rebelling against low expectations

How do I explore other religions while still retaining my faith?


RACHEL WRITES: Sometimes I feel “inferior” to other people because they’ve intellectually searched out Christianity and a bunch of other religions and ultimately God has convicted them (like Lee Strobel or Nancy Pearcey) that Christianity is true.

I’ve been blessed by being raised in a Christian home, and my parents have taught me so much, but even though (by God’s grace) my faith remains steady I’ve been wondering about other religions and thought systems, especially as I’ve been reading Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey.

Any suggestions on how to explore other religions while still retaining my faith? Is this a worthwhile endeavor?

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  • Well, my personal belief would be that you don’t really need to look into other religions. I don’t think it’s worthwhile at all. Peter says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2: 9-10 I really don’t feel like we need to go look into the darkness! Darkness is something to be avoided not researched! =)

    • But I haven’t done a lot of research on this, so if you feel like you can convince me otherwise, go ahead and try! =)

      • I just kind of want to learn about other religions so I can see what they’re all about, not necessarily because I’m searching for something different. I want to be able to say that I’ve looked all the other religions at face value, and I also want to know what other people believe. True, I don’t really need to, but it would be helpful for evangelism purposes and also see how Christianity distinguishes itself from other religions. I have a general idea of some of them (atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses), but most of what I’ve heard is pretty foggy.

        • Ahhh ok, learning about other religions in order to be able to share your faith better is a good idea. =)

      • And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. -Mark 16:15

        but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, -1 Peter 3:15

        I encourage you to look at these in context. The point is: We are commanded to preach the gospel to everyone, and we should be able to provide logical answers to anyone who ask questions about our faith.

        Summery: We need to share the gospel, and we need to be equipped, as best as we can, to share it and defend it.

        One thing that I agree with you of is that we don’t need to get into the wicked details of a false religion, but we do need to know how to address them and defend against them, in a relevant way.

        • Hey Josiah! This is what I would have said, but you have definitely worded it better:) Can I just say that your comments are concise and very clear (both of which I lack in my writing)! Thanks! And keep it up:)

          • Thanks @disqus_RcSvYTTilb:disqus!

            Now if only I had better relational skills… πŸ˜€

          • Haha I feel you, dude. But hey, better to have good writing skills than relational skills. #introvertproblems Am I right?

          • Well for awhile I thought I was an introvert, but I recharge by being around people. I think, it is more like I am an extrovert with poor relational skills, and that sometimes gets depressing causing me to seem, sort of, introverty.

            Likely, I am an extrovert that has very low self confidence. I prefer others to initiate the talking. I seem to have bad “small talk” skills as well. πŸ˜€

          • I find as I get older I become more genuinely interested in others. So I stopped asking “kill-time questions”, you know? So thats good if you are bad at making small talk, because it isn’t genuine, its just artificial.

          • But, that isn’t the worst of it. I have a big heart to reach people for Christ (that’s not the bad part), but when I try to build up the courage to talk to someone I become paralysed by fear of something, despite knowing Christ is right there with me. I have no idea how to overcome the issue, but it is truly annoying.

            If anyone has any good advice on how to overcome that, I would be glad for it.

          • Josiah, talking about Christ to others is not “small talk”. Your heart is exactly in the right place, and its hard to talk to people about it, I know:) I find that just listening to them instead of thinking about what your next argument will be, helps me a lot. God is more powerful and infinite than any of our barriers that cause us to hold back (introvertism, fear, shyness etc. you name it!) So don’t worry if “oh I should have said that instead of this” or “if I just had 3 more minutes I could explain…” Don’t worry about measuring up to your own expectations, do the will of God.

    • Hey Guitar With Arms ( I still feel weird about calling you that, because I want to say “Hey Josh!”) I am a little confused on why you want to avoid the darkness. It is our calling by Christ Jesus to share His love to dark places. You and I were both in dark places until God got a grip on our hearts. Shouldn’t our response be to share that same love to others in darkness? We shouldn’t have to be afraid of dark places because as stated in 2nd Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Does that make sense?

      • Lol, you can call me Josh! =P I don’t mind.

        I see what y’all are saying about needing to witness to people, and I agree. So I guess what I was trying to say is I guess it’s good to research the darkness to a point so we can rescue those trapped in it, but we should be careful that we don’t…idk…get trapped in the darkness lol.

        This goes for @disqus_oMHOgFTIn3:disqus and @disqus_v7zgvL3EXD:disqus too. Thanks guys! =)

        • Oh absolutely! We don’t want the darkness to influence us, but we do want to influence them by showing them the light. We need to research religions in order to understand where people are coming from, or else we would just be like a deer in the headlights saying “Huh??” And then they can’t have a conversation about it, because they would just walk away.

        • Absolutely! Guarding our hearts is super important.
          (I almost posted supper important… XD)

          To give an extreme example: If you were addressing an adulterer you don’t need to research adultery on the internet to address it, look in the Bible for how it is dealt with there.

          But, for something like evolution the Bible doesn’t doesn’t address that specific belief, there you must find the general Biblical principles of dealing with beliefs, such as logic, reasoning, and true science.

          Learn how Godly believers handle the issue, but remember the Bible is our ultimate authority, don’t let the old “You can’t use the Bible!” trick fool you.

          Like @disqus_RcSvYTTilb:disqus was saying, if we don’t know what we are talking about when people ask you questions, you will be like a “deer in the headlights,” and people will, most likely, walk away.

          • Lol, about “supper important”, I actually need to go get my dinner. =P

            *whispers* be careful what you say about evolution, there are certain people in this convo who believe in evolution…not naming names though (and not me don’t worry) ;-).

            YES you can’t leave the Bible behind…I seriously spent like 20 minutes trying to find this cartoon…so YOU’D BETTER ENJOY XD.

          • You are talking to an “Answers in Genesis” fan(see my profile). πŸ˜‰

            Thanks for the whisper, but what are Alex and Brett’s convictions on that or do they just not make it a big deal?

            Thanks for the cartoon, I hadn’t seen that one!

          • Me too!! So much great stuff on that website!

            I’m really not sure…I don’t remember ever seeing Brett say much about any theology – they probs just don’t make it a big deal like you said.

            No prob! =)

    • Well, if we want to save people who are in the darkness, we have to learn how to be lights IN the darkness, not to run back to our little circle of light. We are called out of darkness into light to be lights in the darkness. So darkness isn’t to be avoided but to be lit up.

    • I think I definitely agree with what you are saying for the most part! However, I would also agree with other commenters who have said that searching other religions to refute them more adequately is a good idea! Our mindset in that endeavor would be “What does Scripture say about this?” “How can I defend this?” so in a sense, it would bring us closer to God because we are learning more about Scripture and how to use it for what it is: The Sword of the Spirit; “sharper than any two-edged sword.” But I think otherwise, why is is necessary or even worthwhile because it only will distract us from Christ.

    • I’m not sure about this… As some others have said, we are called to be lights for those stuck in darkness, which means we at the very least need to understand them and their viewpoints, especially when it comes to those who are committed to other religions. How do we expect people to listen to our testimonies and learn about our religion if we refuse to do the same? Learning about other religions doesn’t mean we are not strong in our own. In fact it can make our own faith stronger. I’m not saying we should do anything enough to cause us to stumble, or that other religions should become our god, but they can bring up struggles within our own beliefs that can help us to learn more about our faith and ultimately get closer to God. I heard one Christian man put this really well: “People who identify counterfeit money spend their whole lives studying what is fake [the counterfeit money] so that in the end they will have a thorough understanding and knowledge of what is real [the legitimate money].”

      • I agreed with everything until the last quote…I’ve heard that pretty much same exact quote, and what they do is they study the real money so they can quickly identify the fake money. =P

        But I don’t know if that applies to this situation perfectly, so yeah. =)

  • I’m going to say that it is definitely worth it, as long as you are doing it with the purpose of being a witness to others. By researching other beliefs, we can be better prepared to share the Gospel with members of those belief systems. So as long as your purpose is true, then God will be able to use you more so than he could have if you did not learn.

    Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  • I was basically going to say what Martial Artist said. I like to hear about other religions because not only do I find it extremely interesting, but a lot of times I end up either 1.) Bursting out laughing, or 2.) Crying audibly, “WHAT?! How can you believe that?!?” If you know the wrong things that other people believe, it can help you to research how to refute it and show them the truth. (Not saying go look for an argument to pick.) Say you want to look into Islam. Knowing what they believe, you can share with a Muslim the truths that contradict what they know.
    Nevertheless, know what your own beliefs are first before exploring the beliefs of others. It’s easy to be swayed by a convincing argument if you don’t know what the truth is. So I would caution you to first confirm what you believe, and have a sturdy foundation before going out and looking into other religions.

  • There are so many reason why it is beneficial to explore other religions. These are just a few.

    I think exploring other religions is very insightful especially to Christians who have grown up in a Christian home. It helps us to think through, not just what we believe, but why we believe it. It’s hard to explain your faith to unbelievers if your reason for believing in the Bible is simply “That’s the only thing I’ve ever known”. Exploring other religions helps us to really think through our reason for why we believe the teachings of the Bible are truth.

    Exploring other religions also helps us to witness to people who believe differently than us. We can explain to them why we think a belief in the God of the Bible is the most logical explanation based on what we’ve found in other religions. Some religions directly contradict themselves, and when we recognize that, we can show that to others as well.

    Also, there are aspects of other religions that stem from truths of the Bible. When you are witnessing to a person of another religion, it’s usually not very effective to just point out all the places where they’re wrong. If you can find things that both religions agree upon, you can work from there in showing the other person that the Bible is true.

    • My point exactly! I think that we should know what we’re up against and if we’re truly believers, the doubts that we truly have will end up strengthening our faith in the long run.

  • I always feel bad because in the past Christians have treated people of other religions badly and sometimes I see Christian pages on Instagram and making fun of atheists and Mormons and other people. But do we actually know the basis of their beliefs? I mean, we know it’s wrong, of course. But that doesn’t justify the fact that sometimes I think we find ourselves ridiculing things we only have a dim idea of. And that’s what I’m trying to do: figure out others’ beliefs and try to refute them in the most respectful way possible. We’re all sinners here–for some reason God just had the grace to allow me to be born into a godly family.

