How Is Christianity Unique?
- Sophia Bricker Contributing Writer
- 2021 25 Jun
Many drivers may have noticed a popular bumper sticker, which reads “Coexist” with the words replaced by different religious symbols. For example, the “C” is commonly represented as the Islamic crescent, the “X” as the Star of David, and the “T” as the Cross.
Those who use the “Coexist” bumper sticker would argue that all religions should live in peace, harmony, and tolerance. In a society of relativism, many people believe that all the world religions are basically the same, which is why they should all get along with one another.
There is the question, however, if all the world religions are basically the same or have the same teachings. Would a Jewish person agree that they worship the same God as a Christian? Or would a Muslim affirm the inerrant and inspired status of the Bible as Christians do?
Clearly, the answers to these questions prove that the major world religions are not all the same. Specifically, Christianity stands out among all these religions because of its teachings on God, salvation, the Bible, and the person of Jesus.
One God, Three Persons
While many of the world religions are monotheistic, meaning they worship one God, Christianity is unique in teaching that there is one God who is three persons. The Trinity, a word used to describe God, is a distinctly Christian doctrine. No other system of belief has the idea of one God who exists eternally as three persons.
Specifically, the Bible presents the truth that the Father is God (Ephesians 1:2). Jesus, the Son, is also God (John 1:1; Colossians 2:9). In addition, the Holy Spirit is explicitly said to be God (Acts 5:3-4). All of this is in context of Scripture’s affirmation that there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Matthew 28:19 also makes the truth of the Trinity clear when Jesus says, “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (NIV, emphasis mine). The word “name” is singular, in referring to God, but includes the three distinct persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
All other world religions deny the truth about God’s essential being. Jews and Muslims deny the Trinity. Also, those in cults deny the truth of who God is, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Christianity stands alone in affirming the truth that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the only true God.
Saved by Grace Through Faith
Another major aspect of Christianity, which stands out as distinct is the Bible’s presentation of salvation. All other religions and cults teach that people must work for their salvation. The Jewish people believe they must follow the commandments to be pleasing to God.
Islam teaches that a person must wholeheartedly adhere to the five pillars of faith to win the favor of Allah.
Mormons believe that a person must accomplish good works within the Latter-Day Saint church to earn their way to Heaven. All these false paths encourage human work and effort to achieve salvation.
In contrast to the rules laid down by the major world religions and cults, Christianity teaches that salvation is a work of God, which He freely gives to mankind. Scripture teaches that Jesus secured the forgiveness of sins through His brutal death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Christ gave Himself as an atoning sacrifice to free mankind from their bondage to sin (Romans 3:25-26; 1 John 2:2). Salvation was initiated by God, since “Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
This demonstrates God’s love for us” (Romans 5:8, God’s Word Translation). Humans cannot earn favor with God, since even mankind’s good deeds are seen as filthy rags in comparison to their sin (Isaiah 64:6).
Unlike the works-centered system of other religions, Christianity presents the truth that salvation is by grace through faith. As Ephesians 2:8-9 affirms, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (NIV).
Faith alone is all that is required to receive the wondrous gift of salvation and eternal life (John 3:16). To receive a clear account in front of the one holy God, a person must accept the free offer of salvation, which provides justification for sins (Romans 3:21-24).
God’s Holy Word
In addition to the Trinity and salvation by grace through faith, Christianity is unique by teaching that the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testament, is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Scripture is complete, inerrant, and inspired. The writers of the Bible were carried along by the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate Author of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). Seen as the Word of God, the Bible is a unique aspect of Christianity.
Other religions have their sacred writings, but they are flawed and include contradictions. For instance, the Quran claims to be the inspired words of Allah but has contradictions. In the Quran, Muhammed is said to be the first Muslim (Surah 39:12), but Abraham is also said to be the first Muslim (Surah 2:132).
This is a clear contradiction, among many others, which discredit the Quran. Unlike the Quran, the Bible has no contradictions since God’s words are flawless (Proverbs 30:5).
The Bible even stands unique among the changed versions of Scripture, which cults use. As an example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed the Bible to fit their belief system.
In the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible, they have changed John 1:1 to say that “the Word was a god,” rather than the correct reading that “the Word is God,” in referring to Jesus (NIV). Therefore, the Bible is a distinguishing mark of Christianity.
Jesus, the God-Man
The final distinctive aspect of Christianity, which will be discussed is the person of Jesus Christ. Although He is listed last in this article, Jesus is the most important aspect regarding the uniqueness of Christianity.
Within the teachings of the major world religions, Jesus is viewed as a great teacher, prophet, a good man, or a spiritual guide. None of the other religions recognize the truth of who Jesus is as described in the Bible.
Despite the false representations of Jesus in world religions, the Bible is clear that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity and became man in the incarnation to save mankind (Philippians 2:6-11).
Even in the incarnation of becoming a physical man, Jesus did not lose any of His deity but continued to be the almighty God of the universe (Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:23; John 8:58; Romans 10:9-11).
One day in the future, all people will recognize Jesus for who He is and confess His name on bended knees (Philippians 2:10-11).
Also, Scripture says that Jesus is the only way to be saved. The names of Muhammed, Allah, Ganesh, Buddha, or Joseph Smith cannot save anyone. There is no other name by which mankind can be saved but by the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11-12).
Although secular culture would claim that people can experience God in any religion, Christianity presents the truth of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. As Jesus stated in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (NIV).
This truth may not be popular in the modern pluralistic society but is a vital teaching of Christianity, which cannot be compromised. Salvation is only found in Jesus’ death and resurrection. All other paths are futile and lead to death.
Christianity Stands Apart from all Other Religions
Christianity’s teaching of God, salvation, the Bible, and the person of Jesus are all distinguishing marks, which set it apart from all other religions. No other world religion, cult, or system of belief can provide enduring joy, everlasting hope, eternal life, or a new life like Christianity.
Although many people would call Christianity a “religion,” it is so much more since it involves an intimate and deep relationship with the God of the universe who saved mankind because of His indescribable love.
Modern culture may continue to argue for all religions being viewed as intrinsically the same, but Christianity stands out in presenting the life-changing, good news of Jesus Christ.
For further reading:
Is Religious Tolerance Biblical?
What Hope Do Other Religions Have in the Afterlife?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/masterzphotois
Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening.