|The difference between Christianity and Religion:
Christianity is unique in the fact that it is the ONLY faith which is not a religion- as a 'religion'- by definition means "to be bound" by rules and regulations and rituals in order that one MAY attain salvation. (whatever their definition of salvation may be)
This is in stark contrast to the teachings of THE most anti-religious person there ever lived- Jesus the Christ.
Jesus taught that the truth would SET YOU FREE and that it would be faith ALONE in His sacrificial death and resurrection for our sins which would save us and NOT our good deeds.
"For it is by God's grace that you have been saved, through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's GIFT, so that no one can boast about it." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
This means that (although good in themselves and recommended) it is NOT by attending 'church', being baptised** or even believing in God! (Satan is not an atheist himself!)
To put it plainly: We are saved by faith and DEMONSTRATED by good works- but it isn't the works themselves that actually save us.
"His choice is based on His grace, not on what they have done. For if God's choice was based on what people do, then His grace would not be real grace." (Romans 11:6)
You see, religion is humanity trying to reach God by their own efforts..whilst Christianity is God paying the price Himself- in essence- reaching down to us..it is a RELATIONSHIP with our creator.
Still not convinced? Has religion still got a strangle-hold on you?..then consider Isaiah 64:6 :
"ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags."
Did you note that it isn't just our sins that are filthy to God..but even our RIGHTOUSNESS? You see, Gods standard is HIMSELF, who is THE epitome of Holiness and purity.
"God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all" (1John 1:5) So, to a pure a Holy and perfect God, ANY sin/darkness would naturally be alien and repugnant to Him..so, humanly speaking, it IS impossible for us to be saved..THAT is why God demonstrated His love for us by coming down in human form as the Lord Jesus Christ.
The 10 commandments and other laws were designed to show us that we are sinners..there is NO way any human could keep all of them-
For example: How many things do you have to steal (regardless of value) in order to be a thief?
How many lies do you have to tell (no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ it is) to be a liar?
- Just one.
So how many sins does it take for us to be a sinner?
These were just two of the ten commandments..and every one of us has broken them all!
Furthermore "For whoever shall keep the whole law and stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)
Therefore, if you are trying to live by the law and fail just once you shall die by it- for it is humanly impossible to keep. That is the very reason the Jews had to continuously offer sacrifices as substitution for their own lives. But the blood of bulls and goats weren’t sufficient to take sin away entirely.
Since every single person is a sinner, that is, we have all rebelled against God's wishes, so, every single person is doomed to an eternity in hell- separated from light and love- forever.
It doesn't have to be this way though- God loves us so much that He supplied a solution.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23)
Men die because they sin. If one was perfect they would not then die. The very fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (this is a historical fact) proves that all our sins were paid for. Romans 4:25 tells us that if just one sin wasn’t taken care of, Christ would still be in the grave for all to see.
Jesus, being God AND man, was the ONLY one who could be perfect and keep the commandments- and since He did- He satisfied The Law and then on the cross He bore the punishment of our sins- ALL OF THEM, past, present and future, died and then rose again to show that He had conquered death for us and as a promise to all those who trust in His sacrifice for our sins- that they too will rise from the dead and into eternity with God. This is the gospel.
**Note on baptism- Baptism is important, but it does not save us- it was the shed blood of Christ which accomplished this. Baptism is the New Testament signification of God's New Covenant (Testament) with Man as circumcision was to the Old Covenant (Testament) representing our spiritual death, burial and resurrection in Christ.
Read this: http://brethrenassembly.com/downloads.htm for more
"There Is No God"What the people that make this claim fail to realise that this is logically impossible.Allow me to explain: "I know there is no God" or simply "There is no God" are absolute statements. For those statements to be true the speaker would have to have absolutely all knowledge of all evidences, everywhere for all time, which of course if they are being honest they will admit they do not possess.So, since they cannot in reality claim that they know that there is no God, then the more truthful statement should be, "I do not at present know whether God exists or not." This being the case, it would be the of utmost importance to now look into the evidence.
"I am still an atheist, I just 'lack belief in God'"
By it’s very definition, atheism is an outright denial of the existence of God: a-no theos-god.
However, this leaves the‘atheist’ with an insurmountable problem: “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit”:“The necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges.”
So, in 1876 a man by the name of Charles Bradlaugh tried to redefine atheism.
To escape the onus that “atheists” have in proving their self-defeating position that “God
doesn’t exist” Bradlaugh sought to ‘move the goal-posts’ by positing that ‘atheism’ really meant
to “lack belief in God/s”
However, this new definition which became popular from 1979 amongst the more militant persuasion of “atheists” still fails for at least two reasons:
1) It conflicts with the actual definition of the term and the very mindset of the “atheist”.
2) There is no real discernable difference between this redefinition of ‘atheism’ and that of the position
of ‘agnostics’ who also “lack belief”. However, agnosticism, (as per definition) is self-refuting also as
it too requires omnipotence for their claims to be true. (Knowing that no one can know.)
It would seem then, that in their desperate death throes, those that do not want to accept accountability for their actions and words still seek to bury their heads in the sand of the grave of atheism.
