Thursday, February 24, 2011

#9: Different: Why is Christianity any different?

   If you have an interest in other religions in the world, it doesn't take that long to notice that all of them are interesting, rich and beautiful.  Here are my top three things that are most interesting and beautiful among the world religions.

   1. When I was in Africa I loved how at certain points in the day people stopped what they were doing, walked down the street, ceremonially washed themselves and joined neighbors in prayer.  It made me want to have that here in America.  Not sure that you would get the same rate of compliance here, though!

   2.  Zen masters are SERIOUS about their meditation . . . it spooked me to see these guys in a trance-like state while their masters would whip their backs with large planks.  It amazed me that they didn't even flinch.  They weren't even there.

   3.  I love how Hinduism views life as an endless cycle of birth, rebirth, pain and illusion.  I am amazed at how deeply the thoughts about life's purpose run.  The Ramayana is an interesting take on life - that we need to be released from Samsara (suffering) through bhakti (devotion) or moksha (duty).  I feel like Hinduism has so much wisdom to it.

   So why is Christianity any different?  I really love it when this is an honest question.  Too often, though, it is delivered as a defiant statement - an ultimatum of sorts.  It becomes more of a pronouncement that Jesus is no different than any other religious figure.

   This couldn't be more wrong.  

   Siddhartha's last words were "don't make me a god" . . . certain strains of Hinduism see the idea of a god as an illusion . . . Islam has five pillars to submission to God . . .  Buddhism has an eightfold path - all of these religions share the idea of a path to God.

   It is Christianity that reveals a path FROM God.  All throughout the Old Testament you read of a God who just wants to be among His people.  In the Gospels Jesus comes as God in the flesh.  In Revelation you can read of Jesus returning TO THE EARTH in order for God and humans to coexist.

   If there is anything that sets Jesus apart . . . if it is really a question . . . then it is the fact that Jesus does not claim to be a way TO God, but FROM God.  When asked about the way to God, Jesus responds in John 14: "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."

   So no, I don't want to talk much about how that sounds exclusive . . . I just want to answer the question - what makes Jesus so different?  He came to us, not vice-versa.

   Check out the video to the right "Different."

1 comment:

  1. I remember a teaching you did on this in the main some time ago. You posited that Christianity is different because it is the one faith that doesn't require actions to get to God, but only faith. Although as Christians we have a calling to do good works and help others, it isn't a deal breaker. We must simply believe and embrace Him.