(Please note that a library of some of my teaching at our West Virginia Church {Hayes Fork} is available at a blog hosted by a protege of mine, Dustin Pennington @

You can look at Christianity through several different lenses: philosophical, historical, comparative religion, psychological, and etc. All are appropriate, depending on why you are looking – what are your trying to find out. It all depends on the mind – and heart – that you bring to the inquiry.

From the comparative religion perspective, Christianity is one of several major living religions. It is a belief system that has practices and doctrines revolving around an understanding of the reality of divine beings, a spiritual dimension, life after death, morals, and etc. (see my tab on world religion) Using those criteria, Christianity certainly fits into the definition.

One afternoon decades ago in the campus commons area at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I found myself sitting at a table with some students and we were jabbering. My attention, however was drawn to the table next to us where two women were having a lively discussion about religion. The women sounded to be intelligent and educated people. At one point, one of them said the following (I paraphrase): All religions are the same. They all teach about god, the afterlife, morals, scriptures, and etc. At this point I excused myself from my table and asked the two women if I could join them. I let them know that I overheard some of their conversation and was fascinated because I was teaching a class on early Christian Literature that semester for the Classics (classical languages) department.

I mentioned that I overheard the claim that all religions are the same and the reason behind it and wanted to respond. They graciously allowed me to do so. I started by asking them how they would respond to someone making a claim that all economic systems are the same (e.g. communism, capitalism, socialism, the feudal system, and etc.) and then backing up my claim by saying that all talked about money, wealth, currency, production of goods, and etc. I suggested that to say they all were the same indicated that I really had no in-depth understanding of the various systems. They agreed. Then I suggested that the claim that all religions were the same fell flat for the same reason. Of course all economic systems talked about those things – if they didn’t they wouldn’t be an economic system. They all ask the same questions. The same is true of religions. They all talk about the things she mentioned, but all I could infer from that is that they were religions, and not other types of inquiries. The only way someone could make the claim that they were all the same was if that person had no in-depth understanding of the various systems.

All religions ask the same (are at least most of the same) questions, That is what makes them a religion. The difference however isn’t in the questions. It is in the answers. All religions have specific answers to those questions and many times those answers are the same or similar, and other times they are widely divergent – sometimes contradictory.

Specific Religions have their own set of answers. Christianity has its own set of answers – even though some answers to some questions are the same as other Religions (Judaism and Islam).

Below I will set forth what are the important shared claims as well as the critical unique claims of Christianity.