THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST: Why Every Religion Must React To Him!

Posted: May 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

  1. Introduction

A.     Opening

Pat Buchanan once said, “Christian-bashing is a popular indoor sport.”[1] Certainly, over the centuries, Christianity has done itself no favors as it expressed itself through flawed and ultimately un-Christian men. Setting the human excesses of the past aside, Pat Buchanan is right in that Christianity (at least in its purest sense), requires a response. The focus of this paper is not to address the excesses of the religious institution, Christianity, which Christians must acknowledge and ask forgiveness of our Eternal Father for the sins of our fathers and ancestors. Equally, though, much good has been done in the name of Christ throughout the ages and many have come to know a personal relationship with Jesus as their Savior. The reason that Christians are the largest people group on the planet is because of one life and its message – the life and message of Jesus Christ. Because of the unique nature of Christ and his message, no one on the planet is unaware of his existence and all must form an opinion about Him. In order to fully assess the impact of Jesus Christ on the citizens of this planet both current and past, one first must consider what the other major world religions say about Jesus Christ.  Thus, a review of the positions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam on Jesus Christ seems warranted. Once we consider the ‘Jesus viewpoint” of each of these religions, one must consider the overwhelming evidence of the unique nature of Jesus Christ. This unique nature of Christ will lead us to find that all of the Christian bashing, as Buchanan calls it, is because all man-made religions come up short when compared to the one way to the Father – Jesus Christ.

  1. What Other Major World Religions Say About Christ
    1. Hinduism’s View

Hinduism does not refer to Jesus in its scriptures, and he plays no role in any of the classical Hindu mythology. Nevertheless, due to the contact with Christianity over the last few centuries, some Hindu thinkers have found a place for Jesus in their view. These considerations have taken the form of two particularly noteworthy ideas.

The first one is that Jesus was one of the incarnations (avatars) of God. Most Hindus believe that God, specifically Vishnu, took on human or animal forms at various times in order to perform certain feats that would preserve true Hindu teaching (the dharma). Whereas Christians generally believe that Jesus was the one and only incarnation of God, this view would hold that he was an incarnation, just not the only one.[2]

The second way of trying to incorporate Jesus into Hinduism is to claim that Jesus learned his message in India. Similar to Shintoism in Japan which is a nationalistic belief system as much as it is a religion, Hinduism, too, is as much anexpression of Indian culture as it is a religion. Therefore, to give proper respect to Jesus Christ, Hemust be imbued with something of the Indian culture.  According to this notion, Jesus spent His so-called “silent years” between ages twelve and thirty at the feet of Hindu masters in India, and it is their teaching that he then proclaimed during his ministry. While He was in India, it was said that He learned to be a guru and later returned to be a guru of the Jews. [3]

Jesus is not seen as the Messiah, God’s Son, or as physically resurrected. He was simply a man who realized his divine nature. This designation means that God has sent Him to us for a specific mission to fulfill God’s will on earth. The Sanskrit word acharya means ‘one who teaches by example’. For Hindus, Christ is an acharya. His message is no different from the message preached in another time and place by Krishna and Chaitanya.[4]

    1. Buddhism’s View

Buddhists believe that there are many paths to God. The emphasis is placed on the path we must walk. In other words, salvation is based on human effort. Thus, Buddhists often see Jesus Christ as a spiritual master or as one who has achieved enlightenment but has chosen not to enter nirvana (a bodhisattva) so that he could lead others to enlightenment. Further, since Buddhists teachings do not consider the existence of a personal Supreme Being to be important, Buddhists therefore do not see Jesus as divine in any way. Thus, He has no power to end the Buddhist cycle of samsara (or continuous reincarnation in pursuit of enlightenment). Therefore, since Buddhists feel that there is no personal God only an impersonal oneness to which we join once we personally put forth the effort to attain enlightenment, Jesus is not all that important to them short of being an example of an enlightened soul.[5] Buddhists, thus, with this belief system can accommodate most any prophet from any religion as a person who achieved enlightenment.

