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Christianity and World Religions John Oakes June, 2007.

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1 Christianity and World Religions John Oakes June, 2007

2 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 7:13-14) I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus of Nazareth (John 14:6)

3 God Islam Buddhis m Mysticism Ba’hai Another Point of View: Different Paths to the Same Goal?

4 Outline ► Theology: ideas about God ► World View: What is man’s place in the world? ► Scripture: What is the source of authority?

5 Definitions ► 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)

6 Biblical Theology ► In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1 ► By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son….

7 HINDUISM ► 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 religion. Ganesh: a Hindu deity God of wisdom and intellect

8 Principle gods of Hinduism ► Brahma Chief god of the pantheon. ► Shiva God of destruction. Worshipped as a male phalus. 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 prosperity. Lakshmi

9 Buddhism ► 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 Hinduism. ► Pantheistic, or arguably non-theistic. A philosophy, a psychology.


11 Jainism ► 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

12 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 practices. ► Reincarnation ► Karma ► Pantheistic The Svastika a symbol of samsara (rebirth)

13 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 hearkening.” The Golden Temple Amristar, India

14 Taoism (Daoism) ► Founded by Lao Tzu—a 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 nature. ► 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.” “He would not pluck so much as a hair out of his head for the benefit of his fellow man.”

15 Ba’hai Theology ► Salvation through keeping the law as handed down by Baha-Ullah ► Emphasis on good deeds, helping the poor, education ► 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!

16 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.

17 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 Paganism. ► New Age is Monism! God is everything I am God!!! “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.” “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.”

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

19 Islamic Theology Islamic Theology “Surely good deeds take away evil deeds” (11:114). “Surely good deeds take away evil deeds” (11:114). 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. Shirk—association (of other gods with Allah). No forgiveness.

20 Salvation by own effort Salvation by own effort (40:9, 39:61, 7:43) Charity atones for sins (2:271,277) ► Earn grace. ► Earn favor of Allah. ► Earn salvation. ► Earn paradise.

21 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.

22 A Question: Who reaches out to whom?

23 Initiative Human approach Truth God God Mankind Mankind Mankind Mankind

24 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

25 World View: What Is My Place in the World? ► What is my purpose? ► What is my relationship with creation?

26 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.

27 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 outward.

28 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

29 The Four Noble Truths of Siddhartha ► Suffering is not getting what one wants. ► The cause of suffering is desire which leads to rebirth. ► 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.

30 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, etc…)  Satya. Truthfulness  Asteya. Non-stealing  Celibacy  Non-attachment

31 Islamic Worldview: God is very distant from mankind In Islam, Allah determines everything, even who will choose to follow him. 2:142, 6:39 6:125 Inshallah God willing. It is God’s will that people suffer..

32 The Biblical World View ► The physical world is real and it is good. Genesis 1:31  Only Islam agrees with this conclusion. ► This world is not our home. ► But, compassion… James 1:27 Micah 6:8 ► Christian groups are responsible for virtually all the world’s efforts to deal with poverty and human suffering in general and to work for social justice.

33 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 2:13

34 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.

35 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.

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

37 Buddhist Cosmology

38 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 worker). Works salvation: “Sin and sorrow are destroyed by hearkening.”

39 The Qu’ran; the Scripture of Islam Based on “revelations” from Gabriel to Mohammed. Compiled in the 7 th century AD (the 600s). Contains 114 chapters, or suras, arranged from longest to shortest. Quite repetitive. About 80% the length of the New Testament.

40 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.

41 Historical errors in the Qur’an Historical errors in the Qur’an ► Ishmael = Isaac 37:102 ► 2 trees in Eden = 1 tree20:120 ► Noah’s 4th son drowns11:43 ► Zechariah silent 3 days (not 9 months) 3:41 ► Pharaoh’s magicians repent20:70 ► Judges 7 / 1 Sam 17 conflated2:249 ► Jesus’ childhood miracles3:49, 5:110, 19:30

42 Scientific errors in Qur’an (I) 23:14—Creation 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.” 18:86—Traveling west… “… till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring.”

43 Scientific errors in Qur’an (II) 21:33—Sun and stars orbit the earth 12—11 planets 34:9, 52:44—Piece of sky falls and kills someone 36:4, 23:14 Man deposits child into the mother

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

45 For Example: Fulfilled Messianic Prophecy ► Psalm

46 Isaiah 53:1-13: 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)

47 Micah 5:2 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 9:1,6 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.



50 Psalm 22:16-18 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 19:3-37) people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. (John 19:23,24)

51 Zechariah 11:12,13 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 26:14-16) And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the 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 27:3-8)

52 Daniel 9:24-26 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 7:12-26) 458 BC 458 BC + 490 years = AD 33!!! (no zero BC)

53 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?

54 Summary ► 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 2:3,4).

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