“Whoever teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching or our religion is swollen with pride and knows nothing.” (1 Timothy 6: 3)
It’s important for the Christian to have a basic understanding of the doctrines of other Religions in order to help defend your faith. Non-Christians will certainly deem it offensive when they are told that Christianity is the only path to heaven. Ignorance is bliss.
Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with our Creator. It recognizes the hopeless gap between sinful man and a Holy and Righteous God. It teaches that salvation can only be obtained through faith is Jesus’ redemptive act on the cross (removal of sin, imparting of righteousness) by God’s free gift of grace through the Holy Spirit. A Christian is saved solely through faith alone and not works.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic teaching of the major religions:
Jews believe in the God of the Old Testament, but do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Prayer, Repentance, and obeying the Law (especially the Torah) are necessary for salvation. Many do not believe in a conscious life after death.
Islam is both a religion and a political system. Their worldview is based on one God, Allah, as well as teachings from the Koran and from the life of Mohammad. Muslims adhere to strict religious prayer rituals and believe in world dominance through Sharia Law. Salvation is obtained either through martyrdom or good works.
Atheists don’t believe in God and believe there is no heaven and no afterlife at all. This world is all there is and upon death, people simply cease to exist.
Buddhists are Pantheists (believe that the universe is god) and believe in a heaven-like state called Nirvana rejoins them to the spirit gods or allows them to be reincarnated into another person or animal. Reaching Nirvana requires following the “Eightfold Path” which includes understanding the universe, an acting and living in the right manner.
To the Hindu, God is a universal spirit. Everyone is part of God (Brahman) like drops in the sea. Hinduism is similar to Buddhism is many ways. Salvation (moksha) is reached when the worshiper rids oneself of bad karma (evil actions or intent) through yoga and meditation as his spirit becomes one with god.
Mormon’s base their faith on the writings of Joseph Smith. God the Father was once a man, but “progressed” to godhood. There is no Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate gods, living in separate heavens.
They believe in a one-person God, called Jehovah. Jesus was created and there is no Trinity. Most followers must earn everlasting life by door-to-door works. Salvation is limited to 144,000 “anointed ones.”
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