Chart Comparing Christianity with Sects and Cults
Chart Comparing Christianity and Other World Religions
Elements of Faith
Historic Christianity
Jehovah's Witnesses
Church of Christ, Scientist
Unity School of Christianity
Church of Scientology
Unification Church
The Way International
International Church of Christ
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Elements of Faith
Roman Catholicism
Native American Religions
Baha'i World Faith
Secular Humanism
New Age Movement
Supreme Being
One personal / supreme God who is Creator & Lord of everything that exists. He eternally exists as a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Trinity). Gen. 1; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19. One God, properly called Jehovah. His Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. Reject the doctrine of Trinity. God (Heavenly Father) is an exalted man with a physical body of flesh & bone. Was a man in a preexistence. An impersonal but omnipotent being who is Principle, Life, Truth, Love, & Mind. Impersonal Principle, Universal Intelligence, & Love. A Supreme Being, but his exact nature is determined by each person. One person only, with dual characteristics (positive/negative, male/female). God is one eternal spirit. There is no Trinity. Holy Spirit is a designation for God; "holy spirit" is the power conferred at Pentecost. One God, who reveals Himself as Person; as Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (This group minimizes the role of the Holy Spirit. Same as historic Christianity
Supreme Being
There is only one God. God has revealed Himself as three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He is Creator and Lord of everything that exists. Gen 1. One God, who reveals Himself as Person. He is Creator, Deliverer, & Lord of history. Personal Supreme being & Creator, who is generally beneficent; empowers lesser spiritual beings Impersonal Ultimate Reality; or "The absolute" Major Triad: Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu. Southern Buddhism: irrelevant. Northern Buddhism: Buddhahood. God (Allah) is one. Strict monotheism- "There is no God but Allah." One God, called Sat Guru (true name), who cannot be known by the human mind. One God who is unknowable except through Manifestations (messengers). Secular Humanists are atheists. They do not believe in the existence of a supernatural Supreme Being. God (Ultimate Reality) is an impersonal power, often spoken of as energy, consciousness, mind, or truth. God is everything; everything is God.
Key Figures in History
Jesus, the Christ, eternally one with the Father and incarnated supernaturally through the Virgin Mary. John 1:1-12; Matt 1:18-25 Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844) Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) Charles (1854-1948) & Myrtle (1845-1931) Fillmore L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) Victor Paul Wierville (1916-1985) Kip McKean (born 1954) Ellen G. White, who possessed a modern "spirit of prophecy" (1827-1915)
Key Figures in History
Jesus, the Christ, eternally one with God and incarnated supernaturally through the perpetual Virgin Mary, the Mother of God; the Popes and ecumenical church councils have also had great historical significance. Abraham, Moses, David None Avatars (deities in various form). Gurus are spiritual teachers. Siddhartha Gautama, who became Buddha, the Enlightened One. (563-483 B.C.) The Prophet Muhammad (or Mohammed) (570-632 A.D.) Guru Nanak (1469-1539) Minza Husayn Ali (1817-1892), known as Baha'u'llah. While Secular Humanism has no authoritative key figures in history, there have been several influential Humanists. Examples of influential Humanists are such people as: John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Joseph Fletcher, Margaret Sanger and Stephen Jay Gould. There are several influential figures in recent history with their various belief systems, including Emanuel Swedenborg, Franz Mesmer, George Gurdjieff, Eliphas Levi, Helena Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Alice A. Bailey, Anthony Brooke, Ernest Holmes, David Spangler and Benjamin Creme.
Person of Jesus Christ
One divine Person, eternal, with two natures, human & divine. Born on earth as a full human being. Supreme example of God's character & His love for humanity. Full and final revelation of God and His love. John 1:1-13 A created being with stages of existence: 1. Archangel Michael or the Word. 2. Jesus, perfect man, became Messiah at his baptism; 3. After his spiritual resurrection, became Michael again but retains the name Jesus. Jesus is the spiritual & physical offspring of God by procreation. Had a preexistence as God's spirit child and brother of Lucifer.  Jesus, separate from Christ, a human being who more than any other shows the "Christ-ideal." Jesus was a man inhabited by the Christ-principle spirit.  A great teacher who fully realized his personal divinity as a "clear."  A perfect man who was faithful to God & attained deity; not equal to God.  Not coequal with God; did not preexist before his earthly life. Son of God, but not God the Son. A perfect man, but not divine.  Same as historic Christianity.  Same as historic Christianity. 
