Part 1 - What do you believe about other Religions?

 A word to you the believer

Today there is a tendency in Christianity to make people of different cultures believe, if they are followers of Jesus, they can stay Muslims or Buddhists and still be saved.

This concept is biblically wrong and will make people think they are saved when they are not.

 

Please examine with me the followings faiths to find out, if Jesus can just be added to whatever else peple might believe or if the Bible clearly rules this out.

The answer to this should be obvious and to former generations of believers it was, but today Christians swim more and more in the tolerance soup that preaches "love" above rightstanding and doctrine.

I heard a pastor say "it is better to be in unity than to be right".

This is an alarming misconception, because if this unity excludes biblical truth (and it does) it is very wrong.

 

 

Fact and truth

A fact is something that actually exists or something that has occured.

A fact is the basis for truth. Facts will lead us to conclusions.

We can either reject facts presented to us as being untrue or accept them, but they will inevitably lead us to a decesion.

To reject or ignore facts don’t make them untrue.

A robber who is ignoring his crime will not prevent the police from arresting him.

 

Facts are neutral and all religions include neutral facts that can be examined:

- The details of Buddha’s life are not known for certain but most scholars agree, that he was an actual historic figure who

  lived in Northern India around the 5th century BCE. 

 

- Mohammed was born in Mecca in 570 A.D. Having secured leadership in Medina with several military victories, he

  returned 630 A.D. to Mecca and it was there, where he established Islam as the religion af Arabia. 

 

- The Jewish temple was first built by King Salomo to house the Ark of the Covenant. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in

  586 B.C., rebuilt smaller but more lavishly by Herod in the 1st century B.C. In 70 A.D., Herod’s temple was destroyed by      the Romans. 

 

- Practices of witchcraft are evidently very old and fact is, that spells can bring some results. An advertisement of a wiccan

  website states: "real witches, real spells, real results."

 

It is obvious that religions and cults are based on or include facts, facts about the existence of their founders, buildings, circumstances, historical events and spiritual results. But are these facts and spiritual results enough evidence to make the particular belief-system true?

 

What are the criteria for truth?

 

In the dictionary we find a lot of philosophical definitions for what truth is. When we define the meaning of truth based on how we use this term in our daily life, we can reduce it to a simple statement: Truth is based on facts and is absolute. And: There can be only one truth. A true fact exposes contradictary claims of being untrue (The murderer did kill or he didn’t. If  the evidence proofs him to be a killer his claims of being innocent are untrue). How can we distinguish truth from mere claims when it comes to religion?

In the following texts I mark Claims (believesystems) cursive and underline neutral facts.

 

Buddhism

Approximatly 6% of the worlds population belongs to the Buddhist faith. For the Buddhist God is an abstract void. Suffering in the world is explained with humanities self-centerednes and individualism. To solve the worlds problems the Buddhist works on realization of his non-existence. In the end he enters into ‚nirvana’ where his ego is completely extinguished. Human beings are considered of equal value as plants and animals. It is believed, that everything happening to a person is deserved, whether it’s good or bad, it is "Karma"

 

Judaism

In 2007 the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.2 million people. In Judaism God is spirit, he is a personal, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and compassionate God. Humantiy is morally neutral with tendencies to good and evil. Evil can be overcome by observation of the Mosaic Law. The law gives Judaism structure and meaning of life. The total dedicaton to the law (Halakhah) brings nearness to God. Sin is to break the law. Animal sacrifice (blood) brings atonment for sin,  but since the Temple is gone, repentance replaced the blood sacrifice. Maimonides wrote, that repentance atones for all sins: „At this time when the Temple no longer exists, and we have no atonement altar, nothing is left but repentance. Repentance atones for all transgressions…“. It is believed, that after the physical resurrection, the rightous person will live forever with God in a future world. The unrightous will suffer.

 

Hinduism

13% of the world’s population belongs to this faith, the majority living in India. The teachings of Hinduism reach far into the western "christianized" world. Yoga and meditation are practized by millions of people who do not consider themselves to be Hinduists. Reincarnation* is a widely spread concept. Hinduists deny that these practices and concepts can be separated from Hinduism. The Hinduist god is impersonal. Huminatiy needs to detach itself from egoism through self-effort and get rid of the problem of ignorance. In the end, the Hinduist merges into the Oneness, he as individual dissapears completely.

 

* That Reincarnation is a widepread concept is a fact but this fact doesn‘t make it true.

