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Studying Religions Beneficial?
For Whom?   

Q. Don't you think we should study all religions before committing to a belief in Christianity? For example, what about all the Gnostic writings in addition to eastern religions?

Answer:

The Bible presents so much verification of its own internal truth that the odds are very much against other religions and writings matching it in any way. In addition, the book of Ecclesiastes warns …"the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body" (Eccles. 12:12).

World Religions

Having said that, I DID study other religions in college - both in undergraduate and graduate school. It was part of the requirements of my history major. But, I saw nothing that even begins to match the integrity, quality and scholarship merits of the Bible.

Besides, studying other religions just to learn about other forms of belief is a tedious, fruitless task! I'm grateful I don't have to do that anymore. Nothing matches the historicity and proofs concerning Yeshua and His Word. Nothing!

Tops Cayce or Nostrodamus

For example, I've often wondered why people get caught up in the prophecies of Nostrodamus or Edgar Cayce. Their prophecies are hit-and-miss while the Bible has a 100% accuracy rate.

There are many biblical prophecies that have already been fulfilled concerning peoples and nations. There is no doubt on the dating of the prophecies and their later fulfillment.

Bio-chipped Populice

Then there are dozens of prophecies regarding our future including the rise of China, Russia, and Iran among other areas and the wars we will face. There are prophecies about the rise of a world dictator. There are prophecies of an economic system which will require the "marking" or computer-chipping of all world citizens.

Hyperinflation, Earthquakes, Asteroids

There are prophecies of inflation and famine, earthquakes and ocean events which appear to be unfolding before our very eyes. There are prophecies that suggest we may face an asteroid hit in the near future. (See Revelation chapters 6-18).



Futuristic Space City

There are even prophecies of a future "space-city" which will hover above the earth. (Read Revelation chapter 21). From our earth's beginning to end the bible prophesies all the major events we will face in world history.

100s of Prophecies detailing future Messiah

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies regarding Jesus Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection. For example, one prophecy in Zechariah says the Jews will "look on me, on him whom they have pierced…" (12:10). Note the word "pierced." This was written about 515 B.C. - long before Romans crucified criminals on crosses. The specificity of these prophecies is astounding - far beyond "coincidence."

Unified Message-System

The evidence for the truth of the Bible - an internal, unified message-system written by over forty authors over a period of 1600 years, is awesome. There is nothing like it.



Gnostic or Vegetation Myths

In contrast, the Gnostic writings are second century inventions. They were written at least a century after Christianity. There is nothing about them that gives them solid, historical roots. The same is true of the "mystery religions" of Rome or the mythical beliefs that arose in Egypt. These are clearly fanciful tales to explain the death and rebirth of vegetation cycles in spring or winter.



Gnostic Gospels Timeline

Here is a timeline you might want to consider:

If Jesus had been born in 1900, then here are the dates for other writings like the Gnostic gospels:

1930 - Crucifixion and Resurrection

1945 - First New Testament writings

1990 - Last New Testament gospel account

2030 - Gnostic Gospel of Thomas written

2050 - Gnostic Gospel of Mary written

2170 - Gnostic Gospel of Philip written.

We tend to minimize the importance of how much later the Gnostic Gospels were really written. This helps to put them in their true perspective!



Angels Bowling

The popular author, Lee Strobel, gives a good example of the mythical quality of Egyptian stories. For example, during a thunder storm a mother tells her child that thunder is just "angels bowling in heaven." This is the type of mythology that Egyptians told their children regarding nature cycles. The Egyptians didn't take most of these stories seriously. They were just fables to explain natural events just like the angels bowling in heaven to account for thunderous noises.

First Century Miracle Man

In contrast, Christianity is an historical account of a first-century miracle "man" who clearly performed healings and miracles, was crucified on a cross, and whose resurrection from the dead cannot just be explained away. (That is the perspective of a few unbelieving historians in the first and second centuries).



Science in the Bible

While the Bible isn't a science text, what it does mention is astonishingly accurate. For example:

- It suggests atoms in Hebrews 11:3.

- It says the earth is suspended in space in Job 26:7.

- It hints at radio and telephones in Job 38:35.

- It says the earth is round in Isaiah 40:22 (when people thought the earth was carried on the back of a gigantic sea turtle).

- It mentions the universe in five terms as does science: time, space, matter, power and motion (Genesis 1:1,3).

- It mentions ocean currents in Psalm 8:8.

- It says there are mountains in the sea (Jonah 2:6).

- It describes the water cycle in Amos 9:6.

- It says the earth rotates in Job 38:12,14, "turned as clay to the seal" (KJV).

- It says the sun rotates around the galaxy (Psalm 19:4-6).

- It describes the laws of entropy in Hebrews 1:10-11 among other passages.

- It mentions the empty North in our universe in Job 26:7.

- It says the universe is expanding in numerous verses such as Isaiah 40:22 among other passages.


Need we say more?



Unbelievers have Blinded Minds

Most persons who have rejected Christianity have rejected it partially because they do not study the evidences supporting its truth. They choose not to. We can't "make" them anyway. That's because their minds are blinded to the truth by the one who is currently the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4).


Spiritual Battle - not Intellectual

This is a true spiritual battle and we must address it first from that vantage point. Ephesians 6:12 says "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

So, no, I don't believe one has to study other religions to believe in Christianity. The proofs regarding the truth of our faith are outstanding.

Here are some of our suggestions for reading about these proofs. They should be all any intelligent person needs:


Little, Paul. 1999 ed. Know why you believe. Colorado Springs: Cook Communications.

McDowell, Josh. 1999. New evidence that demands a verdict. Nashville: Nelson.

Muncaster, Ralph. 2004. Examine the evidence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

Strobel, Lee. 2007. The case for the real Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
_______________________


Meanwhile, concentrate on the Bible. It's all you need for this life.

My prayer is, please evacuate me off of this planet soon, Yeshua, given the prophesies that are coming true before our eyes (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Maranatha!




Author Valorie Mays Emilio holds an MA in History from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins, and a V.O.M. Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.








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