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Should Christians Study Religions

Should Christians study other religious texts? Can other texts offer anything beneficial to us? Examples: the Quran, the Bagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Analects of Confusious, etc. How do you see this in light of Paul referencing Greek poets when speaking with the Greeks?

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 ---j._nonymous on 1/2/08
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most christians don,t study the bible,let alone other religions.if you are a true disciple there is only one gospel,everything else is a lie,and breaking the first commandment.
---tom2 on 3/6/08

When there is counterfeit money at large in different denomination of US Dollar Bills, then why study the counterfeit? Wouldn't it only make sense to study the legal tender enough to distinguish between the real and the counterfeit? God says his people live in error because of their lack of knowledge. Surely, that is not the knowledge of counterfeit, especially the revised it?
---Greely on 3/6/08

The only reason for reading "other" scripture is to understand how and what others believe. If you can understand where they are, you have a much better chance of reaching them. When you can speak to them in their own text, show comparisons and history, they are more likely to listen. Unless of course they do not seek truth. Then it doesn't matter what scripture you use.
---dan on 3/3/08

Yes. Christians should learn something of other religions. This helps us to understand others, even if they are not true. Just like a friend tries to understand why and how a friend thinks, so they can be a better friend. Besides this, I believe that there are many good men and good teachings to be found in other religions. I enjoy reading Confucius as well as the religious beliefs of others. I may not agree with their religion, but I can still accept the truths that their religion happens to teach.
---grant on 3/2/08

No, They will & do only cause more CONFUSION to people that Don't know the Word of God.
Thank God we Don't need religion to enter the Kingdom of God, Huh?
Only thing you need to know is Jesus!
---Duane_Dudley_Martin on 3/1/08

It's good to have a general overview of other religions, being able to recognize the counterfeit falsehoods.

When critics become fanatic, spending abnormal amounts of time with their victims, anyone who will listen - endeavoring to destroy faith - you will find insincerity and guile.
---Cindy on 3/1/08

Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, tried to do some miracles such as prophecy (a test for a true prophet in Deuteronomy 18:21-22) but failed several times. He foretold of Christ's second coming in History of the Church (HC) 2:382. Joseph Smith preached that the coming of the Lord would be in 56 years (about 1891). The second coming did not occur in 1891, and the Mormon Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

Joseph Smith also prophesied that several cities would be destroyed in Doctrine and Covenants (D & C) 84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston were to be destroyed if they rejected the gospel according to Smith. Joseph Smith himself went to New York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did not accept his gospel, yet they have not been destroyed.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

Another famous false prophecy of Joseph Smith was his "END OF ALL NATIONS" in D & C 87 concerning the rebellion of South Carolina in the war between the states. The South was supposed to call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war would be poured out upon all nations, slaves would revolt, the inhabitants of the earth would mourn, famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

The South finally did revolt in 1861, but the slaves did not rise up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no worldwide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting "end of all nations."
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

The collection of writings that Protestants call the Apocrypha (hidden writings), Roman Catholics call the deuterocanonical (later or second canon) books. These books were written between 300 B.C. and 100 A.D., the Intertestamental Period between the inspired writings of God's Prophets in the Old Testament and those of the Apostles and their contemporaries in the New Testament. These were "infallibly" accepted into the Bible by the Roman Catholic Church in 1546 at the Council of Trent.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

Now the Apocrypha would be covered under the evidence for the Bible if these writings were truly inspired - but evidence seems to indicate that they are not. In the Bible we find prophets of God whose messages are ratified by miracles or prophecy that comes true, and whose message is immediately accepted by the people (Deut 31:26, Josh. 24:26, 1 Samuel 10:25, Daniel 9:2, Col. 4:16, 2 Peter 3:15-16). What we find in the apocrypha is just the opposite -
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

no apocryphal book was written by a prophet,in fact one book specifically states that it is not inspired(1Maccabees9:27)!None of these books were included in the Hebrew Scriptures.There is no ratification of the authors of any apocryphal book.No apocryphal book is cited as authoritative by later Biblical writers. There is no fulfilled prophecy in any apocryphal book.Finally,Jesus,who quoted from every section of Old Testament Scripture,never once quoted from the apocrypha.Neither did any of His disciples.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

The Bible so far outshines every competing source for being God's revelation that if it is not God's Word, it would seem impossible to choose among the leftovers. If the Bible is not God's Word, then we have been left with no clear criteria by which to know what might be.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

The question of which religious text is the true word of God is of utmost importance.If God wanted to authenticate His communication He would have to verify it in a manner that could not be duplicated by mere humans,by miracles.This narrows the field considerably.The real determination of the Bible's claim to absolute inspired truth is in its super natural evidence,including prophecy.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

