How many religions are there? There are 4 answers?
First, there are as many religions as there are people because every person has his/her own ideas about what governs his/her life.
Second, there are 9 world religions, recognized for their age, size, and significance; “Christianity” is one of them.
Third, there are just 2. “You save you” OR “God saves you.”
Fourth, just 1. If “religion” means “what governs,” then there is only the truth, not about “what” governs, but “Who.” There is only one true, living God who created and sustains all things (Genesis 1, John 1, Hebrews 1). Everyone is not only created by God (so He is our father, Psalm 139) but everyone has been redeemed by the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And, everyone is the object of God’s loving, redeeming work by means of His Holy Spirit through His Word, the means of grace, and the constant, universal witness of creation.
What do we learn from religious study?
1. “YOU HAVE TO.” The law describes how reality works; failure to do what is necessary means death in every way.
2. “YOU CAN’T” We cannot create ourselves nor the universe our life depends on nor the constant functions of our body that our life depends on; SO why would we think that we can do the much harder work of changing the nature of our corruption? All religions, including “Christianity” as most people know it, are moral, ethical teachings; what YOU HAVE TO do, but you can’t.
3. “YOU CAN’T HAVE TO.” The only way for us to be at all and then to be saved is for God to save us, from beginning to eternity. The law has been fulfilled by Jesus by His life in our place and by His life at work in us now. He regenerates our soul, He orients and inspires us to follow the way of life and love. Here is real rest, real religion, and real hope.
The communication of the good message to the crowd at Pentecost (Acts 2) proved that God loves and saves all (thus the Apostles spoke in the foreign languages of the people had come) and saves immediately as His Word works among and in us. Happy “WhitsunTIDE” to you all (Whitsuntide is another word for Pentecost but includes the “tide” = all the weeks until Advent).