Let’s say you just arrived on planet earth, and were trying to pick a religion to follow. You didn’t know much about any of them, and so decided to interview various members of each particular faith, and ask them why you should join their religion, and more importantly, why they believed their particular religion was true.
In a previous post, I stated that in general, Christians would give four different answers:
- I’ve experienced God and so I know it’s true.
- Following Christianity results in more substantial life change than other faiths. In other words, Christians live better lives, so it must be true.
- The Bible, which Christianity is based on, doesn’t have the errors and contradictions that are present in the “Holy books” of other faiths. It doesn’t contradict itself, nor does it contradict the facts of history and science (considering evolution is a theory). Therefore, the Bible can be trusted as true revelation from God.
- God answers prayer and provides signs and wonders, which proves Christianity is true. This includes things like prophecy and healing.
There may be a few others that Christians would use, but these are the four most common.
But did you know that people of other religions would use almost the exact same reasons for why they believetheir religion is true? Let me give examples of the four explanations.
- If you have ever talked with a Mormon, you know that most of them believe Mormonism is true because they had an experience with God such as an inner warming of the heart or a vision, proving to them that Mormonism is true. Nearly all religions have similar experiences.
- I don’t care which religion you pick, if you talk to someone of that religion, they will say that in general, their adherents are more obedient than people of other religions. This is true of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus…possibly even Satanists. (If you saw my post on Satanism a few weeks ago, in the comments, a Satanist informed me that while Satanists don’t practice mercy, their teachings “prohibit all illegal activity.”) When it comes to morality, Christians would be hard pressed to prove that we are morally superior to those who practice other religions.
- Did you know that every religion practices apologetics? We Christians are not the only ones who try to explain the supposed factual, historical, and scientific “problems” in our Scriptures. All religions do this, and many of the arguments are quite sophisticated and compelling. For example, I am currently reading a book called What Jesus Really Said which is a book in which the author tries to prove that Jesus actually taught the Muslim faith! It is a book of Muslim apologetics.
- People of nearly all religions pray for healing (and see frequent healing as a result – See the recent TIME magazine article on this), receive visions, have ecstatic experiences, speak prophetic words (and see them come true), and observe signs, wonders, and miracles performed through the power of their god(s). Some groups even speak in tongues.
So in four of the ways that Christians believe their religion is better than others, it really is not. At least, not to an outside observer who is only doing surface-depth investigation.
So why hold to Christianity? Why should people believe in Jesus and follow Him? More personally, why do I? I’ll tell you my primary reason in the next post.