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FIRST-PERSON: A common myth exposed

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) — A common myth in our culture is “all religions are the same.” Many religions use the same vocabulary (love, grace, peace, for example), providing supposed evidence for their commonality.

That kind of superficial analysis contributes to a false sense of similarity but falls short of proving the point. World religions are each unique, with more that defines and delineates them from each other than what unifies them.

One profound difference is how each religion views and values life. UNESCO recently reported 83 children (mostly girls) had died in 2017 as the means of terror attacks. Most of these were suicide bombers, sent to their death as part of Islamic jihad.

Terrorists outfitted children with bombs in many instances, sent them into crowded locations, and detonated them from a distance. It’s hard to image a more cowardly, dastardly, pathetic expression by adults of their religious devotion.

Some other world religions value children — but with important caveats. Hindus value children because they are reincarnated friends or family members, thus must be treated carefully to avoid negative karma in future generations. Buddhists also value children, unless they become an impediment to enlightenment (following the example of their founder who abandoned his wife and newborn son to seek enlightenment). Unfortunately, in contrast to these perspectives, some traditional religions in Africa still practice child sacrifice according to news reports as recent as October of this year.

Christians take a radically different view of children — motivated by our conviction about the value of every life. We oppose abortion (including selective abortion of special needs children), promote adoption as a means to place children with families, create children’s homes and other care facilities, and start schools (often the first thing done in a missional setting) to educate children (including girls, even in cultures that forbid it). We value life — every life — and expend millions of dollars and countless hours backing our conviction.

We do not care for children out of fear something bad may happen to us. We do not abandon them or sacrifice them to enhance our religious devotion. We do not weaponize children to advance our ideology.

All religions are not the same. Christianity is distinct in its passion for life. We take the global lead in serving children — from refugee camp schools to feeding programs to ending abortion as a birth control method. All this results from our conviction that God originates and values every life.

The next time someone says, “all religions are the same,” ask them, “How many children did Christian leaders send to their death this year?” The answer provides a sobering reminder about the importance of maintaining the influence of a Christian worldview in our culture.