Published on June 30, 2009
“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan” - C.S. Lewis Sumair Mirza
Starting point... Why are there so many Don't all religions point religions? to God? What makes What does all this Christianity unique mean to you? from other religions?
A variety of view points... Today, we will review world religions that account for 80-90% of Sikhs World Population the world’s population. 0.35% Jews 0.23% Anglicans 1% Muslims Roman 21% Catholics 17% Atheists 2% Hindus Orthodox 13% Christian 4% Other religions Non-religious 12% 12% Protestant Christian 6% Buddhists 6% Sources: Statistics Canada and 2007 est. The CIA World Factbook
Definition of religion... Set of beliefs that answers the ultimate questions: What is the nature of What is the nature of the world? humanity? What is ultimate reality? What is humanity’s What happens after primary problem? death?
Religious views over time... 2000 B.C. 1500 1000 500 A.D. 0 500 1000 1500 N.B. Can be presented that Christianity was in the mind of God before creation (Eph. 1:4, 2 Tim. 1:9) Founding dates of Hinduism and Shinto not precisely known and vary.
Hinduism • Earliest scriptures called Vedas (knowledge) Nirguna Brahman • Samsara (endless cycles) (“without attributes”) • Karma is essential and Saguna Brahman unforgiving (Moksha only way (“with attributes”) Also called Ishvara out) • ~330 million gods Brahman Vishnu Shiva • We are gods “just as (The Creator) (The Preserver) (The Destroyer) air inside the jar is 9-10 mythical incarnations (avatars) identical to the air surrounding the jar”
Hinduism Impersonal God Continuous in the sense of being extended from God (Brahman) Humanity Ignorance, not understanding reality. Problem Liberation from illusion and ignorance Solution Striving to detach oneself from the separated ego and seeking to be Means aware of one’s unity with the divine through self effort Merge into the Oneness; the individual disappears Outcome
Wisdom Buddhism (Panna) • Right Understanding • Founder is Siddhartha Gautama (Nepal) • Right Thought • His life is broken into three periods: enjoyment, enquiry, enlightenment Eight-fold Path Ethical Conduct • Two main streams: Theravada and (Sila) Mahayana + Vajrayana • Right Speech • 4 Noble truths: • Right Action 1. Life consists of suffering • Right Livelihood 2. Everything is impermanent. We suffer because of desiring these things. 3. Liberation through elimination of these Mental Discipline desires. (Samadhi) 4. Desires can be eliminated by following • Right Effort Eight-fold Path • Right Awareness • Right Meditation
Buddhism Nirvana, an abstract Void (Theravada) God + undifferentiated Buddha essence (Mahayana) An impermanent collection of aggregates Humanity + For some, personal existence continues for a while in the Pure Land We suffer because we desire that which is temporary, which causes us to Problem continue in the illusion of the existence of the individual self To cease all desire in order to realize the nonexistence of self, thus finding Solution permanence OR To become aware of the Buddha-nature within Self-reliance. We must follow the Middle Path and accrue karmic merit. Means + rituals and merits of bodhisattva To enter nirvana where the ego is extinguished OR Outcome + returning as a bodhisattva, living in a Pure Land
Islam 1. Sunni 2. Shi’ite 3. Sufi (small sect) • 80% of Muslims • Successor should • Mystical • Successor should be come from bloodline • Seek personal elected of Muhammad relationship with Allah • Hadith recognized • Would have been Ali, • New age aspect of Muhammad’s cousin pantheism/monotheism and son-in-law • Potential to attain • Hadith not recognized godhood (fanna)
Islam Christian View Son of God Muslim View Sinless (He is God Incarnate) Virgin Birth Revered Prophet Performed Miracles Saviour of the World Word of God Not the Son of God He was Crucified and Will Return Never Crucified, but was Taken Resurrected Messiah to Heaven Part of the Trinity The Messiah for the Jews Only Messiah for the Whole World
Islam A singular unity. No partner is to be associated with God God Good by nature Humanity Sin is thought of in terms of rejecting guidance. Problem Forgiven through repentance. No atonement is necessary. Salvation through merit. Good outweigh bad. Solution Major prophet. Blasphemy to associate with God. Performed miracles Jesus and from virgin birth. The Death Did not die on the cross. Judas died in his place. Crucifixion disrespectful of Jesus to God. Corrupted. Superseded by Qur’an The Bible
Roman Catholicism • Look to pope as God’s human leader • Additional books added to the Bible • Adapts to local religion and customs • Martin Luther leads reformation against major doctrinal issues including a rejection of the authority of the following: – the Pope – church control of Bible translation and interpretation – a distinction in value between laity and clergy – salvation being a product of the church and its sacraments (salvation by works)
Roman Catholicism Same beliefs about God's nature. God Same beliefs about Jesus' nature, death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus Accept three sources of authority: the Bible (+Apocrypha), Tradition, and Authority the teaching ministry (Magisterium) of the Church. Mary "was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she Mary remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life" (CCC, no. 508). Sin Two types of sin are mortal and venial (CCC, no. 1854) 7 sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony = “instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the Outcome head throughout the Church which is his Body" (CCC, no. 774) Purgatory available. CCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church
Atheist before they realize Atheist after he realizes maybe there is a God he was wrong…
Secularism • Atheist – No God • Agnostic – Maybe a God “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the • Functional Atheist – Who cares if most unpleasant character in there is a God all fiction: jealous and proud of • Fundamental beliefs: it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving 1. Denial of God control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a 2. Denial of miracles misogynistic, homophobic, 3. Accepted fact of evolution racist, infanticidal, genocidal, 4. Religion is harmful filicidal, pestilential, 5. Present conflict between faith megalomaniacal, and science sadomasochistic, capriciously 6. Stress relativity malevolent bully.” -Richard Dawkins 7. Certain of finality of death (noted Atheist)
Secularism Matter, in one form or another, is all that has existed from eternity and all God that will ever exist. Humanity is just very progressed matter via evolution. Humanity Religion is just an escape. Face problems to create “heaven on earth” Problem Use science and rational thought to all areas and be compassionate. Solution Jesus At most, a good teacher but biblical authors embellished. Christ After Person’s consciousness ceases after death. Death
Why are there so many religions?