Person of Jesus Christ
One divine Person, eternal - fully human & divine. Supreme example of God's character & His love for humanity, full and final revelation of God and His Love. John 1:1-13.  An important prophet, but not a divine Person. He did good things & taught the Golden Rule  Originally, no reference to Person or work of Jesus Christ.  For some Hindus, Jesus was an Avatar or incarnation of God - one among many Avatars; a great spiritual teacher, a guru.  A teacher who may possess Buddhahood or Enlightenment. One among many, not unique.  A major prophet, spirit of Allah (or God), without sin, but not divine; His miracles are signs that He came from God.  Not a divine Person, but a man through whom God worked & revealed Himself. Son of God, but not divine. One of God's Manifestations, who include Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Muhammad, Baha'u'llah.  Secular Humanists view Jesus as just another human teacher. They deny that Jesus is divine. Jesus was one of many appearances of God throughout the ages, one of many people who were fully aware of their true divinity. 
Work of Jesus Christ
Jesus was born, lived, & died in a given time & place as a unique historical event. He lived a sinless life & willingly died on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. He is Messiah (Christ), Lord and Savior. John 1:14-18; 3:16 Christ's ransom sacrifice on a "stake" made salvation possible. His death guarantees immortality to all regardless of their faith, but one's exaltation must be completed by works. Suffered in Gethsemane for Adam's original sin.  Jesus is a "Way-shower" & Healer. Jesus was a way-shower whose crucifixion was not sacrificial, but released grace (inspiration). One Savior among many who teach people how to be "clear" of engrams (impressions of past experiences).  He was to restore original relationship between God & humanity by marriage. His mission was incomplete because he was crucified before marriage. He is a spiritual, not physical savior.  His ransom death was a legal transaction making salvation possible.  Same as historic Christianity.  Lived a sinless life, died on the cross as atonement, & rose again. Entered "heavenly sanctuary" in 1844 to initiate "investigative judgment" of those claiming to be Christians.
Work of Jesus Christ
Jesus was born, lived, & died in a given time & place as a unique historical event. He lived a sinless life & willingly died on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. He arose from the dead & ascended into heaven. He is the Messiah (Christ), Lord, and Savior, who will one day come again in glory & power. John 1:14-18; 1:16.  Judaism generally considers Jesus to be an itinerant Jewish teacher. His death has no saving effect. He is not the Messiah.  Occasional reference to Jesus as a religious leader who lived a long time ago.  Jesus was a great religious teacher whose teachings can be valuable today.  Jesus was a great religious teacher whose teachings can be valuable today.  Jesus was sent to the children of Israel & faithfully showed the signs of Allah, taught prayer, & brought the gospel (Injil). He did not die on a cross, but Allah took Him into heaven.  Taught humans the Golden Rule; His death was not vicarious.  A great prophet-educator for his age; gave divine teachings.  According to Secular Humanists, the death of Jesus Christ has no impact on anyone living today.  Christ is separate from Jesus, the way-shower. Christ is the perfect God idea - the awareness of divinity within each person. 
Sources of Authority
Bible (Old & New Testaments). Unique, revealed, factual, accurate, & inspired Word of God. Sole authority for faith & practice. 2 Tim. 3:16-17. Bible ( New World Translation of Holy Scriptures) as interpreted by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Bible (except the "errors"); The Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; Pearl of Great Price; revelations of the Mormon prophets. Bible, as interpreted meta- physically by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Bible as interpreted by the Fillmores. It has an outer (literal) meaning & an inner (meta-physical) meaning. Other sacred writings also valued. Selected writings of Hubbard, particularly Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Bible, as interpreted in Divine Principle (Moon's basic teachings).  Bible (King James Version) as "worked" (studied & explained) by writings of Wierwille (the "keys" to the Bible).  The Bible as interpreted by elders & evangelists & taught in "Bible talk" sessions.  The Bible as explained to White in her visions & interpreted in her books. 
