The Uniqueness of Christianity:
What does Christianity claim to believe that no other major religion claims to believe? How can we compare the major religions of the world?
First, we must be fair to all concerned. It is not fair to compare a despicable reprobate from one religion with a sterling example from another faith. Obviously, we must rather examine the person that knowledgeable representatives would hold up to represent their religion. In fact, to fairly compare religions we must ask them what they claim to believe. What do their own leaders profess to believe in their teachings and their writings? It is best to examine their belief claims. This allows them to speak for themselves.
Belief Claims: What does any religion hold forth as truth? What does it profess to believe? How are its faithful to practice their faith or fulfill what is required of them? What rewards does a religion claim to offer to its faithful followers? What does it claim that success from following its teachings or path will look like? What benefits does it claim to offer? What does it claim to believe about its founder or its God?
What is a unique belief claim? It is something that is claimed by a particular religion and by no other. In contrast, here are things that would not qualify as unique belief claims: having a founder, having a holy book or holy writings, moral teachings or ethics, belief in an afterlife, belief in a deity, etc. These are found in nearly all religions.
Unique Belief Claims of Christianity:
- Jesus is God. He is the God man. John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” In John 20:28, Thomas meets the risen Christ and exclaims, “My Lord and My God!” Also, study Hebrews chapter 1 as a great testimony to the deity of Jesus Christ. We as Christians are claiming that Jesus Christ our founder is fully a human being and also fully God. This is a very great miracle that the Great Creator entered into His creation becoming a human being just like us except for sin! This is the incarnation! This is Christmas! No other religion claims this.
- Jesus is sinless. Hebrew 4:15 says, “He was in all points tempted like us except without sin.” He never sinned with His mouth as Isaiah 53:9 says, “…nor was any deceit in His mouth.” No other founder of a major religion ever claimed to be sinless. History bears out the notorious behavior of some founders of other religions. If Jesus had been guilty of His own sin, He could not have died in our place to satisfy the just wrath of God against our sin. He would have had to pay for His own sin.
- Jesus is alive. He was born 2,000 years ago, and He is alive today. He is resurrected from the dead! He is seated in His glorified human body at the right hand of God the Father. Acts 2:23-24 testifies to us that God sovereignly appointed for Jesus to be put to death by the hands of lawless men and that God raised Him up from the dead, “…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, losing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.” Look at all of Acts 2: 22-37 and I Corinthians 15, the great chapter on the resurrection of Christ. This is an important claim. Christianity stands or falls based on the resurrection of Jesus. No other religion claims that its founder is alive.
- God is seeking man. Every other religion teaches that man must seek for God. In Christianity alone God searches for man. Romans 5:8 clearly teaches that God takes the initiative, “…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Both in Acts chapter 8 and chapter 10 we have stories of God bringing Jesus, “the Light of the World,” to the Ethiopian eunuch and to Cornelius the Roman centurion. Each man had responded to the little light that he had received. God then went to great efforts to bring to each of them the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. All other religions teach that man must find God.
- Salvation or a relationship with God is a gift. In all other religions man works to earn salvation. But Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teaches that Christianity is different, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Titus 3:5 reinforces this idea, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” It is a gift. We don’t have to try hard enough or be good enough. Therefore, we can be sure of our salvation. All other religions teach that we must earn our salvation.
- God gives us power by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to do what He requires of us. Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that works in you both to will and to do for your salvation.” Philippians 4:13 assures us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” Galatians 5:22-23 reveals, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and let the Holy Spirit transform us into His image from the inside out. The power of the Holy Spirit sanctifies us into the image of Jesus, the greatest human being who ever lived. The Holy Spirit is like a spiritual “power pill.” Think of a weak young man who wanted to make the soccer team but couldn’t because he didn’t have the strength to do pushups. Suppose his friend had invented a pushup pill and gave him a supply. Now by taking the power producing pills he can do all the pushups that the coach could ever ask of him. All religions have morals and ethics, but only Christianity gives the power inside us to keep them.
- Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. No other major religion teaches this. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies…” On the cross He said in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This is not an easy thing to do. We must remember that those who threaten us or do us harm are not the enemy. They are victims of the enemy. Satan is the real enemy. We must pray for their deliverance from their bondage to the devil and that they might be set free by the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. No other religion offers this kind of love.
- The Trinity: No other religion believes in One God who exists in Three Persons: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. We find the three persons of the Trinity referred to in Matthew 28:18-20, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit…” Trinity is God as a family or fellowship of love from all eternity to all eternity. We become part of that family when we put our faith and trust in Christ. John 13:34-35, “…a new commandment I give unto you that you love one another” is the logical action step for believers to take as a result.
Claims of Christianity but not unique to Christianity:
- Christianity has a Holy Book
- Christianity has great rules, laws, ethics, religious precepts
- Christianity believes in the existence of God
If you are faithful and successful in your religion/faith, what would it look like? What does it offer?
To be successful in your religion what must you believe or do to get there? What is a true believer?
Tell me about your God. What is your God like? Do you love your God whom you believe in and worship?
What does your religion have for its source of authority? What is your Holy Book?
What is your religion’s view of history? Is it linear or is it cyclical?