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Don’t all religions teach the same thing? Isn’t Christianity just another religious moral standard?

January 27, 2021

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; One God, Amen.  

 

Don’t all religions basically teach the same thing? Aren’t they all just different expressions of how people ought to love one another, chose peace, justice, mercy, and all that other good stuff? And isn’t Christianity just one of the many religious moral standards that exist? My beloved, these are some of the arguments that many have made in effort to dilute the salvific message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to simply reduce the Christian faith into nothing more than a set of morals, ethics and principles. Its is absolutely crucial for us to know that we as Orthodox Christians are in no way interested in associating ourselves to religious moralism – what we are pursuing is Him who is THE WAY, the THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. God the Father did not patiently toil with humanity for thousands of years so they could learn to be nice. Our Lord and God Jesus Christ did not die on the cross and rise from the dead so that we could learn to be good boys and girls. The Holy Spirit was not sent to dwell in us so that we can simply be viewed as good moral citizens…no! The message of salvation found within the Christian faith is one that leads to eternal life in and with God! It is the very solution to humanity’s fallenness, corruption and death! And so everything we do is meant to lead to eternal life – not some set of righteous moral standards.  

Now we’ve heard that all religions supposedly say the same thing. And even some atheists, who don’t believe in God, will even say that Jesus wasn’t a messiah as much as he was an incredible moral teacher. But let me ask you, for those of us who have studies the religious worldviews that exist out there, what other religious groups, or even what kind of supposed “good moral teachers” would say the following:  

 

  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)  
  • “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53)  
  • I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  
  •  “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  
  • “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) 
  • And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)  

 

My beloved it is so blatantly obvious from the teachings our Lord Jesus Christ which we find in scripture that the Divine economy of Salvation is concerned primarily with this: Humanity vivified in and through the knowledge of the one true God. The Lord Jesus was not a moral teacher like many others that came before and after him. He was not concerned with manners and moralsHe is the incarnate Word of God, who came to make known to us the Holy Trinity, who came to save us from the tyranny of death and offer us life eternal!  

In one of the most important Early Church texts called On the Incarnation, St Athanasius of Alexandria explains precisely why the Logos of God – the Eternal Word and Son of the Father – came and took flesh. He goes into great detail to explain that the effects of the fall on humanity were existential. By introducing sin into the world, we introduced death. And death ruled over us as a tyrant from whose grip humanity could not break free. We are not merely speaking of biological death which we all continue to experience, but rather eternal death – where the human being continues eternally in a state or corruption and separation from God under the bondage of death. St Athanasius therefore explains that Christ came to solve that which humanity could not do for itself – he came and destroyed death and opened again for us the path that leads to eternal life in Him.   

 

Listen to what St Athanasius says in paragraph 54 of this work:  

 

let [us] recognise the fact and marvel that things divine have been revealed to us by such humble means, that through death deathlessness has been made known to us, and through the Incarnation of the Word the Mind whence all things proceed has been declared, and its Agent and Ordainer, the Word of God Himself. He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God. He manifested Himself by means of a body in order that we might perceive the Mind of the unseen Father. He endured shame from men that we might inherit immortality. 

 

My beloved pay attention to the words of this saintly Patristic Father – deathlessness has been known…that we may perceive the Mind of the Father…that we may inherit immortality…he even says that Christ became man that we might become God! Where is there any tone of moralism in this teaching? Where is the set of principles that lead to good ethics? My beloved we must be clear and have the upright conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned primarily with this: that we may know the one True God, and in knowing Him we may have Eternal life! And so when anyone says don’t all religions teach the same things, our answer to that should be clear – The Jesus Christ whom I know and teach, is not simply a great moral teacher; He is my Lord, my God and my saviour and He is the only way, He is the truth and He is life! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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