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Christianity and World Religions


Christianity and World Religions John Oakes June, 2007 Outline Theology: ideas about God World View: What is man s place in the world? Scripture: What is the source ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Christianity and World Religions

Christianity and World Religions
  • John Oakes June, 2007

One Point of View Wide is the gate and broad
is the road that leads to destruction, and many
enter through it. But small is the gate and
narrow the road that leads to life, and only a
few find it. -Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew
713-14) I am the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus of Nazareth (John 146)
Another Point of View Different Paths to the
Same Goal?
  • Theology ideas about God
  • World View What is mans place in the world?
  • Scripture What is the source of authority?

  • Animism Anima spirit. A religious system
    which includes the belief that spirits inhabit
    inanimate objects and phenomena
  • Polytheism Poly many. A belief that the
    universe is governed by many gods.
  • Pantheism Pan all. A belief that a spirit
    fills the universe. God is the universe, and we
    are part of God.
  • Dualism A belief that the universe is governed
    by nearly equally matched forces of good and
    evil. (Zoroastrianism)

Biblical Theology
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the

  • Genesis 11
  • By faith we understand that the universe was
    formed at Gods command, so that what is seen was
    not made out of what was visible.
    Hebrews 113

  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one
    and only son.

  • The principle religion of India.
  • Approximately 900,000,000 adherents.
  • Began as animism/polytheism
  • Evolved into polytheism/pantheism
  • Syncretistic. Hinduism is not really a single

Ganesh a Hindu deity God of wisdom and intellect
Principle gods of Hinduism
  • Brahma Chief god of the pantheon.
  • Shiva God of destruction. Worshipped
  • as a male phalus.
  • Vishnu Preserver and protector.
  • Krishna The eighth emanation of Vishna.
  • Rama Seventh incarnation of Vishna. Hero of
    the Ramayana.
  • Devi Chief female deity. The power (shakti)
    that animates the cosmos.
  • Lakshmi Female consort of Vishnu. Godess of

  • Principle religion of Korea, Japan, Cambodia,
    Vietnam, Thailand, Burma Sri Lanka and China?
  • 400,000,000 adherents.
  • A reaction against the rigid priestly system of
  • Pantheistic, or arguably non-theistic. A
    philosophy, a psychology.

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  • Founder Mahavira 600-540 BC
  • Last of 24 gurus. Parshva 750 BC?
  • Location India mostly.
  • About 5,000,000 practitioners
  • A reaction to worldly, priestly Hinduism

Jaina Theology
  • Very strong emphasis on asceticism
  • Siddhartha may have been a follower before
    finding a middle way.
  • We are souls trapped in a body. The goal escape
    the body to reach nirvana through ascetic
  • Reincarnation
  • Karma
  • Pantheistic

The Svastika a symbol of samsara (rebirth)
Sikh Teaching and Theology
  • Reject polytheism but keep ideas of maya
    (illusion), samsara (reincarnation), karma
  • Reject priestly system. All are equal before the
    True Name.
  • Opposition to idolatry and to asceticism.
  • Sikhs do not try to escape the world, but to
    participate in it.
  • Works salvation Sin and sorrow are destroyed by

The Golden Temple Amristar, India
Taoism (Daoism)
  • Founded by Lao Tzua contemporary of Confucius.
  • Scripture The Tao Te Ching. Tao way Te
    power Ching teaching
  • Basic doctrine Through non-involvement and
    withdrawal, we come to know god/deity. Emphasis
    on self-interest. The religion of selfishness.
  • Pantheistic. Experience God by contemplating
  • Emphasis on mysticism and magic.
  • He would not pluck so much as a hair out of
    his head for the benefit of his fellow man.

Bahai Theology
  • Salvation through keeping the law as handed down
    by Baha-Ullah
  • Emphasis on good deeds, helping the poor,
  • Jesus did not die for our sins, because he did
    not have to. We are imperfect, but not lost.
  • Scripture The writings of Baha-Ullah. There
    are many!

New Age A Very Confusing Religion
  • Is it
  • Palm reading?
  • Channeling?
  • Seances?
  • Meditation?
  • Reincarnation?
  • Occultism?
  • Gurus?
  • Paganism?
  • Gnosticism?
  • Mother Goddess worship?
  • Yes all the above.

So, What is New Age, Really?
  • You are God, I am God, the trees are God, we all
    are God!
  • New Age is Western pantheism
  • New Age is a syncretistic blend of Gnosticism,
    Hinduism, Spiritualism, Mysticism, Buddhism and
  • New Age is Monism! God is everything I am
  • Once we begin to see that we are all God, then
    I think the whole purpose of life is to re-own
    the God-likeness within us.

Islamic Theology
  • Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam is
  • But there are several differences in the theology
    of these religions.
  • In Islam God is more like the neo-Platonic idea
    of Godvery distant and removed from man.

