There are about 20 large religions in the world which have more than a million believers. And Christianity is the largest among them with more than 2 billion believers. About 75% of the world’s population practices one of the Top 5 most influential religions of the world. The rest is simply nonreligious.
Top 5 religions
The largest religion in the world is Christianity (2.1 B – 31.4%) followed by Islam (1.6 B – 23.2%) then Hinduism (1 B – 15%), Buddhism (487 M – 7.1%) and Judaism (13.8 M – 0.2%). Each of them claims to be uniquely distinguished among others. Each of them has certain philosophical persuasions, dogmas or rules. Each of them do some religious practices, follow certain traditions or commandments. And each of them has their religious leaders, teacher, prophets or guru.
At the first glance they are so different, but in core basis – they are the same. The pattern is the same: believe in and worship to some supernatural power or deity.
How to Get to heaven?
Before finding out about different ways to Heaven, let’s ask ourselves these 3 questions:
- What makes Christianity different?
- Why only a third of the world’s population follow Jesus Christ and why other do not?
- Do we need Jesus at all?
Now, let’s deep in to what other religions say about Heaven and how to get to Heaven.
And in order to be fair, let’s set one rule: you cannot rely on gods and deities, supernatural powers, knowledge of gurus or someone’s righteousness. You and your beliefs alone are making the way to heaven.
Hinduism and Buddhism
According to Buddhism there are 33 heavens and 33 hells. As for me, idea of even one hell is enough to fear and avoid it. Regardless of the number of heavens and hells, the concept is the same – the karma. The better your karma, the higher “your heaven”; while the lower your karma, the lower “your hell”.
Hinduism teaches that all sinners after death are tormented in the Naraka, which is Hell.
In Hinduism, same as in Buddhism, Nirvana or Svagra is a place of perfect peace and happiness. You have to live a perfect, blameless and righteous life. Do no harm to any living creature. Live in peace, tranquility and harmony with the world and Yourself. Then, and only then you may break a vicious cycle of constant reincarnation and reach Nirvana or Svagra. You may enjoy it for quite a long time, but not forever. It will last thousand heaven years, where one heaven day equal 400 earthly years.
According to Islam all sinners go to Jahannam (hell), which is the a place with blazing fire. Jahannam located below heaven, have seven gates to separate different types of sinners.
In Islam Jannah is a paradise with “. . . rivers of water, the taste, and smell of which are never changed. Rivers of milk the taste of which will remain unchanged, rivers of wine that will be delicious to those who drink from it and rivers of clear, pure honey.” In order to get to Jannah, Islam teaches its believers to live in faith to Allah and do good deeds. Also, there are other ways to gain your place in paradise. Simply seek knowledge, attend mosque, be good to your parents and remain righteous. But recitation of the Quran probably is the most effective way to Jannah.
There is a Jewish joke that says there is no Heaven or Hell: we all go to the same place when we die, where Moses and Rabbi Akiva give constant and everlasting classes on the Bible and the Talmud. For the righteous this is eternal bliss, while for the wicked this is eternal suffering.
But that is just a joke. From Jewish standpoint reality about Heaven and Hell are even more complicated. And there are more disagreements than unity.
The concept of Hell and Heaven in Judaism changes through time and from one philosophical ideas to another. They have adopted ideas from the Bible and Hinduism, Aristotle and Plato, Zohar and Jewish mysticism.
The Jewish mystics describes a spiritual place called Gehinnom or She’ol. This is usually translated as “Hell”, “underworld” or “dark and deep”. Everyone who dies goes down to She’ol, whether good or evil, rich or poor, slave or free man. So, regardless your good deeds and righteousness you are going to suffer. But after it was difficult to explain why good and decent Jews must suffer, they developed another theological claim. They introduced salvation – Olam Ha-Ba (the World-to-Come). If righteous person must suffer in this life, he or she will be rewarded in the next world, and that reward will be much greater.
Christianity has all the answers
Now, let’s come back to the questions what we asked ourselves in the beginning of this section
What makes Christianity different?
According to Christianity hell is the second death and separation for God. The first death is when a person dies physically.
Heaven is a real place. The place where God sits on His throne, and Jesus Christ at His right hand and angles singing Glory to our Lord God Almighty! But, in Romans 3:23 Paul says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Therefore, none is able to attain everlasting life, but through the grace of God.
Remember in the beginning we have set the rule, that no deity or supernatural power, or some guru, or any other person can save you, but your own efforts. So, what can we do to get to heaven, you will ask. And it is a very good question.
Let’s go on. Following the logic of righteous and unrighteous behavior, the Ten Commandments given to Moses from God is our salvation and ticket to heaven. So, let’s test ourselves, just be honest, the destiny of your own soul depends on it.
- You shall have no other gods before Me. (Have you always loved God above all else?)
- You shall not make yourself an idol. (Have you made a god in your mind that you’re more comfortable with, a god to suit yourself?)
- You shall not take God’s name in vain. (Have you ever used God’s holy Name as a cuss word?)
- Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder. (God considers hatred to be as murder).
- You shall not commit adultery. (“Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” Matthew 5:27-28; this also includes sex before marriage).
- You shall not steal. (Have you ever stolen anything? the value of the item is irrelevant).
- You shall not lie. (Have you lied even once? Including answering these questions).
- You shall not covet. (Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to others?)
Have you broke at least one out of ten commandments? Just be honest or will break 9th commandment again. I broke all of them.
And looks like Paul was right in Romans 3:10-12
Why only a third of the world’s population follow Jesus Christ and why others do not?
When you rely on your own righteousness and good deeds justifying what is good or bad by your own wicked and broken moral standards. When you try to live in peace, tranquility and harmony with entire world not admitting that you are an idolater, blasphemer, dishonoring your parents, murderer and adulterer in your heart, thief, liar and simply jealous person. I am sure that even 10% of that third of the world’s population DO NOT FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST. And I am one of them.
Do we need Jesus at all?
Jesus died on the cross for your and my sins. For your white lies, innocent carnal desires, your arrogance and pride, your self-righteousness and vainglory. And to make your wrecked life whole again. On the Calvary wrath and justice of God the Father from the one side and humbleness and obedience of Jesus Christ the Son of God from other side through the redeeming power of God the Holy Spirit united in one great love of Triune God to His creation.
Regardless if you are a long time believer or new born christian I encourage you to think about what Jesus did for you on the Cross.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ. Why not now. Do you know when you are going to die. Your life is precious to God. He wants to know you personally. Call upon His name and pray to Him for deliverance.
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