While this irrefutable logic doesn't conclusively prove God's existence, it does disprove the categorical denial of the existence of God! and thereby existence of atheists (in the strictest sense).
Bible translation errors and contradictions?
This is an understandable assumption..and if the Bible were just a normal collection of books written by humans it would not be a surprise, however, God promised that He would preserve His Word and that is exactly what He has done!
For it has been long established with the findings of the dead sea scrolls and other ancient corroborative manuscripts that the Bible (quite miraculously) has been transmitted through history with an astounding 99.98% accuracy rate, WITH NO ESSENTIAL TENETS IN DOUBT!!
Furthermore, there is a standard by which all ancient books are tested today called Aristotle’s Dictum which states we must listen to the claims of any and all documents under analysis and not assume fraud or error unless the author(s) disqualify themselves by contradiction or error.
For example: The two earliest books about Alexander the Great were written more than 400 years after his death in 323BC yet historians consider them to be accurate.
The Gathas of Zoroaster in 1000BC are claimed to be accurate even though most weren’t written until 300 years after Jesus!
Even though we have the sayings of Mohammad in the Koran (570-632AD) his biography wasn’t written until more than a century after his death in 767!
Even though there is vastly more evidence for Jesus than all these and was written much earlier by the eyewitnesses themselves, most people do not want to apply Aristotle’s Dictum because they do not WANT The Bible to be true!
In fact, there have been found over 5000 partial and complete manuscripts of the Bible in Greek and 25,000+ in other languages..some dating to the 1st century no less (thusly destroying the baseless myth that the New Testament was written 120-500 years after Christs death!)
Besides the Bible is there any evidence?
This is an embarrassingly high number of manuscripts in comparison to any other ancient document- some of which are incomplete and number only in the dozens to the hundreds.
As for contradictions- there are none. The fact that the Bible, although penned by 44 writers over 1800 years on 3 continents from Kings to peasants who never knew each other and have absolutely no conflict in ANY subject is a miracle in itself- try getting just 5 people TODAY agreeing completely about any given subject.
..indeed, the main reason that many say that there are contradictions is that they either have not read the Bible for themselves and attack because they do not WANT to believe- repeating the same errors that they heard from someone else who never read the Bible either and so on...or they simply do not understand.
The challenge to all skeptics is to point out just ONE "contradiction" that cannot be satisfactorily explained.
There are quite a number of non-Biblical sources which confirm the main events written in scripture.
This is a list of a few of the non-Christian historians and writers who lived around the time of the writing of the New Testament that wrote about Jesus:
Thallus Tactitus Mara Bar Serapion Galerius Phlegon Suetonius The Jewish Talmud Josephus Galen Lucian Pliny the Younger Celsus Numenius.
Even if we didn’t have the Bible at all, from these secular sources we would have a basic outline which matches the Bible:
That Jesus was born at the time of Tiberius, that people saw Him perform miracles and believed that He was the Messiah, that He was put to death and dispite this people claimed to see Him afterwards alive and worshipped Him as God.
I highly recommend these books: 'The Case for Christ' by Lee Strobel 'Who moved the stone' by Frank Morison and 'New Evidence that demends a verdict' by Josh McDowell. If you cannot find or afford these books, this site is excellent: http://www.tektonics.org/index2.html
Jesus Christ said in John 14:6; "I am the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, NO man comes to the Father but through ME.*" As truth cannot be relative, Jesus was either lying, or He was telling the truth- that decision is YOURS to make- but make it on the evidence, and not on what your friends and associates think..Perhaps you feel God calling to you now as you read this so please do not ignore Him- for your own sake make the decision while you are able...
10 out of 10 people die- noone but God knows WHEN..so forever is a long time to be wrong.
*[Therefore also beware of any organisation which make the claim of being "the truth" or the "one true church"- these kind of monopolistic statements make Christ a liar or at the very least incapable to save any INDIVIDUALS who come to Him for their salvation!]
"When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else--something it never entered your head to conceive -- comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it."
-C.S. Lewis 'Mere Christianity'
To be saved..you need to make a genuine confession to God Himself..no priests or any other 'holy men' are needed. You must confess that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and that you believe that Jesus did in fact die for your sins then came to life again..then ask Jesus into your heart to change you into the sort of person God wants you to be.
You need to be TRULY repentant, that is, genuinely willing to turn completely away from the life you used to live and allow yourself to be led by Jesus instead.
If you have done this, you are what the Bible describes as being "born-again" (John 3:3) you ARE saved.
You MAY not feel any different..but that doesn't matter- you have Gods promise now that you are saved.
You will still stumble on your path but God says "If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrightousness."
You are now a child of God! So do not forget who you are now..and act like one..Read the Bible as often and as thoughtfully as you can- if you cannot understand something ask the Holy Spirit (whom now dwells in you) to reveal it.
It is recommended that you are baptised and attend a Bible believing church for fellowship and learning..but always compare what is being said with what the Bible says- for when it comes down to it- it is the Bible which is the final authority.
Don't forget to talk to God..use your own words as though you are talking to a friend sitting right next to you- because you are.
40 Common Objections Answered
To debate these issues and much more: