Why are there different religions?
There are many reasons for different religions but the most profound reason is that most people do not truly seek God. We want what we want and we do not want God (Romans 3:11). In opposition to getting what we want are God’s laws written in our hearts. God calls us unto unity- with Him and others. He doesn't have different views of who He is or how to be saved (see: Salvation). He is the creator and the only God. He also has come to every man to declare Himself (Romans 1:19; John 1:9; Colossians 1:23)
This is the war: physical versus spiritual. In the physical (carnal) we do not want God, we don't want to seek God but in the spiritual, our souls seek for Him because His laws are written in our hearts (Romans 2:14-15). Until a person is saved, there is a void in their life (a spirit that needs to be made alive) that can only be by God. Some people deny the spiritual tug at their heart and do not seek for God to fill their emptiness. Instead, they try to fill it with physical things like pleasure, people, work, alcohol, sex, food, etc… Then some people try to fill the void in a false spiritual manner, such as false religions. They do not really want God but seek for Him in ways of their own thinking instead of seeking Him with all their heart. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." So if they were truly seeking, they would truly find. Unfortunately, many people are brought up in false religions and they do not worship God the Creator. They are raised believing that their religion is true and do not search for God with all their heart and soul. Complacency hinders their search for the truth.
Of course, religion began with God. There's only one creator and one true religion. All other religions at some point take God's pure, true religion and change it into what they want, omitting some or all of God's laws (which are written on their hearts) and adding their own from their own thinking. Because people are born into sin and sinful; they do not have sound mind without God. There is no sound, reasonable mind without God, so they therefore invent their own truth (see written topic: Is truth subjective). Some religions believe that there are many gods, reincarnation, they worship animals, worship objects, worship their leaders, worship Satan, and follow false prophets.
Even though Christianity is classified as a religion, it is the only religion that recognizes that Jesus was and is the son of God. Other religions recognize that Jesus lived because it is a historical fact, but they do not believe that he was the son of God or that he died for our sins. Matthew 7:13-14 explains that wide it is the gate to destruction and many enter there but narrow is the way that leads unto life and there are few that find it.
The world's six major religions are: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Animism, Christianity, and Hinduism. There are many other religions and also many offshoots of these religions. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism. Judaism began about 2000 B.C. with Abraham and Sarah. God chose them and through their descendants to start a great nation (Israel), a people to be a light for the world by showing that God is the one true God. The Jews live by the laws that God gave them. They are to this day, waiting for a messiah, a savior to deliver them from their sins and to be a king over them. Many of their prophets have prophesied of the Messiah to come but they do not believe he has come yet and they are still waiting. Christianity believes that Jesus is the Messiah that they were/are waiting for. Christianity believes that Jesus was/is the Messiah to deliver the world from its sins and that salvation has come to everyone not just the Jews and that He is the son of God.
Inside the religion of Christianity there are many denominations. Many Christian denominations are actually not Christians at all. As the world is in a spiritual war, Satan and his demons spread lies and deceit to twist the word of God and truth. The people in these deceived denominations believe that they are saved but in fact are not. Satan has prompted people to start different false Christian denominations. The largest majority of these people really think that what they believe is right. They are deceived.
Then there are Christians that are actually Christians. They are saved and saints of God. Their churches are patterned after the scriptures in the bible. Unfortunately, they often differ in different points of doctrine due to inexperienced teachers in the church or Satan causing dissension and division in the churches. Satan has his own workers in the churches twisting the doctrine and confusing people. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." He sends different people to divide churches and cause confusion. Some of these people know exactly what they're doing and are doing it deliberately, but many are just deceived by Satan and do not understand that they are doing his work. Matthew 7:15-24 explains that people will come in as ravening wolves and that when they stand before the Lord they will think that they can enter into heaven but He will say to them, "I never knew you". Acts 20:29-30 speaks of people as wolves among the church and drawing away Christians from the truth. Also, unfortunately, some people that are saved twist the doctrine. 2 Peter 3:16 says that the unlearned and unstable twist the scriptures to their own destruction. Twisting the scriptures produces wrong doctrine in churches. So, because of doctrinal differences, other churches are started.
We are warned in the Scriptures not to accept another gospel. 2 Corinthians 11:4, and Galatians 1:6-9 refer to this. Another gospel is preaching a different Jesus. If the doctrine and the truth of who Jesus is have been changed then we're not talking about the same Jesus but instead a Jesus that the unlearned or unsaved have imagined and created. Christians must be very studied in the Word of God. If they are not studied and grounded in the word then they will not be able to discern what is truth. The Scriptures are spiritually discerned so the person must be saved and have the Holy Spirit working with them to be able to understand them.
