Christianity: Not Exactly Something Normal

March 31st, 2024 4:08 PM

Christianity is a weird religion. Other religions have a version of the "Golden Rule." Other religions have a watery creation. Other religions have sacrifice. Other religions have mercy. Other religions have a lot of what Christianity has. But they are all so much more the same, and Christianity itself is so divergent it is not exactly something normal or something we would make up.

Most other religions would tell you not to do to others what you do not want them to do to you. But Christ insisted we actually actively do to others what we want done to us. More importantly, we are to do those positive things even if the other person does not reciprocate. We are to love our neighbor and surrender our right to retribution. Christians are to turn the other cheek and let God handle it.

Other religions have sacrifices and have heroes who laid down their lives. The Romans persecuted the Christians in part because the Romans believed all gods must be dead. The Christians said their God conquered death and was alive. The other religions sacrifice people, babies, animals. God Himself, however, died in Christianity and rose again from that death. Some believe the Egyptians’ Osiris did the same. But no credibly Egyptologist claims that; it is a more modern, post-Christian invention.

Other religions have paths to salvation. Those paths, in all those faiths, have you participate in your salvation. Weirdly, Christians believe there is literally nothing you can do to keep yourself from going to Hell. Only God Himself can spare you and all you must do is put your faith in Christ. You repent and be baptized and God starts working in you through a process of sanctification. There’s no reincarnation. There are no special pilgrimages to do. God’s got this. You let Him work.

The religions are all pretty much the same except Christianity, which is so different and divergent. The ancient religions all had their gods coming up out of water -- a metaphor for the nothingness or chaos that existed before. The Jews, from whom Christians came, showed the Spirit of the Lord hovering over the water. All the other religions believed the gods came into existence. Jews and Christians say God was always there.

The other ancient religions claimed the stars and planets were gods. Moses declared them objects in the sky not to be worshipped. The other religions all have concepts of mercy or the gods sparing you from what you deserve. Jesus Christ offered grace -- giving you something you do not deserve. It is a uniquely Christian concept.

All other religions have been anchored to a geographic place. Christianity spread so easily around the world because the faith is anchored in the living God of all Creation. The faith convicts all of us of our sins, treats all of us equally and gives us all salvation through belief in Jesus.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came into the world a baby and went out like a lamb to slaughter. An innocent man hailed as a king on Palm Sunday was rejected in favor of a murderous insurrectionist on Good Friday. All but one of Jesus’ friends was executed. His whole blood line was hunted down and exterminated. His followers were used as human torches to light the streets of Rome. And the faith kept growing.

Christianity and its ethics freed slaves, liberated captives, provided a path to reconciliation between the aggrieved and ordered Western civilization. The post-Christian world abhors Christianity. The things of the world always hate the things of God. But, as the West rejects it, chaos, contempt, malice and hatred have filled its void. The West is back to child sacrifice and families are collapsing.

Many would say we need to return to a cultural Christianity, but Christianity needs Christ. The good news is that the carpenter from Nazareth got up in His tomb on Sunday morning 2,000 years ago and walked out. By conquering death, He gives us life. And all we have to do is put our trust in Him. Easter is coming and with it comes joy in the morning.