Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

QUESTIONS ABOUT RELIGION

Religion causes hatred, division and violence! Religious institutions are behind most of the evil in the world!

The Bible agrees with you! The Bible refers to world religions as “The great whore…Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). [The singular is used because the Bible teaches that the religions of the world will ultimately unite into one.]

People have done all the evil in the world in the name of religion – that does not change anything about who God really is or His message to you. It would be really foolish of someone to refuse to study physics or chemistry just because terrorists use the principles of physics and chemistry to make bombs. In the same way, it would be really foolish on your part to not bother to find out what God wants from you just because other people do bad things in the name of God!

Remember: God is not going to judge you on the basis of what other people did, but on what you did. It would be stupid of you to confuse God with His misrepresentation by people!

Aren't all gods the same? Different religions are merely different paths to the same destination or different aspects of the same truth.

There are some things common to the teachings of different religions. However, various religions differ drastically in their teachings on key issues, as the following table shows. Teachings that contradict the Bible are in red.

Topic/religionBiblical Christianity
Buddhism
Hinduism
Islam
Roman Catholicism
Sikhism
How many Gods?
One
NoneVarious ideas
OneOneOne
Is God a Trinity? YesNoNoNoYesNo
Was the world perfect initially?
YesNoNoNot specified
NoNot specified
Is reverence before idols good? NoYesYesNoYesNo
Are all men equal?YesYesNoYesYesYes
Is there reincarnation? NoYesYesNoNoYes
What is heaven like?
Personal spiritual bliss
Impersonal bliss
Impersonal bliss
Personal sensuous bliss
Personal spiritual bliss
Personal bliss
Eternal hell exists?
YesNoNoYesYesNot specified
Temporary hell?
NoYesNoYesYesYes
What is the consequence of sin? Infinite death
SufferingSufferingInfinite death
Infinite death
Suffering in a temporary hell
What is compensation for sin?Infinite death
Good deeds
Good deeds
NoneInfinite death + good deeds
Getting rid of the five evils
The Creator suffering for man's sin
All important: your only hope  No NoNoImportantNo
Can man reach heaven on his own?
NoYesYesYesNoYes
Access to God/heaven is Purely God's  gift
Human achievement
 Human achievement
God's excusing + human achievement
God's gift + human achievement
Human achievement
How to go to heaven?
Surrender to God/ Receive His free gift
 Good deeds  Good deeds
Belief+ good deeds
Belief + good deeds
Good deeds
How is justice meted out?
God's policy
Natural law
Natural lawGod's policy
God's policy
Ambiguous
Key purpose of good deeds
Fitting for those who know they're going to heaven
To reach heaven  To reach heaven To reach heavenTo reach heavenTo reach heaven
Bodily resurrection?
YesNo No
Yes
Yes
No

A few points that we can note:-

  1. The differences are profound, not merely in some superficial details.
  2. The teachings of different religions are mutually contradictory and incompatible. It is not a case of different paths to reach the same goal (like one person may say: add 3 and 4 to get 7; another may say, add 2 and 5; both are correct despite being different). Rather, the differences involve great teachings about reality that are fundamentally contradictory (like two people at the same place are simultaneously asked what day is it, and one of them says Monday, and the other says Tuesday). Therefore, no two of the above religions can be right.
  3. A partially correct religion has no merit. Something that comes from the true God should be absolutely perfect.
  4. The Bible centers around the person of Jesus Christ whom it presents as the only Savior and only God (see John 14:6, Acts 4:12, John 3:18, 1 John 5:12, Isaiah 45:5-6, Isaiah 43:11). Other religions ignore him or relegate him to an inferior position. This in itself is a fundamental, irreconcilable difference between the Bible and other faiths.

Have a look at the evidence for Jehovah (God of the Bible) – you will see that no other belief system has evidence that even comes close in its sheer volume and intensity to it. It is for you to decide what you want to follow. Also see:-

Are religion/faith and science, history, etc. separate domains?

To some extent, yes. The poor widow in a third world country whose life of hopelessness changed to joy ever since she became a Biblical Christian couldn't care less about whether string theory will turn out to be true or not. Whatever scientists discover about string theory, it has no relevance for her faith.

However, there is considerable overlap. While the widow's hope may be based on her personal experiences, the objective basis of her hope is the Bible. And the Bible says (directly or indirectly) that it is completely perfect, people cohabited with dinosaurs, that the earth was made only six thousand years ago, that death and disease started only after man appeared, that there was a certain Jesus who lived in Israel in the first century, that Jesus rose again from the dead, that there was a Roman Empire, an Egyptian civilization, etc. All these are statements coming inside the domain of science, history, archaeology, etc. Similarly, the world's religions also make claims testable by science. For example, Hinduism claims that the sun and moon are equidistant from the earth (Vishnu Purana, Chap 7). Any religion tells us something about the nature of man and the universe, how things came to be, and where things are headed. These are things about which science speaks.

