Perhaps you have seen this bumper sticker of late that suggests all the world’s religions, movements, and beliefs should just get along and play nice: they should coexist. It is kind of like the saying “to live and just let live.” Those who display such stickers or embrace this stance do not understand there is one of those “religions” that cannot just coexist. I am sure you noticed I put the word religion in “”. This is not a grammatical error because though Christianity is a religion to many, it was never designed to be.
Though the symbols of all belief systems are not displayed in the sticker, it is intended to be all inclusive. This thought process in and of itself is Hinduistic in nature. It says, “There is room for every belief system.” The saying “all roads lead to Rome” or better, “all beliefs lead to heaven” is its mantra. There in is the rub. Christianity by its very nature cannot be all inclusive to all beliefs though it is welcoming to all who would believe.
An examination of Christianity will find it similar in nature to many of the belief systems of the world:
- There are many who claim their founder was an Avatar or incarnation of a/the Supreme Being.
- Some claim their founder was born in unusual or supernatural circumstances.
- Some belief systems claim their founder died and was resurrected from the dead.
- Many systems claim a higher road of living with ethical precepts. These precepts are offered in a systematic order of conduct. There are various levels of being or living which is dependent upon how closely the precepts are adhered to. The greater the adherence to the belief systems’ precepts, the greater or closer one will be in the walk to attaining the goal or to the Supreme Being or Universe.
- Many systems offer a way to heaven or at least a calmer existence in the afterlife.
- Many claim theirs is the only way to attain this afterlife and/or oneness with the Supreme Being or at least with the Universe.
- Many systems claim when one attains the blissful afterlife, they have simultaneously saved themselves from an alternate hellish afterlife.
What makes Christianity so different from all other world belief systems? All the claims made above can and are made concerning Jesus and the belief system He offered with two exceptions: the spiritual condition of man and the cure for it. Like many of the world systems Christianity says mankind is in a state of imperfectness and there must be some alteration to make him viable to gain all that is offered. Where most, if not all belief systems encourage a gradual becoming, Jesus states man must have a new beginning first. Many belief systems see the becoming as a journey that starts at birth. Some state it crosses many lives and many attempts. Christianity sees man as a dead spirit and there is no way he can cause that spirit to live again. In his spiritually dead state he is separated from God and his ultimate destiny is in a place of eternal separation.
Christians call this new beginning being “born again.” Jesus used this terminology in the book of John and chapter three. In His discussion with Nicodemus He stated everyone must be born again. Paul calls it being a new creation. Jesus further tells Nicodemus that this new birth comes from believing in Him, the Son of God. The Bible clearly explains how Jesus died on the cross in our place. It wasn’t an accident, it was intentional. None of the major world belief systems have a founder who willingly and purposely died in the place of its adherents. Nor does any of the world religions require the adherents to accept the substitutionary death of their founder as the only way to gain the salvation spoken of in its precepts. Jesus further explains the reason for His death and resurrection: the love of the Father.
If someone claims to be a Christian but has never come to the place where their spirit has been renewed by the Spirit of God then their brand of Christianity is no different than any other belief system. They may follow every rule outlined but they have in essence taken the precepts of Jesus and made them an ethical system. This is one of reasons people think it should and could coexist with all other world systems when in fact it is more than an ethical system. In the words of Jesus “You must be born again.” At that point, the journey really begins. Have you been born again and are living the abundant life Jesus promised to provide? Or are you living a life which seeks to emulate an ethical system? It’s a choice and not to choose is to choose not to have.
If you would like to know more about being born again, click on the link below.