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There are many man-made religions and gods. But according to the Bible, there is only ONE true God and only ONE way to serve Him. The true God is the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. All the rest are frauds.
"Understand that I AM HE: before me there was no God formed,
neither shall there be after me."
The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob
There are not many paths to God. Just one--His name is Jesus. A relationship with Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, cannot be compared to any religious imitations. Jesus stands alone without equal. The following is my response to an e-mail that I recently received (with just a few edits for readability).
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
...may I submit a response to your comments about Jesus Christ?
Your Observation: There are and have been thousands of religions. They can't each be right about everything, though each one has believers who have insisted that their religion is the one true religion.
Response: This is true. What distinguishes "Christianity" if you will, is:
A. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was seen by over 500 people. None of the major religions of this world make the claim that their leader did this. They all lay in the grave dried up carcasses.
B. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness of sins. Every single person on this earth has sinned--lying, stealing, fornication, etc. and we need to be forgiven. If you tell a Muslim that you did something wrong and ask him for a solution, he'll shrug his shoulders. A Hindu will tell you maybe you can get it right in your next life (which is, incidentally, considered a curse by those in the east). A psychiatrist will tell you, "You need some counseling, step in my office. Oh, that'll be $200 per hour once a week." I knew a Buddhist woman who had been going to her therapist for 20 years and was no closer to relief than the first day she went!
Ask Jesus for forgiveness and He will say, "I forgive you and will give to you the water of life freely." And you will be forgiven.
C. Jesus Christ offers His disciples a relationship with the God of the universe unlike the religions of this world. They perform certain rituals and rites to please God hoping that these vain oblations will work. Buddhists chant to scrolls and give food and cigarettes to statues that cannot speak or hear (they even have to light the cigarette because their god can't do it), Muslims obey dietary and cultural laws, Hindus worship any of a combination of millions of gods and goddeses (Shiva has six arms!) with rites, Catholics do penance and worship a host of saints as well as a goddess named Mary. Some people even claim to be their own god (which is ridiculous--they can't even make one hair white or black as a result of their own will).
On the other hand, for the Christian, Jesus Christ is Succourer, Saviour and Provider. Jesus provided the sacrifice necessary to pay for our transgressions. The sacrifice of Jesus pleased God for it made a way for every man, woman, boy and girl to know Him even though they had previously been criminals who transgressed His holy laws (laws against lying, stealing, adultery, etc.). Jesus paid the price for those transgressions and everyone that repents, turns to God and believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is a child of God.
Jesus is with the Christian morning, noon and night--guiding, directing, loving, perfecting. As you have tasted from your readings, His Word (which is also another name for Jesus--see John 1) is pure and doth teach us how to live, but it is far more important than that. It shows us how to know the true God, not some imitation--1) recognize that He is holy and without spot 2) recognize that we are sinful and full of spots 3) recognize that He loves us and sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins 4) believe in His Son, giving Him our lives and He will make us everything He created us to be, not to mention escaping hell.
D. Various religions have their "Holy Books" which are reported "revelations" coming through various means, e.g. dreams. But the origin of the Bible is quite different. It is rooted and grounded in history. It came from the experience of a specific people (the Jews, an ancient people who are still with us today), in identifiable places, at particular times. The archaeological record has only confirmed that the places and names found in the Bible are accurate--and has never disproven it. The Bible is not a "Holy Book" in the sense of esoteric philosophy like all other "religious" books. It is holy in the sense that it is God's word spoken through His people.
The Bible does not contain the characteristic untruths of other religious books. In Job, one of the oldest books of the Bible (written in about 3500 B.C.), Job wrote, "He [God] hangeth the earth upon nothing". Back then, people believed the earth was on the back of turtles and elephants and all kinds of strange things--you will find no such ridiculous statements in the Bible. The only way Job could say that the earth was suspended in air is by the Holy Spirit of God revealing it to him.