Therefore, "religion" and "science" cannot be compartmentalized. If you follow a religion, you must ask yourself whether your religion is compatible with observed scientific and other facts (it need not be compatible with scientific speculation). If not, your religion is false.

Although all religions have some bad features, their followers are sincere!

At best, they may be sincerely mistaken and lazy. It is a fact that a lot of people are only nominal adherents of their religion - they don't know what their religion teaches, and don't care. But this is hardly a desirable situation. If you call yourself an adherent of a particular religion, you should know what it means, follow it, and be accountable to it. If you disagree with the religion of the family you were born in, be open about it! It is absurd to complain about being linked with the negative features of a religion when you call yourself an adherent:-

  • If you call yourself a Roman Catholic, by definition it means that you consider the popes to be infallible, and thus their decisions to be right. You thus approve of the inquisitions, the ratlines for the Nazis, the crusades, denial of access to the Bible for common people, etc. These make up the real Roman Catholicism - not the nice things that Catholics do when they are in a minority (running schools, orphanages, hospitals, etc).
  • If you call yourself a Muslim, by definition it means that you approve of the Koran, Hadith and Muhammad. You thus approve of  spreading Islam violently, a sexually explicit paradise, killing Muslims who realize that Islam is false, etc. You shouldn't blame non-Muslims for noticing that the "peaceful" Islam that Muslim apologists project in Muslim-minority nations is not the real Islam.
  • If you call yourself a "liberal Christian", by definition, it means that you believe that the Bible is an ambiguous, outdated book with a lot of lies in it, that some of the people living today are not really made in God's image but merely the products of evolution, etc.
  • If you call yourself a Hindu, by definition it means that you approve of the caste system, sati, etc, because this is the real Hinduism, not the yoga that is marketed to rich Westerners willing to shell out money for stress relief.
  • If you call yourself a Buddhist, by definition it means that you consider it murder to use disinfectants, antibiotics, etc.
  • If you call yourself an atheist, by definition it means that you consider human life to be a mere accident of nature, and thus of no intrinsic value; there would be nothing absolutely morally wrong in rape, murder, etc. You should know that real atheism is found in the Siberian slave labor camps, Chinese gulag and Cambodian killing fields of Pol Pot, not the impressive speeches of atheists living in Christian-influenced western countries.

I am a Biblical Christian. By definition, this means that I accept what the Bible teaches as true! I will not mince words for the sake of political correctness. If you're not sure what's right, call yourself an agnostic or seeker. I'm here to help you learn what The Main Message of the Bible is, show you the Evidence for God, and share the testimonies of those who have found the God of the Bible. Also note: sincerity is not enough to reach God.

Christianity has inspired a lot of evil, so it must be false!

The following are some evils that some attribute to Christianity:-
  1. The crusades and inquisitions organized by the Roman Catholic Church
  2. Colonization and imperialism by western nations
  3. Recent wars by western nations, such as America's invasion of Iraq
  4. Conflicts between African tribes
  5. Sedition, such as in North East India
  6. Opposition to scientific discovery
  7. Conversion by fraud
To determine whether this judgment is correct, we need to 
  1. define Christianity
  2. see if Christianity (as correctly defined) prescribes any of the above
In Acts 11:26 of the Bible, we’re told: “The disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in Antioch” (around AD 40). That’s the original definition of a Christian. Thus a Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is equivalent to saying that a Christian is one who obeys the Bible as a matter of policy because Jesus upheld the authority of the Bible (see Matthew 4:4, John 10:35, John 17:17, Luke 16:17), and said that true discipleship is marked by obedience (Luke 6:46).
 
So: can you point out where the Bible prescribes any of the above evils? Search the Bible, and make sure you're interpreting the Bible correctly. If you cannot find where the Bible prescribes any of the above, it means that Biblical Christianity is not to blame for them – some other ideology is responsible. Just because a person claims to be a doctor, it does not mean he really is a doctor. The same applies to Biblical Christianity. A lot of people in history have called themselves Christians and done things very different from what Jesus would endorse. Your perception of what it means to be a Christian depends on your background and experience, which I do not know. My plea to you is this: I’m not endorsing your perception of Christianity. I stand for the God behind the Bible, and the truth of the Bible – which you are most likely ignorant of. So spare some time, and check out what the true message of the Bible is, and who God really is.

The Christians I know are no different from anyone else!

