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Christianity - Other Faiths
Test your knowledge of other faiths in this enjoyable Christianity quiz.

Christianity - Other Faiths

This GCSE RE Christianity quiz looks at other faiths. Although Christians believe Jesus was the Son of God in human form ~ and that He claimed ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no-one comes to the Father except by me’ (note: not just ‘a way’!) ~ they recognise that other people may have valid religious experiences through other traditions.

In the case of Judaism, most Christians readily acknowledge that Jesus was Himself a Jew, but that in Him the Messianic prophecy was fulfilled, whereas Jews are still waiting. The other great monotheistic (i.e. ‘one-God’) religion of Islam shares a deep respect for what we know as the Old Testament, and honours Jesus as a special figure, though not on a par with Mohammed.

Across the range of Christian traditions ~ certainly Catholicism with its monastic orders, and the Protestant churches ~ there is a robust and cherished history of 'singing from the same songsheet' as Judaism, with its ancient and comprehensive anthology of hymns and prayers that Jesus Himself knew, loved and quoted frequently (not least at key moments of His earthly life and ministry). Which 'Old Testament' book do we have in common mind here?
Song of Solomon
This is a clear reference to the Psalter with its 150 'prayer-songs, for public or private devotional use, covering pretty well the whole range of experience and emotion from triumph, through comfort, to moments of deep despair.
Islam honours Jesus in many ways such as the following, but we have put in ONE which is wrong ~ which one?
He was the Son of Mary (Isa Ibn Maryam), and Messiah (al-Masih)
He was the final prophet sent by God/Allah to the children of Israel, and in turn foretold the coming of Mohammed (somewhat as Christians regard John the Baptist as prefiguring Jesus)
In that He submitted to the will of God, He was a Muslim ('Islam' = 'obedience'), but He was never crucified
(Click this Answer if you reckon all the above are held to be true in Islam)
In an age when extremist distortions of Islam attract unhelpful attention, it is useful to see how much common ground there is ~ but clearly, Islam does set some significant limits on who Jesus was and what He did (no crucifixion, no Trinity, for starters).
Sikhs and Christians may appear to have little in common culturally, but Sikhs are keen to be tolerant, and to seek both good and commonality in all people they meet. Here are some observations about their understanding of Christianity: click on any ONE that you believe to be FALSE (or on Answer 4 if you reckon all of them are true for Sikhs)
Jesus cannot have been God, because the one God is beyond the mortal realm of birth and death
Sikhs believe that Jesus was 'of God' or 'from God', but that Christian scriptures at no point have Him claiming that He actually 'was God'
Along with the last of the great gurus, Jesus saw His role as being to point people towards God rather than ever worshipping Himself
(Click this Answer if you reckon all the above are held to be true in Sikhism)
From the Christian perspective, it is encouraging to see the Sikhs looking so hard for common ground.
Hinduism and Christianity make another pairing in which there are both significant similarities, and important differences. From the point of view of the individual believer, which of the following is the most far-reaching difference?
Hindus (neatly, for any English-readers who haven't come across it before) envision GOD as standing for 'Generator, Organiser and Destroyer', but they believe in many gods, or God in many forms; meanwhile their faith does not have any one 'founding figure'
The Christian Trinity has a broad equivalent in the Hindu understanding of the Trimurti (three complementary representations of the Brahma, or godhead)
Hindus believe that the soul of a dead person will enter a period of due reward (good or bad), but its next move will be reincarnation within the cycle of karma
Hinduism is the oldest of the Dharmic (Indian subcontinental) faiths, whereas Christianity sits in the middle of the Abrahamic ones (i.e. after Judaism, but before Islam) in terms of development timescales
Hinduism does not entertain anything like the Christian concept of the eternal afterlife ~ hence no need, nor mechanism, for eternal salvation. An individual's good or bad actions can make a difference to their own future reincarnation; their aim is to earn their way to eventual peace. Christians do not believe a human can achieve such perfection, but that it is only through God's gift of Jesus that the way to heaven can remain open for others of us.
With any potential interplay between Christianity and Buddhism, one is having to look quite hard ... but which one of the following religious features is NOT common to both?
Both faiths believe in a creator God
Each of these two faiths had a founding spiritual master, but in neither case did this person directly write a scripture of their own
Both faiths believe in a virgin birth of their founder
Each faith is studied and practised in monasteries and nunneries, as well as privately and collectively in the wider world
From this one key difference flow many others.
Of course, there are meanwhile many people who do not positively subscribe to any religious system, yet who do their level best to live helpfully and harmoniously alongside others. Only one of the following labels describes a person who retains an open mind as to whether there may or may not even be a God: which one?
An agnostic is at least prepared to accept the possibility of such metaphysical things as a god, the supernatural or an afterlife ~ though presumably without having any direct experience of them. All the others start from a premise that no such things can exist, nor need to.
One of the most conspicuous and outspoken atheists around the turn of the millennium (!*) was Richard Dawkins of Oxford. When he suffered a relatively mild stroke in the early weeks of 2016, a group of his Christian opponents ~ from what is sometimes simplistically described as the 'God v. Science' debate, chiefly around creationism ~ posted on the internet to say they were praying for his recovery and wellbeing. What was the response to this from some of Dawkins' own supporters?

