come to believe as truth; not partially, but wholly. There is no other way we can experience God for who He is other than to believe.
The credibility of Christianity either falls or stands based on the authenticity of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are two things in particular unique to the Christian message. The first is the identity of Jesus. He is not simply a street preacher who got the ball rolling, nor did He just happen to be in the right place at the right time with the right thing. Jesus is the Son of God and part of the triune Godhead, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Secondly, Christ is unique in what He did. He died, was buried, and was raised to life again.
Most of the world’s religions are based on philosophical propositions. That is, if you want life to work well for you, you need to know certain things and live in the good of those things. Four of these major religions are personality based. Judaism regards Abraham as its father, and Abraham lived, died, and was buried. Buddhism was founded by Buddha in the 5th century [BC]. A translation of his death is quoted as saying, “His death was with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.” Islam was founded on the teaching of Mohammed, who died in 632 AD at the age of 61. His tomb is visited by thousands of pilgrims in the city of Medina, and there has never been a claim that Mohammed rose from the dead.
Jesus died a young man at 33 years of age. He was buried, and there are two claims to His tomb in Jerusalem—one within the city walls of Jerusalem and one just outside the city—but both tombs are empty. The empty tomb is not just one of the many tenets of belief in the Christian gospel. It is the indispensable fact of the Christian gospel. Paul tells us, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”1 In the Christian life, we walk by faith, not by sight, and are truly blessed by a God-given will to believe.—Charles Price
The only way
“All paths lead to God” is a tempting sentence. It has a certain positivity to it. But in actuality only Christianity even claims to lead to God. The Christian destination is an intimate, flourishing, life-giving relationship with God Himself: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”2; “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”3 Primarily, for a Christian, heaven is not a place but a person; it is not a reward but a relationship.
The Christianization of Western culture has sometimes resulted in us projecting the destination of intimate fellowship with God on to other religious worldviews. But in fact this is distinctively Christian. In Buddhism and some traditions of Hinduism, the destination of Nirvana is the cessation of self and the elimination of desire, two essential components of personal relationship. According to tradition, it was on the very night that his son was born that Gautama Buddha left to pursue his life of detachment from anything or anyone that could cause him suffering. Contrast that with Jesus Christ, who did everything He possibly could to attach Himself to our suffering in His pursuit of relationship with us.
Likewise, the destination of Islam is not relationship with Allah. The paradise spoken of in Islam is one in which Allah is almost entirely absent. Instead, paradise is depicted as a place of carnal pleasure: wine, sex, perpetual virgins, young boys who wait on men. Hasn’t this paradise already been tried and found wanting? How many who have reached the pinnacle of earthly pleasure have testified that it is anything but paradise, that ultimately our longing for authentic relationship cannot be satisfied by anything else?
Christianity is distinctive in its claim to lead to God. But actually, there’s a twist. If we are being precise, even Christianity doesn’t claim to lead us to find God. In fact, it claims the opposite: it claims that God came to find us: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”4 … Contrary to every other major belief system, the Christian God “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”5 Because where we are heading in Christianity is based on what God has already done and not on what we might do, we can be assured of our destiny. … Jesus Christ’s starting point is everyone else’s finish line—the assurance of salvation! …
So to return to our question, do all paths lead to God? No. None do… Even Christianity claims not that we are led to God but that God’s love led Him to us.—Vince Vitale6
What makes Christianity unique?
Is Christianity really unique, or is it just one of many roads on the path to Truth? Is Christianity truly unique among the many religions around the world? If it is, what makes it so?
Unique among all religions, Christianity makes several claims that others do not. First, all other religions exhort man to reach up to God and grasp hold of Him through their own efforts. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to man. Second, other religions are systems of do’s and don’ts to appease God; whereas Christianity is a relationship with God. Third, Christianity looks to the Bible as the singular source of Truth. Finally, Christianity is based upon truly the most amazing event in all of human history—the resurrection…
Perhaps the most defining principle of Christianity that makes it truly unique in every way and provides its fundamental basis is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important, for without it, Christianity does not exist, and our faith is useless.7 It was Jesus’ resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh. No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then rose three days later to appear to many people. The resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind.
Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, died and rose from the dead, and claimed that He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life,”8 and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.—From gotquestions.org9
Aren’t all religions basically the same?
Although our basic needs and heart’s desires are the same, the world’s great religions prescribe many different and often contradictory means of meeting those needs. A brief look at some of the most common beliefs and practices makes this evident. Devout believers of many faiths try to fulfill their spiritual needs by regularly attending places of worship—shrines, temples, mosques, cathedrals, and so on—where prayers are made, incense is offered, and a multitude of different traditions, ceremonies, and rituals are observed.
Some seekers of truth worship one God, while others worship hundreds or even thousands of gods. Some of the world’s major religions began simply as moral or ethical philosophies, and their founders never intended that any deity or god should be worshipped. Yet today these very founders are venerated as if they themselves were gods.
For many believers, their highest hope and aspiration is that they will survive after death as an individual personality in a happy and heavenly afterlife. Others scorn the idea of continuing to live on as an individual, but rather look forward to the obliteration of their individual self, so that they may become one with the ultimate reality of the universe. Some believe that after they die they will return to live other lives on earth, over and over again, that their present life is just one of many births and rebirths that will continue indefinitely until full enlightenment or salvation is attained.
God, from the pages of the Bible, lovingly calls out to all people of all nationalities, saying, “Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, the God of all flesh, and besides Me there is no other.”10 The Bible’s appeal is universal: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, for the Lord would have all men to be saved, to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, all who love Him are accepted by Him.”11—The Family International
Published on Anchor October 2019. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
1 1 Corinthians 15:14 NIV.
2 John 17:3.
3 Revelation 3:20.
4 Luke 19:10.
5 Psalm 103:10.
6 Vince Vitale, Jesus Among Secular Gods (FaithWords, 2017).
7 1 Corinthians 15:14.
8 John 14:6.
10 Isaiah 45:22.
11 Romans 10:13; 1 Timothy 2:4; Acts 10:34–35.