Overview of the Contents of this Web Site:
Many people seem to feel that except for specific traditions and nomenclature, all religions are pretty much the same. However, I believe that the teachings of the Bible are unique - indeed fundamentally different from all other religions. In the following abstracts of the pages in this web site I have emphasized in the italicized sentences the uniqueness of Biblical teachings relative to other religions.
Healthy Skepticism is a reasonable foundation for a personal worldview. The belief set of the healthy skeptic is based on rationality, as opposed to the people with either blind faith or cynicism. It is not necessary to hide from reality in order to believe in the truth. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions discourage healthy skepticism and encourage blind faith.
Galileo's DIALOGUE. Galileo was put under house arrest for the last years of his life because he sought truth rather than submit to organizational authority. In so doing, he achieved real freedom unlike the people around him at the time, and he helped future generations find truth and freedom. The example that he set is relevant to each of us today, particularly if we are subjecting ourselves to either formal organizational authority or the tyranny of popular opinion. He demonstrated that truth can only be found through willingness to break away from tradition. He provided an excellent example of healthy skepticism.
Pascal's PENSÉES. Pascal, along with others such as Galeleo, Kepler, and Newton, was a founder of modern physics. He is best known for his laws of hydraulic pressure, but he accomplished much more in physics and mathematics. The metric unit of pressure, the Pascal, is named after him and is equal to one Newton of force per square meter. Pascal, who invented one of the first mechanical digital computers, also has a programming language named after him. All four of these men were devout Christians. Pascal lived in France from1623 to 1662. PENSÉES, which means "thoughts", is a series of logical arguments for Christianity.
Einstein's God. Albert Einstein, widely recognized as one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th Century and a principle founder of modern science, believed in God. He was not an atheist - to the contradiction of people who believe that atheism or agnosticism are the only intelligent logical belief systems for modern thinkers. Even though Einstein discovered relativity in physics, he believed in absolute truth - that truth is not relative. He also believed that blind faith in organizational authority is the greatest enemy to truth.
Jesus Christ. According to the Christian faith, Christ is the only way to eternal life. Non-Christians are sometimes offended by this exclusionary doctrine, and it is becoming increasingly politically incorrect in today's orientation towards tolerance. This essay reviews Christianity's claim of uniqueness. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions require faith in mortal men who are now dead.
Salvation by Grace. C. S. Lewis wrote, "We might think that God wanted simply obedience to a set of rules: whereas He really wants people of a particular sort." The gospel of Christ is unique among the formal religions in that it is not based on personal performance against a code of conduct. It is based entirely on love: God's love towards us, and our willingness to humbly accept and share that love through faith. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions require obedience to ordinances and laws in order to achieve the full measure of eternal life.
Salvation by Works. This system of belief states that personal worthiness is fundamentally dependent on an individual's obedience to commandments, obedience to religious leaders, and on participation in specific ordinances or rituals. It seems to be the most universal belief system outside of Christianity, and is common among many individuals and groups that consider themselves to be Christian.
Bible Evidence. It is the most widely published book in human history, and there is an enormous amount of archeological and historical evidence for the Bible. It has been in continuous use since it was written, and most of the locations of Biblical events are geographically identifiable today. Furthermore, the existing ancient original language manuscripts of the Bible, some dating to within a few decades of the original writings, provide evidence of accuracy and authenticity. Therefore, the Bible meets the criteria for being a witness for truth. Unlike the Bible, most other sacred scriptures have no evidence that they are true.
Bible & Evolution. The only conflicts between the Bible and scientific knowledge, including the issue of evolution, are in the minds of people who don't actually read or understand the Bible. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions contain beliefs that contradict verifiable fact.
Bible Testimony. The writers of the Bible assure the reader that it is the word of God and that it is the complete scripture. Furthermore, the Bible contains promises from the Lord that He has protected its accuracy so that we can be certain that it is free from errors.
Bible Interpretation. The Bible is definitive regarding the doctrines of salvation. In other words, when studied carefully, it does not allow for more than one possible interpretation of any critical doctrine. There are numerous groups that use their own interpretation of the Bible to justify divergent doctrines, but those interpretations invariably violate simple rules of interpretation.
