Obviously, we cannot be totally sure about the life and teachings of Jesus, since historically, the first gospel was written about 90 years after the reported events had occurred. However, I think it is safe to say that Jesus' teachings focused on personal responsibility and forgiveness. He saw our earthly existence as an influencing factor and preparation for the afterlife. These aspects, in my view, make Christianity similar to Buddhism, Hinduism, and a number of other faiths. Traditionally, Christians found it difficult to accommodate the concept of reincarnation, however there is much evidence, even scientific evidence, that supports the notion that reincarnation is a reality.
Actually, the common consensus is that the first gospel was probably written within 30 to 40 years after Christ's resurrection. This would make the contemporaries of Jesus still living at the time of their writing.
There are extra-biblical texts (Talmud, Josephus, etc.) that mention Jesus - the Talmud goes as far as to say that he performed many great wonders using magic. The interesting part is that when they mention him, they tend to validate his miracles by attributing them to sorcery rather than claiming that he didn't do any miracles at all.
I would encourage you to research the differences in each of those religions. You will discover that each one not only compliments the other, but accepts the others as valid paths to "enlightenment" including the Catholic chatachism. Each one, accept for biblical Christianity
. Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to the Father. He left no room for an alternative.
Christians didn't find it difficult to accommodate reincarnation - they found the entire concept to be contrary to what the Messiah said concerning salvation. Like myself quoting the bible because I know it to be truth, the early Christians disregarded the idea of reincarnation because their own Torah said that there is one God, and that "man is appointed to die once, then face judgment." Reincarnation didn't fit the plan given to their fathers, and they were told to stay clear of any other 'plan.'
Coincidentally, this is why I use Jesus' Hebrew name, Yeshua; it literally means Salvation
. Interestingly enough, Jews all over the world pray "send Your salvation now" on a daily basis; never realizing that they are literally asking God to send Yeshua (Jesus).
First century Christianity was a sect of Judaism, typically referred to as The Way. This is why He said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Light. no man comes to the Father but by Me." He was saying that there is no other way, no other Truth. I posted earlier that Satan, according to scripture, will try to deceive us, even appearing as an "angel of light." The true light, according to Jesus, is Himself - that is why Satan tries to come in that manner to deceive us - he is mimicking the true light.
Wow - I hope that wasn't too heavy. I just started here this week, and don't want to wear out my welcome.
While I'm at it though, I need to call out David on something. He has said a few times that the true message of the bible has been lost through numerous translations, therefor, we can not really know the original intent of the message.
Though there are many bad translations out there, the Dead Sea Scrolls proved that the integrity of the Hebrew texts from where we get the King James, New King James, and a few others, is impeccable
. Over the course of thousands of years, the only differences were minor; spelling and grammar that never changed the meaning or context. An excellent example of just how amazing a discovery this is remains on display at The Israel Museum, in the form of an entire scroll of the book of Isiah. Word for word, it is all there in its entirety. Every other book in the bible was found as well, except for the book of Esther. All of them were the same as what we hold today, minus the minor differences noted above.
The muddling of the message comes from man trying to make it easier to understand by paraphrasing, and translations based on other translations. It doesn't take much honest study to see that the scriptures are unsurpassed in integrity - archeologically, geographically, and historically. In a show where objectivity and balance are emphasized to such a degree, I find it a little less than flattering to see such hostility (not toward me in these forums, but on the show) toward a subject that the hosts themselves have not looked at with honest and unbiased objectivity. It doesn't take a zealot, fanatic or even a scholar to see that the bible is different than the books of other religions - just honesty.
Politics are one thing; anyone can research Obama and see that he is an idiot - my point being that opinions are perfectly acceptable in politics. Religion however, needs to be looked at with our opinions thrown out of the way
. Look at it logically. If we are really
seeking Truth, our opinions are irrelevant
. None of us want to serve a God who is no bigger than our own will, and a path to enlightenment that is nothing more than what we 'think it is
' is ultimately worthless in the face of truth, whatever that truth may be. If we have created our own path, then logically, that would make us our own God - and an honest reply to that notion says that it is false... otherwise, why would we have searched for truth in the first place?
By definition, we would have created it.