The biggest doctrinal issue is faith versus works. Some Christian denominations believe that we must work for our salvation. Salvation is by grace and not of works (the physical things we do) Ephesians 2:8-9. The denominations that believe you have to work for your salvation or add works to your faith to be saved are clearly preaching another Jesus which is another gospel. They are not saved; they are not Christians. Even among true Christian churches, faith versus works in smaller issues appear and cause divisions internally and also members leaving to start different churches. Some of these works issues are things like: that a woman cannot wear pants and that she must wear a dress, or you must rest on a certain day, or must follow the 10 commandments etc... They do not understand the freedom that is in Christ, that it is about our love to one another and not about small petty issues or keeping the mosaic law. They bring physical works in and dwell on that instead of attaining deeper spiritual understanding.
So how do you know what religion and what denomination is right? Just look at the world. God set Israel as an example for the entire world to show his great name through them. Satan hates anything of God and God's people. Look at little Israel. Satan has the world against them except one country which is the United States (for now). We also are hated because of Israel and because of our belief in Christ. Prophets have prophesied how the world would be against Israel. Then there is the proof of the bible. Many of the prophecies in the Bible have come to pass. Many more are yet to come. The prophecies and the historical facts of the Bible are indisputable. The fact that Jesus lived and what He did has been documented and witnessed. Christianity is the only religion that is based on the Son of God rising from the dead. There were many witnesses to his life after his resurrection and during his ascension into heaven.
Those that seek God with all of their heart are given understanding of truth and of the Scriptures. This is the real dividing line: most people really do not want God and do not seek after him. Wide is the gate to destruction.
There are many reasons for different religions in the world and many reasons for divisions among the name of Christian. The spiritual war, pride, false believers, and unlearned believers twisting the scriptures are some of the major reasons.
So what is the right religion? Christianity. Remember, that not all churches are Christians that call themselves “christian”. Here are some doctrinal points to look for when considering what church to attend. Ask the prospective church for a copy of their doctrinal statement.
A. The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, infallible and God-breathed (2Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20- 21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13).
B. The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons-
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deuteronmy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; I John 5:7-8).
C. The Person and Work of Christ
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (John 1:1-2,14; Luke1:26-35; I Timothy 3:16).
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutive sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; I Peter 2:21-24; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5).
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, He is our Intercessor and Advocate (Acts 1:9; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1-2).
D. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, spiritually baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:7-11, 2 Corinthians 3:6; I Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 8:9-10; Ephesians. 1:13-14).
2. We believe that He is the Divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth, and, that it is the privilege of all the saved to be filled by the Spirit (John 16:13; I John 2:20, 27; Ephesians 5:18)
E. The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam's sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:22-23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3,12; 4:17-19).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the payment of our sins. That no work of the believer is attached to salvation including physical baptism (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18-19).
G. The Assurance of Believers
1. We believe that all those born of God are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever. No matter what the believer does he cannot lose his salvation (John 6:37- 40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1,38-39; I Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:14; I Peter 1:4-5).
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
H. The Two Natures of the Believer
We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are un-scriptural (Romans 6:13; 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 1:8-2:1)
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. That separation from all religious apostasy is commanded of God (2Timothy 3:1-5; 2 John 9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
J. The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
1. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of spiritual gifts upon believers. We believe that the purpose of God in bestowing the gifts is that, just as each one of us has received gifts, we might minister them to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God, resulting in the spiritual growth and strengthening of the saints (I Corinthians 12:4,7-11; Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans12:3-8).
2. We believe that certain gifts were temporarily given to provide revelation and/or accreditation until the completion of the New Testament at the end of the first century. The sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and most gifts of healing were temporary. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit, and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God can choose to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (1Corinthians 1:22,14:21-22).
K. The Church
1. We believe that the church, which is the body of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons (Ephesians1:22-23; 5:25-27; I Corinthians12:12-14; Acts 2:47).
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (I Timothy 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-11; Matthew16:18; Ephesians 2:20-22; Acts 20:28).
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control (Romans16:1, 4-5; I Peter 5:1-4; Matthew 28:19-20).
L. The Personality of Satan
We believe that Satan is a fallen angel and that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man. He is the father of liars, a deceiver, and can look like a person who is righteous. Satan shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah14:12-17; Matthew 25:41; John 8:44; Revelation 20:10; 2 Corinthians11:13-15; Genesis 3: 1-19; Revelation 20:2).
M. The Eternal State
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men; the Saved to eternal life, and the Unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6,12,13).
2. We believe that the souls of the saved are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where, in conscious bliss, they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Revelation 20:4-6; 2Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
3. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when, with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and then shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 20:11-15).
N. Human Sexuality
We believe that God has instructed against intimate sexual activity outside of a marriage which is between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1Corinthians 5:1,6:9; Romans 7:2; 1Corinthians 7:10; 1 Thessalonians. 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:22-23; I Corinthians 7:1-5).