Personal Revelation is the most important source of faith. However, nearly all of the various mutually contradictory religions claim to be verifiable through personal revelation. There are people in every religion that have received divine confirmation, some miraculous, that they made the correct choices spiritually. Since by itself it results in contradictory results, personal revelation must be confirmed by rational verification, and without such verification it is not a reliable source of truth.
Attributes of God. This essay reviews the information from the Bible regarding the origin and nature of God. Many non-Christians believe that the doctrine of trinity is either polytheistic or a ridiculous notion that one person appears to be three persons. But both of these reactions reflect a failure to understand the doctrine rather than reflecting on the doctrine itself. The Bible teaches that God has always existed, and that He created the matter of which the universe is composed. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions believe that the material composition of the universe has always existed, and that God (or the gods) have somehow come into existence at some time in the past.
Predestination & Free Will. There is an apparent contradiction between the omniscience of God and the free will of mankind. On the one hand it is argued that God has complete foreknowledge of everything that will happen. Thus, He effectively controls everything through predestination. The opposing position is that He has kept himself somewhat in the dark regarding future events to make room for the free will of mankind. This essay takes the position that God is in control, that He does have complete and perfect knowledge of all future events. That is, the Bible's references to predestination are correct. However, He has created a universe in which the people that He has created are given the free will to make their own choices and are held responsible for the consequences of those choices. Although these conditions may appear to be contradictory, this essay shows that there is in reality no contradiction between these two aspects of human existence. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions believe either that fate eliminates free will or that in order for free will to exist God cannot be perfectly omniscient.
Evil & Suffering. If an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God created the entire universe, then why is there evil and suffering in the world? The Bible teaches that evil was created by the misuse of the free will of people and angels, and that God did not create evil. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions believe either in the existence of competing good and evil gods, or that God created both good and evil.
Heaven and Hell are the two alternative final destinies of all people. Unlike the sacred scriptures of Hindu and other religions that teach doctrines of salvation of the dead, the Bible teaches that eternal decisions made in this mortal life are final. This is the time to accept salvation because there is no opportunity to do so after physical death. Unlike Biblical teachings, some other religions believe in a variety of eternal destinies and ordinances that provide for the salvation of dead ancestors.
Prophecy is the gift of receiving revelation from God on behalf of and for the benefit of other people. Since the apostle Paul lists prophecy as one of the gifts that exists among the saints in the church, we can be assured that there have been prophets through the church age, and that there are prophets on the earth today.
The Priesthood is the authority for people to act on behalf of the Lord. Thus, if a person started a church or led one without the priesthood, that church could only be a man-made church, not a church of Christ. This essay reviews the Biblical doctrines concerning the priesthood. The Bible teaches that priesthood authority is conferred directly from God through the Holy Spirit. Unlike Biblical teachings, most religions believe that priesthood authority is passed from man to man.
The Temple. From the Exodus under the leadership of Moses through the earthly ministry of Christ there was first the tabernacle, and then the temple on the earth, uniquely sanctioned by God. The New Testament also affirms the on-going and eternal importance of the temple under the New Covenant established by Christ. The Bible teaches that the temple of the New Covenant is the church itself, built by Christ, with the individual faithful believers as the building blocks of the temple. Unlike Biblical teachings, many religions believe in the sacredness of temple buildings built by human hands.
The Church is the assembly of the Lord's faithful disciples, and its purpose is to do the Lord's work as a team. Jesus Christ first established his church at Pentecost. This essay reviews the Biblical doctrines concerning Christ's church.
Sharing the Gospel with friends of other faiths. Some suggestions for Christians in sharing their testimonies.
Statement of Faith. My personal statement of belief.
Index of Topics for this entire Faith Principles web site.
This entire web site © 2010 William C. Hamer
Note on Bible quotations. The New International Version (NIV) is used for all quotations of the Bible in this web site, except where noted, because it is the clearest and easiest to understand translation for today's English reader. Furthermore, it is by far the most widely used English translation of the Bible today. For those readers who are more comfortable with another translation, such as the King James Version (KJV), I suggest that they look up the verses quoted in this web site using their own copy of the Bible to assure themselves that the quotations are equivalent in meaning.