Throughout history, many men have founded religions which gathered large followings. Here is a list of some of them and a list of questions to ask religious founders.
RELIGIOUS FOUNDERS IN HISTORY 1-Zoroaster or Zarathustra – Born between 1700 and 500 BC, Zoroastrianism 2-Gautama Siddhartha (the Buddha) – Born c.563 BC, Buddhism 3-Confucius – Born in 551 BC, Confucianism 4-Jesus Christ – Born c. 4 BC, Christianity 5-Muhammad – Born in AD 570, Islam 6-Guru Nanak – Born 1469, Sikhism 7-Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri (Bahaullah) – Born in 1817, Bahai 8-Charles Fillmore – Born in 1854, Unity School of Christianity 9-Gerald Gardner – Born in 1884, Wicca 10-A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Born in 1896, Harre Krishna 11-L. Ron Hubbard – Born in 1911, Scientology 12-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Born in 1918, Transcendental Meditation 13-Sun Myung Moon – Born in 1920, Unification Church
QUESTIONS TO ASK RELIGIOUS FOUNDERS Were your message and the details of your life prophesied before your birth? Were your followers instructed to bring peace and love to others, or did you lead them into war? Was your message primarily spiritual or political? Did you teach and practice the equality of all human beings? Did you promise an existence beyond this life? Was your life one of sacrifice or pleasure for yourself? Did your religion bring you wealth and prosperity? Is your burial place in existence today? Was your message confirmed with miracles? Were you raised from the dead? Was there peace and cooperation among your disciples after you were no longer present in the flesh?
Considering these questions to ask religious founders, some of the founders could answer some of the questions in a positive way. None of them would answer all of these questions in the way Jesus Christ would. We are not attempting to denigrate any religion. We are only saying that we follow Jesus Christ because of what He did, how He lived, and what He taught. We also do not base our faith on the actions of any human who claims to follow Christ.
The current Muslim violence in France is a great argument for the validity of Christianity and its superiority over Islam. In early October of 2020, a young Muslim beheaded a French schoolteacher who had shown a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad to his class. A satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo republished the images to mark a Muslim attack on the magazine in 2015. On October 29, 2020, a Tunisian man carrying a copy of the Quran killed three people in the city of Nice and riots continue with thousands of Muslims marching on the French embassy.
We must point out that not all Muslims endorse this kind of behavior and violence, and a few have even denounced it. The fact is that Islam was rooted in violence and the Quran endorses it. You can understand the Muslim violence in France and other countries when you read passages in the Quran like the following: “Fighting is obligatory for you” (2:216), “Retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed” (2:178), “Those who avenge themselves when wronged incur no guilt” (42:42-43), “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads” (47:3-5).
The teaching of Jesus Christ is in stark contrast to the Muslim teaching. You can’t read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and not see the contrast. Jesus told His followers to love their enemies, to turn the other cheek, to go the second mile, to return good for evil, and to live at peace. In addition to that, the Bible makes it clear that our battle is not with flesh and blood – not with the physical. Read Ephesians 6:12 and realize that unlike Islam the message of Christ is primarily spiritual, not political
Years ago, a statue of Jesus immersed in urine was circulated as a work of art. Atheists have circulated numerous cartoons of Jesus that were insulting and repulsive. There are numerous atheist periodicals that constantly abuse Christianity As we approach the Christmas season, we will even see billboards ridiculing the story of Christ. The Bible condemns retaliation and encourages love, peace, and tolerance. Violence over the Christian faith by Christians is minimal and only caused by people with other motives.
As we hear about the Muslim violence in France and elsewhere, we are reminded of the freedom we have in America because our founders were men who tried to follow the principles of Christ as a rule of law.
We have just finished the Christmas and New Year holiday, and Christmas cards are piled up on my desk. It isn’t that I have so many people who send me Christmas cards. Most of the cards are from organizations wanting a donation. They send a “gift” of a bunch of cards and hope it will shame me into giving to their cause. What is interesting to me is the Christmas card picture of baby Jesus in the manger.
I have Muslim and Buddhist friends who laugh at that Christmas card picture. Muhammad was an upper-class, wealthy military man who married into money and lived in comfortable conditions. Buddha was a Hindu prince who was not even allowed to see a diseased or suffering human. Sometime after the age of 29, he left the palace behind and became a wandering ascetic.
In contrast to these founders of major faiths, Jesus Christ was born in a town in which He was an alien. He grew up in Nazareth, a low-class village in the occupied territory of Galilee. (See John 1:46.) When you read passages like Matthew 5:41, you realize how much Rome controlled everything. John 19:10 points out that the Romans knew they had control. Christ had no political power and no army. He was born an “illegitimate child” to a mother who left town when she realized she was pregnant. (See Luke 1:38-39.) People wondered why Jesus spent His time with the poor, despised, and downtrodden. (See Matthew 9:11-13.) Unlike Mohammed or Buddha, Jesus came into a world of misery, war, prejudice, pain, strife, and violence and did not associate with political leaders or the social elite.
Because of the birth and upbringing of Jesus, people were amazed at His teaching. (See Matthew 7:28-29.) It is also because of the background of His life that we cannot have a problem that Jesus doesn’t understand. He had no money – only his cloak. He was “born on the wrong side of the tracks.” He was born an “illegitimate child.” Unlike followers of all other faiths on Earth, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are – yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
I have seen mangers. They are dirty with mouth slime from cattle plus insects and worms and unprotected from the elements. The sterile, clean, neat, ordered Christmas card picture is not reality. However, but it can remind us of how God in His wisdom provides for us and understands our needs. The birth and upbringing of Christ provide an apologetic for the validity of Christianity.
As Islam becomes more dominant in America, Muslims have begun to attack Christianity and the Bible with increasing frequency. There are several videos on the web that claim that the Comforter mentioned in John 14:26 is Muhammad. The word Muhammad means “praised one” and the claim is that the original word in the Greek was “perikleitos” which means “famous everywhere” or “renowned,” but that it was corrupted into “parakletos” meaning “counselor.” So how do you and I, not being experts in Greek, answer this question?
The answer is to look at the context of the passage. You don’t have to be a Greek expert to see that this passage is not dealing with a physical human who was a military leader. In John 14:23 Jesus talks about his disciples loving God and promising that the Godhead would dwell with those who love God. He then in verse 26 tells them that He would be sending “the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit” who would teach them all things. This statement is right after Judas had left and before Jesus was arrested. The reference is not to a claimed prophet who would live some 600 years later. (Islamic teaching is that Muhammed began getting messages from Gabriel in A.D. 610.) Verse 26 also tells us that the Comforter would come in the name of Jesus, and no Muslim would agree that Muhammad came in the name of Jesus.
Another issue is the Muslim claim that the biblical documents have been corrupted. The problem with that claim is that all of these documents were written before Muhammad was born, and copies of the manuscripts exist that are much older than A.D. 610. Complete manuscripts of John 14 dating from the third or fourth century exist. The question would have to be, “At what time were the documents corrupted?” It would have to be before the third century and yet the Quran dates to the seventh century.