Sources of Authority
Catholics accept the Bible (OT, Apocrypha, & NT) as the inspired revelation of God. They also accept church tradition and the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) as sources of authority. Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), including Torah, Prophets, & Writings. Basically the Christian Old Testament.  Oral & written tradition, folklore; accumulated wisdom of the tribe.  Vedas, Upanishads, Epics, Puranas, and a host of other sacred writings.  Sutras; Tripitaka (The Three Baskets).  Qur'an (Koran).  Adi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib) considered inspired & authoritative; other sacred writings.  Most Holy Book (Kitab-i-Aqdas).  Humanists reject supernatural beliefs and doctrines. There are no holy writings in Secular Humanism.  There is no objective source of authority. Sacred writings & devotional material from many traditions have spiritual value. 
Doctrine of Humanity
Humanity is part of creation, but distinct from the rest of creation & from God. Human beings are created in God's image. Every person is a unique, precious being of dignity & worth. Gen. 1:26-28. Created in Jehovah's image; a soul, not immortal; capable of responding to Jehovah. Preexistent spiritual offspring of God; basically good; gods in embryo. People exist in God's image & likeness, therefore are divine. People are spirit, not matter (which is unreal).  All people possess the Christ-spirit within.  Each person is an immortal, divine soul, basically good, in three parts: soul (thetan), mind (the accumulation of all past experiences), & body (physical).  Created in the image of God (duality: male & female).  Each person is body, soul, & spirit, but not immortal.  Human beings are created in the image of God. Every person is born innocent.  Same as historic Christianity. 
Doctrine of Humanity
Humanity is part of creation, but distinct from the rest of creation & from God. Human beings are created in God's image. Every person is a unique, precious being of dignity & worth. Gen 1:26-28.  Humanity is part of creation, but distinct from the rest of creation 7 from God. Human beings are created in the image of God & are free & self-determining.  Human beings are subordinate to supernatural forces & spirit-beings.  Divine eternal soul part of God or Ultimate Reality. Physical body has little worth.  One lifetime for each person, composed of skanda (parts), but many lives for the parts. Concept of anatta (no self) denies existence of a self beyond mental & physical attributes.  Humans are basically pure, but fallible and need guidance. Created by Allah with ability to follow his will, human beings must give account of their conduct on the day of judgment.  Each person is a soul (& part of Universal soul) who has been reborn in this present life. The human soul, created by God, is basically good. Men & women of all races are equal & responsible.  Man is a part of nature. Humanity controls its own destiny since there is no God.  Humanity is not distinct from God. Human beings are essentially divine; God is within each person. Everyone has the "Christ spirit"; everyone is potentially good. 
The Basic Human Problem
Sin: By their free will, human beings have chosen to sin against God, rejecting His nature, & pursuing a course of life that is opposed to His essential character & revealed law. Gen.3; Rom. 3:23. Sin: willful rebellion against Jehovah. Sin: disobedience to God's laws. Adam's fall, in God's plan, caused loss of immortality. Each person responsible for his or her own sin.  The illusion that matter is real. (Matter, sin, evil, sickness, & death are not real.)  Failure to realize & live up to one's divine potential.  Engrams (learned behavior or conflicts from one's past, including previous lifetimes & prenatal experiences) prevent individuals from realizing their own divinity.  Human beings broke relationship with God through disobedience & misuse of love & are now related to Satan as result of sexual sin in the Fall. Adam's fall caused loss of human spirit & broken relationship with God. Little emphasis on individual sins.  Sin: By their free will, human beings have chosen to sin against God, rejecting His nature & disobeying His laws.  Sin: People willingly reject commandments of God such as the Ten Commandments, especially violation of eternal seventh-day Sabbath law. 