    1. Islam’s View

Islam absolutely dismisses the identity of Christ as the Son of God. Second, Islam seems to attempt to further lower the status of Christ even as a man, through Mohammed revelations about his visit to heaven. While sleeping, he is awoken by Gabriel who takes him to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  There he meets with Moses, Jesus and other prophets to pray.  Afterwards he is shown a ladder and he and Gabriel climb it and ascend through the seven heavens.  On each level they meet an important person.  At the bottom, level 1, is Adam.  Level 2 is both Christ and John the Baptist.  Level 3 is Joseph, level 4 is Enoch, level 5 is Aaron and level 6 is Moses.  Finally, in level 7 he meets Abraham and then is given instructions by Allah.  At each level of Heaven Mohamed comes closer to God.  Each level has a person of greater significance as he gets closer and closer to God with Abraham, the first Patriarch, being closest.  Christ is only at level 2 and is below Joseph, Enoch, Aaron, Moses, and Abraham. Also, Jesus isn’t alone on the second level of Heaven.  He is there with John the Baptist.  In Christianity John the Baptist prophesied the imminent coming of the Messiah.  According to Mark 1:7 “John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am–so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.”  By placing both Christ and John the Baptist on the same level, Islam is saying that while John the Baptist was a great prophet on the level of Jesus he wasn’t prophesying about Christ.[6] Third, Islam teaches that Jesus was not crucified.  Instead of being crucified Christ is taken by Allah to Heaven and another person appearing to be Jesus is crucified instead.  Islam teaches that Jesus never died and therefore was never resurrected. In so doing, the attempt is to elevate Mohammed and de-elevate Christ.[7]

Now, once you see the worldview of Jesus from other perspectives, one must now consider what Christianity says about Christ.

           

III. The Uniqueness of Christ

            Traditionally, Christians believe that Jesus is God in human flesh. Unbelievers may question as to whether he even existed at all. Muslims see him as just another prophet, though a highly exalted one. Hinduism depicts him as one of many great gurus. Buddhism sees him as a bodhisattva – one who has achieved enlightenment and has chosen to guide others on the path to it. Still others see him a radical rabbi who was a great moral guide. As Zukeran states, “a serious study of the gospels leads a person to one of three conclusions about Jesus: He was (1) an evil, lying villain, (2) a preposterously deluded madman, or (3) the Messiah, the Son of God. It is ludicrous for anyone who has studied His life to take the position that he was simply a good teacher. Only one of the three conclusions is a logical possibility.”[8] Similarly, C.S. Lewis states, “I am trying here to prevent anyone from 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.’…a man who was merely a man who said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher…Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”[9] Only Jesus claimed to be God incarnate among the founders of the world’s religions. Herein lies why Jesus remains as the most seminal figure in human history to which all of humanity must take a position whether it be for His claims or against them.  Therefore, one must look at the evidence supporting Jesus’ claims that make Him unique.

A.     Divinity and Humanity Simultaneously

Although many find it trendy to speak of inconsistencies of the Bible, and often doing so without having read or researched the Bible, it is generally considered by scholars to be the most reliable of ancient near eastern literature. Further, as we discover texts that take us back closer and closer to the lifespan of Jesus Christ on earth, it is clear that the integrity of the texts has been consistent throughout the centuries. It is also commonly agreed that Jesus Christ actually existed due to the references outside the Bible. Thus, he existed and the New Testament texts have preserved the words he spoke with an uncanny accuracy over the centuries. One can have a great degree of certainty that what one now reads is what the author wrote.[10] Therefore, it is with a great degree of certainty that when Jesus said “’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58) we can have faith that He uttered those actual words. Understanding the Hebrew language, Christ is clearly saying that He was God. Also, in John 14:8-9, one finds that Jesus says that He and God are one and the same. He proclaimed authority over all creation, the ability to forgive sins, and that he was the only way to eternal life. His opponents killed him for making the claim that He was God. If you accept Jesus’ teaching, you clearly must accept that He said He was God.

As Zukeran states, if Jesus knew that He was not God then it makes Him history’s most notorious villains as thousands and thousands of people have willingly given up their lives rather than renounce their belief in Him as being who He says He is.[11] Thousands, too, would not have died for a lie added later by the church in order to bolster its message and the spread of its beliefs. Generally, people will not die for a lie. Thus, there is a preponderance of evidence to believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be – God in the flesh. Yet, at the same time, he bled, he physically died, he laughed, he cried, he got angry, he ate, he slept, he needed time alone and he prayed. Sounds pretty human there! Thus, one has evidence to believe that He was, as the Nicene Creed states, fully divine and fully human.

