Of World Religions
Generally, humans use the word religion to refer to a particular set of beliefs and doctrinal practices regarding spiritual matters and associated temporal matters. Religions are distinguished by some noteworthy distinction in their set of beliefs and practices.
Fundamentally, religion exists at two basic levels. At level 1 we have the personal relationship between a person and God. At level 2, we have a relatively public (household and beyond) relationship between persons and between those persons and God.
In the Western world there are three major religions/faiths in the sense that these three are generally well known about even though not well understood. These three are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam listed in order of advent. All three of these are monotheistic in that they rightly believe in only one God for indeed there is only one true God. Yet, their key difference is in their belief concerning Jesus Christ. In general, Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah who came to save a person from his own sins. Judaism and Islam seem to look for a Messiah to come to save a person from his and other people sins. In general, Christians hold that a person cannot save himself but only Jesus can save him. Judaism and Islam seem to hold that a person’s works is the major determinant in his salvation.
Indeed, all three claim to believe in the God of Abraham although they use different names/languages for God and differ in beliefs and practices especially once you get past recognizing the God of Abraham. These three major religions seem not to differ in the identity of God rather in the character of God. The challenge set before the ministers of God is to come to and promulgate a common understanding of the true character of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. The fact that Islamists see themselves as descendants of Ishmael does not mean they are any different than other non-Jews who need to come to the revelatory knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, Jews who retain Judaism also need to come to the revelatory knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is important to recognize the distinction between the truth of the realness of God and the totality of the truth of the faith and practices of the various religions/faiths. For example, it is undeniable that Judaism and Christianity share the same God which we sometimes identify as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Islam identify Allah as the God of Abraham and both his sons Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants. It is unclear whether the Koran identifies Isaac or Ishmael as the son who God saved from sacrifice by Abraham according to Abraham’s faith. Some scholars say Isaac whereas other scholars say Ishmael.
Yet, it is also important to recognize that Judaism and Christianity differ in the totality of beliefs and practices. Indeed, in general they differ on the most important doctrine of Christianity, the doctrine that Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised by the biblical prophets of the Old Testament. Judaism denies Jesus to be the Messiah, the Saviour; Jesus Messiah-ship is the foundation of the Christian faith. So then does this difference mean that Judaism and Christianity have the same or a different God?
The Arabic word Allah preceded the creation of Islam. It is said that both Christians and Jews living in Arab countries used the word Allah for God even before the birth of Islam. Indeed, Christian Bibles in Arabic countries use the word Allah for God instead of the English word God. Thus, the English word God is functionally equivalent to the Hebrew word Elohim and the Arabic word Allah.
Judaism and Islam at some point contradict Christianity and are therefore insufficient and inferior religions.
The Old Testament is inferior to the New Testament; therefore, the Torah and other Judaism scriptures are inferior to the New Testament. The Koran is inferior to the Christian Bible.
We as Christians must stand and speak the truth even though our enemies may seek to kill us. Indeed, they killed Jesus. Listen to Jesus in John 8:39, John 8:44 and Matthew 16:24-27.
We as Christians have no desire to kill people of the Islamic or any other non-Christian faith. We desire for them to know the truth so they can go to Heaven and live with Jesus for all eternity. We love them and have no desire for them to go to Hell. But we know that Jesus is the only way for any of us to go to Heaven despite claims by other false prophets and false preachers/teachers. We know this war is a spiritual war rather than a war between flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Christianity is superior to the other two religions (i.e., Judaism and Islam) in that the other two do not recognize the
biblical Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the one and only needed Saviour and Messiah.
Humans have an obligation to the one true God to reject any religion whose foundation is not Jesus Christ and the other apostles and prophets of the Christian scriptures; this rejection is to take place when a human receives the revelatory knowledge of Jesus Christ. For Jesus, the chief apostle and prophet, himself says salvation is of the Jews; by this Jesus means God has chosen the Jewish people to be that people through whom God initially revealed his salvation plan and through whom Jesus, the Messiah, was born. God has ordained preaching, oral and written, in the power of the Holy Spirit to be the vehicle through
which this revelatory knowledge is brought to humankind throughout the world. Hence, we have the importance of evangelism and faithfulness to the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the doctrines and warnings of the biblical apostles and prophets and other ministers who stand on their shoulders and conform to their doctrines.
For a brief discussion of Religion see Religion
For a brief discussion of Islam see Why Not Islam
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