Spectrum of religion and religious beliefs* Monotheism Competing Polytheism Balancing Monism Atheism Dualism Dualism Concept One Two Many gods Two An No god of God transcendent opposing opposing but impersonal God gods interacting oneness and balancing forces Primary Judaism, Zoroastriani So called Taoism, the Hinduism, Secular Christianity, sm “Tribal” yin/yang Buddhism, Humanism, Examples religions, Islam concept Sikhism, Marxism, Santeria, voodoo, Sufism, the Confucianis Shinto, any New Age m form of a movement “folk” religion Views of Part of Made to Can be A microcosm Caught in the A complex Humanity creation, but join in the influenced of the two illusion of form of different in battle and even interacting separateness matter kind from the against evil possessed by forces , but identical animals the spirits in essence to the oneness * The compact guide to world religions, 1996, International Students Inc. Dean C. Halverson, General Editor
Spectrum of religion and religious beliefs Monotheism Competing Polytheism Balancing Monism Atheism Dualism Dualism Humanity’s Breaking God’s Choosing to Angering the Living out of Ignorance of Superstition Primary law (Judaism); do evil gods alignment one’s innate and Problem rebellion against with the divinity irrational God (Christianity); failing to seek ways of thinking God’s wisdom nature (Islam) The Living according Choosing to Appeasing Living in Realizing Applying Solution to God’s law do right the gods harmony that our rational (Judaism); being with the essence is thinking to justified by faith based on God’s ways of the same as our saving work nature the oneness problems (enlightenment) (Christianity); seeking God’s guidance (Islam) The The person The person Sometimes Usually the Either the The person Afterlife continues in continues in the person person person is ceases to existence in existence in advances to advances to reincarnated exist. either heaven or either heaven the spirit some form of or merges into hell or hell world. the spirit the world. impersonal oneness * The compact guide to world religions, 1996, International Students Inc. Dean C. Halverson, General Editor
Don't all religions point to God?
Exclusivity presents a need for a decision... A B A B A B Option 1 Option 2 A (or the reverse) B A B
Have you ever wondered what makes Christianity unique from other religions?
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 1. Jesus lived in history - Others focus on teachings/practices whereas Christianity is focused on the saving work of Christ 2. God himself became flesh - Unique statement of who Jesus is. Not just a being part of a “oneness” 3. Humanity is spiritually dead - We need God’s transforming power to give new life (Romans 8:6-8) 4. God is absolutely holy - Severe penalty of sin implies God’s holiness 5. Jesus conquered death - Unique resurrection claim (John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8) 6. Salvation is a free gift - Grace of God is paramount and unique (Romans 1:17, Ephesians 2:8-9)
What does all this mean to you?
What does all this mean to you? Non-Christians
Considerations • Clearly all religions are not the same • Truth needs to be objective • Validate the Bible and its claims • 4 tests: 1. Religious belief must be rationally consistent 2. Religious belief must be consistent with known facts 3. Religious beliefs must be able to explain why reality is the way it is 4. Religious beliefs should enable us to live in the everyday world A decision needs to be made... It is a matter of life and death...
A decision on who Jesus is... I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. - C.S. Lewis
What does all this mean to you? Christians
God has decreed the faith He gave immutable and commissioned us to be “hope sharers”... Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 1:3 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15
Do not let the opportunity pass to share the Gospel message with those around you. This photograph showing a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture won Kevin Carter the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.
