I was listening to some of the kids at church talk about various other faiths, and was struck by how unimpressed they are with their own faith. The overwhelming impression I got from these kids is that faith is a matter of consumer options, like the choice between an iPhone or an Android phone – and about as important.
Many of my fellow believers have no awareness that their beliefs are fundamentally identical to most other religions. They like to tell themselves they are unique, but in practice, they prove their beliefs are very common.
If that is true – if Christianity has the same basic common foundational beliefs as any other religions – then choosing to be a Christian or a Muslim or a Mormon is the same type of choice as deciding what brand of car to drive. All cars are fundamentally built the same way and do the same thing – some better, some worse – but at the end of the day, what makes them unique is the details – all cars are fundamentally just a machine to move you around.
So what is that most Christians really believe? Here it is in a nutshell:
If you follow the rules, God will reward you. If you ignore the rules, He will punish you.
This is essentially what Muslims believe, Hindus believe, Mormons believe, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe or for that matter Zoroastrians, Pagans and Baal worshipers. The only difference between the various religions is in the rules. Muslims must worship on Fridays. JWs must not celebrate holidays. Mormons must wear holy underwear. Pagans must be kind. Baal worshipers must sacrifice a child now and then. I have no idea what Zoroastrians believe, but I suspect it is something equally stupid.
Christians don’t believe their faith is fundamentally different, they just think their rules are better.
If that’s the case, I have zero interest in teaching anyone to be a Christian, because frankly, a lot of the Christian rules are just stupid. If the only thing Christianity has to recommend it is “better rules”, then I think people should be Buddhists instead.
But I contend that Christianity is not just a faith differentiated by better rules; Christianity is different at its very core. To return to my transportation analogy: Whereas all the other faiths are automobiles, Christianity is a Star Trek Transporter.
What is it that makes the Christian faith utterly completely totally unique – unlike any other? I am not talking about the story of its beginnings, because every faith has a unique story. I am talking about the claims Christianity makes about God and Man and how that affects believers in their everyday lives.
There is One Thing that makes the Christian story utterly unlike any other. Do you know what it is? Please comment.