Lee asked me to write a couple posts in a response to a question we got from someone at Redeemer. The questions were simple enough: "What makes Christianity right and all the other religions wrong?" and "Why Jesus?". The answers are a little harder than the questions (which is usually the case). But I thought I would share something from my blog that I think is a helpful precursor to these questions:
Five Reasons A Thoughtful Person Would Begin Their Religious Quest With Christianity
1. Christianity is testable. (1
Corinthians 15:12-19) In Christianity objective evidence exists and
matters. It literally hangs the entire religious system out for
objective scrutiny, inviting people to test it. You can make decisions
for or against the Christian worldview based on objective evidence. This
explains perhaps why Christianity is the object of "affection" for
atheists when attacking religion. How long will it take you to
investigate the claims of Christianity? It might take a week, it might
take years, but at least you can investigate them.
2. Salvation in this system is free.
There might be glimmers of grace in Hinduism and Buddhism, but every
other major world religion is about doing stuff that is going to please
some deity. Only Christianity turns the popular view of religion as
moral conformity on its head and offers a relationship with God that is
not based on our moral performance.
3. Christianity paints a picture of the world that matches reality.
Of course, this is a huge claim that cannot possibly be tested in all
its applications. However, we can begin to test this thesis using one of
the more popular arguments against the existence of God, the problem of
evil. Specifically, one should look at the way that different
worldviews handle the issues of evil, pain and suffering. Most eastern
religions portray evil, pain and suffering as "illusion" that you need
to overcome and transcend. Christianity takes evil, pain, and suffering
seriously. Christianity says not only is evil, pain, and suffering real
but God takes it so seriously that he gets down with the the sufferer in
their pain to bear them up. Jesus, of course, is the ultimate picture
4. Christianity allows you to live a holistic life.
In Christianity, we get to use our minds in our worship, we get to
think about God. We use our minds to worship God, we are to reason and
it's supposed to make sense. You worship God with the same mind that you
approach every other aspect of your life, you don't need to
compartmentalize. In eastern traditions (those religions that most often
make the claim of being holistic), your reason might actually be an
impediment in your religious progress.
5. Christianity has Jesus at the center.
Jesus is the universal religious figure that every major religion wants
to co-opt. If you're a Buddhist, you might claim that Jesus is an
incarnation of the Buddha or at least an enlightened teacher. If you're
Hindu, you might believe that Jesus is an avatar of Vishnu. If you're in
Islam, if you read the Koran, Jesus emerges as a figure greater than
Mohammad himself. If you're on a religious quest, it makes sense to
start with the religion that centers around the greatest universal
religious figure in human history.
This was a presentation developed by Craig Hazen as presented on one of my favorite weekly podcasts, Stand To Reason, hosted by Greg Koukl. This was a cross-post from the Christians In Context blog originally published in Sept. 2010.