God used prophets to speak and write down His Word and God uses miracles like fulfilled prophecy to authenticate His messengers. For example, in Genesis 12:7, God promises that the land of Israel was to be for Abraham and his descendants. In 1948 Israel was returned back to the Jewish people for the second time in history. This may not seem so astonishing until you realize that no nation in the history of the world has been scattered from its homeland and returned! Israel has done it twice.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

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The book of Daniel predicts with accuracy the coming of the four great kingdoms from Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, to Rome centuries before some of those kingdoms came on the scene (a time span of over 1,000 years!) with details concerning how they would rule and be broken. This includes the reigns of Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanies.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

There are so many prophecies concerning Christ(over 270!)that it would take more than a few screens worth of space to list them all.The odds of one man accidentally fulfilling even 16 of these are 1 in 10^45. How many is that? For comparison, there are less than 10^28 atoms in the entire universe! And Jesus, who affirmed the Bible as the Word of God, proved His reliability and deity by His resurrection (an historical fact not easily ignored).
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

Now consider the Quran - its author, Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers - Sura 17:91-95, 29:47-51). Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

The Quran makes clear historical errors. Muslims believe the Bible is inspired but with some errors from editing(Sura2:136as well as Suras13,16,17,20,21,23,25).The question they cannot adequately answer is: "When was the Bible corrupted?" If they say before 600 A.D. then how can the Quran admonish believers to read it?If they claim it was after 600 A.D.,then they are still incorrect, for we have absolutely no doubt as to the accuracy of biblical manuscripts from at least the 3rd century forward.
---Court7646 on 2/29/08

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I would be leary of any comments on a man whom jesus himself picked to bring the message of the gospel to the gentiles.of which most of us are.
---tom2 on 2/8/08

Why study the false when you have the truth. It has been said that in the FBI counterfiet division, agents never study counterfiet money, but know the real so well, they can identify the counterfiet. If it doesn't meet the standards of the real, it must be conterfeit. Conclusion: why spend time studying the counterfiet when more time can be spent studying the real.
---wivv on 1/15/08

#1 MikeM - It seems you and I are more in agreement than how it appears from prior exchanges. I agree nearly 100% with what you wrote and I am thankful you esteem the apostles of Jesus as they should be.

I likewise concur with your assessment of the Muslims whose religion goes against the very laws of nature. Same holds true for the apostate RCC's and the "Protestants" who professed Jesus with their lips but had hearts far from them. Indeed- by their fruits they are known. Well said!
---ShaunT on 1/7/08

J nonymous By studying other "text" one can see how today's Christendom has borrowed many doctrines from other "religions" Altho the bible does not say the soul is immortal,Christendom has embraced the concept from others like the Book of Mormon (Alma 42.9) "the soul can never die" cont..2
---1st_cliff on 1/7/08

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#2 The concept of "Hades" having "compatments" is straight from Greco/Roman mythology. The Vedas describes hell as having multi levels each one hotter than the one above where a red hot poker is thrust thru the sinner. Also if you can ignore science you will believe the Sun, moon, stars, earth and everything in it was created in 144 hours. OH yes!
---1st_cliff on 1/7/08

Studying other texts help us understand how people think, and relate to God. It is always good idea to start where people are, then lead them to truth.

Dr. Rich - perhaps Paul didn't mess things up, did people mess up Paul?
---dan on 1/7/08

catherine: If there is scripture against it, tell us where.

However, there is also evidence that many prominent figures in the Bible were well versed in other religions. They were aware of their surroundings. The fact the Bible records certain Pagan practices is evidence of this. Also, think of Daniel, Joseph, Moses, and Paul.
---j._nonymous on 1/7/08

There is a scripture somewhere in the Bible a warning about such things. Better stay away. Some have lost their faith. Sinseless stories. It is dangerous. No one is as strong as one thinks.
---catherine on 1/7/08

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I can only speak for myself here--but after critically studying other religions (which I still do), I can honestly say that in my quest for truth, Christianity is the closest. What I have found is that only the Kingdom of Heaven gets into heaven and there is no such thing as a 'personal relationship' because Christianity has been tainted by Paul's writings. For me, I attempt to only follow the teachings of Jesus given to us by His eyewitnesses. John 14:26
---Dr._Rich on 1/5/08

A fanatic is the Islamic fundamentalist who blows themselves, and other civilians up for God. A fanatic starts out burning books, then ends up burning the writers of those of the books he thinks God wants him to burn. A fanatic lives in an either/or reality, me and them, which evolves into I/ it. As to Paul, Peter, James, Phillip, Thomas, they were committed, steadfast, unwavering in their dedication to the Gospel of Christ.
---MikeM on 1/5/08

Shaun-"By their fruits you shall know them" What are the general fruits of 'historical' Christianity, RCC or protestant? Fanaticism fueled by ignorance, pograms, vile theocratic regimes, corrupt clergy, racism, extermination of pagan cultures/peoples,'dark ages,' 'holy wars' etc etc etc. All this to enforce various 'absolute' truths on individuals, or society.
Thats my definition of fanaticism.
---MikeM on 1/5/08

In college I took several classes in religion. I studied different religions i their historical context. One Thesis paper was on the 100 year history of American fundamentalism, which I found very interesting.

