Comparing Primary Teachings

primary-teachings

 

One should take care when basing your world views on mere memes, no doubt created by someone with very little knowledge (if any) of all the religions represented above.  However, before I pick apart this meme that was probably made with good intentions in mind, I will acknowledge the common ground mentioned.

The Golden Rule as mentioned and cited in the image at a glance appears to be reflected in these other major religions.  Let me say that it is an extremely noble effort to treat others well, and to find the common ground which we can all agree in at least some part.  I have no issue with all of mankind getting along in spite of our many differences.  To strive to treat others the way you would like to be treated is an admirable pursuit, no matter what creed you follow.  If you  aspire to this, then I salute you.

That being said, we must get to the real issue at hand here.  The problem with this meme is that it claims that the Golden Rule is the primary teaching of Christianity.  That is simply a false statement.  While it is an important Christian teaching, it is not the primary one.  And if you have been taught that this is the primary teaching of Christ, then you have been misled.  If you are being taught this, then I urge you to seek a new teacher.  I urge you to read the Bible for yourself, and you will see that this is not the case.

The image cites Matthew 7:12.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This is only a small part of the often misquoted Matthew chapter 7.  This whole excerpt is about judgement, and how to go about it with a Biblical mindset.  But this is not the primary teaching for Christians.

So what is the primary teaching?  If you read the Bible in earnest, the most important parts do not involve how we treat others.  The most important parts are in fact dealing with our relationship with God.  Allow me to cite the words of Jesus:

Mark 12:28-30   –   And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.     (Emphasis added)

Immediately following this, Jesus says that the Golden Rule is secondary to this most important teaching.

Mark 12:31   –   The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

So you see, while the Golden Rule is quite important and shouldn’t be ignored, it is not the primary teaching for Christians.  The primary teaching is to love the Lord your God.

So what does this mean?  It means that this immediately sets Christianity apart from these other religions.  Why?  Because Christians are told to love God.  Christians are also taught that Jesus Christ Himself is God in the flesh.  This is what sets Christianity apart.  Because we are forced to look at what the other religions say about God, and about Jesus Christ.  No other religion acknowledges the deity of Jesus Christ.  And only Christianity says that  Jesus Christ is the only Way, and the only Truth.

So while a lot of religions may in fact contain partial truths, when it comes to the ultimate truth, only the full and complete Truth matters.  Before you ask me who I am to judge, I will say that I did not judge.  God already has, and I am merely relaying the information presented to us in the Holy Bible.  And regarding the Golden Rule, I if there was an ultimate Truth that affected my eternity, I would want someone to inform me.  If they truly believed that I was bound for hell, I would want them to warn me with a caring heart.  So by pointing out this error, I am treating others the way I would want to be treated.

In regards to the image above, if it is wrong about the primary teaching of Christianity, then what else does it have wrong?  No matter the common ground and partial truth that is listed above, are these in fact the primary teachings and pursuits of these other religions?  Where there is commonality, one should take note.  However, where they differ, they differ drastically.

Therefore I urge you to seek not partial truths, but to seek the whole truth.

 

-JCH

Regarding The “Gospel” of Barnabas

[Editor’s Note:  It has been pointed out to me that this post was misleading in the beginning.  Let me point out from the beginning that I am in no way endorsing the false “Gospel” of Barnabas.]

 

I saw this being passed around social media toady.  Take a moment and read.

http://www.truth-code.com/2014/12/1500-year-old-bible-claims-jesus-christ.html

[Editor’s Note:  I began by providing the original article for the purpose of showing what it was that I was writing about.  This way, the reader has the option to look over the material in question.]

I find it presumptuous to say that the Vatican is in awe.  Though I do not speak for the Vatican, nor does it speak for me.  So I looked into the claim.  The first thing I notice is that it says that Jesus was not crucified nor was He the Son of God, but a prophet.  According to this, Judas was crucified in His place.  I read a verse from this “gospel” and it says that the appearance and sound of Judas was changed to be like that of Jesus.  Jesus in turn supposedly ran away and hid, and was then taken away by archangels.  This “gospel” also calls Paul a fraud.

[Editor’s Note:  In the previous paragraph, I merely mention some of the claims of this document.  In the following paragraph, I point out the terrible implications of these claims.  I then provide a couple of my own thoughts on why this document is simply not true.]

Allow me to pick through this for a minute.  Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is the case and the book is genuine.  Jesus said that the greatest act of love was for one to give his life for another.  Which is exactly what the Bible teaches that Jesus did, by giving His life for all of us.  This writing implies that God did not perform the greatest act of love.  It says that God did not even come to Earth in the flesh.  What are the implications of this thought?  They are quite terrible actually.  First, we must do away with Isaiah’s suffering servant.  That prophecy clearly will not fit here.  A perfect sacrifice as symbolized by the Jewish sacrificial system was not performed in Jesus, and in turn our sins are not washed away, and we are all still slaves under the Law and living in sin.  We cannot  hope to save ourselves and we are all doomed to Hell.  Now let us look at the Apostles, who all but one died very horrible deaths for what they believed.  Which was the risen Christ.  Of course anyone can die for something they believe, even if what they believe is wrong.  But consider this, the apostles were in a position to know the truth.  Therefore, they would have been teaching a known lie.  In doing so, they would in the end have died for a lie.  This is something quite different.  They had nothing to gain in dying for what they knew was a lie.  And they had everything to lose in teaching the lie.  Not something very many people would do, especially eleven people all at once.  I’m quite sure had it been a lie, someone would have squealed.  But there is silence from these Church fathers in terms of refute.  Also, what of the body of Judas?  Had this not been Jesus, all the authorities would have to do is examine the body after the supposed sightings of a risen Jesus.  They would have know something was up and would have exposed the conspiracy.  But they had no body to examine.  The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers.  It is highly unlikely that a group of common fishermen got past them to roll away a huge sealed stone from the tomb and stole the body of an imposter.  In fact, the empty tomb itself is one of the greatest pieces of evidence of the day.  If there were no empty tomb, it is highly improbable that the first community of believers would grow by the thousands within the walls of Jerusalem.  With the tomb a stone’s throw away, they could easily go and witness the tomb.  If it was sealed, or a body was present, the credibility and growth of the new Church would have been doomed from the start and we would not have Christianity today.

This is my own initial views of the matter, and the “problem” dissolved into nothing after considering the validity of the “gospel.”  But still I looked further, and I found an article on the very subject.  Take a few minutes to check it out.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Answer/barnabas.html

[Editor’s Note:  I begin the conclusion of this post with another article that discusses this document in some detail, and it points out why it is clearly a fabricated piece.]

Of course there will always be those who have something to say about it.  They will claim to have no bias regarding the issue.  But I find it quite rare that a person in these situations are without bias.

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God.”   – Acts 5:27-39  (Emphasis added)

There will always be someone who tries to say Christianity is false.  They will likely not listen to any evidence that disproves or contradicts their theories.  If Christianity is of man, it will fail one day.  But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop it.  And in trying, you will find yourself opposing God Himself.

-JCH

[Editor’s Note:  I hope that the few added notes on this post help prevent future misunderstandings on where I stand in regards to the subject discussed.  Thank you for reading and come back anytime.]