Where have the religions
Objectives of the Lesson
At the end of this Lesson, the participant will:
- Explain how the origins of different religions may be explained from a Christian point of view;
- Explain how God answers to the cravings that the nations sought to satisfy through religion;
- Confess and explain the uniqueness and the sufficiency of Christ as the answer to the human quest for salvation;
Some people have argued that all religions are not only true but that they are the same. However, in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus himself and the Apostles have insisted that it is only the gospel that has the power to bring salvation to all people. The Lord Jesus Christ is not comparable to any prophet or founder of any religion: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Tim. 2:5); ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”’ (John14:6). He is unique; and the gospel is unique. Considering religions from the angle of their origins, we can talk broadly about two kinds of religion:
- Religion based on general or indirect revelation;
- Religion based on special or direct revelation.
It is made very clear in the Bible that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the fullest and the most complete revelation of God to the world: “Christianity holds that it is based on the supreme and final revelation of God: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In that sense, only the traditions based on the Old and the New Testaments are based on special revelation.
Where have the other religious traditions come from?
God, originally, created human beings to stay with Him in an unbreakable fellowship, and in continuous obedience to Him. However, when the first human beings – Adam and Eve – disobeyed God we all lost that spiritual closeness to God. But the strong desire to stay close to God continued and could not die because the spirit of God in humans, though, partially, numbed, is always restless and is seeking its way back to its source (Acts17:27). Then also, though humanity moved away from God, He is not far from anybody. As the Apostle explains: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Therefore, the religions that have emerged as a result of general revelation are the results of people’s attempt to follow the basic human instinct for a reconnection with God. It is clear that the religions are neither the same nor equally true.
Main Message: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is unique among all the messages of the religions. It is a direct special revelation by which alone anybody, anywhere may find their way back to God. The other religious traditions lead people to a level of righteousness, but complete salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.
After reading the information and watching the video, go to the quiz for this topic and check your understanding and newly found knowledge
Now go to the Puzzle to have some brain excercise to make you grounded in this topic. when you are not sure about anything, come back to the text or rewatch the video as a reminder.
The religions do not all lead to the same understanding about many important issues. For example, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam teach different things about God. Buddhism does not believe in God; Hinduism teaches a range of ideas about God (from atheism to polytheism); God in Islam is impersonal (cannot be called father, or be related to in a personal way).
Islam is a revealed religion but what is revealed is “God’s will” in the Quran; but in Christianity God reveals Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Since the Gospel is unique and final revelation, should Christians shun people of other religions? No. In the Bible, there is evidence that God treats all people equally according to their level of righteousness: ‘Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right”’ (Acts10:34-35). However, with the revelation of God in Christ Jesus, the God wants us to prove the power of the gospel in our lives and, also, tell by word to others (1Peter 3:15) because He wants everybody to turn to Him through Christ: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts17:30-31).
Read 1Peter 3:15. Imagine you have been asked by a friend who belongs to different religion to explain to him/her what you believe. Give a five-point outline of what you would tell them.