Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why should people be a Christian and not a buddhist, hindu, or scientologist? Are all faiths the same?

Thanks for the question.

I'll start with the second question - Are all faiths the same?

When we compare the belief systems of different religions we see some of the following things:

Christianity says that Jesus (Jesus Christ of Nazareth - born about 4-5BCE) is God, that he is the son of God.

Islam says that Jesus is a prophet, amongst others like Mohammed, Moses, Abramham.

Buddhism teaches that there is 'karma', which is related to good, skillful deeds and bad, unskillful deeds which produce 'seeds' in the mind that can lead to changes in life, that may lead to rebirth (reincarnation). Buddhists don't believe that there is a soul (Christianity teaches that there is), and Buddhists say that there can be no salvation or forgiveness based on one's karma, because it is an impersonal process that is simply part of the make up of the Universe. Christianity has always taught that there is a supreme being who orchestrated every aspect of the Universe and that salvation and forgiveness come through God's one and only son, Jesus, that through him you might have eternal life. See the difference? When people follow Jesus, their life should spring out with positive, good things, as an overflow of the new life they have found in their saviour, Jesus. Christians call this holiness - living the way God asks of his people through the Bible and through the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I am not saying Buddhists don't do good things for humanity, (Gandhi - being a prime example of someone who does), I am merely pointing out the difference from how these good deeds come about.

Christians are mono-theists - that is there is only one God who created the heavens and the earth. Hindus are poly-theists and believe there are many gods, the god of the sun, the god of the moon, etc. So, without delving any deeper, Christianity and Hinduism, just based on those facts/teachings are already different.

I don't know much about scientology. Within most realms outside the Church of Scientology, many people view this group as a cult, that have high demands upon the followers of its organisation and sometimes to the detriment of the wellbeing of people within that group.

The first question was: Why should people be a Christian and not a buddhist, hindu, or scientologist?

I believe that being a Christian means you are a follower of Jesus Christ ('Christ'-ian). God sent Jesus into the world, not to condemn it, but to save the world through him. Simply put - though a conscious, intentional faith/belief in Jesus I have eternal life with God, and I have the greatest opportunity for fullness of life on earth. I have the indwelling presence of God's Holy Spirit to guide and lead me, to be my conscience when I'm making decisions and to empower me through the journey. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean the worries of life subside, but through all the experiences of life, God gives us purpose and meaning in life and ultimately a place with God in heaven after we die.

Thanks for the question. Feel free to comment below.

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  1. Well, first of all, God put everyone in this world. He put them in any families whether they(families) follow Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam ect. So, this had got to be a good thing because we're all sons of God. So, why should they 'be' a Christian and not other religion? I think the question is irrelevant because they didn't have that choice in the first place!
    Maybe, the question would be better asked this way: 'Why should people convert to christianity?'

  2. 'They didn't have that choice in the first place'? That maybe is an excuse for those who have grown up in Islamic households, buddhist households, etc. But many have weighed up the options and chosen particular religions.
    I believe all have a choice and while many have never heard about Jesus and some have little revelation of who Jesus really is, it is our calling, for those of us who are Christians, to share about the amazing love and forgiveness found in Christ and encourage people to repent (turn over their life) to this Jesus.

  3. Choice is only available if people are aware of the alternatives. So what of those who have not seen a viable or attractive alternative to the faith (or lack thereof) of their ancestors? And then again what about those who have experienced the Christian religion as a harsh and abusive regime?
    David's question is valid, and in much of the Western world it needs to be tweaked a little "Why should people return to Christianity?"

  4. Thanks Graham. All people have a choice, in the sense that God has allowed and gave the freedom to every person to choose to follow Christ, but as you say, some will never hear about Christ and so never be able to really make that informed choice.
    The question I ask is not so much the person on the deserted island who never hears about Jesus (thats for another lengthy blog), but about how much God holds us accountable to not fulfilling the great commission. The reason I think about this is related to the teaching about the missio dei (mission of God) and the fact that its God's mission - so are we then not accountable to reaching the nations with the gospel message?
    That's one of my thoughts at the moment.
    (When are you going to write some guest blogs Graham??)

  5. Pete, have you read Romans 14 ..1-12?

    Welcome the person who is weak in faith, but do not argue with him about his personal opinions..................
    ............4. who are you to judge the servant of someone else? it is his own Master who will decide whether he succeeds or fails. Ant he will succeed, because the Lord is able to make him succeed.
    .............11. for the scripture says, "As surely as I am the living God, says the Lord, everyone will kneel before me and confess that I am God."
    12 Every one of us, then, will have to give account of himself to God.

    And here again Pete, this is irrelevant to the initial question but relevant to your replies...


  6. Hello,

    Just want to mention that Gandhi was not a Buddhist. He was a Hindu. If you want to mention examples of Buddhists who have done good things for humanity, the 14th Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn are good examples.

  7. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. There is no other way but through Jesus. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism, Mormonism, and others are counterfeit faiths that lead countless peoples astray from the truth in Jesus Christ. All the other faiths are legalistic that have no promise of a relationship with God or an eternal future in Heaven.


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