  • Islamic Theology
  • Surely good deeds take away evil deeds
  • Kabira (big sins)murder, adultery, drunkenness,
    disobeying parents, neglecting Ramadan or Friday
    prayers, gambling, dancing, shaving the beard,
    forgetting the Koran after reading it, usury
    Forgiveness with repentance.
  • Saghira (little sins)deceit, anger, lust.
    Forgiveness if greater sins are avoided and good
    deeds are performed.
  • Shirkassociation (of other gods with Allah). No

  • Salvation by own effort
  • (409, 3961, 743)
  • Charity atones for sins
  • (2271,277)
  • Earn grace.
  • Earn favor of Allah.
  • Earn salvation.
  • Earn paradise.

Islam Salvation is earned through the efforts
of those who were pre-selected by Allah to
inhabit a very sensual paradise. Christianity
Salvation is granted by the grace of a loving God
to those who, through faith and repentance and
baptism accept that love.
A Question Who reaches out to whom?
  • Human approach Truth
  • God God
  • Mankind Mankind

Works Salvation Man reaches out to
God. Islam Hinduism Jaina Sikkhism Gnosticism New
Age Buddhism?
Salvation by Grace God reaches out to
man. Judaism Christianity
World View What Is My Place in the World?
  • What is my purpose?
  • What is my relationship with creation?

Definitions (cont.)
  • Asceticism a belief that enlightenment, or a
    close relationship with deity is obtained by an
    extreme denial of worldly pleasures and
    possessions. Associated with monasteries,
    monks, nuns, and the like.
  • Mysticism a belief which has been incorporated
    in all world religions which sees enlightenment
    and spiritual powers coming through
    contemplation/meditation/direct experience of God.

Hindu World View
  • Maya. The physical world is an illusion.
  • Brahman. Universal soul.
  • The goal Nirvana oneness with the universal
    soul which is within yourself.
  • The Hindu world view has man looking inward, not

The eight-fold path to bodhi/dharma/nirvana/lack
of suffering
  • Right viewpoint (the four noble truths).
  • Right values.
  • Right speech.
  • Right actions.
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right meditation

The Four Noble Truths of Siddhartha
  • Suffering is not getting what one wants.
  • The cause of suffering is desire which leads to
  • The way to end suffering is to end desire.
  • The way to the end of desire and of suffering is
    the eight-fold path.
  • Buddhism encourages dispassion, not compassion.

Jaina Worldview
  • A very strange cosmology. The universe is an
    infinitely repeating pattern of cycles of time.
  • One of the gurus lived 70 trillion years and was
    3000 ft. tall.
  • The earth is the center of the universe
  • The universe has existed forever.
  • Five Mahavrata or rules of ascetic living
  • Ahimsa. Non-harming (fly-whisk, strain liquids,
  • Satya. Truthfulness
  • Asteya. Non-stealing
  • Celibacy
  • Non-attachment

Islamic Worldview God is very distant from
mankind In Islam, Allah determines everything,
even who will choose to follow him. 2142, 639
6125 Inshallah God willing. It is Gods will
that people suffer. .
The Biblical World View
  • The physical world is real and it is good.
    Genesis 131
  • Only Islam agrees with this conclusion.
  • This world is not our home.
  • But, compassion James 127 Micah 68
  • Christian groups are responsible for virtually
    all the worlds efforts to deal with poverty and
    human suffering in general and to work for social

Scriptures of World Religions
  • And we also thank God continually because, when
    you received the word of God, which you heard
    from us, you accepted it not as the word of men,
    but as it actually is, the word of God. 1 Thess

Important concepts
  • Scripture The list of primary authoritative
    writings for a particular religion.
  • Inspiration The belief that a particular
    writing, edict or tradition comes by direct
    communication from divinity, and is therefore
    perfect and authoritative.
  • Myth A story, presumably fictionalized, about a
    divine interaction with human beings which
    teaches an important religious truth.

Scriptures of Hinduism
  • Vedas Poems. Ritualistic, priestly. 1500-1000
    BC. Include the Brahmanas.
  • Upanishads Highly philosophical essays about
    brahman, atman, transmigration of atman, karma
    and so forth. 800-600 BC.
  • Epics (Ramayana, Mahabarata, Bhagavad Gita)
    Mythic adventures of Rama, Krishna and others.
  • Puranas Largely local legends, myths, many
    local deities. AD 400-1000. This is the
    scripture of most local Hindus.
  • Tantras Religious discussions/teachings.

Buddhist Scripture
  • The Tripitaka Three sets of the supposedly
    original sayings and teachings and philosophy of
    Buddha. These were oral only for about 400
  • Disputes over the content of the Tripitaka led
    eventually to the Theravada, Mahayana and other
  • Jatakas Mahayana stories of previous
    incarnations of Siddhartha Buddha. Buddhism is a
    striving through many lives to come to a
    bodhisattva state.

