Why Christianity?

One of the reasons I sometimes see atheists present for their disbelief is the idea of ‘going one God further in not believing’.

I believe I read someone state there comes a great saviour type figure every ‘Great Year’, with one of the iterations of a Hindu god (7th or 8th I believe) previously, and more recently the revelation of Jesus.

So my question is - why do you feel Christianity is different from the leagues of other false religions/gods we have seen in many cultures? Why do you think the God of Christianity is not just another Zeus, another Juno who will be known as fake and folklore in years to come?

God bless.

Because Zeus and Juno would never hang themselves on a cross, naked, humiliated, tortured, and killed at the hands of His own creation in order to prove His love for it in spite of its sin, in spite of its hatred for Him and preference for darkness. And then resurrecting; the light of love and goodness and truth triumph over the darkness of evil and sin and lies and cold selfishness and pride. God, Himself, is humble, amazingly, and kind and true and uncompromisingly trustworthy and forgiving, the opposite in many ways of our conception of God. Love and goodness are foundational to the universe. He just asks us to follow Him on the path He came to show us.

In addition to His Passion, Christ performed miracles and had great knowledge/authority. Christ offers the only truly comprehensive “system of thought” which answers all questions, esp that of the existence and our perception of good and evil, and the existence of suffering.

Because Jesus is demonstrably a historical figure, who claimed to be God, and who backed up His claim not only with miracles, but also by resurrecting after being dead. Moreover, those closest people who followed Him and His teaching witnessed for the remainder of their lives to His resurrection, and to all that He taught them. And it can be demonstrated that they believed what they attested to by their willingness to travel to dangerous lands, profess what they knew as true, and to die for that profession.

This is simply not true of any other “god”.

His followers were mostly “uneducated” men. Which is one reason the authorities at that time, and just about everyone else for that matter, wondered at their ability to teach as they did. Like on the day of Penticost. These men stood up to preach, and all Jews could understand them. Even those who spoke other languages. Each heard the message in his/her own language. And these men, who had been cowards before, suddenly became strong and unshaken in their faith. Boldly proclaiming the message of Christ, even to their deaths.

All those other ‘god’s’ didn’t claim themselves to be God Creator of the Universe. They were ‘made up’ by man and even talked about in the bible as ‘gods’ that were idolized because no one really knew who God was… Jesus Christ taught us about God because He is true God from true God, God became man, and so revealed the ‘true nature’ of God to us so we would know God… And Jesus leads us to heaven and said He would the others didn’t… Not even Mohammed or Buddha claimed themselves to be God…The Greeks were always making ‘gods’ based on what they thought God was and would erect statues based on that thinking… Only Jesus Christ claimed Himself to be God who came to show us the way which would lead us to our heavenly home with the Father through Him… No other ‘god’ offered us the way to heaven because they couldn’t.

In addition to what everyone else has written, unlike the ancient pagan religions, Jesus Christ (praise and glory to Him) is an actual historical figure who actually lived, preached and died by crucifixion. Even if you are atheist, you cannot deny that Jesus was an actual person in history. No professional historian or scholar who wishes to be taken seriously would ever deny that Jesus actually lived, even If you don’t believe what we His followers say about Him. So unlike pagan religions, which are based solely off of collected myths and legends, Jesus can be historically proven and is not like Zeus or Apollo, who were just common myths for their time and did not actually exist.

5000 fulfilled prophesies in the Bible is one reason.

-Tim-

:coffeeread:

One aspect of Christianity which differs from Paganism is how peaceful the Christian concept of Heaven is. You see, the pagan deities such as Zeus were strangely human-like in thought and action, and experienced a variety of human difficulties.

Christ of course also experienced a variety of human difficulties. What makes him different from beings like Zeus, however, is his willingness to suffer. Christ allows himself to feel pain, unlike the pagan deities, who, like Mankind, struggle to avoid and resist pain.

Thus, even though Christ experienced human suffering and the weakness of our accused flesh, he did not lose his dignity, for he allowed the Jews to smite him to begin with. In fact, his dignity only grew because of this action: Christ inspired Mankind to realize the benefits of human suffering, and thus, empowering us with positivity.

The pagan deities infuse Mankind with negativity, rather than positivity. This is because of their inability to be proper leaders. Even if you gain favor with the Gods, you are not guaranteed that your request will be granted, even if the God tries his hardest to fulfill.

