Is the New Testament Message Unique?
I have readers of this blog who love to criticize our evangelical Christian belief in the “sacred book” the Bible because 1) it is not inerrant like a modern science textbook (is any science textbook inerrant?), and 2) it is not always easy to understand (what book or document of any real importance is easy to understand?).
One direction in which my mind goes is what I believe is unique about the Bible, especially the New Testament. As an Anabaptist Christian, the New Testament stands out and over the Old Testament in terms of authority for living. The Old Testament is history and promise; the New Testament is truth and fulfillment.
I will throw out a question here and invite responses. I have an earned PhD in Religious Studies, so I already have some knowledge of the question and potential answers. But I am open to being educated further.
Question: Is there any other book or document, anywhere, written at any time, that teaches readers to love their enemies, even those who persecute them, to do good to them, to live selflessly for others without thought of reward, and to regard all fellow human beings as having infinite dignity and worth? Is there any such book or document that is NOT in any way influenced by the Bible?
Yes, I know there are “sacred books” that promote compassion, but do they promote compassion for compassion’s sake and not at all for one’s self (e.g., to enhance one’s karma)? Do they promote selfless love (benevolence) of enemies and doing good to those who seek your harm and do you harm when they can?
For all its faults and flaws, the New Testament does that. And that is why we love it and are devoted to it. Because it tells us of a God who is love, who loved us when we were still sinners, and not because he gets anything out of loving us for himself. And that we should emulate such God-like, selfless love.
Is there a better message than that? Can secularism offer anything close to that? Does any other religious text promote that message completely independently of the New Testament?
If anyone dares to mention Mahatma Gandhi I will simply respond that he was exposed to Christianity and the New Testament and Jesus in South Africa.
If anyone dares to mention that few people in history or today have actually LIVED the message of the New Testament, including most who call themselves Christians, I will respond (here and now) that that fact does not touch the beauty of the message itself.
*Note: If you choose to comment, makes sure your comment is relatively brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of pictures or links.*