(* The millennium, of course, was an otherwise arbitrary date reckoned from the birth of Jesus, though more recent thinking suggests it could be 'out' by a few years; it would now be somewhat impractical to change the system!)
They thanked the Christians for their concern
They assumed the Christians were trying to make fun of Dawkins at an unsuitable moment ~ 'kicking a man while he was down', as it were (not a phrase they used!)
They pointed out that Dawkins would not be aware of anyone trying to pray for him, so it could make no difference either way
They criticised the Church of England for allowing (or even encouraging) someone to send out a public message in its name about its prayers for him, which might in due course annoy him and disturb his recovery
(It certainly seems odd that people who do not believe in prayer, can actually regard the intentions of others to pray as actively offensive rather than merely futile; it would equally ill behove any Christian to wonder whether there were a whiff of paranoia somewhere around the atheists' response. Altogether a bemusing little episode in the public discourse!)
Only weeks before this, Dawkins had (somewhat unlikely, though ever the contrarian) supported the Church of England in another public dispute, over ... what?
The assumed cultural right of people to disturb others by ringing bells, and/or carol-singing, for charity in public spaces
The potential showing of a 60-second commercial about The Lord's Prayer in public cinemas in Britain, in the weeks approaching Christmas
The custom of hearses (funeral cars) causing delays to traffic by being driven respectfully slowly on their way to and from services
The singing of 'Jerusalem' (originally a religious poem) at public secular occasions such as the Last Night of the Proms
Three major cinema chains, representing between them over 3/4 of British screens, had refused the commercial on the grounds of it being their policy never to show religious nor political advertising. Dawkins commented that 'I still strongly object to suppressing the ads on the grounds that they might "offend" people. If anybody is "offended" by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended'.

There are many interesting religious and social undercurrents to such a situation, but your author can vouch for Dawkins' self-description as a 'cultural Anglican', having spotted him singing gently along in a carol service congregation at New College, Oxford some years ago.
One of the following does NOT reflect traditional mainstream Christian understanding on interfaith marriages ~ which one?
Christian marriage is likened in the Bible to the close mystic relationship between Christ and His Church: if the 'other party' were non-believing (or actively of another faith which could not accommodate Christian beliefs), that would clearly be unhelpful ~ and, effectively, an unGodly situation for a believer to get themself into
Jesus Himself, on more than one occasion, declared that no follower of His should marry a non-follower and expect His blessing
Provided the existing partner of a newly-converted Christian is still happy with them, there is no reason why they should separate
If two people were married without any strong personal Christian belief, and one of them later acquires such a belief while the other does not come to share it, then God would understand if the non-believer 'wanted out'
St Paul (also, by previous training, a rabbi) urged that the marriage of a Christian with someone of no faith ~ or an active but different one ~ would be like yoking two animals to a common harness which they each wanted to pull in different directions, and could only come to no good. Interfaith marriage is always likely to be something of an extra struggle, but it would certainly not be our place to condemn it as such and out of hand.
'There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue among the religions'
... said who?
Dr Hans Küng
Rev Dr Martin Luther King
Winston Churchill
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Küng was an influential Swiss Catholic thinker who for over 20 years was President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic, and who published on such deep and vexed questions as euthanasia. Any student of RE at whatever level could usefully make a point of finding out more about him.
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Religious Studies

Author:  Ian Miles

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