Even though pagan deities are heroic and fierce, their continuous exposure to human sufferings degrades them. In spite of all their strength, their minds are weak, and their achievements temporary. They are not much better off than we “puny humans” are. :ehh:

In short, Christ does not have any intellectual or emotional limitations, even when he was on Earth in the flesh. The Deities on high Heavens, however, are lesser than him in terms of intellect, emotional stability, and faithfulness. They are held down by the flesh, because they themselves originated from the flesh.

The God of Christianity is unwavering in his judgment, unlike other Gods, whose minds are altered by brides and sacrifices.

The God of Christianity is a more stable leader, commanding more respect.

Christ is both strong and gentle. The pagan beings are strong, but also careless, frightened, and in many ways, weak. They are as weak as Mankind is. They are unstable beings, and unstable beings are unstable leaders. :doh2:

I’ll start with the obvious–because Christianity was my starting point, as I am a cradle Catholic. So no pretense here to have walked through a cafeteria line, and chosen Christianity as my entr’ee of choice, so to speak.

So I started out Christian, and Catholic. I kind of stepped outside so to speak–never actually having left the Church, but wandering far enough to take a glance at what else was out there, and to look back at what I had wandered astray from, from the outside.

Without actually creating a check list, when I ‘came back’ so to speak, I questioned the things that were questioned of me, for which I had found my ‘answers’, to be gravely lacking.

I did some research here and there, I dug here and there… and found satisfactory answers to those questions that had been posed to me (for which I had poor answers), and others as well. For example, reconciling the Creation narrative with science; where we stand with the Bible; how 3 divine persons can be treated as one God–why Tradition should be honored, etc. Of course many many others.

In summary, I started out Christian; I prayed to Christ, the Holy Spirit, God the Father…and I prayed Mary and the Saints. I felt a presence and Love, with my faith–I felt Christ’s presence, and His love. I was prompted to doubt what I had known and felt, and why (actually kind of embarrassing in looking back–to have known Christ personally, and as a friend; to have felt the warmth of Mary’s love, the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Father’s benevolence…and to dare question what my heart knew to be True, because my mind was challenged in the secular realm…). My doubts were disposed of, and my faith–flawed, and poorly developed as it was–was confirmed, repeatedly, over and over again.

***So, why Christianity, you ask?

By the shear Grace of God.***

…and I pray that all sincere truth seekers and people of good will who seek in earnest, may be blessed with that same grace.

Because Jesus became man for a specific reason, namely, to save us so we could be happy. Save us from what? From the slavery to sin which makes us miserable and unhappy, as the Church teaches. When freed from the slavery to sin we are free indeed and no longer a slave, as Jesus said, and then we can discover happiness through loving God and our neighbor which is why those are the two greatest commandments - they lead to happiness. This is the primary reason God became man, to teach us the way to happiness, a happiness which was lost when Adam sinned. And through his passion and death he merited the means to achieve this freedom from slavery to sin (Save us Savior of the world, for by your cross and resurrection you have set us free) through the sacraments, especially Baptism, the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

And we know he is a true God because He said He was God, the Jewish leaders admitted as much, and He proved it through His miracles witnessed by thousands and resurrection from the dead. No one living in Palestine in 33AD denied he was a historical figure as his miracles and impact on those he encountered was too great to ignore. And no one ever communicated such beautiful teachings. These teachings, his life, his miracles have been passed down through Tradition or what is called the witness of history, with no credible denials. This is why I believe Jesus was actually who He said He was – the God man who came to save the world.

The existence of a single God is a rational and logical (if not empirical) truth which can be understood by learning and meditating on the complexities of creation and through philosophy.

From the Catechism:

31 Created in God’s image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments”, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These “ways” of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world’s order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.7
And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change?8

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”,9 can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”.10

35 Man’s faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith. The proofs of God’s existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason,122 even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear."123

I think we as Catholics need to affirm that the existence of God can be determined rationally and is not just a matter of faith. What we have faith in is the revelation given to us. And why?

Certainly the ancient Greek and Roman religions failed to satisfy the logical existence of one omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect Creator. Their deities were flawed, many, and always squabbling. They themselves acted and behaved liked created beings, not the one Creator we know.

Once we acknowledge that there must be a God, then it’s a matter of examining the existing faiths to determine which one is consistent with what we do know and which one has demonstrated it has the truth.

Also, I think the existence of many religions represents our innate desire to seek our Creator. It reinforces the existence of one, not undermines it. Some faiths have just allowed what truths they have found to be distorted.

This is one of the dumbest arguments atheists make.

They refuse to distinguish between God and gods, insisting that when Christians say “God” they just mean “the god we happen to believe in.”