B.     Supernatural Nature

                                                              i.      Prophecies fulfilled

Never in history has one man been able to claim that predictions made about him from sources that were written thousands of years before his birth were true about him. However, the Old Testament, written over a 1,000-1,500 year period contains several hundred references to the coming Messiah. All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and they establish a solid confirmation of His credentials as the Messiah. Many object that the prophecies were written after the time of Jesus and therefore cannot be considered valid proof. According to McDowell, “if you are not satisfied with 450 BC as the historic date for the completion of the Old Testament then take into consideration the following: The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, was initiated during the rule of Philadelphus (285-246 BC), then you had to have the Hebrew text from which it was written. This will suffice to indicate there was at least a 250 year gap between the prophecies being written down and their fulfillment in Christ.” Josh McDowell, shows us with extrabiblical references that (even if one sees the Hebrew testament as complete fiction) it had to be in existence before Christ by 250 years. Then, he states that there were over 300 different OT prophecies that were fulfilled in Christ alone.[12]

One of the most incredible pieces of evidence that McDowell presents is when he plays mathematician. He states that the odds of one person fulfilling just eight of the most popular messianic prophecies (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 49:10, 2 Samuel 7:12, Micah 5:2, Daniel 9:24, Isaiah 53, Psalm 22:16, and Isaiah 49:7) by chance is astoundingly astronomical.  In the eight aforementioned prophecies, the odds of one person fulfilling these prophecies by chance is 1/10th to the 16th power.[13] Imagine the calculation for over 300 fulfillments. Even if you just double McDowell’s eight prophecy fulfillment example to sixteen, the probabilities jump to 1/10th to the 45th power. That is 44 zeroes followed by a 1. Needless to say, that is a lot of zeroes.[14] Thus, Jesus uniquely fills the role of Messiah. As the odds tell us, there can basically be one person in the history of humanity that can be all these things at once. Further, credence to these predictions is given in the fact that you can verify that they were made from at least hundreds of years to a thousand or more years before his birth.

                                                            ii.      Conception

Speaking of His birth, now, one comes to the one of the most controversial aspects of Jesus Christ. He was miraculously conceived. The prevailing view among critics is the Virgin Birth has no historical basis. Critics have often claimed that the Virgin Birth was added by first century Christians because (1) they were familiar with the Isaiah 7:14 prophecy and (2) they wanted to prove that Jesus was God by having no earthly father. However, evidence is available to support this claim of Virgin Birth.

First, Jesus is clearly the first born of Mary as noted in Mark 6:3. There are no references in any of the gospels as Joseph being a widower or having had children from a previous marriage. This would have been important information in first century Palestine. Further, there is no evidence to show that Joseph and Mary were married when she conceived. As well, there is no record of dispute concerning the Virgin Birth as one might expect in the church. The church has split and splintered over the past 2,000 years over issues of much less importance than the issue of miraculous birth. Yet, this issue was never the cause of a split. The most significant evidence lies in two other places. One is that neither James nor Mary, principal figures in the early church (1 Corinthians 9:5), never silenced the teaching that Jesus was of virgin origin. Another is Luke’s gospel itself. Both his vocations—historian and physician—would have prevented him from blindly reporting a virgin birth. Luke admits that he researched the life of Jesus and his gospel in the most detailed of the first three gospels. Thus, it raises the question, why would he so easily gloss over this issue as to not have researched it also. It is easy to dismiss the miracles but upon closer inspection, one must consider the logical evidence that it did occur. It is simply human nature that someone would have divulged the secret over the centuries. However, no other issue has received the common acceptance among the faithful that this one issue receives. Thus, one can conclude that Jesus is clearly unique as a result of a Virgin Birth. No other founder of a faith can make this claim nor have this claim made about them.

                                                          iii.      Life

Jesus’ life was marked by the miracles that he performed. A miracle of Jesus would be defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, or as an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” According to the Biblical Studies Foundation, a miracle “is an unusual and significant event (terasa) which requires the working of a supernatural agent (dunamis) and is performed for the purpose of authenticating the message or the messenger (semeion).”