The Basic Human Problem
Sin: By their free will, human beings have chosen to sin against God, rejecting His nature & pursuing a course of life that is opposed to His essential character & revealed law. Catholics distinguish between venial sins and mortal sins. Gen.3; Rom. 3:23.  Sin: Human rebellion & unfaithfulness to God's character & revealed law.  Human beings act in ways that upset the harmony of nature and/or disrupt well-being of the community.  The human condition is samsara (the flow of reality in which souls are continually dying & being reborn). The present existence is an illusion; people are unaware of their oneness with God.  The human condition is suffering, caused by attachment to things & the craving (desire) accompanying this attachment.  Sin: disobedience of responsible human beings to the law of Allah. Sin is caused by human weakness, forgetfulness, & a spirit of rebellion.  Sin: choosing to live in self-centeredness; sensuous desires preferred to ego-abandoning submission to God.  Sin: lack of knowledge & people's failure to develop their spiritual natures bring disobedience to divine commands taught by Baha'u'llah.  Humanists believe that many of humanity's problems are caused by ignorance, lack of education, and outdated beliefs in the supernatural. Illusion, ignorance, or lack of perception. People are unaware of their true identity as divine, as one with God. They need to be "enlightened, " to find ultimate spiritual knowledge & liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. Their primary need is for holism, to be integrated with the whole. 
Solution to the Basic Human Problem
Salvation- release from the guilt & power of sin is God's gift of grace through Christ's atonement, received through personal faith in Christ. Eph. 2:8-9 Allegiance to Jehovah plus works (baptism, faithfulness in Kingdom Hall work; those ignorant of Jehovah given a chance to believe during millennium). Exaltation or godhood through obedience to Mormon teachings: repentance, faith, baptism, endowments, celestial marriage, tithing. Baptism for the dead saves some non-Mormons posthumously  Casting out illusions of reality of matter, sin, evil sickness, & death in favor of the "all-reality" of spirit.  Through conscious union with Jesus, people can overcome lower human impulses & transform their bodies to make them perpetually healthy, therefore immortal, attaining eternal life (unity with God).  Dianetic counseling (auditing) leads a person to become "clear" of engrams, attain full human potential, & become fully aware of personal divinity.  Accept Jesus Christ for spiritual salvation & the Lord of the Second Advent (Moon) for physical salvation. Pay personal indemnity (works) for self, ancestors, & the world.  Human spirit regained through faith in Jesus Christ. Spiritual maturity, manifested in tongue-speaking, comes through renewed mind. Sinless perfection attainable in this life.  Admittance of sin, repentance, becoming a disciple, & baptism by immersion in water for remission of sin by the ICOC.  Repentance, faith in Christ as Savior, baptism by immersion, & keeping of commandments. 
Solution to the Basic Human Problem
Salvation is an infused process of grace gained over one's lifetime through faith plus observance of Church sacraments and rituals.  God grants salvation to people who repent, trust in God, & obey Him according to their understanding.  Well-being of individual & tribe; gained by prayer, pledges, & sacrifice that win attention & help of supernatural forces & departed elders.  Goal of life is to gain release (liberation) from the cycle of reincarnation & to pass beyond illusion to become one with the divine (Ultimate Reality) by following the proper yoga (path or discipline).  Goal of life is nirvana to eliminate all desire of attachment, particularly by following the Eight-fold Path.  Allah (The Merciful One) acts in mercy. A person's salvation depends largely upon personal observance of the Pillars of the Faith & submission to Allah.  Attaining liberation (release) from the cycle of life, death, & rebirth through repeating the name of God & following the path of devotion.  People attain present & future blessings through faith in God & Baha'u'llah & by performing good works that advance civilization & contribute to world unity & peace.  Many Humanists believe that the human condition can be improved by using science and its methods of criticism to understand the universe.  People overcome lack of perception by using techniques to change (transform) consciousness. They can attain enlightenment when they step outside ordinary modes of perception ino altered states of consciousness that dispel illusory boundaries of individual existence. 