Buddhist Cosmology
Scriptures of Sikkhism
  • The Adi Granth Compiled by the fifth guru Arjun
    in 1604
  • The Ganth of the Tenth King Written by the last
    of the ten great gurus of Sikhism Gobind Singh.
  • The Janamsakhis Legends. Obviously mythical
    accounts of the life of Nanak, including
    miracles. (Nanak never claimed to be a miracle
  • Works salvation Sin and sorrow are destroyed by

  • The Quran the Scripture of Islam
  • Based on revelations from Gabriel to Mohammed.
  • Compiled in the 7th century AD (the 600s).
  • Contains 114 chapters, or suras, arranged from
    longest to shortest. Quite repetitive.
  • About 80 the length of the New Testament.

Early Period in Mecca. Muhammad sees
himself as following tradition of Judaism.
Muslims pray toward Jerusalem. Early Medina
period. Mohammad begins to be politically
powerful. The idea of Jihad introduced.
Later Medina and Meccan period. Muhammad
strongly opposed to Jews and Christianity.
Islam definitely a distinct religion.
Historical errors in the Quran
  • Ishmael Isaac 37102
  • 2 trees in Eden 1 tree 20120
  • Noahs 4th son drowns 1143
  • Zechariah silent 3 days (not 9 months) 341
  • Pharaohs magicians repent 2070
  • Judges 7 / 1 Sam 17 conflated 2249
  • Jesus childhood miracles 349, 5110, 1930

Scientific errors in Quran (I)
  • 2314Creation from the clot of blood
  • Then we made the sperm into a clot of congealed
    blood then from that clot we made a lump and we
    made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones
    with flesh.
  • 1886Traveling west
  • till, when he reached the setting-place of the
    sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring.

Scientific errors in Quran (II)
  • 2133Sun and stars orbit the earth
  • 1211 planets
  • 349, 5244Piece of sky falls and kills someone
  • 364, 2314 Man deposits child into the mother

Christianity The Inspiration of the Bible is
Confirmed By
  • Historical Accuracy
  • Fulfilled Prophecy
  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Internal Consistency. Many authors, one
  • Types, prefigures and foreshadows in the Old
    Testament which are fulfilled in Jesus Christ
  • The public miracles of Jesus which confirm his
  • The resurrection of Jesus from the dead

For Example Fulfilled Messianic Prophecy
  • Psalm

Isaiah 531-13 He was despised and rejected by
men, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering.
(v. 3) But he was pierced for our
transgressions, he was crushed for our
iniquities the punishment that brought us peace
was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
(v. 5) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he
did not open his mouth he was led like a lamb to
the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers
is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (v. 7)
Micah 52 But you, Bethlehem Ephathrah, though
you are small among the clans of Judah, out of
you will come for me one who will be ruler over
Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient
times. Isaiah 91,6 In the past he humbled the
land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in
the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles,
by the way of the sea, along the Jordan. For
to us a child is born And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, Prince of Peace.
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Psalm 2216-18 Dogs have surrounded me a band
of evil men have encircled me, they have
pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my
bones (John 193-37) people stare and
gloat over me. They divide my garments among
them and cast lots for my clothing. (John
Zechariah 1112,13 I told them, If you think
it best, give me my pay but if not, keep it.
so they payed me thirty pieces of silver.
(Matthew 2614-16) And the Lord said to me,
Throw it to the potterthe handsome price at
which they priced me! So I took the thirty
pieces of silver and threw them into the house of
the Lord, to the potter. (Matthew 273-8)
Daniel 924-26 Seventy sevens are decreed for
your people and your holy city to finish
transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for
wickedness, to bring in everlasting
righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and
to anoint the most holy. Know and understand
this From the issuing of the decree to restore
and rebuild Jerusalem, until the Anointed One,
the ruler comes, there will be seven sevens and
sixty two sevens Decree of Artaxerxes (Ezra
712-26) 458 BC 458 BC 490 years AD 33!!!
(no zero BC)
According to the Old Testament, the Messiah must
  • Be born in Bethlehem
  • Be raised in Galilee near Nazareth
  • Be despised and rejected by men
  • Be meek and silent before his accusers
  • Be pierced
  • Be crucified
  • Have his garments divided and gambled over
  • Be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
  • Come to Jerusalem to make atonement for sin in
    about AD 33
  • And many more.
  • Was all this an accident, or did God plan all
    along for the Passion of the Christ for
    forgiveness of sins? What do you think?

  • The theologies of world religions are
    fundamentally and diametrically opposed to one
    another. Many paths to the same God is a
    ludicrous philosophy.
  • The world view of Christianity is radically
    different from any other religion. They cannot
    both be right!
  • The truth of the Bible is confirmed by
  • Clear evidence of inspiration (fulfilled
    prophecy, types and foreshadows, historical
    accuracy, scientific evidence, etc)
  • Public miracles worked by Moses, Elijah and
    others, and especially by Jesus Christ (Hebrews