    • Yeah this gets me angry a lot of the times. Some people at my camp were poking fun of atheists and calling them stupid for believing this or that. While we had a lecture on Mormonism, this one guy in the back was laughing and saying “wow they actually believe that? I mean how dumb can they be?” He didn’t expect the teacher to hear him, but my teacher rebuked him in front of the whole class. “They’re argument isn’t stupid, ” my teacher said, levelly “We Christians sometimes just choose to downsize it and make it sound like non-believers are stupid for thinking it. God commands us to deliver the truth in love, not in ridicule.”

      • Exactly! Just because people have different beliefs than we do doesn’t make them stupid. Likewise, just because we know that we have a solid foundation in Jesus doesn’t mean we’re better than everyone else. Sometimes I look at these forums (yes, I see this here on the Rebelution) and occasionally there are one or two people who’ve adapted a sense of entitlement or superiority because they’re so confident in their belief in Jesus. (And don’t get me wrong–I get caught in this trap too.)

        Sure, their beliefs may not make sense to us…but if you look at it from a nonbeliever’s point of view, believing in a guy who rose from the dead is actually pretty crazy too. That’s what makes God awesome.

      • Stupid does not always mean intellectually inferior to the average person, it can mean foolish, but ether way it was inappropriate.

        I am glad your teacher had the wisdom to handle it in that manner.

  • My advice would be to not spend to much time on studying other religions. Sure, if there’s someone your sharing the gosple with, then study about there religion. I also want to say this, at camp, one of the pastor’s told us that one lady in his Church decided to study Mormonism. There are a lot of Mormon’s were they live. So the pastor asked her this, how much do you know about your Bible. The point was that she spent so much time on reading about Mormonism, so she got distracted, and didn’t spend much time on reading her Bible. Just a thought. Don’t get to carried away with it. I think that it’s ok to study other religions, but once your done, don’t keep up with it.

  • First, I just want to point out that “Christianity” is NOT what saves us!! It’s not about what “religion” we are, but about a true, strong, unwavering relationship iwth Jesus Christ! I think people often but too much importance on what “religion” they are instead of their relationship with Jesus Christ. But that’s a whole other discussion….
    What is your motivation behind wanting to study other religions? Is it to be able to more adequately share truth with someone of another religion like @disqus_yezUL85qzj:disqussaid? If so, then I think yes!! By all means study it and learn about it!! We also studied Mormonism and JW’s beliefs a LOT because we were frequently exposed to them. Now, we live in Zambia where Christianity is dominant, however a lot of voodoo and witchcraft are also present. So, we are studying what they believe and their practices to more adequately share with them.
    If you desire is just to learn more about them, then I suggest you be careful! Since you were blessed with parents who raised you in a Christian home and are firm in your faith; then how would it benefit you to learn about other religions? I’ve heard the names of the people you’ve listed, but I don’t know much about them. I would venture to guess; however, that if they were studying all these other religions, then they probably were not raised in a Christian home. Or they went into a stage of rebellion, but found themselves quickly back at Jesus’ feet. ( i may be wrong, so feel free to correct me!). I agree with what I think you are saying: you want to decide for yourself and not just take your parents word for everything. That’s a good endeavor!! However, I think you would be better off studying more about God’s Word and WHY you believe what you already believe than exploring other “religions”. If we just take our parents’ word for everything they teach us, but don’t know why we believe it, then we won’t be able to defend our beliefs very well!! Perhaps in your study of scriptures, God will reveal something to you that differs from your parents beliefs slightly (hopefully on the big things your views stay the same), but that will help you become more knowledgeable on God and build a stonger bond with Him.
    Also, I think if you are spending a lot of time exploring other religions, then that could easily damage your relationship with God!! You’re spending time delving and pouring into religions that DON’T teach proper beliefs about God!! So how could that grow your relationship with Him? If you are perhaps questioning what you’ve been taught, then again; pouring your time into the study of the scriptures will help you come to the conclusion that it is truth!

    • I don’t necessarily think that learning about other religions could easily damage your relationship with God. If anything, it should help confirm the faith you have in Him and Him alone. I agree that we shouldn’t spend more time studying other religions than studying the Bible though.

      • Hey Leah! …I I think I should’ve clarified what I was saying! I think studying other religions can easily damage our relationship with God if we aren’t studying them from a Christian perspective, as in, “How does this line up with Scripture? Does this properly teach about Jesus Christ?” If our mindset in studying those other religions is not keeping the Bible as our basis for truth in our minds; THEN it would be easy to be swayed from what we believe! πŸ™‚

  • This is a dangerous task. But for example, the Batman became his enemy (under cover) to learn more about them.
    If your careful, it is helpful to learn more about other religions.

