So, you’re not a Christian but follow some other major faith? That means you are
a Buddhist, a Jew, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Shintoist, a follower of Wicca, Transcendental
Meditation, Hare Krishna or the Moonies—or whatever.
Human beings are essentially religious. We all have a spiritual dimension that needs
to find expression somehow, and the many religions on offer show how different people
How Christians view other religions
Pluralism is in vogue today. This is the view that people are free to choose the
religion that suits them, that they shouldn't try to press their religion on people
who have made a different choice, and that tolerance is the greatest virtue. Pluralism
holds that all the religions are different paths leading to the one summit of knowing
Certainly all religions contain some helpful insights. But Christians have a problem
with pluralism because Christianity is an exclusive faith. While it acknowledges
that other religions may contain some aspects of the truth, it maintains that Christianity
alone contains the truth. Christians therefore will show due respect for people of
other faiths, but they can't help being evangelistic - desiring to steer them towards
God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Many religions date back thousands of years and came into being long before Jesus
Christ came to earth. They represent ways in which people have tried to find meaning
in both life and death outside of God's self-revelation which came to a head in Jesus.
Other religions, like Islam, came on the scene more recently and claim to supersede
Christianity as a more recent revelation.
Christianity's common ground with other religions
Like many religions, Christianity has its sacred writings. Christians believe that
the Bible, though penned by human writers, is inspired by God himself as a record
of his dealings with the human race and cannot be superseded because it is God's
final written revelation.
Like many religions, Christianity gives a central place to worship. Christians worship
the God who has revealed himself as the three-in-one of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
They acknowledge his supreme power and rejoice in his love. They delight to praise
him with joyful singing.
Like many religions, Christianity teaches a moral code. Christians believe in ultimate
right and wrong, and they look to God's power—present in their lives through the
Holy Spirit—to enable them to live lives of uprightness and moral integrity, in line
with God's revealed standards.
Like many religions, Christianity has a variety of expressions. Over the last 2000
years various groups have emphasised different aspects of the Christian faith, giving
rise to many 'denominations', like the Baptist Church, the Roman Catholic Church
and the Salvation Army. But there is a core of Christian truth common to them all.
Where Christianity is unique
True Christianity is a religion of grace—which means 'God's undeserved favour', with
the stress on 'undeserved'. There is absolutely no room in Christianity for earning
that favour. Salvation, reconciliation, acceptance are 100% gifts. Christians aim
to please God, of course, but they do so not in order to earn his favour but because
they are so grateful for having received his favour as a free gift.
True Christianity is a personal faith by which individuals come to God through Christ.
There is no such thing as 'a Christian country'. There may be a country in which
active Christians are numerous and whose laws are therefore influenced to some degree
by Christian standards. But Christianity by its very nature cannot be imposed. While
Christians believe theirs is the only true faith and try to get non-Christians to
embrace it, they also recognise everyone's right to choose their own religion.
True Christianity is separate from culture, though cultural values and practices
may be more or less influenced by Christianity. No-one is born a Christian; one chooses
to become a Christian having reached an age at which one can understand the issues
and having decided to commit one's life to Jesus Christ. Christian parents hope and
pray, of course, that their children will become committed Christians in due course.
If those children do not, or if they embrace some other religion, the parents will
be sad, but will not feel the need to cut them off as somehow bringing shame on them
and the community.
True Christianity has no holy places. Christians can worship God and pray to him
anywhere. Church premises are useful, but they have no special sacred status. The
Bible teaches that Christians, both individually and corporately, are the 'temple'
where God dwells by his Holy Spirit. One could say, therefore, that Christianity
has no holy places, just holy people.
It's a sad fact that much alleged Christianity is not real Christianity at all. During
the last 2000 years authentic faith in Christ has been watered down in a variety
It has accommodated itself to the practices of Judaism (out of which it grew) and
paganism by introducing altars, priests and sacrifices.
It has attempted to become a cultural faith by introducing the unbiblical idea of
baptising babies, thus guaranteeing a steady inflow of church 'members' many of whom
later came to no personal faith in Christ.
It has sometimes linked the church with the state and tried to defend 'Christianity'
by military means, as in the appalling tragedy of the medieval Crusades.
It has sometimes allowed into positions of authority leaders with no real respect
for the Bible as God's Word. Such liberal bishops and theologians are in fact not
real Christians at all.
If you are wanting to look into Christianity for yourself, it's vital that you look
beyond these regrettable factors and see the Christian faith for what it really is—a
vibrant, life-changing relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and available
to you by his grace.
If you would like a 'no strings attached' opportunity to investigate the Christian
faith, I recommend the Alpha course to you. This is an introduction to Christianity
where you can ask all the questions you like, where you will not be pressured to
accept anything you are not happy with, and where, if you wish, you can drop out
at any time. The fact that you may be a serious adherent of another religion is no
barrier to attending.
There are literally thousands of Alpha courses running in many countries, and you
can find one in your area by looking at the Alpha website.
If you want to know more about basic Christianity, here on my own site is a 12-part
course called Beginning with God that you can follow online. If you see it through
to the end and want more, there's a follow-on course called Growing in God.