ALL RELIGIONS & CULTS SEEM TO DO ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING… 1. Strip the deity of Christ 2. Bring God down to our level 3. Lift us up to God’s level 4. Focus on self and not God 5. Negate God’s existence altogether 6. Dismiss our sinful nature Do you know the King?
NEVER LET THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF CHRIST BECOME THE SECONDARY CAUSE OF HIS CHURCH.
New Ageism • Term refers to the coming “Aquarian age” replacing the old “Pisces age” resulting in utopia (every 2000 years) • Has roots in eastern philosophies and religions • New Age = Old age in new clothing (relativism)
New Ageism Impersonal. Without moral distinctions. “life force” in all things. God We are divine as we are an extension of the “life forces”. Humanity Ignorant of our true divine nature. Problem Realize that we are interconnected and divine. Solution Expansion of consciousness into the “Universal Mind” Outcome
Taoism/Daoism • After Confucius warring still occurs • Lao Tzu blamed Confucius and writes Tao Te Ching • Focus was on internal goodness not external laws • Wu-wei or “purposeful inactivity” was the way • Yin-Yang presented as balancing necessary elements • Chuang Tzu comes along and adds mystical elements in his self-titled work (Lieh Tzu also adds book) • Philosophical Taoism grows to religious after misinterpreted readings but then changes back in 300 A.D.
Taoism/Daoism Tao, impersonal force. God Tao guides everything in life. Nature is guided by “natural laws” and so is Humanity everything else. Need to align ourselves with the flow of the “Way”. Solve for disharmony Problem in ourselves and society. Learn the “Tao” and align ourselves with Wei-wu (inactivity) and going Solution with the flow. Individual consciousness ceases to exist, perhaps life force can be Outcome “recycled” (e.g. Like spare car parts)
Shinto • Early-Shinto was focused on agri-festivals, clan/family loyalty, reverence for life • Kamis are gods called on by dance and music • 592 AD after emperor killed, Buddhism became Japan’s national religion • Warring occurs and adoption of religion switches back and forth • Seek favours from kami
Confucianism • Not a religion but more so a philosophy • Is inherent in much of Chinese culture and often mixed with Buddhism and Taoism • Duke of Lu tries to harmonize culture for political reasons via “The Ritual-Music Culture” • K’ung Fu-Tzu, well educated prime minister wanted to bring peace • Second century B.C. Emperor adopts ideology
Confucianism Before Confucious God was personal “Ti” or “Shang-ti” and after he God referenced it as “T’ien” = less personal word meaning “Heaven” (Chan, 16) Mandate Harmony is the goal through abiding in morality. (Jen = natural law) from “Heaven” Humans don’t “actualize” their inherent goodness. Problem Considered good and can be perfect. Evil is only there when we do bad or Humanity let ourselves “fall into bad”. Path = education, self-reflection, self-cultivation, behave according to Means cultural norms Purpose is to practice goodness, to love one another, to work hard to World nourish the planet. Harmony between humanity and nature results. “Heaven” is viewed as personal sometimes and sometimes impersonal. Outcome Usually viewed as “heaven on earth”
Judaism • Just waiting for Messiah pretty much...
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and onlyonly into intoworld that we might live through him. him. is love:love: and Son Son the the world that we might live through This This is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 Jesus lived in history Others focus on Their being rooted teachings/practices Does not deny that Jesus’ life, death, in history is not as whereas other religious and resurrection is essential to Christianity is founders didn’t live the foundation truthfulness of focused on the in history unlike other beliefs claims saving work of Christ
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and sent his one onlyonly into intoworld that we might live through him. him. is love:love: and Son Son the the world that we might live through This This is love: Son into the world that we might live through him. This is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 God himself became flesh Means that Unique “Son” implies Jesus is not statement of Through one who is of just a who Jesus is. Jesus God the same manifestation Not just a became man nature = but an being part of (John 1:1, 14) uniqueness incarnation of a “oneness” God
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one we might live through him. This is love: and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ––11John 4:9-10 atoning sacrifice for our sins. John 4:9-10 Humanity is spiritually dead Spiritual We need Sin and condition God’s worst of any We are transforming death are religion hopeless... power to our problem. (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1, give new life Colossians 2:13) (Romans 8:6-8)
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 God is absolutely holy “Your eyes are too pure to God’s love and Severe penalty look on evil; We rebel and justice are of sin implies you cannot want to lower fully satisfied God’s holiness tolerate standard on the cross wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13)
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 Jesus conquered death Unique “we have been united with him... In His death, we resurrection will certainly also be united with him in His claim resurrection” (John 20-21, 1 (Romans 6:5) Corinthians 15:3-8)
It starts and ends with Jesus... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one is love: and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10 Salvation is a free gift As we God’s holiness Grace of God diminish God’s is maintained is paramount We are trained holiness to when we and unique to earn. “Pride (Romans 1:17, is the anti-God make salvation realize we Ephesians 2:8-9) state of mind” attainable, we have no way (C.S. Lewis) lose to live up to assurance. His standard
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