While there are many explanations for what a miracle is, one can agree that the word “miracle” describes an event that occurs outside the bounds of natural law, and which is beneficial in its result. During the course of His three-year public ministry, Jesus performed miracles that demonstrated His ability to heal, to master the elements, to affect the outcome of our endeavors, and even to raise the dead. Every one of His miracles occurred outside the bounds of natural law, and all of them had a beneficial result. To many Christians, the miracles are actual historical events.[15] Others, such as some liberal Christians, may consider these stories to be figurative. Standard scientific models give the explanation that what appears to be paranormal miracles is usually a misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or anomalous variation of natural phenomena, rather than an actual paranormal miracle. Furthermore, academic fields of study such as anomalistic psychology, paranormal phenomena and miracles have naturalistic explanations resulting from psychological and physical factors which have sometimes given the impression of paranormal activity to some people, in fact, where there have been none.[16] However, again, you cannot address the life of Christ without dealing with the issue of miracles. There are 37 miracles that the four gospels document as having been performed by Jesus Christ. These miracles were intended to demonstrate His power over creation, sickness and death. Liberal Christians and detractors of the Christian faith say that these are fictitious legends developed after the death of Christ to support His claims of being God. If these attributes of Christ were legend, we must consider how the story of Christ differs from legend.

Legends and exaggerations develop when generations have passed after the time of the events in question. However, the accounts of Jesus’ miracles were being told in the very cities in which they occurred and during the lifetime of Jesus. The eyewitness testimony could have easily been refuted by other eyewitnesses if they were not true. Such refutations would have prevented their inclusion in the New Testament.[17] With the animosity toward the early Christians by Jews and other non-believers, the gospels which were written and distributed during the lifetime of eyewitnesses (who could have judged the accuracy of such accounts) could have easily been refuted early on and then widely discredited. This condition did not occur. The logical conclusion of a normal and reasonable detective with no vested interest in discrediting the Christian faith would be then that there is substantial evidence that these miracles, in fact, did occur.[18]

                                                          iv.      Death

Death as a common criminal is a type of death that you see for the founder of no other religion. The manner of death for Jesus is not matched in any way by the deaths of the founders of Islam, Buddhism and certainly is not in keeping with the deaths of great mythical or historical figures in Hinduism. Among the great religions of the world, Jesus died in shame rather than in reverence at an old age. Jesus was killed as a young man when his ministry seemed to just be gaining momentum. Again, this makes him unique. His death was also most certainly a travesty of justice by modern standards and was contrary to the standards of Jewish justice in first century Palestine.[19] In no other religion do you find its founder willingly subjecting himself to such a travesty. Thus, Jesus knew of the greater purpose of his death. The death of Jesus was significant because only that death was the complete and final, once for all sacrifice for the sins of the world. “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). With it being a central focus of the Christian faith, one could raise the question as to whether this episode was a fiction. However, Christians have had little trouble disproving skepticism here. Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to “almost universal assent” are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and shortly afterwards was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[20] Crossan boldly states, “”That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”[21]

The issue of his death is undeniable. Thus, one must move to the question as to why he died and did so willingly. His death was to fulfill the law of sacrifice for sin. He is the final sin sacrifice once and for all, according to Hebrews 10:10. His death then in and of itself, without the resurrection has its own independent meaning. As well, it was necessary to create the condition for the seminal moment in the Christian faith. Without the death, there would be no miracle of resurrection. The death of Jesus was a unique, one of a kind, once for all death that ransomed mankind from sin and satisfied the righteousness of God and made it possible for man to once again have a personal relationship with God. Death with a purpose – quite unique!

                                                            v.      Resurrection

The belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without it, the faith does not exist. Thus, this event would be one that is considered the most significant event in human history. It is the strongest evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. Christians rest on this event as it gives them the sure hope of eternal life, a hope that not only gives us joy as we look to the future but also provides us with powerful reasons to live today.[22]

Throughout the centuries, however, there have been scholars who have attempted to deny the account of the Resurrection. Our schools are filled with history books which give alternative explanations for the Resurrection or in some cases, fail even to mention this unique event.[23] Three facts must be reckoned with when investigating the Resurrection: the empty tomb, the transformation of the Apostles, and the preaching of the Resurrection originating in Jerusalem.

Let us first examine the case of the empty tomb. Jesus was a well- known figure in Israel. His burial site was known by many people. In fact Matthew records the exact location of Jesus’ tomb. He states, “And Joseph of Arimathea took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb” (Matt. 27:59). Mark asserts that Joseph was “a prominent member of the Council” (Mark 15:43). It would have been destructive for the writers to invent a man of such prominence, name him specifically, and designate the tomb site, since eyewitnesses would have easily discredited the author’s fallacious claims. Jewish and Roman sources both testify to an empty tomb. Matthew 28:12 13 specifically states that the chief priests invented the story that the disciples stole the body. There would be no need for this fabrication if the tomb had not been empty. Opponents of the Resurrection must account for this. If the tomb had not been empty, the preaching of the Apostles would not have lasted one day. All the Jewish authorities needed to do to put an end to Christianity was to produce the body of Jesus. The silence of history on this issue is significant when it comes to the testimony against the resurrection.

