Other Religions

Listing of questions (click to jump to that question)

1. Can I be a Confucian and a Christian at the same time?
2. How is this Christian account any different from the legends of other civilizations or religions?
3. Why are there different religions if mankind has a single source of origin and our supposed ancestors know about their Creator?
4. Reincarnation sounds very reasonable and it is found in most non-Judeo-Christian religions. Why shouldn't I believe in it?
5. How do you know the Christian way of salvation is the only way?
6. How do you deny all the good things other religions do?
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1. Can I be a Confucian and a Christian at the same time?

Confucius' teachings as found in The Analects are not contradictory to the Christian faith. He is a great teacher, and his teachings should be studied.  He never claimed to be a deity, nor did he ever solicit worship from others.  If nothing else, he is a humble teacher who is struggling to find the Way, and he admits he did not have the whole truth yet.  For more
information, please check out our Confucianism and Christianity lesson.

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2. How is this Christian account any different from the legends of other civilizations or religions?

Ancient legends that seek to explain natural phenomena have special characteristics. First, they tend to offer post facto "answers" to specific, unanswerable questions of the people, for example, why does the Moon lose part of itself sometimes?  As our scientific understanding of these phenomena improves, we come to see these legends as simple ancient stories and discard their explanatory uses. Second, they tend to be quite simple, enough so that kids can absorb. Explanation is useful only if it can be understood by its listeners. Third, they tend to fail the test of modern science. After all, they were written to cover up people's ignorance of science.

Legends of other civilizations and religions tend to obey these three characteristics. Today, no one seriously believes that seasons are causes by the activities of Greek deities, or that the missing portions of the Moon are eaten by the Heavenly Dog (a Chinese legend). We still tell of these legends as ancient literature.  Yet the Biblical account of Genesis is very different from other legends in many aspects, although it also offers an explanation to a question that was unanswerable with the science of the day.  First, it is too complex to be a good legend. The description of the state of the Earth is confusing even for the modern readers. For example, what does it mean to separate light from darkness? What does it mean to separate the water?  This point alone makes the Genesis account an unlikely legend, at least for the purpose of explaining the questions of the ancient people.  Second, it does not fail the test of modern science, once we see it in the proper perspective.  This casts serious doubt on the secular origin of this account. How can a legend, which is supposed to be used to cover up people's ignorance, be comprehensible only thousands of years later when science finally catches up, but difficult to absorb at the time of its writing?  This fact alone should convince us that this account is not man-made but divinely inspired, or even given by God directly.

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3. Why are there different religions if mankind has a single source of origin and our supposed ancestors know about their Creator?

Religions evolve out of ignorance, sociopolitical needs, and a desire to explain different natural phenomena observed.  Sometimes religions evolve out of folklore and stories. For more information, please check out our Is Christianity a Natural Religion.

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4. Reincarnation sounds very reasonable and it is found in most non-Judeo-Christian religions. Why shouldn't I believe in it?

Reincarnation is a concept that is used to either replace a justice-serving God (in the case where there's no deity) or a replacement for Heaven/afterlife, and in both cases this concept does not make sense for the purpose it is intended to serve.  Reincarnation is promoted as a way to reward the just and punish the wicked.  Some others teach that reincarnation is the method by which we learn to be better beings.  If these were true, then why can't we remember why we are humans?  Do pigs know their sins from their previous life, and are they repenting while being pigs?  For rewards and punishments to be just (and for "lessons" to be learned), the recipients must know the reasons for their treatment.  Reincarnation thus cannot be a valid concept for either proposed uses.  The devil would of course promote reincarnation because it leads us from our belief in the real God who serves justice in this life and in the afterlife.

(It's likely that I'll one day turn this question into a full-length lesson.)

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5. How do you know the Christian way of salvation is the only way?

This is a very complicated question.  How can one prove the exclusivity of a thing (i.e. only the Judeo-Christian God is real)?  How can you prove the non-existence of something that does not exist (i.e. other religions' claims to salvation, etc.)?  We hope you can be more convinced after browsing through some of the lessons we have here, especially Creating Your Own Religion (which shows why Christianity does not make sense as a man-made religion) and A Tale of Two Friends (which explains why the Christian concept of salvation is so strange).  A good book to read is More Than A Carpenter (ISBN: 0842345523) by Josh McDowell.

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6. How do you deny all the good things other religions do?

We don't.  Just because someone is doing some good things does not mean that person is a great person or that whatever he says is right.  There are many religions that do wonderful work in helping the poor or promoting social justice, but those deeds do not prove these religions' validity, especially if they claim to provide a way to salvation or afterlife.

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Last updated: 2/7/2000