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Why is Christianity Different From Other Religions?

This topic is not as difficult as you might expect. We'll start with what the Bible says and then proceed from there. I think you will find the article enlightening and informative.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, that he was born of a virgin, proclaimed the gospel, performed miracles to authenticate his preaching, died on the cross to make atonement for the sins of mankind and then--after three days--rose from the dead and appeared to men. These are claims unmatched by any other religion.

The Bible teaches that these events were foretold in Old Testament prophecies written centuries earlier.

The Bible also includes these statements by Jesus: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me (John 14:6 NIV)." "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36 NKJV)."

Based on what has already been said, we can come to the following conclusion: If the Bible is true, all other religions are false.

Consider the following sections.

Archeology: The events and prophecies of the Bible are well-documented historically. Archeologists determine what happened in the past by looking at historical writings. These writings are evaluated based on such factors as when they were written, the number of copies (manuscripts), the consistency of manuscripts discovered, and how consistent the writings are with known historical facts, other documents, inscriptions etc. This topic is too extensive to get into in great detail, but I will provide some brief particulars.

In terms of the New Testament, there are over 24,000 partial and complete ancient manuscripts dating as far back as the second century. The New Testament was written from about 40-100 A.D. There is also an abundance of related writings that attest to the accuracy of the New Testament text. These related writings include documents by secular historians, documents written by early church leaders and lectionaries (i.e., church service books).

The Old Testament is also well documented: Jewish tribal laws dictated strict fidelity to preserving the text as written. There were two notable time periods; the Talmudic Period (300 B.C. to 500 A.D.) and the Masoretic Period (500 A.D. to 1000 A.D.). Here are a few facts: "According to Talmudic tradition, any manuscript that contained a mistake or error, and all those that were aged beyond use, were systematically and religiously destroyed." "Although there are relatively few early Masoretic manuscripts, the quality of the manuscripts is very good."1

Further documentation came with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. This discovery included ". . . one complete Old Testament Book (Isaiah) and thousands of fragments, which together represent every Old Testament book except Esther."2 The scroll of Isaiah dated back to approximately 100 B.C. The Dead Sea Scrolls were consistent with current versions of the Old Testament text. This discovery proved that the Old Testament text did not change over time.

Thus, in summary, "The integrity of the Old Testament text was established primarily by the fidelity of the transmission process which was later confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The fidelity of the New Testament text, however, rests in the multiplicity of the extant (still existing) manuscripts."3

There is a wealth of information available documenting the reliability of the Bible. If you decide to do your own research on the internet, I suggest using the search engine Google. Google has strict quality controls and will not allow garbage sites to rank high in the search results in exchange for money. I must note, however, that not everything you read on the internet about the Bible is true.

Authors: Imagine forty very different people agreeing about anything! Now consider the following: The Bible was written by approximately forty individuals over a period of about 1500 years. The books of the Bible were written on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). Yet the Bible is consistent and coherent. This could only happen if what the Bible says is true: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . (2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)." The term "by inspiration of God" is literally, in the original Greek text, "God-breathed."

If you're wondering who might have written the earliest books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), these were written by Moses. These Scriptures are also "God-breathed" but in a more literal sense: God spoke directly and clearly to Moses, something that He did not usually do for most other prophets (Numbers 12:5-8).

Prophecies: Many biblical prophecies have been fulfilled and some remain to be fulfilled in the future. This topic is too extensive to discuss in detail. However, I will provide a few examples of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.

The Old Testament makes the following statement in regard to the coming messiah: “But he (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV).” This was written seven hundred years before Jesus was born (i.e., about 700 B.C.).

A second example: After Jesus had been crucified and risen from the dead, he made the following statement to his disciples: “. . . you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8 NASB).”

There were many other prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. Here are three more examples--these are from the Old Testament: That the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); that He would ride on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) and that all peoples on earth would be blessed through a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:3).

Holidays: Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Easter is a celebration of His resurrection.

Dates: Years are either A.D. or B.C. This is the year 2017A.D. A.D. is Latin for Anno Domini which means "In the year of our/the Lord (Jesus Christ)." B.C. stands for "Before Christ."

The Bible Itself: Read the Bible. It is unlike any book you have ever read before. The reason: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)."

Deaths of the Apostles: The Bible records that James was “put to death with the sword (Acts 12.2 NIV).” According to church tradition, all the other apostles, except for John, were also martyred for their faith. The nature of these executions was such as to maximize the amount of pain suffered. They included beatings, stoning and crucifixion. Stephen, who was not an apostle, was also stoned to death “. . . as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit' (Acts 7:59 NKJV).” All these people had known Jesus personally. Do you really believe they would have willingly died for something they knew was not true?

Jesus's Statements: Jesus himself stated that he is the Son of God (Matthew 26:62-24); that he performed miracles (John 14:11); that he would be killed and then rise from the dead (Mark 10:33-34); that he came into the world to atone for the sins of mankind by dying on the cross (Mark 10:45, John 3:14) and that his very life on earth was a fulfillment of prophecy (John 5:39). His statements are either true or false. If they are false, then that would make Jesus either a liar or a lunatic. You cannot simply say that Jesus was a great teacher, since great teachers neither lie nor are they crazy! You only have three choices: You believe Jesus was a liar. You believe Jesus was a lunatic. Or you believe that Jesus is exactly what he said he is: Lord.

In conclusion, if you look at the Bible objectively, there is no question that it is true. The more you study it, the clearer this becomes.

Next topic: Why is Salvation Necessary?

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1Geiser, Norman L. & Nix, William E., From God to Us: How We God Our Bible, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974) 141.

2Geiser, Norman L. & Nix, William E., A General Introduction to the Bible, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986) 360.

3Geiser, Norman L. & Nix, William E., From God to Us: How We God Our Bible, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974) 144.

 

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

The "NIV" and "New International Version" are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org).

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.