Second, we have the changed lives of the Apostles. It is recorded in the Gospels that while Jesus was on trial, the Apostles deserted Him in fear. Yet ten out of the elevenApostles died as martyrs believing Christ rose from the dead. What accounts for their transformation into men willing to die for their message? Nothing short of seeing the physically resurrected Jesus Christ and his imbuing them with the Holy Spirit could. How else do you explain their inability to truly understand who Jesus was throughout Jesus’ ministry as seen repeatedly in the Gospels, but yet all of a sudden after Jesus’ death, theyunderstand it with clarity and are willing to die for it?[24]

Third, the Apostles began preaching the Resurrection in Jerusalem.  Remember, Jerusalem is the very city in which Jesus was convicted of crimes he did not commit and put to death for them with the assent of the Jewish authorities. This was the very city in which he was crucified. This was the most hostile city in which to preach. If any place on earth would have anyone within it that was willing to refute the resurrection, Jerusalem in the first century would have been the place from whence it would have come. However, no such public proclamations came. Every possible fact could have been investigated thoroughly and easily. No such investigations were undertaken.[25]

Like in a court of law, unless there is evidence to the contrary, one must accept the testimony of the events that has been offered as being true. Faith comes into play for the Christian because of what Jesus said these events meant to the lives of believers. However, the faith of the Christian is based solidly on logical reasoning and verifiable facts. The facts support the uniqueness of Christ in his resurrection. No evidence has ever been presented to prove that He did not. This leads to faith in what Jesus had to say rather than having to defend his life as myth or fiction. This makes a case for Christians to be unique in boldly sharing the message of the gospel.

C.     Superiority

                                                              i.      To Hindu gurus

Hindu gurus are those that can interpret what it believed to be not understood by the common person. The Hindu scriptures cannot be understood by simple reading alone. In other words, Hindus must realize personal godhood.[26] It is only through enlightenment that one achieves personal salvation. Such salvation is achieved by following Jnana marga (the way of knowledge and meditation), karma marga (the way of action and ritual), and bhakti marga (the way of devotion).[27] All of these “ways” are motivated by belief in the personal ability to achieve enlightenment which ends the cycle of samsara, or reincarnation, brought on by karma which is the cosmic effect of all of our deeds, words, and actions in our present and former lives. In Hinduism, we are all working out our karmic issues as go from life to life and thus to intervene in that process would upset the balance of the universe. In the Hindu view, each of us must pay our own cosmic debt for our own misdeeds.[28] For the Hindu, the guru is one who can interpret the sacred writings and move the Hindu along the path of enlightenment.

In contrast, Jesus’ message was simple and understandable. It does not require deep, disconnected meditation but rather through the absorption of simple truths of the Bible whose truths are enlightened to individuals through the Holy Spirit. Further, the dizzying cycle of reincarnation is lonely and frightening. Jesus uniquely says that our faith in the grace He offers will assure our salvation. Jesus’ message is simple, readable, understandable, and the path to salvation is nowhere near as complex.

                                                            ii.      To Buddha

Jesus offers a uniquely superior way to peace and salvation than that offered by Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Buddhism is not about belief in a supreme being at all. It is the pursuit of nirvana. One must accept the suffering of this life and strive for oneness with the universe. All life here is simply illusion caused by our inability to achieve enlightenment. Christ teaches us that this life is to be lived abundantly (John 10:10), that we must love our neighbor and consider his needs greater than our own, and that we have hope for a personal eternity with God through faith in Him. Buddha did not see any need to end the suffering of one’s fellow man and that the only point of this existence was to achieve oneness with an impersonal universe. The choice seems clear as to which path seems more temporally and eternally appealing.[29]

                                                          iii.      To Mohammed

Mohammed spent the last years of his life at war, spreading his message through violence and intrigue. The Muslims revere Mohammed as the greatest of prophets, yet Jesus clearly demonstrated greater authority, teaching, and miracles than Mohammed ever did. Jesus arose from the dead. Mohammed is still in the grave. When Jesus began his ministry, it was with boldness (Mark 1:14-15). When Mohammed received his revelation, he was unsure if it was from God or a demon (Quran 74:1-5). Jesus claimed to be both God and man (John 8:24; 8:58). Mohammed claimed only to be a man. No one ever died in Jesus’ presence. Many died in the presence of Mohammed. Jesus never married. Mohammed had over twenty wives, one of which was a year old girl with whom he had conjugal relations at that age. This number of wives also exceeded his own proclamations to his faithful as to how they should live. Jesus gave His life sacrificially for others. Mohammed killed others to save his own life many times. Jesus commanded his believers to love their neighbors as they loved themselves. Mohammed killed those who did not assent to his belief system and recommended that his followers do the same.[30] Mohammed offered no sure hope of salvation, only guidelines for working oneself into Allah’s favor.[31]

II.                Conclusion

As Ernst states, “…because the choice of one’s worldview has implications now and forever, shouldn’t this all-important decision be made both consciously and critically?” He goes on to state that, “In current Western culture, most are not conditioned to think of religious claims as either true or false. Rather, we are accustomed to viewing them as matter of preference, not unlike ice cream – you like chocolate, and I like vanilla.”[32] However, nothing could be further from the truth, as Ernst goes on to state in CARM.org,

“Christianity teaches that there is only one God, and you cannot become a god.  Islam teaches that Jesus is not God in flesh, where Christianity does.  Jesus cannot be both God and not God at the same time.  Some religions teach that we reincarnate, while others do not.  Some teach there is a hell, and others do not.  They cannot all be true.  If they cannot all be true, it cannot be true that all religions lead to God.  Furthermore, it means that some religions are, at the very least, false in their claims to reveal the true God (or gods).  Remember, truth does not contradict itself.  If God exists, He will not institute mutually exclusive and contradictory belief systems in an attempt to get people to believe in Him.  God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).  Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that there can be an absolute spiritual truth, and that not all systems can be true regardless of whether or not they claim to be true.[33]

What has been demonstrated here is that the belief system spawned by Jesus Christ is the logical choice as the only valid way to God. It roots itself in the fact that Jesus is God himself and one has seen that either this fact is true or Jesus was a madman or a lunatic if it is not – he is not simply a good, moral, revolutionary rabbi. Thus, Jesus as God makes him completely unique among the founders of the world’s religions. To back up these claims of divinity, we have seen how his birth, life, death and resurrection demonstrate that His claims to his identity are logical, supportable and valid. No other religion’s founder can measure up against the claims made by Jesus. It is also equally demonstrable that the person of Jesus was superior in every way possible to the founders of other religions.

            The beauty of the Christian faith is not only that it is a spiritually valid faith but that it is also a logically valid faith based on a real historical figure. When you get the clutter of mysticism (Hinduism), humanism (Buddhism), and political advantage (Islam) out of the way, Christianity emerges as the reasonable and logical worldview. Without all these other trappings of gods and human endeavors toward perfection, it simply becomes a matter of faith that Jesus is who He says He is and that He did what He said He was doing. He was God in the flesh who came to earth to live among us in the person of Jesus. He did offer Himself as the sacrifice for once and all time for the sins of man. Through this sacrifice, man can be reconciled with a perfect and holy God. It is therefore logically and spiritually valid to agree with Jesus’ claim that He is the only way to the Father. Are you willing to bet your eternity on something other than what has been logically and spiritually proven to be valid? 


[1] James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1994), introduction.

[2] Swami Ahkilananda, Hindu View of Christ (New York, NY: Philosophical Library, Inc.: 1949), 15-44.

 

[3] Ibid, 45-72.

[4] Ibid, 219-244.

 

[5] Gregory Barker, Jesus in the World’s Faiths: Leading Thinkers from Five Religions Reflect on His Meaning (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005), 15-25.

[6] Ibid, 115-125.

 

[7] Ibid.

[8] Patrick Zukeran, Unless I See…Reasons to Consider the Christian Faith (Bloomington, IN: Crossbooks, 2011),94-96.

 

[9] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: MacMillan Publishing, 1960), 55-56.

 

[10] F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 59-61.

 

[11] Zukeran, 98.

[12] Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict (San Bernadino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1979), 144-145.

 

[13] Ibid, 167.