  • I live in a Muslim country, so my whole family has made it a point to study Islam. I think it’s a really good thing, and people of those different religions get a different perspective of us “close minded Christians” when they see that we’re not really close minded and care a lot about them; enough to learn about what they believe.
    I would suggest to begin learned about other religions from a Christian perspective, others can be dangerous. My dad has these pamphlets comparing and giving facts about Islam as well as some books written by people who lived many years among Muslims or have converted from Islam to Christianity (I would recommend the book Seeking Allah Finding Jesus).
    Another thing to do is ask parents, pastors, or other knowledgeable people as well as people you might know of that religion (making it clear that you just want to learn about their religion and are strongly Christian). You have to be careful when talking to people of that religion not to send the wrong messages, or let what that person says effect you faith.

  • If you go into another country to teach English, but you don’t know the language of the country, then how will you be able to teach? I believe that evangelism is the same way. If you don’t know the culture, then you don’t know how to approach them about God. I think you should learn about other religions. Just make sure that when you study other religions, that you know all truth comes from God and no one else.

  • It’s important to know the basics of other religion’s or “worldviews” (such as atheism, which is common now-a-days), but you have to guard your heart and be attentive to the hold spirit. You wouldn’t go into a satanic church to learn their beliefs, right? That would be foolish and sooo dangerous! So you have to know where to draw the line. How about a Buddhist temple? A Mormon church? Would you read the Qur’an? The Stanist “bible”? How about the Book of Mormon? I don’t think it is necessary to go into the churches or read the texts of other religions, because that is opening up the door to your soul/mind just enough that Satan can slip his foot in and keep in open. Plus you could end up mixing truth with lie. You can learn about other religions’ beliefs through other resources, that break them down. Of course, most religions have “denominations” like christian churches that interpret things a little differently, so individuals will vary – so talk to them. Ultimately, the gospel can be understood by (almost) all (the exceptions are obvious) and is sufficient for all, despite their background.

    • As an interesting side note, my parents are examples of different opinions on how to go about this. My view is the same as my mom’s (don’t need to go to their church or read the “bibles”), but my dad (at least at some point, maybe not as much now) didn’t have a problem reading the Book of Mormon to witness to them…..I don’t agree with him. Again, a case of conscience and holy spirit sensitivity.

      • What happens if your are going to another place with a different religion so that you can witness to them? What I mean is that religion is integrated into the culture. If a person is called to witness to people of another culture and faith, then shouldn’t they know what the people already believe?

        • (See my reply above. ) This would be a different case, in which you would probably spend much more time talking about the differences between Christianity and whatever the other religion is and need to know more from their books. Like I said above, I think it’s important to not spend too much time studying it, as that can be dangerous.

    • Hey, Emma! I’m not arguing with you, I’m just merely curious to know more about your point of view. I’m someone who has read parts of the Qur’an and studied Jehovah’s Witness’ beliefs from Jehovah’s Witness’ materials. What alternate resources were you speaking of when you said we could find out about them with “other resources”? Isn’t that somewhat akin to someone claiming Christianity isn’t true without ever reading the Bible?

      • Hmmmm…..good points…..well, as far as the articles go, I know you could pretty easily internet search articles/websites or find books that give the core beliefs of certain religions (my dad has some Mormon resources). I guess I really meant that I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend a lot of time STUDYING their “holy books” – again, books will give references for where they are getting whatever belief from so you can see what it says.
        If you are living in the states and talk with a Mormon friend/neighbor/missionary, the amount you need to know about their beliefs depends on how much time you want to spend talking or how deep you want to get. I like how Ray Comfort didn’t even talk about Joseph Smith, polygamy, etc. when he witnessed in this video:

        • Hmm, okay, I can see what you’re saying. I don’t think our PoV’s are that far apart though. πŸ™‚ I just feel that we need to understand other religions (more than simply a Christian speaking about another religions) in order to properly discuss issues with them. But thank you for sharing your thoughts and video.

          • To be honest, I’m not dead set in this opinion. Some of your points have pointed out weak spots. I guess I’m just struggling with where to draw the line. For example, would you ever read the satanist bible? NO! To put it in a sentence, it’s blasphemy, idolatry, and completely against God. But so are other religions. They just aren’t as “extreme”. (Does that make sense? ) So for me, the problem is where to draw the line. On another thought, I guess it really depends on the person – a new believer who doesn’t know much truth should not read other “holy books”, because they could get confused and end up mixing truth with lies. However, a stronger believer would be able to discern truth, or at least be wise enough to search the Scriptures when he is confused or not sure where to Bible stands on specific points.
            I’m so glad I’m going to Worldview Academy in a week and a half! I’m totally going to bring this up with my group leader.

          • Ah, good plan! Let’s see what someone older and wiser than us has to say! πŸ™‚

            True, I probably wouldn’t read the Satanist Bible, so I don’t know exactly where I would draw the line either.

          • I am pretty sure I would not want to touch the Satanist Bible because that honestly sounds really dangerous and I don’t think my faith is strong enough to mess with something like that. I can’t speak for all Christians on that one, but that is for me.
            I think it is good to be aware of and have some knowledge of other religions though. I have read parts of different religion’s holy books, but have never done a thorough study of those books either. I think if someone were called to, for example, be a missionary to the Muslims, than that person should probably be pretty well versed in their beliefs (and thus, may need to read the Quran) because I believe its necessary in order to really be able to defend Christianity to them.
            Or as another example, I have a friend who is Mormon and as we had different conversations about our beliefs I would end up reading some of the Book of Mormon in order to point out disagreements with it and the Bible or to aid in my arguments in other ways.
            I didn’t intend this to be so long, but yeah, personally, I think done in the correct way, it is good to study up on different religions and their holy books even. In fact, the college I attend took the first year to teach us about various religions in order that we can know in which ways they are straying from the truth of God’s word and how we can defend the Truth.
            Hope that helps, coming from an older person (but probably not wiser). πŸ˜‰

          • Well, Hannah, I agree for sure with your first point. The Satanist Bible is one I have not touched and probably never will.

