|"What really determines the credibility of any one religion or belief system is the underlying foundation upon which it is built."
The World's Religions
How did the world's major religions come into being?
- The Christian Bible, a collection of 66 books, from Genesis
to Revelation, known as the Old and New Testaments,
was written by over 40 authors covering a span of about 1,500
years. The New Testament portion of the Bible is the primary
source of history regarding the origin of Christianity, and forms
the basis of all Christian doctrine.
- The first four books of the New Testament, known as
the Gospels, are concerned primarily with telling the story
of Jesus Christ. According to the Gospels, Jesus, the central
figure and founder of Christianity, claimed to be the only
Son of God, who came down from heaven to earth in bodily
- Jesus’ mission was to save mankind from their sins by
dying a sacrificial death on the cross (known historically as
the Crucifixion). The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death was necessary
because an innocent life had to substitute for the guilty.
Holiness required that sin must not be ignored. As such, God
sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to live an innocent life and
pay the penalty for the sins of the world. Anyone who believes
this, Jesus promised, would have eternal life with Him
in heaven (John 3).
- According to the New Testament, many people in the
first century believed Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God based
on His supernatural power to perform miracles, and also
based on His resurrection from the dead. Jesus predicted His
own death, but said that He would rise again three days later
(Matt. 12:38–40), using this as His final proof that He spoke
- Taken from the New Testament, the main doctrines of
Christianity today are as follows:
- Jesus Christ, God the Son, was born of the virgin Mary
and received a human body and a sinless human nature,
and in Him perfect humanity and divine nature are found
in one personality.
- There is only one true and living God, an infinite, intelligent
Spirit, the creator, ruler, and sustainer of the universe.
- The godhead eternally exists in three persons — the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one
God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and
perfections, and are worthy of the same honor, confidence,
and obedience. Together, the three persons of the
godhead execute distinct but harmonious offices in the
work of the creation as well as redemption.
- Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and then resurrected
to life for the sins of all mankind, and He will return
personally and bodily to make the Final Judgement of
both believers and non-believers.
- People were originally created in the image and likeness
of God. They fell short of the glory of God because of
sin, and only through repentance of their sins and acceptance
of Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will they
inherit eternal life, or else suffer eternal condemnation.
- Jesus performed many miracles while living on earth to
exhibit His divine nature. These included the resurrection
of people from the dead, healing the blind, etc.
- The Bible was written without error by certain people
throughout history, under the special inspiration of God,
who is the ultimate author of the text. The Bible is the
only complete revelation of the truth of God and the
final authority for all Christian faith and practice.
- As a result of such sensational beliefs, the claims of the
New Testament have by and large become one of the most
controversial scholarly debates of modern times. The New Testament
has been more thoroughly studied by inquiring minds
than any other book written. There are more translations of
the Bible into different languages than any other book. There
are more ancient, handwritten copies of the Bible still in existence
than any other ancient writing.
- The impact of Christianity in the first century was such
that it became the officially accepted faith of the Western world
for the next 1,700 years. The Canadian Constitution declares
the supremacy of God in its first sentence: “Whereas Canada
is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy
of God and the rule of law. . . .” Likewise, the United States
Declaration of Independence recognizes God (the Creator)
in its second paragraph: “We hold these Truths to be selfevident,
that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator. . . .” And, of course, all U.S. currency is
imprinted with the slogan “In God We Trust.” The Christian
Bible is often used in law courts for the taking of an oath of
truth (in Canada and the United States). Amazingly, the Bible
remains the number one selling book of all time.
- Year after year, North America’s popular culture recognizes
and celebrates many Christian holidays: the most wellknown,
of course, is Christmas, celebrated as Jesus Christ’s
birthday (hence the word Christmas). Next is Palm Sunday,
celebrated as the day Jesus made His grand entrance into
Jerusalem, then Good Friday, in remembrance of Jesus’ death
on the Cross, and finally Easter Sunday, in remembrance of
His resurrection three days later.).
- Finally, the year A.D. 2000 marks two thousand years since
Jesus’ ministry on earth (A.D. stands for Anno Domini, which
is Latin for “in the year of our Lord”). Indeed, why did the life
of Jesus change history from B.C. to A.D. two millennia ago?
|Above: General timeline showing the rise of each of today's major world religions.