*Please note:  This article is written in “Easy English”, so that people from all over the world who have even a little bit of knowledge of English as a second language, can read it quite easily.*


I wanted to know the important differences between the Christian religion and all other religions; and between the way it was (even in the Bible) before Jesus started preaching, and the way it was after he started preaching. I was not interested in the little differences that most religious people argue about (like how to baptise someone, or who to include in communion/mass). So I looked closely at the teachings of Jesus.

I learned that the Christian religion (as Jesus was teaching it) is so different from all other religions that you cannot truly call it a religion. In many ways, the groups that call themselves Christian today are more like other religions than they are like Jesus and his first followers.

There are some important ways that almost all religions are the same, and it happens that these are the same things that make them all different from what Jesus was teaching. I will list six of those differences in this article.

1. Buildings

Almost all religions spend a lot of time and money on buildings. They have special names for their buildings, and in one way or another, they show more love for their buildings than they show to God and other people. Often religions compete with each other to make bigger and better buildings.

This interest in buildings was a problem between God and his people from the earliest times. The first book of the Bible says "Cain moved away from God... and made a city." (Genesis 4:16-17) It says the people of Babylon made God angry about their interest in making a very tall building. (Genesis 11:3-4)

Religious people want others to love their buildings. (Luke 21:5-6) Tthey become angry if others say anything against their buildings, and against the money that they waste on them.

Why was Jesus killed? The religious leaders only agreed on one thing:  He was killed because he was against their building. (Matthew 26:59-61)

The building was not bad in itself; but Jesus was against the LOVE that they had for their building. They loved it more than God and more than other people. Churches spend about 90% of their money on buildings, and less than 1% to help the poor. Where we put our money is where we put our love. (Matthew 6:21)

Jesus said, "It is finished," as he was dying.  I think he was saying that God is finished with religion. God showed the truth in this by destroying a thick curtain that covered a special place where the Jewish people believed God lived. He did this as Jesus was dying. (Luke 23:45-46)

Before this happened, Jesus had said that a time was coming when it would not be important where people go to pray.  What God wants is a good spirit in our hearts when we pray. (John 4:21-24) In the kingdom Jesus preached you do not go to church, because you are the church. (Acts 7:48) The first Christian to die for his faith died a few minutes after telling the religious leaders that God does not live in buildings that people make. And religious leaders become very angry when we teach that same truth today.

The new part of the Bible is clear that God lives in the hearts of people now, and not in buildings. (I Corinthians 6:19) This is a very important difference between the [invisible] ‘church' that Jesus was making and the buildings that religions all over the world are making to this day.

2. Health

Maybe because religious people love buildings more than God, when they hear that God lives in our bodies now, they start to love their bodies too, and they teach that this is what God wants. They show (again) more love for the "container" than for the God who lives in it.

Almost all religions teach people how to be healthy (Mark 7:3-4), and they make these rules more important than the spiritual rules that Jesus was teaching. Health rules about eating meat, drinking alcohol, using sugar, taking drugs, and other things like that have become religious rules.

They say you will be more spiritual if you follow their rules about health. But Jesus said, "Nothing that goes into your mouth can make your heart bad." (Mark 7:15)

People said that Jesus was an alcoholic and a pig because he was not afraid to drink alcohol and to eat food that the religious people said was bad for them. (Luke 7:34) He said that God can protect us if we eat or drink food or water that is not good for us. (Mark 16:18) God asked Peter to kill and eat animals that his religion said were dirty animals. (Acts 10:9-16) This was because he wanted Peter to live and work with people from other religions, who did not follow the rules of Peter's religion. Health rules can make people more healthy; but when we say they are religious rules, they separate people and make us believe we are better than people who are not as healthy as us.

Many people with healthy bodies are not humble. They have a sick spirit. They do not have much love for other people. Healthy people can be cruel to sick people, by saying that others are sick because God is angry with them.

God wants us to have healthy hearts more than he wants us to have healthy bodies. It is not spiritually important if we are sick or crippled. (Matthew 18:8-9) Often a sick person is more humble than a healthy person. (John 9:39-41)

One day our bodies will die. (I Corinthians 6:13) Religions that encourage people to pray for God to heal them often teach that the most spiritual people are the healthy ones. Healing becomes another force to separate people. But in the kingdom of heaven, we are not looking for perfect physical bodies. (Romans 8:23) We are looking for new spiritual bodies, after our physical bodies die. (I Corinthians 15:50-53)

3. Special Religious Actions

Almost all religions teach people to do special religious actions that the people believe will make them spiritual. There are many different names for these actions. The churches call them "sacraments", and the Jewish religion called them "sacrifices". But Jesus said that God is not interested in sacrifices (or sacraments). (Hebrews 10:5-6) What God wants is love. (Mark 12:33)

Most religions teach people to say magic words that the religion says will give them spiritual strength. (Matthew 6:7) The churches often write out words for people to use when talking to God. This could go against the teaching of Jesus about secret prayers in our hearts, where others cannot hear them. (Matthew 6:6) The words we use are not important. God hears the language of our spirit. (Romans 8:26) If our spirit is wrong, special words will not help. If our spirit is right, special words are not needed.

Many religions teach people to cut their bodies in some way, to show that they are better than other people. The Bible says that God is not interested in this. All he wants is for people to believe him. (Romans 3:28-30)

Many Christians have stopped doing Jewish sacraments, but in their place, they do other (‘Christian’) sacraments. Jesus said that we should cover people with the spirit of truth that is in his teachings, but the early Christians tried to cover people with water, the way Jewish people (like John) often did. (Luke 3:16) Paul started doing that too, thinking that there was magic in the water, but he quickly learned that these actions separate people too. God showed him that he should not be trying to follow the Jewish understanding of sacraments. (I Corinthians 1:17)

The actions that God wants to see are not special religious actions. He just wants us to obey his Son, Jesus. (Hebrews 10:7; I Samuel 15:22)

4. Holy Days and Meetings

Almost all religions have holy days and/or weekly meetings. They have these meetings over and over, because they believe it will make God happy. (Hebrews 10:11) The problem is that when the meeting is finished, people return to living as they lived before the meeting. When another holy day comes around, they need to do the same things over again, because it has been too long between meetings.

The followers of Jesus lived with him. (Luke 8:1) The Bible says they "showed” people that their whole way of living had changed. The first Christians lived together too. (Acts 2:44-45) They used every day to do good. (Acts 5:42) We should not stop living together, the way most people do today. (Hebrews 10:25)

The reason for this difference is that religious leaders do not feed the people who follow them. They teach the people to work for money six days a week.

But Jesus says we can stop working for money. (John 6:27; Matthew 6:24, 31-33) If we do that, we can work for God seven days a week. We do not need a special "rest" day, because our whole life is filled with the rest that God gives (Matthew 11:28-30) Every day is holy in the kingdom of heaven.

No other religious leader has the faith to teach that God will feed their followers. It is one more thing that makes Jesus' teachings different from all other teachings in the world.

5. Leaders and Groups

Most religions try to build a big group. The rules in one group separate people from people in other groups. Because of this, different religions argue, and even fight wars with each other.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is invisible. (Luke 17:20-21) Being in a group will not prove that you are in the kingdom of heaven. You join the kingdom of heaven by having faith in God, love for others, wanting to know the truth, and being humble.

Religious people are more interested in learning the name of your group, the name of your leader, and how your rules are different from their rules. What they mostly want is a reason to say that you are wrong and that they are right.

Almost all religions have special names for their leaders too. The names make the leaders proud. Jesus said that we should not use special names (like Father, Mister, or Reverend) for anyone on Earth, because we are all brothers and sisters in God's family. (Matthew 23:2-12)

6. Studies about God

Religions have much to say about God. They say that they understand what God can do and what God cannot do. But in the kingdom of heaven, the most important thing is to find out what God wants us to do, and then to do it. No one (but Jesus) understands all about God. (John 1:18) God just wants us to listen to, learn from, and live by the teachings of his Son - Jesus. (John 6:29)

Religious people often ask questions about things that do not change the way we live. They want to know if we think there is one God or three Gods, what we believe happens to us after we die, what we believe about angels and devils, and if we believe Jesus was a man and God at the same time.  These things do not make any difference in the way that we live. But if we give the "wrong" answer to any of these questions, they will use it to say that we are bad. Jesus said that he is more interested in finding people who will obey him. (Luke 6:46)

In closing, there are many ways that the kingdom of heaven is different from all the religions of the world, but if you remember these six ways, they will help you to understand much more clearly why we need to put Jesus first… before any religion.