The followers of the true God through His Son Jesus Christ in the first century were so different from others that the Greeks and Romans invented the word "Christian" to describe them (Acts 11:26). So if the "Christians" you know are "no different" from everyone else, chances are that they aren't really Christian, as defined in the Bible. Their "Christianity" is merely a statistic. Pseudo-Christians are not relevant to you, but the Bible is, because it claims to be God's message to man. So I urge you to leave the pseudo-Christians alone and consider seriously The Main Message of the Bible.

How to distinguish between true and false Christianity?

There are people today of so many varying beliefs and practices that go by the label "Christian". I also call myself a Christian. There is a simple definition of Christianity in the Bible:-

"The disciples [of Jesus Christ] were called Christians first in Antioch [in Syria]". - Acts 11:26

So "Christian" is a term that was originally invented to refer to a disciple of Christ. By definition, this means someone who obeys and follows Christ (no one is perfect in obedience, but true Christians obey at least as a matter of policy). The teachings of Christ are recorded in the Bible and he upheld the authority of the entire Bible (see Matthew 4:4, John 10:35, John 17:17, Luke 16:17), and said that true discipleship is marked by obedience (Luke 6:46).

So, to find out whether something constitutes true or false Christianity, the objective criterion is:

Does the Bible endorse it?

I encourage you to apply this criterion instead of forming your impression about the Bible, God or Biblical Christianity based on the actions of supposed Christians (I know, searching the Bible and learning to interpret it is hard work, but it is the usual case of the easy, lazy way not being the right way). 

How old is Biblical Christianity?

The Bible began to be written when the universe was created, and there have been people worshiping God (Christians, if you will) since the start of the human race. Adam (the first man) himself wrote part of the Bible (see Genesis 5:1). The Bible records God promising the advent of the incarnation of God in Genesis 3:15, shortly after creation. It’s just that he showed up only 2000 years ago (in the person of Jesus Christ). So then, Bible based faith is not a new thing:-

  • Till Jesus came, the people of God looked forward to His coming (no one called them Christians for doing that).
  • After Jesus came, the people of God recognized him (because of which others started calling them Christians)
Jesus himself did not spring out of nowhere and call out: “Hey all you guys, forget everything you’ve ever believed and listen to me – I’m God!!” Rather, he was announced hundreds of years before hand by dozens of detailed prophecies that would enable anyone to identify him beyond doubt as the one whom God had promised. Moreover, he upheld all the scripture that God had delivered to man before his birth (the Old Testament).

Thus, the term "Christianity" is two thousand years old. But the practice of revering the true God (which is what true Christianity really is), is as old as the human race. The Main Message that I preach to you is the same message that the first man Adam preached to his descendants. The only difference is that he would have had to use the future tense where I have used the past tense.

Are you Catholic or Protestant?

Neither. I am merely a follower of Jehovah, the God who has revealed himself through the Bible, and His Son Jesus Christ. I am a Christian as defined in the Bible (Acts 11:26). Catholics and Protestants also claim to be Christians, so I have some explaining to do.

Roman Catholics who devoutly believe what their church teaches are not Biblical Christians because the teachings of Roman Catholicism are opposed to that of the Bible. The most conspicuous and important disagreement is as follows:-

There is none other name under heaven given among men [other than the name of Jesus], whereby we must be saved.”  – Acts 4:12

"We declare, affirm, define and pronounce it to be necessary for salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." – Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Protestants owe their origin to the Reformation, in which leaders such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Uhlrich Zwingli repudiated some of the errors of Roman Catholicism (in particular, the one mentioned just above) and returned to Biblical teaching. The Bible demands absolute authority; although the Protestants claimed to recognize this with their slogan "Sola Scriptura" [only the Bible], they didn't practice their own slogan fully. In several matters (example: Church Offices, Church structure, the nation of Israel, Baptism, freedom of conscience, etc) the reformers retained the errors of Rome.

Also see: How to distinguish between true and false Christianity?

I stand here for the truth of the Bible, not for what has been done in the name of Christianity by Martin Luther or the RCC.

Is Christianity a Western religion?

Our concern here is with Biblical Christianity. Let us consider some aspects:-
 
Origins: The Bible begins with the creation of the universe, the beginnings of the human race and its dispersal to all the world from the Middle East (Sumeria). After that, most of the Bible was written in Israel, which is at the center of the world map. Jesus Christ was not a Westerner but a Jew. The people of Israel (the Jews) are the most spread out ethnic group in the world. The last part of the Bible deals with the final destiny of the world as a whole. Thus, there is nothing "Western" in the origins of the Bible. Rather, the Bible is non-parochial.
 