I also learn, suprisingly that the largest divisions are withen religions, not between them. one example is evangelicalism is vastly divergent in temperment from fundamentalism, even through the theology is almost the same.
---MikeM on 1/5/08

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It is good to know the essentials, of other religions, so that one can answer questions that come up, but, you must be grounded in your own faith, otherwise, you will become confused. So, unless you are very strong, its probably best to just learn your own.
---Gayla on 1/4/08

NO.Thats like playing both sides against the middle.Its like finding something better.Its like not knowing which is which.
ITS LIKE,COMPROMISING.Everyone has something to say about this and that.
title that was used in the old west to say,
we are together.And don't even think about
conversing with the other side.
Oil and water don't mix.Either you have it or you don't.You will or you won't.
---Jack_8773 on 1/4/08

I think you should study other religions only if you are well grounded and truly know what you believe. IF NOT, YOU WILL GET VERY CONFUSED and it will cause you to doubt your faith. Joy9988
---joy9988 on 1/4/08

I studied world religions in college. And I'm glad I did. I now have a better understanding of how others think and believe to be true. I also have a greater respect for other religions and their teachings. It was also beneficial because I was taught what the core beliefs were that you don't see when hearing about fanatical groups in the news.
---Katie on 1/4/08

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I think the answer might lie in pauls experience with the unknown god.people will worship anything and everything if given the chance.STUDY the one true gospel.and know jesus.
---tom2 on 1/4/08

Definition of a fanatic is what MikeM? Someone who believes in absolute truth and that it is found in the person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures? Someone who believes in said truth and is willing to give their life for it? Someone like Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, Phillip, Thomas, and all the other "fanatical" apostles and saints throughout history who have given their very lives because they held to and preached absolute truth? Are these the fanatics you are condemning?
---ShaunT on 1/3/08

Trish & RitaH basicly nailed it. Not sure what MikeM was talking about. Those lacking maturity should wait befor reading those texts as well as extra Biblical material.
---Gilbert on 1/3/08

I took classes in different religions in college. You learn not to be a fanatic by this simple formula, A million believers from a million divergent positions will dogmatically attest to their own idiosyncratic positions. The key to not being a fanatic is knowing that no matter how absolutly right you may think you are-it can always be matched by the equally dogmatic opposing view the other guy holds to, he is just as convinced of his rightness as you are of yours.
---MikeM on 1/3/08

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Most Christians would do well to read the Bible and then do a Comparative Study of the Bible against what thier Pastors have been telling them.
---SamtheMan on 1/3/08

Comparative religion studies are fine if you are not easily influenced by false teachings.
The bible tells us of being carried about with every wind of doctrine.
If you wake up in a new world everyday with a different set of values and mindset about Christianity, you will end up very, very confused.
---Cindy on 1/3/08

The only way man can come to any true knowledge or understanding of the Father is from the mind of the Father. He has share His thoughts with man through His Word. The only book that I am aware of that makes the absolute claim within itself to be the inspired word of God is the bible. If one truly takes the time to read and make a sincere effort to comprehend the Father's given message to man, there will be little time, or need for any other book. The Spirit of His Word bears the witness of His Truth.
---Josef on 1/3/08

I don't think that we should read such writings with a view to being enlightened in any spiritual way BUT by reading them (if we have time to do so without impingeing on the time we spend studying the bible) we might learn something that will help us to understand what OTHERS believe and this could, possibly, help us in our witnessing to those of other faiths.
---RitaH on 1/3/08

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In Acts 17:28 Paul acknowledges, "'for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, "For we are also His offspring."'" I'm not sure about how this is marked with quotes. It looks like the poets have said we live and move in God, but Paul is a-d-d-i-n-g how "also" (**in addition to what the poets have "said"**) we are God's offspring. Showing that by having offspring God is personal, not just our means of living and moving.
---Bill_bila5659 on 1/2/08

J n, The more you learn about other "religious text" the less likely you are to stray from "Christianity".IMHO
---1st_cliff on 1/2/08

If a person is mature in the Lord and Holy Spirit filled I think it may be necessary espically if you're going to be say a missionary or a witness to people who have been raised in another religion.You have to know what false things you're fighting and be able to show in love how these things are wrong according to the Holy Bible.People in the deliverence ministry study a lot on saton,demons,witchcraft they'll know about what they're fighting.
---shirley on 1/2/08

Christians should be knowledgeable of what others believe so they can speak intelligently and sensitively to unbelievers about the error in their beliefs, while teaching the truth of our beliefs, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
---Trish9863 on 1/2/08

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