Christians traditionally believe in other superhuman beings other than the one God, although we have usually tended to divide them sharply into beings subject to the one God (“angels”) and beings rebellious against God (“demons”). Early Christians typically thought pagan gods were demons. So they didn’t disbelieve in their existence.

Most ancient Greco-Roman pagans believed in some kind of Supreme Deity–as of course Hindus generally do as well (though in some very complex ways).

Jews and Christians insisted that only this supreme Being could be worshiped. But everyone agreed that this Being was on a completely different level from the “gods.”

When non-Christians are clearly speaking of a supreme Deity who is the source of everything, most Christians historically would recognize this as the same God we worship.

I believe I read someone state there comes a great saviour type figure every ‘Great Year’, with one of the iterations of a Hindu god (7th or 8th I believe) previously, and more recently the revelation of Jesus.

Some people say that, yes. Do you have any particular reason to believe it?

So my question is - why do you feel Christianity is different from the leagues of other false religions/gods we have seen in many cultures? Why do you think the God of Christianity is not just another Zeus, another Juno who will be known as fake and folklore in years to come?

God bless.

“The God of Christianity” is the supreme Being spoken of in many religions. Christians do not worship just one particular “god.”

And I am not at all sure that Zeus, etc., are “fake and folklore.” Why assume this? It’s quite likely that these beings are real. I am not sure that this necessarily means that they are/were “demons” in our normal sense of the word. They might be what the ancients believed them to be–powerful beings of mixed moral character rather like that of humans. I know that’s a non-traditional view, but I’m not convinced it’s heretical.

We believe that the one God beyond all the gods revealed Himself in a special way to ancient Israel, and more fully in the person of Jesus.

And one reason to believe this is precisely that the ancient Hebrews, starting with the worship of a particular god, came to believe through that worship in the existence of one supreme God who should alone be worshiped. It looked very much to many ancient people, and it looks very much to me, as if this belief was quite possibly the result of that one Deity having made Himself known in a particular way to this very weird ancient people. And when some members of that people, still insisting on monotheism, also say that a particular human teacher embodies the living presence of the one God, I think there are good reasons to take that seriously.

This is so precisely because it isn’t bound up with generalized theories about savior figures appearing every so often as in the Eastern religions.

And of course the evidence for the resurrection is a key part of the picture.

Edwin

Thank you for your response.

As for the ‘Great Year’, is there any evidence to support it or evidence against it?

Also, what evidence for the resurrection is there? :slight_smile:

It doesn’t seem clear to me that great religious teachers show up at some kind of regular interval. Rather, most of the great world traditions took their classic shape what some call the “Axial Age” (roughly the middle of the first millennium B.C.). Then around the time of Jesus, there was an outpouring of “devotional” developments of the great traditions (including Christianity), and since then there have been various reform movements attempting to strip the traditions back to their basics (Islam, Sikhism, Zen, Protestantism). Nor does it seem clear to me that Jesus, for instance, was teaching the same thing as all the others. Of course many of Jesus’ teachings parallel those of other great teachers, because truth is one. But the Resurrection looks to me like a unique event that stands at the center of human religious history. Of course that’s “perspective bias,” but so is this “Great Year” business.

Also, what evidence for the resurrection is there? :slight_smile:

  1. Jesus’ followers clearly came to believe that he had risen from the dead. There’s a pretty strong scholarly consensus for this.

  2. Rising from the dead didn’t just mean a spiritual existence–it was a bodily act that in Jewish belief was expected to usher in God’s Kingdom.

  3. It seems unlikely that any ancient male author would invent the story of the women discovering the empty tomb, because making the whole thing largely depend on women would discredit a religion in that culture. (This was challenged intelligently on another thread recently, on the grounds that it might be a narrative device).

Therefore, there are good probable reasons to believe that Jesus’ disciples did discover an empty tomb and did have encounters that led them to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead in bodily form.

Edwin

Thank you all for your responses.

Zadeth I believe I read someone state there comes a great saviour type figure every ‘Great Year’, with one of the iterations of a Hindu god (7th or 8th I believe) previously, and more recently the revelation of Jesus.

Earliest Hinduism belief was ordered more to cycles, an idea you can find strains of in earliest China, and across the western world, including Greece. The pantheistic entity who controlled reincarnation was called a ‘thing’ in the earliest Hindu writings. There were no savior gods in earliest Hinduism. Nor in atheist Buddhism or in western Europe.

The idea of savior gods is part of the History of Religions school circa 1900 AD, when various anti Christians scholars dreamed it up.

God bless Annem

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