It has been imagined by some that Christianity is no different from any other religion. All one has to do is to switch the labels around and one comes up with the same result. Since the world's different religions cannot all be true at the same time then at least some must be false. And if one is false then all are false, since no one of them has a better claim to validity than the rest. All religion is nonsense.
If it were not for one thing: Christianity is radically different from the rest in two essential characteristics: 1) it's analysis of the human condition, and 2) its proposed solution to the problem.
Christianity has a distinctive theology of sin and redemption. It begins with an acute analysis of human nature. It is not just simply that we occasionally make mistakes through human frailty. Rather, evil is embedded in the human psyche. Our hearts are filled with lust, envy, greed, malice and pride. We may look respectable enough outwardly, but inwardly we are incurably self-centered. We often do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Our good actions conceal bad motives. The ultimate source of evil in the world is ourselves. Human nature is corrupt. And if it is true that someday we must face a just and holy God then our situation is desperate indeed.
But Christianity also proposes a startling remedy for the problem. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16; NKJV). Most other religions base salvation on some form of human effort -- typically self-mastery or ritual observance. But we are too far gone for that. What we need is redemption through a Savior. This God has provided in the Person Who was uniquely qualified to fill the role, the God-man Jesus. His death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice for sin.
Biblical scholar Merrill C. Tenney put it like this: "The Christian church was born into a world filled with competing religions which may have differed widely among themselves but all of which possessed a common characteristic -- the struggle to reach a god or gods who remained essentially inaccessible. . .The current ethical standards were superficial, despite the ideals and insights possessed by some philosophers, and when they discoursed on evil and on virtue, they had neither the remedy for the one nor the dynamic to produce the other. . ."
"Paganism is a parody and a perversion of God's original revelation to man. It retains many basic elements of truth but twists them into practical falsehood. Divine sovereignty becomes fatalism; grace becomes indulgence; righteousness becomes conformity to arbitrary rules; worship becomes empty ritual; prayer becomes selfish begging; the supernatural degenerates into superstition" (New Testament Times, Eerdmans, 1965, pp. 107-108).
But how can we know that the claims of Christianity are true? On the first point, the human condition, it is a matter of simple observation: all we need to do is to look at ourselves honestly in the mirror. On the second point, the proposed solution, we are dependent on revelation. We can infer from nature that God exists; we cannot infer that He is forgiving, much less that He would sacrifice His own Son to secure that forgiveness. Jesus said that He was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. How do we know that His claims are true? He rose from the dead.
On this special day Christianity offers the world something it desperately needs but cannot find elsewhere: salvation.