 

[14] Norman Geisler, When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor Press, 1990), 116.

[15] Heribert Busse, Islam, Judaism and Christianity: the Theological and Historical Affilliations (Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener Pub, 1998), 114.

[16] Nicola Holt et al., Anomalistic Psychology (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 10-11.

[17] Graham Twelftree, Jesus the Miracle Worker: A Historical and Theological Study (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1999), 241.

[18] Peter Theide and Matthew D’Ancona, Eyewitness to Jesus (New York, NY: Doubleday Books, 1996), 163.

 

[19] Alan Watson, The Trial of Jesus (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995), 48. (Space)

[20] James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), 339.

 

[21] John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: a Revolutionary Biography (New York, NY: HarperOne, 1995), 145.

 

[22] Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2010), 199.

 

[23] Josh McDowell, The Resurrection Factor (San Bernadino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1981), 66.

[24] Simon Greenleaf, The Testimony of the Evangelists; The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 1995) 1-2.

 

[25] Robert B. Stewart, ed., The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), 139-149.

[26] Swami Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism: A Comprehensive Overview of the World’s Oldest Religion (Seattle, WA: Viveka Press, 2002), 7-11.

 

[27] Dean Halverson, ed., The Illustrated Guide to World Religions (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 89.

 

[28] Ibid, 98.

[29] Steve Cioccolanti, From Buddha to Jesus: An Insider’s View of Buddhism & Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2010), 88-94.

[31] Colin Chapman, The Cross and the Crescent: Responding to the Challenge of Islam (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2003), 77-84.

 

[32] Paul Ernst, You Bet Your Life: A Toolbox for Making Life’s Ultimate Decision (Las Vegas, NV: OnDemand Publishing, LLC, 2013), 4-5.

 

[33] http://carm.org/why-believe-christianity-over-all-other-religions (accessed 04/21/13).

Bibliography

Ahkilananda, Swami, Hindu View of Christ. New York, NY: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1949.

 

Barker, Gregory. Jesus in the World’s Faiths: Leading Thinkers from Five Religions Reflect on His Meaning. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005.

 

Bhaskarananda, Swami. The Essentials of Hinduism: A Comprehensive Overview of the World’s Oldest Religion. Seattle, WA: Viveka Press, 2002.

 

Bruce, F.F., The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983.

Busse, Heribert. Islam, Judaism and Christianity: the Theological and Historical Affilliations. Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener Publishing, 1998.

 

Chapman, Colin. The Cross and the Crescent: Responding to the Challenge of Islam. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2003.

 

Cioccolanti, Steve. From Buddha to Jesus: An Insider’s View of Buddhism & Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 2010.

 

Crosson, John Dominic. Jesus: a Revolutionary Biography. New York, NY: HarperOne, 1995.

 

Dunn, James. Jesus Remembered. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003.

 

Ernst, Paul. You Bet Your Life: A Toolbox for Making Life’s Ultimate Decision. Las Vegas, NV: OnDemand Publishing, LLC, 2013.

 

Geisler, Norman. When Skeptics Ask. Wheaton, IL: Victor Press, 1990.

 

Greenleaf, Simon. The Testimony of the Evangelists; The Gospels Examined by the Rules of (Indent)Evidence. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 1995.

 

Halverson, Dean, ed., The Illustrated Guide to World Religions. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003.

 

Holt, Nicola, et al., Anomalistic Psychology. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

 

http://carm.org/religious-movements/islam/comparison-between-jesus-and-muhammad (accessed 04/21/13).

 

http://carm.org/why-believe-christianity-over-all-other-religions (accessed 04/21/13).

 

Kennedy, James and Jerry Newcombe. What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1994.

 

Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity. New York, NY: MacMillan Publishing, 1960.

 

Licona, Michael. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2010.

 

McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands A Verdict. San Bernadino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1979.

_____________. The Resurrection Factor. San Bernadino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1981.

 

Stewart, Robert B., ed., The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006.

 

Thiede, Peter and Matthew D’Ancona. Eyewitness to Jesus. New York, NY: Doubleday Books, 1996.

 

Twelftree, Graham. Jesus the Miracle Worker: A Historical and Theological Study. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1999.

 

Watson, Alan. The Trial of Jesus. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995.

 

Zukeran, Patrick. Unless I See…Reasons to Consider the Christian Faith. Bloomington, IN: Crossbooks, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s