Atheism, Agnosticism, Animism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are the predominant belief systems in the world today. Which is correct? Are they all correct? How do you tell?
Everyone, yes, that does mean you, will believe one of the following five statements or a mixture of these five statements:
- (A) There is no god.
- (B) There is a god but this god may not have a personality, is more likely a cosmic force and is unknowable.
- (C) There is a god, in fact there are lots of gods, these gods have personality, can be known and there is more than one pathway to reach these gods.
- (D) There is a god, only one god, this god has personality, can be known and there is more than one pathway to reach god.
- (E) There is a god, only one god, this god has personality, can be known and there is only one pathway to reach god.
Atheists believe (A), New Age practitioners and Buddhists tend towards (B), Hindus and animists, such as Maori, American Indians and other aboriginals are closer to viewpoint (C). Muslims, Sikhs, and many agnostics, predominantly align with (D). Christians believe (E). Christians believe that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.
If this is true, then Christians must prove that there is something unique about their belief system that sets it apart from all others. Since Christianity is founded on the nature and person of the historical Jesus, there must be unique aspects about Jesus that set him apart from every other human who has existed.
We will look at seven aspects of who Jesus is that makes him different from all other prophets and religious leaders.
1. He is the only historical person that has ever claimed to be God. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, didn’t. Mohammed didn’t. Jesus didn’t claim to represent God, he claimed to be God! We are, of course, excluding people who have mental problems and various cultural god/man deities whose existence is mythical rather than historical.
2. His entrance into the world was unique. Born of a virgin. A supernatural conception. If someone claims to be God, then we would expect his entrance into the world to be unique. If it wasn’t, then it would be easy to argue that he was simply another man. No other religious leader has claimed a virgin birth.
3. His exit from the world was unique. He rose from the dead. No other religious leader or prophet has claimed to rise from the dead. Once again, this is logically consistent with what we would expect God to do if he were to exit this world. He simply cannot remain dead; otherwise it would be more logical to assume that he was just another man.
4. He was the only person whose life was completely mapped out before he arrived. The Bible not only predicted his appearing but gave details concerning where he would be born and when. These details (Daniel 9) were comprehensive enough for wise men from the East to arrive at the exact time of his birth. His death was described in so much detail in the Old Testament, in particular Isaiah 53, that it would have been impossible for anyone but Jesus to fulfill it. It is a mark of authenticity that no other religious leader can claim. Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet of God is no more valid than if I declare that I, Peter Toth, am a prophet of God sent to bring the truth to the world.
5. Jesus’ purpose in coming was to die. The highpoint of his life was his death. For every other prophet or religious founder, the highpoint of their lives were their teachings, their death being a relative non-event. Although Jesus is arguably the greatest teacher that has ever lived, his teachings would have meant nothing if it was not for his death and resurrection. Christianity is not about obedience to a set of teachings but about a person. It is about Jesus and his death and resurrection. It is about Jesus the Saviour, not Jesus the teacher.
6. Jesus is the only person who has ever lived who was sinless. No other prophet claimed to be sinless. Mohammad never claimed to be sinless. Buddha never claimed to be sinless. Jesus was perfect. Once again, this is logically consistent with his claim to be God. We would expect God to be perfect. God doesn’t make mistakes.
7. Jesus is the only historical founder of a major religious movement who could do the miraculous. Heal the sick, raise the dead, give sight to the blind etc. Mohammed didn’t. Buddha didn’t.
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