Aren’t All Religions Basically the Same?

Christianity is unique from all other religions in how it views God. Many have heard, and believe, that all religions are basically the same. While that is very far from the truth, every single religion in the world, except Christianity, overlaps in their basic understanding of how salvation (or the equivalent thereof depending of the religion), is achieved. Christianity is also unique in how God handles sin.

In all other world religions, salvation is achieved by people. It’s all about works and deeds. In Christianity, your salvation is based on God Himself, and it is only through trusting in Jesus that you are saved (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, among many others). And while that alone separates Christianity from all other religions, it is also important to understand why it is deeply problematic for salvation to be granted any other way.

If God exists and is all-perfect, than due to his perfect holiness and glory, He must dwell in a place of perfection (heaven). Because of this, nobody who has ever done anything wrong (sin), can enter into heaven because they themselves are imperfect. It makes no difference if all you did was tell one lie your entire life, or if you were Adolf Hitler, imperfection is imperfection, regardless of the amount of sin in ones life.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

-Romans 3:23

In Islam, no one is guaranteed entrance into heaven. Salvation is attained by following the five pillars of Islam that includes things like daily prayer and practicing charitable giving. If you do all of these things and live a “good” life that honors Allah, there is a good chance you’ll make it into paradise.

In the Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, the goal is to reach nirvana or enlightenment. This is done by doing certain rituals, overriding your bad karma with good karma, and through reincarnation, you supposedly get as many do-overs as you need to finally tip the scales into your favor to reach their respective forms of “salvation.”

However, none of this deals with the issue of sin. It doesn’t matter if your “good” outweighs your “bad,” because your bad still has to be dealt with. A perfect God cannot simply pretend your sin and imperfection never happened because imperfect people cannot enter a place of perfection, or else that place would no longer be perfect. Thus, something must be done to atone (make up for) our sins in order for us to get into heaven.

This is one of the reasons why all other religions are deeply problematic in how they view God and how he works. It does not matter how much good you do, all it takes is one sin to make it impossible for us to enter into a place that is perfect. And it is Christianity alone that you find God himself coming to earth to live the perfect life we could not live, die, and rise from death three days later to take the weight of all of the world’s sins ever committed. All we have to do is repent and acknowledge our sin and trust that Jesus was who he said he was (G0d).

As the apostle Paul continued in the book of Romans,

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

-Romans 3:23-25

Only in Christianity do we see the sins and wrongdoings of those who enter heaven dealt with. A perfect and just God cannot simply discard our sins as if they didn’t happen, no matter how much good we do.

All religions other than Christianity are fundamentally the same in that it is up to you to earn yourself a place in each religion’s respective “heaven.” However, only in Christianity through Jesus do you find, and truly understand, that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation because eternity in God’s presence cannot be earned. This means that salvation can only be accepted as a gift from God himself in which he himself takes our sins and wipes them clean.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

-Ephesians 2:8-9

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