Comparative Religion Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1838 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Religion

The Impossible Dilemma

What religion would you be," the question asks, "if you were not the religion that you are?" The idea of the question is to provoke students into writing about the differences and similarities between their own religion and other world religions, and to pick the "next best" religion. There is a fundamental problem with the question, however, which makes it very difficult to answer. This problem is that my religion, Christianity, is the only religion that is based on a real relationship with a real, factual God. Since no other religion can access God in the same way, I would not choose any other religion even if I weren't Christian -- I would have to be an atheists because no other religion has a real God and I would never worship a false God that could not be proven to exist by hard evidence and personal experience.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Comparative Religion Assignment

This question stems from a sociological premise that equates all religions to one another as manmade entities which offer various descriptions and responses to the unseen (and perhaps even unknowable) divine. If all religions were manmade, it would be easier to imagine choosing a new one. Anything which we have created we can just as easily imagine it replaced by something else we have created. The premise that mankind creates religions allows us to imagine the nonexistence of Christianity as a tenable proposition and the possibility of replacing it with another religion can be entertained. However, that is not my understanding of Christianity at all. To ask me to imagine that Christianity does not exist, is in itself impossible to imagine. It is not something that is manmade. Christianity is God's reality, his making, the fundamental order of life. It is the movement of history, the purpose of the world, the clear explanation of human nature. It is not like various forms of government that can be chosen, one over another. It is not like a preference of evening entertainment or a choice of colleges, or competing political parties. Christianity is. If it were not, we would not be, nor would God. Christianity is the only possible result of God's revelation of himself, and therefore a non-Christian God could not be a true God because otherwise his self-revelation would have spawned Christianity. The Christian understanding of the world is as fundamental to reality as is oxygen, or ratios like pi. How can we imagine that a number other than pi is the ratio of a diameter to the perimeter of the circle? It is impossible to imagine replacing such things and continue existing in some other reality. One might as well ask, "if one did not breath air, what would one breath?" Or ask, "If one were not human, what kind of animal would one be?" At best it can only be a comic book reality that one could only imagine.

Without the sort of insane imagination of a lunatic or a comic book artist, knowing what I know about God, it is impossible for me imagine another religion that could be true. Without the Christian God there would be no God. The only obvious option is to try to imagine what life without God would be like, which is difficult because without God there would be no life or nature. So perhaps instead one could imagine that God was keeping himself secret, as he did before the time of Abraham. In this case, I suppose I must imagine that I was born into another religion and had never heard of Christianity. This is part of what makes Christianity unique, and proves that it is a revelation of God -- that we do not know about it without being told directly from God in our conversion experience. "You can be born Jewish; born Buddhist; born as a Hindu -- but it not possible to be born a Christian. Being born into a Christian family does not make you a Christian." (Evangelical.us) if I had been born into another religion, I would probably follow that religion for a time until I became old enough to realize that there was no evidence for this religion and that neither I nor anyone else had ever seen God. Then I would become agnostic, which is the only valid religion in a world God doesn't reveal himself. Though there are fine teachings concerning the charity of man within all religions, I believe I would find no satisfaction in merely imagining the divine, and there would be no access to Him except within the Christian context. Thus, I believe I would reject religion altogether and live as if there was no God. If my soul continued to yearn for God, at best I would call upon him blindly without knowing or believing anything.

Perhaps the best way to answer the question is not by saying what religion I would follow without Christianity, but to explain why I couldn't follow any of them. To start with, I couldn't really be an atheist, because it is obvious that God exists in the way the world is put together. Yet it is also obvious that no other religion is uniquely inspired. Only in Christianity is there historical evidence that God actually came to earth (in the form of Jesus). Only in Christianity is the validity of the religion proved by fulfilled prophecies and by miracles and by the historical resurrection of the founder of the religion. There is divine confirmation of Christianity in a way that no other religion has, and of course it also works on a practical level. Considering all of the other religions, this seems particularly obvious.

Judaism is a good example of the flaws of other religions. Judaism is probably the best of the other religions because they worship the Christian God as well, even though he has forsaken them and they only know part of the truth. There is, however, some divine confirmation of their religion. "Their claims are based on Jewish writings, history, archaeology and Jesus' testimony. Divine confirmation of their claims rests upon Jewish writings, miracles and 100-percent accuracy of many prophecies." (Bibleone.net) However, if I were Jewish I would quickly become disillusioned. The Jewish people have hundreds of prophecies that (if Jesus had not come would) have never been fulfilled. This would show that their God was a liar. They are also required to follow an archaic mass of rules, with no hope of eternal life. Without God ever individually showing himself, or proving that his prophecies were still valid, I would not follow the religion.

Islam is another religion that is somewhat close to Christianity, because it was made up after Christianity. Because of this, some of the things the Muslims say about God were stolen from Christianity and are true. Still, if I had been raised Islamic I would still realize that the religion was a lie. In Christianity, the founder was sinless and entirely good -- that God blessed him is proven by the fact that he came back from the dead. In Islam, the founder was evil. "He was rejected by both Christianity and Judaism, he turned from Jerusalem to Mecca as the most holy city..." (Bibleone.net) He is historically famous as a murderer who started so-called "holy" wars and as a pedophile and rapist. One secular site, comparing the founders of world religions, points out:

Mohammed's trail of violence, hatred and bloodshed which his Muslim biographers have documented in detail: [included] surprise raids and attacks on trade caravans and tribal settlements, the use of plunder thus obtained for recruiting an ever growing army, assassinations of opponents, blackmail, expulsion and massacre of the Jews of Medinah, attack and enslavement of the Jews of Khayber, rape of women and children, sale of these victims into slavery after rape, trickery, treachery and bribery employed to their fullest extent to grow the numbers of his religion... Mohammed organized 86 expeditions and he led 26 of them himself." ("A brief comparison...") would never be able to follow a religion that was based on murder, genocide, war, and the rape of women and children, unless I was absolutely sure that these were the things God wanted. While the Christian God did order Moses to kill all the people of the holy land (except the women that were taken as slaves and well-treated), he only did so as a way of judging them for their idol worship and child abuse. He gave them the opportunity to repent hundreds of years before they were killed. Mohammed's so-called God, which is actually a demon, ordered these murders just to convert people and gain power. Of course, when Mohammed died he stayed dead, and he never had any incredible miracles such as raising the dead or walking on water. Without these, there is no way to believe that God told him to kill people.

Hinduism and Buddhism aren't as good as Judaism or as evil as Islam. They are both so vague that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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