|By: Dr. John Weldon; ©2013|
|Virtually every religion in the world claims to truly honor Jesus Christ; unfortunately this is not the case, as the 50 citations below illustrate.|
Jesus Christ not only changed Western history, He changed the entire world. There has never, ever been anyone remotely similar to Him and there never will be, as the Gospels prove. In spite of the critical importance and centrality of Jesus Christ for human history and welfare, and for each of us individually, sadly, apart from biblical Christianity all the world's religions, ideologies and philosophies, large and small, reject Him. Biblically, not one of them collectively accepts His prophesied Messiahship; virgin birth/incarnation; deity; atoning death on the Cross; nature as unique and only Savior; ascension and physical return to earth. At best a few religions might accept merely one of these.
Ironically, almost every religion on earth claims to “believe in” Jesus Christ in some manner and virtually all of them claim to honor Him. For example, they may declare him to be a great teacher, a revered prophet, a loving and inspired leader, a unique humanitarian, etc. New Age religions typically distinguish “Jesus” (the man) “and “the Christ” (higher consciousness), but biblically “Jesus is the Christ” and was born the Christ; he never became the Christ (Luke 2:11; 1 John 2:22).
Regardless, as CS Lewis pointed out, saying such things is the one thing we must never do. Historical facts such as messianic prophecy and Christ’s physical resurrection from the dead allow only one logical possibility: Jesus Christ was who he said He was, God incarnate and the atoning Savior of the world. To argue that Jesus was anything less than God is blasphemous. Logically, in light of historical facts, such arguments become not just untenable but impossible. There isn’t the slightest historical or other evidence that Jesus ever lied about his own nature, or that he was invented by the disciples as some “faith-building” legend, or that he was mad or otherwise incapacitated. These myths are far more difficult to accept that Christ’s deity. Jesus was either God (which messianic prophecy, Jesus Himself and the rest of the New Testament demonstrate), or there is no logical explanation for Jesus at all. But, after 2000 years of intense study, no one can honestly believe that.
Some 4-5 billion people in the world accept at least one of four dominant beliefs on earth: (respectively, in all their forms) materialism, Marxism, monism, or the Muslim faith.
In materialism, Jesus Christ is seen as a common product of naturalistic evolution and therefore as having no inherent special nature or status. He was only a man and couldn’t possibly be anything else.
In Marxism, belief in Jesus Christ is viewed as a falsehood that has deceived millions of people with a religious opiate. Around the world Marxist governments (North Korea, China, Cuba, etc.) have done all they can to oppress or destroy those who believe in Jesus Christ, since believers are perceived as enemies of the dialectical advance of history.
In monism, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, the Person of Jesus Christ, like everyone, is finally an illusion of the deceptive or impermanent material world of duality/nothingness (maya in Hinduism; sunyata, nishvabhava or anicca in Buddhism). Therefore Jesus Himself is an illusion and of no lasting or permanent value.
In the Muslim faith (Islam), Jesus Christ is merely one of the many prophets of Allah. Although he is believed to be virgin born, he is nevertheless superseded in importance by Mohammed, the seal of the prophets, the final, authoritative prophet of Allah. Anything Jesus teaches that denies what Mohammed taught is false by definition. Further, it is considered an unforgivable and eternal sin (shirk) to accept the deity of Jesus Christ – presumably illustrating one reason why the death penalty is required for any Muslim who converts to Christianity. Further, as in Marxism, Christians are almost universally persecuted in Muslim nations where sharia law is dominant. In fact, according to one or more global persecution indices, Islam is the leading persecutor of Christianity in the world. Nevertheless, a principal tenet of the Muslim faith is that Jesus Christ is not God and cannot possibly be the Son of God, let alone atoning Savior. Since it is unthinkable that Allah would let one of his prophets be crucified, Islam rejects the biblical teaching that Christ died on the Cross for our sins. Muslims believe that Allah would never condescend to become a man, let alone die on a cross for people's sins. As the Koran declares of Jesus, "They did not slay him, neither crucified him," and, "The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary was only a Messenger of God," and, "They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.'"
The Christian Church has taught the deity of Jesus Christ in all major branches for 2,000 years for one simple reason: the biblical teaching is logically undeniable and unassailable. (For an in-depth treatment, please see other articles under the major category, Jesus Christ.) For example, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:1, 14, 18); “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” (Colossians 2:9); “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13); “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). Jesus enemies, the Jewish leaders, understood Jesus’ claims to deity all too well: “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18). "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (John 10:33).
In the Old Testament Jesus is God (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6); in the New Testament Jesus declared He is God; He claimed the attributes of God, He performed the deeds of God; descriptions of God in the Old Testament are applied to Him. Not surprisingly, after his resurrection, Jesus was recognized as God by his followers (despite the difficulty for monotheistic Jews), and much additional evidence can be provided to prove Jesus Christ is God. As such, He is both our Lord and Savior and we reject Him at our eternal peril.
How important is this? Jesus Himself told us that unless we believed in who He truly was, in who He claimed to be, that we would die in our sins: “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).
So, is it really true that other religions, ideologies and philosophies honor Jesus Christ when they deny Him by rejecting His own claims and nature? Below we present 50 alphabetical examples illustrating that such claims cannot be true since, long after the fact, they deny what both Jesus Christ Himself and the Bible have taught for 2,000 years, and which have been clearly established as historical facts. (Indeed, even the world’s preeminent skeptics despite valiant efforts, have, over the millennia, been unable to logically refute these historical facts.)
The following list illustrates the beliefs of many new religions which claim to believe in Jesus but simultaneously reject and deny His nature. In the New Testament, Jesus Himself warned that false prophets and false Christs would arrive (Matthew 24:4-5, 24) and mislead many. The Apostle Paul warned that there were false Christs and false gospels (2 Corinthians 11:3-5). The Apostle Peter cautioned against false teachers who would be active even within the Church and who would "secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Sovereign Lord who bought them" (2 Peter 2:1).
Perhaps the world's denial of Jesus Christ illustrates the difficulty it will face when Christ returns in judgment to the very world He made and lovingly gave His life for:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God …. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 1:10-12, 3:17-19).
The following individuals are the founders or current leaders of the group specified. If a citation is occasionally not by the individual founder or current leader listed, it is excerpted from the group's authoritative literature. If you take the time to read this list you will have an idea of why Jesus referred to the unbelieving world when he said that “it hates me because I testify that its works are evil” (John 7:7 sea. 15:18).
Almost all of the preceding groups claim that they accept and honor Jesus Christ. But in light of what we have just read, this is impossible. In fact, such groups (there are hundreds more) completely disregard the biblical Jesus Christ. Instead, they reinvent a false Jesus only to make Him support their own beliefs, in the process making a false god and committing idolatry. Indeed, only overwhelming evidence in favor of Christ's deity would have convinced skeptical, staunchly monotheistic and initially frightened Jews to proclaim Christ's deity to a hostile Jerusalem and later to the world.