            But reacting with fear to other religions as if they can somehow overcome our grounding with Christ gives more power to the Devil than he deserves. In Christ, Christ has already conquered the Devil. So these religions have no power over a child of God. So I’m not sure reacting with what appears to be fear from some of the people on this thread (not you, just making the statement) to other religions isn’t actually giving more strength to false religions than they should have.

            When we see Paul and the apostles preach against false gospels and false religions, we see no trace of weakness or of uncertainty. Rather there is a confidence that God is in control and more powerful than any other. Plus, to top it off, I would say that Paul seems to have researched Greek religion since when He preaches on Mars Hill, he introduces Jesus as the “Unknown God” which the Greeks already had built an altar to. He knew enough about their religion to introduce Christianity in a way that made sense to them.

            I think I agree with what you said though. Thank you for putting out your advice as an older, WISER πŸ™‚ person.

          • Thanks, Taylor, for your response. That was actually really helpful and encouraging for me and something I really needed to hear. Thanks for speaking the truth in love to me and reminding me that God is far more powerful than any Satanic force. I do have a tendency to fear many things and forget how much bigger and greater my God is.
            I think you are right that I was speaking out of a sense of fear towards that religion, yet I also believe it is something still not to be messed with and I even believe it should put a Godly fear in our hearts. Not a fear that God may not be as powerful as Satan, yet a certain fear of it known the less. Does that make sense and would you agree?
            Anyway, I agree with what you are saying and I really appreciate what you told me! I often struggle with fear and I am thankful for friends like you who see and are willing to confront me about it.

          • I would certainly agree. It is nothing to be trifled with or taken lightly. It’s like handling a snake. There are times it should be done, and there’s a right way to do it. That doesn’t mean you should become haphazard about it. There should always be a strain of caution, even some fear, in it.

            Again, thank you for your response! I like having you older (although you’re not THAT old! πŸ™‚ people on here that have more experience than us teens to point stuff out to us. I’ve really appreciated the conversations I’ve had with you before!

          • Yes, exactly! You just said what I was wanting to say, but didn’t know how to say. πŸ˜‰
            Haha! I do feel THAT old sometimes though, especially when my poor knee causes me troubles. πŸ˜‰
            I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the conversations I have had with you, as well. You always speak with much more maturity than is seen in many teens of your age and you always have such thought-provoking things to say. πŸ˜‰

          • Ha, we’ll just call you our resident, young old person!

            Have you injured your knee or something?

            Well, thanks! It’s mutual. And it’s encouraging to see other people passionate!

          • Haha!
            Yes, I did. The moral of the story is don’t play Broom Ball! Haha! But actually it was a fun game, but I fell down a lot and my knee has never been the same since and that was like two or so years ago. But it isn’t too bad, just a little frustrating or painful at times and sometimes I groan or moan when standing up after being down on my knees or something. πŸ˜‰

          • Ah, I can sympathize there. I’ve hurt my knees too from taekwondo, so my knees give me trouble occasionally too. πŸ™ But life is still awesome!!! πŸ™‚

          • Ah, you sounded poetical! Speaking of which, you might be interested in this, my poet friend! I wrote my first serious poem in about six years the other day. It was actually much more fun than I gave it credit for. I may be hooked….

          • Wow! I wish I could “like” that comment 5 or more times. Haha! You just made my day! First by calling me your “poet friend” and second, by writing poetry and third, by admitting the joys of writing poetry. I hope you will write more! The more you write the easier it becomes I think. Also, I very much want to see this poem. Are you going to publish it on your blog? May I ask, did I have any influence on you in giving you the desire to try poetry again? πŸ™‚

          • Wheh, that’s a lot of questions! πŸ™‚ I will post it on my blog just so you can see it. I’m kind of self-conscious about it, cause I don’t feel like it was that good, but anyhow. And yes, you did influence it. πŸ™‚

          • This makes me very happy!
            Honestly I don’t think my own poetry is very good, but I right from the heart and I think that is what matters. If you write from your heart than you never know how much of an impact simple little poems or other writings can have on someone. For example, a poem I wrote and published fairly recently, ended up really blessing a friend of mine and, in fact, after he shared his own story with me, it almost brought me to tears because I realized that although I had written the poem from my own experience, I think maybe God really meant the poem to be written for this other person’s story instead. So although you may not think your poetry is that great, you never know how far God can take it. Hope that’s encouraging for you. Also, everyone has to be a beginner at the start of a new adventure!

          • Yeah, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to read the actual legitimate texts, but if somebody is Mormon or something I’d ask about their beliefs and stuff.

