Narrow-minded, judgmental Christians. That’s how many people view Christ-followers. Often we do not convey God’s love, mercy and compassion as we ought. However, Christianity is not simply a set of “shoulds.”
Why is Christianity unique among all world religions? Many people say, "Essentially, all religions are alike, with only minor differences. They all reach 'love your neighbor, be good, don't steal, don't kill, don't cheat, be kind and make the world a better place.' Take Christianity, for instance. Christ taught that we should follow the Golden Rule by being kind to our neighbors.
"So I say religion is like choosing a car. There are lots of models and makes, but they're all designed to get you where you want to go. Whether it's Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, or Christ, they all teach the same thing, they all go the same place..."
God created man and woman for intimate fellowship with Him and with each other, but they rejected His fellowship and chose to rebel (sin). Subsequently, all have sinned, but God had determined to restore us to Himself. The plan called for Jesus, God the Son, to become the God-man and die on the cross, suffering the penalty of sin on our behalf. The plan was carried out and God's righteous justice was satisfied. Now God is able to bring us into loving fellowship with Himself as His forgiven children.
That's the gospel; God reaching down to us, offering us a permanent connection with Himself through Christ. Religion, by contrast, is man's attempt to reach God, an attempt that always fails.
Many challengers of Christianity ignore the fact that Christ is the basis for Christianity. For example:
I discovered that Christianity is based on the life, character, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, instead of learning that Christ came to teach Christianity, I realized that Christ is Christianity.
Most other religions are based on philosophical propositions or theological ideologies. Remove the founding prophet or guru, and the religion remains essentially intact.
Remove Mohammed from Islam, and Islam remains. Mohammed, being simply the communicator of Allah's will, is not critically important to Islam; but what he communication about Allah and his will is all-important to that religion. In Islam, then, the message is far more important than the founding messenger. The teachings count for more than the teacher!
Remove Buddha, and Buddhism remains. Buddhism rests mainly on Buddha's teachings, which instruct the faithful to lead a tranquil life through attainment of a disciplined state of mind. Buddha, himself, is not essential to the quest.
Remove Confucius, and Confucianism remains. Confucianism teaches philosophical concepts about wise behavior. It is a religion in which the identity of Confucius, its founder, is inconsequential.
4. Christ (No Christ - No Christianity)
Remove Christ, however, and Christianity crumbles. The identity of Jesus is crucial to Christianity. Without Christ, Christianity would cease to exist, for it rests upon His claims to be the eternal Son of God, a claim attested to by the resurrection.
Personal faith in Christ establishes a relationship with God, thereby distinguishing Christianity from all other religions.
As a university student, I was challenged by a group of Christians to investigate the truthfulness of Christianity. Not long after I met these Christians, I learned something that altered my outlook on Christianity. I asked one of the students, "Tell me, what changed your life?" She said, "Jesus Christ." I never thought I'd hear that in the university. I said, "Don't feed me that garbage; I'm fed up with religion." She shot back, "Josh, I didn't say religion; I said the person of Jesus Christ." My heart was touched. Her reply pointed our something I'd never known before - Christianity is not a religion; it's an intimate relationship which God is offering men and women through his Son, Jesus Christ. I longed to know that intimacy, unconditional love and forgiveness.
For further study, read:
Genesis 3:8; Mark 3:14; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 4:15; Revelation 3:20