The Bible is not a scientific book, but when it speaks about "scientific" matters, it is always correct. The Bible says that "the life of the flesh is in the blood". This is one of the most medically accurate statements that can be made. The blood carries all kinds of antibodies, nutrients, etc. George Washington died because the doctors (I'm sure they were the best at the time) bled him to death thinking that bleeding would help his condition--they took a quart of blood at the last bleeding. They drained his life out of him--"the life of the flesh is in the blood". Science was wrong.
When a man severed his hand in 1988, doctors could not reattach it immediately because of his internal injuries. So what did they do? They attached his hand to blood vessels in his abdomen to keep it alive and reattached it to the man's wrist two months later. The blood flow kept that hand alive--the life of the flesh is in the blood. The Bible told us this important fact over 5,000 years ago and science has only recently agreed. Does that mean that the Bible was wrong when scientists said bleeding was the answer? No. Science simply had not caught up yet.
You don't find truths like this in the various religious books but rather myth, superstition, and human wisdom. How could the psalmist write about the method of Christ's death a thousand years before Jesus came down to this earth? Crucifixion wasn't even a method of death in Israel when Psalm 22 was written. This a shallow treatise here, but a small taste of this awesome book. If we can trust the Bible for these amazing insights, can we afford to not believe it when it comes to life and death and heaven and hell?
Concerning manuscript evidence for the Bible, there is more evidence for the Bible than ANY other ancient manuscript--including the ones we use to assemble our history books--
- Aristotle - 5 copies available for comparison
- Homer - 643 copies available for comparison
- Plato - 7 copies available for comparison
- The Bible - 30,000 copies available for comparison (includes 5000+ Greek copies and another 25,000 written in other languages). This wealth of evidence is simply staggering.
Other interesting information--
The Bible was the FIRST book ever printed by moveable type.
The Bible is the bestselling book of all time. Press runs increase every year.
The Bible is the most circulated book in the world.
The Bible is the most translated book in the world.
The Bible is the most loved book in the world.
The Bible is the most hated book in the world.
No book is like the Bible. Millions have suffered and died for it. It has been burned. It has been spoken against--nevertheless it still stands because Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall NEVER pass away." The caretakers of the scriptures, the Jewish people (an ancient people) are still with us today and prophesies concerning these people are still being fulfilled.
Your Observation: [All religions] probably all have valuable lessons, whether shared truths or unique perspectives.
Response: In a humanistic sense this may be true, but God is not a human, He is a Spirit and does not accept our motives based on what we think to be true. A person can live their life on this earth without the God of the Bible trying to live a good life, but this is not acceptable to Him. The Bible says that without Jesus, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." We cannot please God with our humanistic good works. If you die trusting in these works, God will reject you, because you rejected His Son, His Beautiful love offering given for you.
Your Observation: The most important part of a religion is not its heritage, ceremony or philosophical consistency, though these do have tremendous value. By far the most important part is how a religion teaches people to act towards themselves and other people.
Response: For a Bible-believing Christian like myself, the most important part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is being saved from the wrath to come, loving my Jesus with all my heart, receiving His love, and loving others as I love myself which is a result of loving Jesus.
Your Observation: I admire Christ's teachings of kindness, forgiveness, and tolerance. These are good rules to live by.
Response: Yes, they are--but it is impossible to live up to these statutes without a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I'm still praying for you, Tracy
Reader, if you are unsaved, please ask God to reveal Himself to you. He can be known--
He is not unknowable like the Hindu says,
He is not unreachable like the Muslim says,
He is not a force (or non-existent) like the Buddhist says,
You are not alone in this world like the atheist says; and,
You certainly don't have to be unsure about His existence like the agnostic says.
Come to Jesus Christ and you will never hunger, you will never thirst or wonder again about Who God is. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
--Jesus the Christ
One more time. There is one God, He is the true God. He is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. There is none other. The Bible says so.
"I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
"Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."
"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:
I girded thee, though thou hast not known me."
"There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour;
there is none beside me."
...there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6
There is a right answer to the comparative religion question. His name is Jesus.