 

Islam

20% of the world’s population belongs to Islam. It is the second largest religion. In Islam god is a singular personality. Humans are considered good by nature. Forgiveness of sin takes place through repentance, no atonement (sacrifice) is necessary. The standard for salvation of a Muslim is, that his good deeds have to outweigh his bad deeds. Self-effort leads to salvation. After his death the righteous Muslim (‚those who believe and do good deeds’) goes to paradise. The person who did more bad deeds goes to hell.

 

Christianity

As of the early 21st century, traditional Christianity has between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion followers, representing about a quarter to a third of the world’s population and is the world’s largest religion. The number of ‚born-again’ Christians is significantly smaller. In Christianity God is personal and self-existing. Men is made in God’s image. Individuality is of enormous value. A person continues to exist after his physical death. Reason for suffering in the world is the first rebellion against God (original sin) and personal sin. The solution of the problem is forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Salvation is God given grace, not self-effort. Fulfillment is found in the restored relationship with a personal, loving God and fellowship with Him beyond death, for eternity. Satan is believed to be the enemy of God, the source of evil. Hell is existing as place of eternal punishment for those who didn’t accept Christ’s payment for their sin, originally created only for Satan and his demons. Heaven is the place where God lives with all the people who made Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour, so the Bible says.

 

Bahá’i Faith

The Bahái World Centre is located in Israel. Quote from bahai.org: "In creation there is no evil all is good. The Bahái Faith does not therefore accept the concept of original sin or any related doctrine which considers, that people are basicially evil or have evil elements in their nature. All the forces within us are God-given and therefore potentially beneficial to our spiritual development. In the same way, the Bahái teachings deny the existence of Satan, a devil, or an "evil force".“

 

Natural Religions

The Natural Religion deals with the reality of our lives. It does not have any spiritual or supernatural beliefs of any kind. It is called Natural Religion because it is not a supernatural religion. The Natural Religion suggests answers and explanations, using up-todate-knowledge about our own existance and life in general. It is a fact-religion, which works with reasoning rather than having dogmatic beliefs.

 

Wicca

Wicca is best described as a modern religion, based on ancient witchcraft traditions. Witchcraft is known as "The craft of the Wise“ because most who followed the path were in tune with the forces of nature, had knowledge of herbs and medicines, practiced as Shamanic healers. Mankind is not superior to nature, the earth and it’s creatures, but instead one of many parts. Wiccans believe that humanity must return to maintain balance and equilibrium in nature. Because the modern man has forgotten this, the world is in jeopardy. Nature’s cycles play a major role in the lifestyle of a Wiccan. It is believed that goddess and god exist in all things. Wiccans do not believe that Satan or Demons exist. They are not in unity about how the afterlife looks like (everybody can form their own believes about the afterlife).

 

Looking at these brief descriptions of some major faiths, it is obvious, that many of the belief-systems exclude and even contradict each other. In one Religion God exists in everything as a force, in the other he is a person. In one Religion the supernatural is very important, in the other, the existence of the supernatural is totally denied. One Religion offers forgiveness of sin, the other totally denies the necessity for atonement.

 

How can all of this be truth at the same time?

How can these contradictions all

be part of the same spirituality….

or even originate from the same god?

 

If represented statements lead us to this conclusion - that all forms of spirituality are leading to the desired (positive) outcome for individuals who practice them, we either don‘t care about the right answer, we didn‘t examine the statements well enough or we are afraid of the obvious answer: contradicting belief-systems cannot be all true and therefore false beliefs do exist, since the oppisite of truth is lie, falseness and invention.

 

How can we know which belief is truth?

 

 

How do we know truth?

In the following I want to examine the claim of one man. Jesus Christ said, he is the only way to God. The only way rules out all other ways. This claim is absolute, it is narrow, it excludes all other paths offered to us.

If Jesus spoke the truth, it would implicate major consequences. If he spoke the truth, then he wasn’t just a good teacher, prophet or a good man who can be added to our religious collection. If he is the only way then no other way leads to the God, Jesus claimed to represent.

Some people might say "I don’t want to believe in the God of the Bible, I just want some spirituality in my life.". The same Bible that teaches about Jesus, also tells us, that there is no other God besides Him and that spirituality apart from the biblical God leads to destruction. How can we know if the claims of Jesus Christ are truth?

 

 

Cordula Lavoie

  

End of Part 1

 

 

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For a neat copy then go to "Downloads"
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Next time

in Light & Salt

Part 2  is the final part and my wife Cordula will

show you real facts, real truth about Jesus Christ

and Him alone matter!

 

 

 

 

 

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