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September 22, 2015 / BTM

One Reason You Should Begin A Religious Search With Christianity

freeAfter quite a break from posting – it was summer after all – here is a sequel post to my last one that looked at Christianity in a World of Religions.

First, a question.  How would you answer this?

What are the major aspects of Christianity that make it stand out from all other major religions?

One of my all-time favorite lectures on Christianity and religious pluralism was by Craig Hazen of Biola University.  In it, he sets out some deceptive simple ideas that most Christians do not have a clue about.  What he does is paint the picture of Christianity that we all know, but juxtaposes it against other religions in a way that is startling.  You are left realizing that Christians rarely appreciate what we have.

Here is one no brainer fact of about Christian doctrine that you may not have thought about but which make it stand apart from all of the other major world religions.

Salvation is free

Okay, you know this.  We all ‘know’ that Christian salvation is free, even if we sometimes don’t act like it is.  My guess is that many of us are so used to the idea of having to ‘earn’ favour or friendship or respect that we have a difficult time really accepting that our salvation is actually free in the sense of being unearned.  But if you understand Christian doctrine accurately, salvation is free, and that in itself is freeing.

Consider this.  Under Islam, salvation is earned.  Your good deeds must outweigh your bad ones and you are never quite sure – not even Mohammad was sure – of your eternal destination.  I have heard numerous Muslim converts shake their heads at how easily Christians overlook this aspect of their faith.  They say that the weight of uncertainty about their salvation under Islam was pure bondage.

Under Buddhism and Hinduism, salvation is earned through your own effort, but it can take millions of lifetimes to achieve it.  That’s a lot of time investment and a lot of risk.

Judaism is a bit better – if you are born Jewish – but you are still only likely certain of salvation (if you even believe in an afterlife, many Jewish people don’t).  Plus, you are required to make society a better place as a means to demonstrate your faith.

The fact is, all of the major religions have some sort of requirement to earn your salvation.  Christianity is weird that way – God paid for our sin and offers salvation to us free of charge.

A reason to start with Christianity

Wouldn’t you at least look into the claims of a religion that offered free salvation before checking out outer faiths that didn’t in order to see if its true or not?  Wouldn’t that be at least one decent reason for starting a religious quest with Christianity?

Try it at home

Help your children gain a sense of how freeing it is to know for certain that their salvation is secure.  Identify some sort of treat or privilege that they would really like to earn – money, a special dessert, a special outing, a movie night, TV or computer privileges, etc.  It has to be something that they would really like to have.

Announce to your children that they can earn the identified privilege if they earn enough points, but do not specify how many points are required to earn the privilege.  Come up with some sort of agreement on the kinds of things that will earn them points – good behaviour, chores, etc. and a deadline for earning the points (a day, a few hours, a weekend, or a week at most).  Keep track of the points they’ve earned on some sort of tracking system – I usually use a piece of paper displayed in a prominent place near the kitchen table for this.

Your children will hopefully ask how many points they are required to earn in order to get the privilege.  You need to stay vague on this.  Tell them “I don’t know” or “We’ll see” or “Enough”, or something like that.  This will likely drive them crazy.

At the end of the allotted time, ask your children if they think that they have earned enough points to get the privilege.  If I was your child, I’d say yes no matter what I’d earned.  Ask them how hard it was not knowing if they’d earned ‘enough’ points to have the privilege.  Ask what difference it would have made if they’d known what number of points they needed to earn.  Make the link to Christianity, where we know for certain that our salvation has been earned, and that of other world religions, where salvation must be earned but no one ever knows for sure how many ‘points’ they need in order to earn it.

Hopefully this will serve as a reminder of what Christianity offers them.

Do you have ideas on how to teach this point to your children?  I’d love to hear from you!

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Vance / Oct 10 2015 9:36 am

    Reblogged this on Ronin's Journey.

    • BTM / Oct 13 2015 10:56 am

      Thanks!

      • Vance / Oct 13 2015 10:57 am

        No problem, it’s good stuff

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