The question students ask me all the time is: What makes Christianity different? Because the assumption we kind of have is Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, when you get down to the core, they’re all really the. I want to give you reasons why Christianity is unique amongst the religions of the world.
One reason is that Christianity is testable. In other words, it’s not just a story about some person on a distant land, in a different place. It’s about a human being who is God, who lives in a certain place, in a certain time and did publicly-testable miracles to back up his claims to be God. In fact, his ultimate miracle was rising from the dead and Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15: If Jesus has not been risen, our faith is in vain.
You might say “What about religions like Mormonism?” Mormonism claims Jesus came to America but there’s no actual remains that we can examine to see if these stories took place. What about Islam, where Muhammad went into a cave received the recitation, came out and persuaded people it was true but offered no publicly-verifiable miracles to back it up. Even Buddha allegedly said “If anyone does a miracle, that person is not a follower of mine. Jesus did events in history we can study archaeologically, we can study historically, we can look at the manuscript and this sets Christianity apart. That’s when we can actually examine to see if it’s true or not.
The second way the Christianity is unique is that Christianity has grace. Every other religion of the world is about human beings working their way to God. What Jesus said inJohn chapter 6, what must you do is you must believe in me. We are saved by grace, not by our own works. It’s about receiving God’s free gift of grace.
The third reason is that Christianity has Jesus at the center. I don’t think a lot of people realize how special of a figure Jesus is. Of all the major religious figures throughout world history, Jesus is the only one who claimed to be God. There’s Krishna and there’s Buddha and there’s Mohammad and there’s Joseph Smith and Jesus belongs in the same category with other religious figures. But what we don’t realize in terms of who he claimed to be and his impact, Jesus transcends the category of religious figures. Almost all other religions want to claim Jesus for themselves. Buddhists will “We want Jesus. He’s an enlightened one.” Hindus will say “We want Jesus. He’s an avatar, which is a God who takes on human flesh.” Many Jews will say “Jesus was a good moral teacher.” Even many atheists will recognize the moral principles that Jesus gave. Even in Islam, the Quran teaches that he was born a virgin, that he was sinless and he performed miracles. So everybody wants a piece of Jesus. Don’t you think if you’re on a spiritual quest, you’re considering different religious claims, begin with the religion founded on the person who’s had more impact on world history than anybody who’s ever lived.