This is a WordPress repost of an excellent article originally posted by radicalworldview.com
I am reproducing it here for your reading convenience. I have taken the liberty to highlight some of the text in bold.
My guess is you’re reading this because you’re interested in spiritual matters. While much of the website is written to encourage Christians, I know that some of you visiting the site are not. If you are a “spiritual” person and are seeking to better understand world religions, then this post if for you.
The following are five reasons why a thoughtful person seeking religious truth should start with Christianity. I originally heard these five reasons in an apologetics lecture by Dr. Craig Hazen of Biola University. Those interested in exploring these more should check out one of his lectures (start around 14:15) or read his apologetics novel Five Sacred Crossings.
And now the five reasons:
1) Christianity is testable. Christianity is the only religion that is objectively testable. It is testable because the truth or falsehood of Christianity is based on a historical event: the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible itself says as much in 1 Corinthians 15:14 when Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
If you are serious about seeking truth then start with the religion that is based on a historical event and actually examine the evidence for yourself. The New Testament accounts of Jesus are some of the most historically verifiable ancient texts available. There are contemporary account written by non-Christians as well that prove Jesus’ existence.
Nearly every modern New Testament scholar, even atheists, agnostics and followers of other religions, affirm a set of minimal facts about Jesus. Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University has done much research to advance these minimal facts about Jesus. Some of these are:
- Jesus died by crucifixion.
- Jesus’ tomb was empty.
- Jesus’ followers believed that he rose from the dead and appeared to them.
- The lives of these believers were drastically transformed and they were willing to die for their belief in the risen Jesus.
- Paul, a vehement persecutor of the church, was suddenly changed after he believed Jesus appeared to him. He became an extraordinary evangelist eventually dying for following Jesus.
- Jesus’ half-brother, James, went from a skeptic before Jesus’ crucifixion to a believer and church leader afterwards.
If these are some of the facts that all critical scholars, both Christian and non-Christian agree on, then what is the best explanation that fits these facts? (Check out The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus or The Case for Christ for a full treatment.)
2) In Christianity, salvation is not earned but is a gift of God. Christianity is the only religion in which salvation is achieved not through any action on our part but through a free gift from God. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Christians believe salvation cannot be gained by anything we do, it is not a works-based religion, but it is gained through what God has already done through Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you put your trust in Jesus and follow him, you will be saved. I‘m sure many will recognize the verse John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
This is incredibly good news for any who can accept it. You need not, and cannot, earn your way into heaven. In other religions, salvation can only be attained through following all the rules of the religion, being a “good person”, and your salvation is never assured. You never know if you will be saved until you die and somehow God decides if you did enough good works. That is a path to salvation without hope or joy (not to mention that has serious theological difficulties such as can you ever be good enough for a perfect God).
If you are looking into different religions, start with Christianity where salvation is freely given to those that trust in Jesus.
3) Christianity is the best fit for reality as we know and experience it. As we look around us, experiencing life with all of its triumphs and tragedies, discovering reality scientifically, interacting with other people, Christianity makes the most sense of the reality that we all know and experience.
Take pain and suffering, for example. Christianity believes that pain and suffering are real and were not part of God’s original plan but brought about through human free will choosing rebellion against God. Eastern religions like Buddhism believe that the material world is just an illusion and the spiritual world is the only thing that is real. Try telling a survivor a horrible event that their pain and suffering isn’t really real!
Another example is free will. We all exercise our free will countless times every day in the myriad choices and decisions we are constantly making. Christianity puts forth that God gave humans free will in order to have a real relationship with us in which we freely choose to love him. Of course, with free will, people can choose to do bad things as well.
In the common atheistic belief systems, where everything is the product of random natural causes like evolution or else things are merely social constructions, free will is meaningless. Our actions are merely the product of random natural causes or else the product of our culture or upbringing. Unfortunately for atheists, these cannot account for the free will that we all know we have and that we use every day.
Furthermore, when you get rid of free will, then how can we ever judge actions as right or wrong. If someone commits murder, how can we blame them if their behavior was merely the result of evolution or social construction? You can see that this doesn’t jive with what we know to be true.
If you’re looking at different religions, start with Christianity which is an incredible fit for what we know to be true about the world around us. (Check out The Story of Reality or Finding Truth for a deeper dive.)
4) Christianity allows you to live a non-compartmentalized life. In Christianity, we can unite the spiritual and physical worlds. We can use reason and objective exploration to know the truth about faith and the world around us. In contrast to this, many eastern religions believe that reason, rationality, and deep thinking have nothing to do with religion; in fact, the idea is to actually clear your mind of everything. The problem with this is that it divides your life into two compartments: the spiritual and the physical. The Buddhist, on the spiritual hand, will say that the rational world is an illusion and that thoughtless, spiritual “oneness” is the only reality. However, Buddhist must live in a physical world that is very rational can be known and experienced rationally. Why choose a religion that necessitates living your life in two opposing spheres? Christianity allows you to unite spiritual and physical truths.
5) Christianity puts Jesus in the center of it all. Everybody wants to claim Jesus; he is the universal religious figure. In other religions he is a prophet, a great teacher, an incarnation of Buddha, one of a pantheon of gods. Even most non-religious people would say that Jesus was a good teacher.
Christianity puts Jesus at the very center. He is not merely a good teacher or a prophet but he is God and our only way to salvation. Most other religions want a piece of Jesus. If you are exploring religions, then why not start with Christianity where Jesus is the central figure.
If you are seeking truth and exploring religions, I applaud your search for truth. You recognize what many others try to deny, that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts and lives. As you seek the truth, I am praying that God will open your eyes to know and understand. I suggest you start your search with Christianity.
Are you searching for truth or are you searching for something that fits your currently held beliefs?
If you currently reject Christianity as true, is your rejection based on an investigation of the evidence for and claims of Christianity or is your rejection based on your experience with a church or with Christian people?
If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?
I’ve linked to some helpful resources in the article but here is another quick list:
Christianity is testable
Salvation is a free gift from God
- Read the Gospel of John to learn more about what Christianity actually teaches. (John was one of Jesus’ disciples.)
Christianity is the best fit for reality