Two or Three (.net)

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - Jesus

2.21.2005

Exclusivity of Christianity related to other religions

by Aaron Earls [+/-] show/hide

by Aaron

The first thing that must be examined is the misinformation that is inherent in this discussion. Christianity is not the only religion of the world that makes these types of claims.

Obviously, Muslims radically claim exclusivity theologically, but also linguistically. They will not accept the Koran being translated into any other language. They say that the text is only recognizable in Arabic and any translation to another language desacralizes it.

Buddhism was founded by Gautama Buddha because he rejected two fundamental assertions of Hinduism - the ultimate authority of the Vedas and the caste system. So by it's very nature, Buddhism is found on a claim that Hunduism is not correct.

Hinduism is uncompromising on the law of Karma, the authority of Vedas and reincarnation. These beliefs put it at odds with basically every other world religion.

Every religion has some type of core belief that does not translate into one or all of the other religions. Christianity and Islam can not both be true since Islam claims Jesus was only a prophet and Christianity claims Jesus was God in flesh. Buddhism teaches that you can achieve salvation on your own through your work and life of sacrifice. Christianity claims that the only way to grasp salvation is to trust in the works of Jesus and his one time sacrifice of His life. Hinduism recognizes thousands of gods under the main God Brahman and God-realized beings living on earth - the two main being Rama and Krishna. Christianity teaches there is one God and His son Jesus became fully man, while remaining fully God, and walked on the earth, later to die for our sins and rise again. Christianity also contradicts the doctrine of reincarnation, since scripture says "it is appointed unto men once to die and then the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

The main exclusiveness of Christianity comes in when one is discussing Christ. He is the only founder of a main world religion that claimed to be God Himself. Others claimed to know God, to have heard his word or to be his messenger, but none of them said they were God. Jesus repeatedly claimed this for Himself. He angered his Jewish audience to point where they wanted to kill Him when He said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." (John 8:58-59) This was no mere claim of a long life; this was Jesus taking the sacred name that God gave Moses. "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14)

This brings us to the conclusion of C.S. Lewis - Jesus is either liar, lunatic or Lord.

If the things Jesus claimed about Himself were not true then He was not a "good teacher" or a "moral guide." He claimed to be God. If you claim to be God today, you are sent to an insane asylum to get better. You obviously have something wrong with you if you think you are God. In claiming to be God, Jesus was either blatantly lying, frighteningly delusional or He was right. Those are the options. If He was right when He claimed to be God then you either make the choice to worship Him or not, but He did not allow us the option of claiming Him as a "good man" who taught us some good things. Read His words and see what they say - see the countless times He claimed to be God - then make your decision: liar, lunatic or Lord.

Much of the information from this post comes from The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

2 Comments:

  • CS Lewis' argument is predicated on the accuracy of the Biblical record -- if Jesus actually said the things He is recorded as saying, then He is either Lord, lunatic, or liar and there are no other options.

    If someone wants to argue that Jesus may have existed, but the Bible is a bunch of made-up and distorted tales of Him, they're wrong but at least they're consistant.

    The two positions I can't stand:

    1) "The Bible is a bunch of distorted stories of Jesus... but I know the truth about Jesus." If someone is going to claim the gospels are unreliable, at least they should admit they don't have any other reliable sources, and therefore, can't say anything more about Jesus.

    2) "Jesus was a good teacher, as evidenced by what He said in the Bible, but He's not God." This is the position CS Lewis is standing against -- you can't honestly evaluate Jesus' words as recorded in the gospels and think He was a good teacher but not really God. People often try to do this (especially the Buddhists I know), but they mostly are just demonstrating that they don't understand the Jewish religion. Jesus' claims to be God aren't very obvious if you haven't read the Old Testament, but they're pretty blatant if you have. Those claims force you into the Lord-lunatic-liar paradigm.

    So... yeah, you can't really mix Christianity with Buddhism or Islam or Hinduism or any other religion without distorting at least one of them. (I once ran into some "Christian Wiccans". I'm not qualified to judge the Wiccan half of their beliefs, but the Christian parts were badly distorted.)

    By Blogger LotharBot, at 2/23/2005 3:38 PM  

  • Thanks for the comment and yes I am aware of the predication of New Testament accuracy, which is why my follow up post to this will be on the reliability of the New Testament.

    I am just looking for consistency in belief and as you point out it the beliefs on Jesus tend to be very inconsistent.

    Great thoughts!

    By Blogger Aaron, at 2/25/2005 6:04 AM  

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