Beliefs and Practices: The Bible has no teaching or ritual in it that originates in "pre-Biblical" Western culture. Thus, in terms of teaching, the Bible is not a "Western" book. Beside, the Bible lends itself to straightforward interpretation, and so anyone can check for himself whether a certain practice is merely western culture or truly Biblical. It is worth contrasting Biblical faith with Islam, whose rituals are plagiarized from pre-Islamic Arabian religion, whose god prefers prayer in Arabic, and whose holy book can supposedly be accurately rendered only in Arabic. Islam is truly an Arabian product.
 
Spread: Both false (non-Biblical) and true, Biblical Christianity spread in all directions more or less uniformly during 50-500 AD. In the period from 500 to about 1900 AD, Europe (and America) were more responsive to the Bible than the rest of the world. From 1900 to today, Asia and Africa have seen more response to The Main Message than the West. The country witnessing the fastest growth of both true and false Christianity today is also the country that is progressing most rapidly, that is becoming ready to rival the USA. You know which country it is, and it is not a Western country. Thus, while the spread of Christianity may present some excuse to regard it as a Western religion, a more objective and extensive examination reveals that it is global. Biblical Christianity is the most uniformly distributed faith in the world today.
 
Message: The Main Message of the Bible deals with your condition before the Creator-God of the universe - whoever you may be and wherever you come from. It does not ask you to adopt any Western name or practice, nor does it tell you that the West contains holy places that you must visit. 
 
To summarize, Biblical Christianity is not a Western religion. The same sun shines on America and India. This does not make it American, Western or Eastern. In the same way, the same God (Jehovah), the same savior Jesus Christ, and the same word of God, the Bible, are meant for people from all the nations in the world. Where is all this headed?
"I saw: lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and languages, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." - Revelation 7:9

You explain away misdeeds by Christians as the work of fake Christians. Does not the same defense apply for all belief systems?

No it doesn't because I have an objective criterion to determine what constitutes "true" or "fake". Every belief system has a definition. You are a true Christian, Muslim, or whatever, if you adhere to the definition of your label. Let me illustrate:-
  • If a Spaniard "Christian" goes to the Americas and starts butchering the natives there because they refuse to convert, he is NOT a true Biblical Christian because Jesus never asked his disciples to kill those who refuse to become disciples. However, this Spaniard is being a true Roman Catholic, because Roman Catholicism teaches that those who refuse to become Catholics should be punished severely.
  • Muslim suicide bombers are true Muslims because the definitive texts of Islam, namely the Koran and Hadith espouse violence, as did Islam's greatest prophet, Muhammad.
  • Hindu racists are true Hindus because Hinduism is defined by the practices of its adherents, not by any text, and untouchability is a widespread practice in Hindu India. The same principle (and conclusion) applies to "Orthodox Christians" who exercise violence towards Biblical Christians.
  • Jewish terrorists like Baruch Goldstein are NOT true followers of Judaism, because nowhere do the Mishna or Talmud ask their followers to kill others.
  • Atheism, by its very definition, implies ethical nihilism, so when atheists like Stalin and Mao acted without any respect for ethics or human life, they were being true to atheism.
To summarize, instead of using diplomacy or political correctness to evaluate good or bad done in the name of religion or atheism, use the obvious objective criterion: what that belief system actually teaches. When you do this, you reach a simple, politically incorrect conclusion: the Bible is good, and most other belief systems are downright bad. Thus, "bad" Christian policies are not "true" Christian policies, but many bad policies under the name of other religions are truly associated with those religions.

Are you a fundamentalist?

When I teach physics, I emphasize the fundamentals: the laws of physics and how to apply them. I have no sympathy for a student who wants to do physics disregarding the fundamentals of physics. However, if a student has a question or disagrees with me, I hear him out and discuss things with him. I do not strap a bomb to myself and detonate it near students with low test scores.

Similarly, when I deal with the Bible, I stress its fundamentals - God's holiness, our sinfulness, what God has done about it, how we respond, how God wants us to live, etc. I discuss with those who disagree with me (that's why this website exists).

So, if by fundamentalist, you mean someone who acknowledges the fundamentals and gives them their right (fundamental) place, the answer is: YES, I am a fundamentalist. If by fundamentalist, you mean a person who does not listen to people with differing views or attacks them, then the answer is: NO.

Why do you preach to others? Why don't you keep your views to yourself?

I believe that the God of the Bible is true, and that knowing Him is the key to one's eternal welfare. So I preach to others. Why should I not recommend to others someone so wonderful that I've found to be true in my life? These Bible verses explain it in brief: John 3:16, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Matthew 28:18-20. Perhaps you will get the point if it comes from an atheist:-
"I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I don't respect that at all. If you believe that there's a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward...How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" – Penn Jillette, well known atheist.