  • After reading a few comments here, I remembered something that I did that might be pertinent. I was on a missions trip in Los Angeles and our plans to do street evangelism were cancelled due to rain (we’d be miserable, and there’d be nobody else). So we visited a Buddhist temple. The guide we had was an American woman who had grown up in the Episcopal church, but became disillusioned with Christianity and turned to Buddhism. Anyways, after getting a tour of the place we were actually able to sit down with her and ask her questions about what she believed, her faith background, etc. It was a good experience; I learned a lot about Buddhism and honestly it probably strengthened my faith more than anything.

    It’s important to know what you believe, and why you believe it. Other than that, I’d say it’s fine to learn about other religions. In many cultures, religion isn’t a taboo subject like it is in America, so asking someone about what they believe and discussing it can be a good way to witness to them. And it’s easier to intelligently discuss their beliefs if you have some idea of what you’re talking about beforehand.

  • So last (school) year, as part of World History I took a short seminar on world religions. At first, I was really afraid of “opening doors”, falling away from my faith, turning my house into a haunted house, and dying tragically (ridiculous, I know). Anyway, during a devo I was confronted by these verses from John; β€œJesus said to him [Thomas, the disciple] β€˜I am the
    way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
    through me’ ”. As I took the seminar I realized that all the religions looked to alleviate earthly suffering and give the hope of a better life in the future. However, Jesus is the ONLY way to actually fulfill this desire, and all the other religions were simply inventing imperfect solutions based on what they thought was true. This understanding freed me to study other religions without any guilt, secure in the knowledge that I already knew who the only way to paradise is. The knowledge I acquired during the seminar has been so useful in understanding people — present and past — why they do what they do, and maybe it will help me later sharing the gospel with others, who knows?

    Hope this helped! =D

  • 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. – 1 Corinthians 9:20-23

    Ok so this is what popped in my head when I read this question. I agree with both sides, I mean you don’t want to study other religions and have doubts/neglect your relationship with Jesus. But on the same hand it does seem people can be more open to what you have to say if you have knowledge on other religions, or if you know about what they personally believe. (I have never been in either of those situations, but I have heard of some…. so I am definitely not the wisest person to speak on this!)

    From what I heard Christianity is different from all other major religions because they are based on the fact that you need to try really hard and work really hard to get to god. But Christianity is God seeing that we could never work or doing anything to get to him. So Jesus came picked us up and carried us to God. I don’t really know anything more than that. I mean I don’t even know what most (well really any) denominations believe! Hope this randomness made some sense!

    • I know a good practical example of how that verse can be applied. This is a little off topic for here, but pertains to that passage. I couple from my church used to live in South Carolina, where, at lots of public events, EVERYONE is drinking alcohol. Not getting drunk, but you would kind of be an outcast if you weren’t at least holding a beer. Anyway, since drinking isn’t condemned in the Bible and it didn’t violate their consciences, they would have some. This made them “fit into the culture” (not in a bad way) so that it opened the door to talk to people and witness. That’s what I think this verse would look like today.

      • Yeah! So if you had a knowledge of what religion was important to someone, you could share the truth with them! πŸ˜€ I love your example!

  • Well, my two cents is that researching religions can be a very helpful witnessing tool! I would encourage you to research what others believe! As for not drifting from your faith, I think that that lies in WHY you’re researching.

    I know a family who has been “checking out” different religions. They’ve been to basically every church in town. They do not have a foundation of absolute truth in their life and they don’t know where to find it. So they’re searching for what “sounds good.”

    That’s not good “researching.” That is drifting from the faith.

    On other hand, if you know what you believe, and you have a solid foundation in the Bible, and were witnessing to a Hindu, it would be very helpful to know what they believe so you can more effectively witness to them.

    If you’re not sure whether or not to research other religions, I would encourage you to make sure that you’re researching for the purpose of leading others to Christ. And since some religions can be very alluring, I would strongly encourage you to be fully grounded in your faith.

    Hope that helps!! πŸ™‚

  • I feel like one of the things that’s been mentioned but not really full on addressed is our doubts about our religion. I think this is one of the main points creating differing opinions on whether or not to learn about other religions. It is not uncommon to have doubts. We are sinners. There is a certain danger to learning about other religions if we are not firm in our faith. But I do not think that simply having doubts is a good reason to not learn about them. Doubts are a way to learn more about God. They get us thinking about why we believe what we believe. This causes us to dig deeper into the Bible, learn more about God, and become even firmer in the truth. So I don’t think they should keep us from learning about other religions, assuming our faith is strong enough to turn us back to learning about our own religion when we fall into doubting.

  • If you do go and start learning about other religions, watch to make sure that is doesn’t take priority over God. If you are spending more time learning about other religions then learning about God and spending time with Him, you need to take a step back and put the focus back on God. And make sure your reason for looking into other religions is not influenced by pride or the want to appear strong in faith after learning about other religions.

  • I live in India right now, and have been for the past few years. Some of my best friends are Hindu and many of my neighbors are Muslim. I’ve had to study both in school. (it’s a secular school, so we learned about Christianity too) I’ve found that in order to express your faith correctly to people, you first need to know what they believe. So it’s a good thing that you want to learn about other faiths.

    I think the best way to stay firm in your faith is to continue reading your Bible and praying every day. Pray that God would help you to see these religions for what they are, and continually remind you of who he is. That he would help you show respect for people of other religions, while being able to disagree with their beliefs. Pray that He would help you see where a religion takes its followers. There are some religions based upon constant fear, but any follower of it won’t tell you that, God has to show you. Also, before learning about other religions you should be firm in what you believe as a Christian.

    Assuming you live in the U.S., atheism is a good religion (or lack thereof) to start with, as it is the most popular belief there. When I was younger, (we were in America) my mom had us listen to the audio drama series Jonathan Park. The story lines are okay, and the acting isn’t great, but the truths are amazing. They compare evolutionary theories to a creationist view, and give good arguments and proof for creation. For less scientific religions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam) you’d get better information from a follower of that religion, or someone who has spent a great deal of time with people of that religion. But, it may be best to talk to a Christian who has spent time with people of other religions, because they will be able to remind you of the truth.

  • I think it’s essential to understand any religion that we want to argue against, but even more important to be sure that our own faith is strong enough to face whatever we find out.

    In Egypt, our tour guide was a Muslim who was willing to answer questions about his religion and ask what we believed. It is really helpful to understand Islam to witness to Muslims and the same applies to any other religion. (I picked up some Jehovah’s Witness literature so I can understand what they’re saying and argue against it. I won’t know what’s wrong with what they’re saying if I don’t know what they’re saying.)
    That said, it’s so important to understand Christianity, especially all the confirming evidence, before we delve into other religions. Try giving yourself one fact that will hopefully cover most doubts. For example, the Bible is one of the BEST historical documents around, so it’s far more likely to be accurate about Jesus life than the Qur’an which was written 600 years ago. Then there’s always the argument that you’ve known God and seen him working in your life.

    • Hi! we realy need to create arguments that convince ourselves that the Christianity is the One Truth.

    • I really love what you said about understanding what a certain religion stands for before blindly arguing against it. I think Christians tend to do that a lot because we hear pastors and parent’s viewpoints but we don’t quite understand them. I know that we would be much more effective in bringing others to Christ if we truly understood what we were teaching.

  • Hi! well, if we want to defence the Christianism, we need to understand the others religions. Jesus knew what the people was thinking about and used this to show them that he was the Christ! But many christs lost theirs faith when meet other religion. I have many friends that have this history. What we need to do is create an argument that convince ourselves that the Bible is the One truth in order to be able to bring others to Christ.

  • I’m late here, but who cares?
    So I’m interested in this sort of thing… I actually used to have debates with a friend where one of us would argue the Christian view and the other would argue the nonChristian view of a certain subject. So yeah, I enjoy this sort of thing and I love to learn what’s wrong with other worldviews. πŸ™‚
    I recently read an *amazing* book, “World Religions in a Nutshell”, put out by Answers in Genesis. It has information on the ten leading world religions, with their general beliefs and then their beliefs contrasted with Christianity. Best of all (in my opinion) at the end of each chapter they had examples of how to witness to a person in the belief system they just explained. It’s an awesome book! The best I’ve read yet.
    If you want to look into other religions, I’d suggest looking into this book.

  • Ok, I’m assuming some one has most likely already said this, as my browser is only loading twenty of the 130(!) comments….
    First off, you should be sure in your faith. Know what you believe, and the evidence for it. I’d suggest looking at some good apologetics books/articles, I personally enjoy Voddie Baucham and Ravi Zacherias.
    There are also books out there which do discuss different religions from a Christian perspective, pointing out what they may have gotten slightly right (since man is made in image of God) and where they fall short of the Gospel. “Why Jesus?” is the only one which my brain is bringing up at the moment, but a little research is probably much more reliable than my grey matter. πŸ˜€
    I think understanding different religions is a very helpful thing when you are witnessing to someone of that faith, and can also be useful if you are just wishing to show someone how Christ is superior to all other “saving” methods.
    Hope that helps!

  • It’s definitely worthwhile because at some point you are going to come across people who will be from another religion or who will accuse you of ignorance because you’ve grown up in a Christian family. It’s good to know what it is that others follow because it also helps you to understand how best to present the gospel to them. You can’t present the gospel in the same way to Atheists as you would to Bhuddists or the same way to Bhuddists as you would to Muslims, their worldview is totally different. And it’s important to understand that.
    It is possible to look into other religions without converting to them. It needs to be done prayerfully and it’s good to look into the religions and philosophies with the Bible open alongside. Ravi Zacharias is good when it comes to Islam. David Robertson is good with Atheism and the postmodern way of thinking.’I Once was a Bhuddist Nun’ is a good one too (it’s a testimony but you learn a lot through it). I also have ‘The Unexpected Enemy’ by Ghulam Masih Naaman on my shelf. He was a Muslim freedom fighter who got saved but I haven’t read that yet. It’s just a few things to get you started πŸ™‚ But yeah, prayerfully and through the lens of scripture but it’s also sometimes fun to look at these things with someone else and compare notes. Or talk to people of that faith. It’s definitely something that Christians should do.
    If you want to get the gospel to people, it helps to know how they think, what they believe, and where they’re coming from. And it’s really interesting. But seriously, no need to feel ‘intelectually inferior’. You’re not. There’s a lot of people who sound like they’ve done a lot of research and know their stuff but when you dig a little deeper they’re just reciting someone else’s case. That’s not always true but don’t feel inferior πŸ™ At least you’re even interested in engaging with people. Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  • Researching and learning about other religions is vital to being able to effectively share the gospel, especially to people other Christians may steer clear because of their other religion. If you have an understanding of others’ religions, you will be able to better connect with other people. People who already have other religions may not be completely receptive to the gospel, because they have other beliefs. However, when someone who has another religion sees a Christian deliberately trying to connect with them about their religion, it may cause them to realize the level of community and relations Christians strive to create, effectively spreading the love of Christ through community.

  • One book that I’ve heard is good is ‘Kingdom of the Cults” I don’t know who the author is though. We actually live within 10 minutes of the “church of God” cult world head quarters. We have a friend who is a health inspector who had to check out the building. He said that they actually have guards and security stops just to get in…

      • I want to go there, but I have a lot of things pending on it πŸ˜€ I’m glad to hear you like it so much! I’ve only heard good about it and now my cousin is there so I’m hoping to talk about it with her this weekend!

  • I totally agree with what everyone is saying, but I thought I’d in one more thing. It’s okay to have doubts. There is valid reasoning behind why people believe what they believe, even if that reasoning is wrong, so we’re going to come across arguments that seem correct at face value. Diving into other worldviews and comparing them to ours may cause some temporary confusion, but your faith will end up stronger if you stick with it until you find an answer. One of the coolest parts about Christianity is that our God is big enough to handle the questions. And I’ve yet to come upon an issue that didn’t have a solid, biblical answer to it.

  • I found this Comment from Richard M “How to pick a Counterfeit” was really helpful, Yes it’s can be helpful to research other religions so we have some idea of how to best share Christ with them… BUT here’s Richard’s comment…

    “…you can’t possibly spend all your time uncovering and refuting every permutation of the Enemy’s wiles. There is an illustration that I think speaks to this issue and it puts the responsibility on all of us… not just those who are on the
    front lines.
    Have you ever watched a bank teller count money?
    Her hands are almost a blur as she counts the bills very quickly, and yet the experienced teller will automatically “feel” a counterfeit bill as it speeds through her fingers. She develops this ability because she spends so much time becoming familiar with counterfeits… right?
    Wrong! She is able to do this because she spends SO MUCH time handling the REAL thing.
    The same principle applies to TRUTH. How do we spot the well polished counterfeits of the Enemy of our souls? We spend time handling the real thing… the Word of God… and we spend time communing with the REAL Person… the triune, Living God.
    As my father said when I was young, “For every glimpse you get of Satan’s kingdom, you need to take a good, long look at The Kingdom of God.”
    Intimacy with God and His word is what He wants for us, and it’s what we need as a foundation for facing the Enemy.”

    When so many things of this world vie for our trust, it’s good to know we have something to test them against ~ God’s Word!
    When you are spending time handling the real thing it becomes real to us & those observing us & those we want to share Christ with.
    Researching & investigating other things is not wrong, but our daily walk with God needs to be our number 1 priority, that we can stand strong & not be distracted

  • how do I love reading one religion but not believe in it and believe in god but not find reading about him interesting

    • Omggggg I wonder this same question!!! Sometimes I get bored with Christianity and seek something new and exciting that I haven’t been exposed to. I wonder this same thing!

  • I have also been so blessed to be born and raised in a Christian homeschool family and come across the same hurdle of not knowing much about other religions. I don’t want to read up on other religions and steep myself in non-truth that I begin to doubt my faith in Christ – but on the other hand I don’t want to be totally ignorant of what is going on around me so much so that I can’t defend what I believe. It is really all a balancing act – what any one person can handle hearing without having their faith shaken.

  • First, you might perhaps venture to ask: “For what purpose do I believe what I believe? Is that purpose that I feel at threat of harm, if I don’t believe? If this is the case, how is it possible that I can believe such a thing, in the first place?”

    Secondly, ask: “If I do not compare my beliefs, with those of others–how have I any evidence of the validity of my beliefs?” Who’s to say some genius mastermind of the Catholic Church didn’t rip half the pages out of your particular version of the scripture you’re reading, and retailer the message to their own preference of what they’d like people to think and do? Worst case scenario, if you’ve seen alternative belief systems, you can begin to understand why they’re misleading or incorrect, in the event that is indeed the case. In the best case, you might find things that make sense to you, that lead you to investigate history and learn new things.

    Third, ask: “Am I believing, or am I following an instruction manual?” It’s one thing to believe in the concept of love and to explore that concept, and another to act on a rehearsed set of instructions for life, that lead you to do things without second thought, that end up getting someone hurt, in the name of a love that has been written of. In the former case, you can make your own decisions, come to a fresh understanding, and share what you understand with others. In the latter, you’ve become a puppet for a viral meme, like a computer that has a virus that tells it to do a specific thing, persistently, until it breaks.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’