For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
—John 3:16

Some people argue that Christianity’s claim of exclusivism is unnecessary. Many have bought into the idea that all religions are basically the same and every religion is describing different truths about the same deity. However, those who believe that all religions are the same don’t know the basic teachings of most world religions. For example, there are vast differences about the most basic concept regarding God: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity insist there is only one God. Hinduism allows for millions of deities. Buddhism does not teach the existence of a personal God.

World religions also disagree about the basic problem confronting humanity. Hindus diagnose man’s challenge as “samsara”—the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation that can only be broken by understanding one’s relationship to Brahman. Islam teaches man’s problem is a failure to keep Allah’s laws as revealed in the Qur’an. Only by accumulating enough good works to offset our evil deeds can one hope to go to heaven. Christianity declares that mankind’s chief problem is sin. However, unlike Islam, Christianity does not allow a person to work himself back into God’s favor. Instead, Christianity teaches that one must repent of his sins and place his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Another vast difference between various religions is what happens to a person when he dies. Hindus believe we are trapped in an endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth that starts again when we die. Islam teaches that we die once and are judged by Allah. Christians believe that once a person dies, all opportunities for repentance are over and a person’s eternal fate is sealed forever.

Interestingly, the founders of the world’s major religions claimed their faith was different rather than similar to other religions. The Buddha was a dissatisfied follower of Hinduism. Abraham and Moses rejected polytheistic beliefs and taught there was only one true God. Muhammad turned away from belief in multiple deities and taught that Allah was the only true God. Peter declared that all paths to God other than Jesus Christ were dead ends: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Both the existence of various religions and the intense strife that has existed between the followers of those religions are due to the differences, not the similarities, between those contrasting belief systems.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know Christianity Is the Right Religion?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.