© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., 2013
What is different about Christianity from all other religions? It is based in history with real persons, real events, real cities, countries, and actual eyewitnesses. The Apostles’ Creed speaks of the Lord Jesus as One who “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Why is that important? It shows that Christianity is rooted in things that actually happened, and is not made up from imagination, as all false religions are.
Buddhism is basically an atheistic philosophy with little to no roots in actual events. One even wonders if the Buddha existed, and it really does not matter, for the system is just an idea. So if he never existed, it would not affect Buddhism.
Likewise, in Hinduism, which began about 4,000 years ago in India, we have another philosophy of life that makes little difference if real historical events occurred.
There are three religions that claim some historical connection: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and all three are monotheistic (one God). The first two are connected as bud to flower, and Islam is a conglomeration of some Judaism, some Christianity, more paganism, and a lot of imagination.
So, we say that Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and we could add, in Jerusalem around A. D. 30, but how historical is that? We know from Roman records that Pilate was in the Roman military, had served well. We know from archaeology that Pilate minted coins in Jerusalem with “Tiberius Caesar” on them from A.D. 29-31. Moreover, Pilate dedicated a monument to his Caesar with these words:
“To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum
…prefect of Judea
…has dedicated” [ rest of words not there]
A secular writer named Thallos discussed in A.D. 59 how there could have been darkness during the time of the crucifixion when the moon and sun were not in the correct positions. Moreover, Jesus’ tomb had a heavy stone rolled in front of it. There was a Roman seal, like the police tape we see today, and Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. There was never a discussion whether the tomb was empty, but only how it got that way.
Moreover, the Jewish historian, Josephus (A.D. 56-120), discussed in his Antiquities, the stoning of James “the brother of Jesus who is called Christ,” which is another historical event that matches the New Testament.
Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed in the life time of those to whom He was speaking at the time (about A.D. 30), and in A.D. 70, the Roman general Titus destroyed them, which is a well known fact of history, even by the secularists.
Unlike Mormonism and Islam where one must take the word of one man and allegedly one angel (Mormonism, Joseph Smith, and angel the Morini; Islam, Mohammed and Gabriel. In Christianity we have hundreds of eyewitnesses and hundreds of dates, artifacts, real persons, real history, and so on. In other words, we are not dependent on the word of one man or one alleged angel no one else saw, but we are thoroughly rooted in history. Take away the bodily resurrection of Christ, and Christianity crumbles. Take away the Buddha, and nothing would change.
So how do we know that the supernatural events, like Jesus’ bodily resurrection, are true? We know because of the natural events that are not only recorded in the New Testament by multiple eyewitnesses but also because of validation outside the New Testament in Roman documents, historical artifacts, Roman historians, and even one Jewish historian, Josephus, and so on.
Yes, Christianity is unique. One would have to rewrite history to destroy the Christian Church and Christianity. AMEN.