I realize now that I have gradually become a lifelong student of religions and cultures of the world. How can I be a serious Bible student and live in ignorance of other people’s views? If done seriously it will cause self reflection on my own beliefs and actually create a respectful understanding of other views. So a major aspect of this study is observing the similarities and differences between Christianity and other religions. When people claim that all the religions of the world are basically the same they are partly correct; there are many similarities between the world’s religions. However there are also some radical differences. Similarly wherever we go in the world we can find basic similarities to the Biblical 10 commandments; honor your parents, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t have sex casually, etc. However the Bible has a couple of unique commands like; there is only one high God and don’t make images of it, and rest on the 7th day. The Bible continues to be unique in that it is a story of our Creator reaching out to us and revealing itself to us in a special way; Jesus.
Also as I study cultures I realize that every culture is like a soup with many ingredients and one of those is religion. So if we are serious about understanding the world around us we should seek to understand religions.
So as I continue on this lifelong course I will share some summaries of my studies here. In this age of religious conflict there is a huge need for not backing down from our beliefs yet being humble enough to admit we do not know everything, our own beliefs are still in progress. Your comments are welcome.
Images above from Japan; 1- Kobe Christmas light festival 2 and 3 from Temple
Notice the fountain at temple entrance; it implies the universal sense of holiness and purity connected to divine presence, we need to feel pure before our Creator and we sense our own impurity.