Ethics (Value System)
Ultimate values for humanity are based on God's character and His Ten Commandments. Human beings are potentially good, but not inevitably good. They always need God's grace to renew their characters. Those not loyal to Jehovah are unrighteous; all earthly organizations controlled by Satan; Jehovah's Witnesses required to obey Jehovah's laws as explained by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  People are to obey the laws of God; Mormons expected to observe the "Word of Wisdom" (rules for conduct).  Christian Scientists "solemnly promise" to watch & pray for "the mind of Christ," to obey the Golden Rule, & to be merciful, just, & pure.  The kingdom of heaven or harmony is within people, who are to establish the law & order existing in Divine Mind (God). The Golden Rule should be the standard of action among people.  Individuals must be able to put knowledge to use to help themselves & others. The final test: "Did the data and the use of it in life actually  improve conditions or didn't it?" Good society can be achieved only through a peaceful revolution of the heart. People must be transformed from selfishness to unselfishness, centered on the love of God.  The soul/mind (sinful nature) that controls each person can only be "renewed" by proper study. The sign of a renewed mind is speaking in tongues-a sign of sinless perfection.  Jesus commanded total obedience to a discipler. Not to have such a partner is "to be rebellious to God."  Christians expected to keep specific commandments of God, avoid unhealthy foods & lifestyles, & keep seventh-day Sabbath.
Ethics (Value System)
Ultimate values for humanity are based on God's character and His "revelation to humanity." Human beings are born under sin and this they always need God's grace to renew their character. Ex. 20; 2 cor. 5:14-21.  Ultimate values for humanity are based on God's character. The Ten Commandments, other laws of the Hebrew Bible, & teachings of the rabbis are moral guidelines for the Jewish community  Based on well-being of the tribe; individuals expected to fulfill their social roles in the tribe & follow the traditions.  Deeds are right if they produce good conditions; deeds are wrong if they produce harm to one's self or to the world in general.  The Eight-fold Path stresses moral virtue, including right action & right vocation. Right conduct includes loving-kindness, selfless giving to others, & efforts to alleviate human hurts.  Allah judges human beings for their actions in submitting to Allah, obeying the Shari'ah (holy law), & advancing the Ummah (people of Islam).  Work, worship, & charity should dominate one's life. Sikhs try to conquer & attain rebirth over anger, pride, desire, greed, & ignorance.  Baha'is value the virtues of love, justice, trustworthiness, honesty, humility, & courtesy. They expect every believer to engage in useful work.  Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no supernatural sanction.  No moral absolutes. Individual self-rule should be the norm as people follow their own intuition. Root causes of evil are selfish living habits. 
Prophecy Views & Life After Death
Eternal communion with God (heaven) or eternal separation from God (hell). Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20-22 144,000 "elect" to reign with Christ in Kingdom of God (heaven). Other Jehovah's Witnesses to live on glorified paradise earth. Annihilation for all who reject Jehovah. One of three kingdoms: 1. Celestial— renewed earth, where men become gods or angels; 2. Terrestrial— planet for righteous non-Mormons; 3. Telestial— planet for the wicked. Perdition is reserved for Satan and most wicked.
Joseph Smith's visions and prophecies are recorded in a book titled "The Doctrine and Covenants" which contains prophecies that explicitly foretell the coming of two Messianic figures who were to appear in rapid succession. The first of these two Messianic figures is called the "One Mighty and Strong" and is considered to be a forerunner like John the Baptist. The "Son of Man" is the second  figure.
Since there is no death, individuals move into another plane toward fulfillment in love, light, and truth.


If people live well in this present life, they will also live well in whatever life will follow. People progress through many lifetimes (reincarnation) to ultimate union (unity) with an impersonal God.  Reincarnation of soul (spiritual being or thetan) until it attains the state of spiritual awareness and liberation from matter, energy, space, and time. All humans will become divine in an earthly kingdom of God & a perfect relationship with God will be restored. Soul sleep for all between death & resurrection; finally, heaven (for those whose minds are renewed) or hell (for all others).  Eternal communion with God (heaven) for faithful disciples or eternal separation from God (hell) for those unfaithful.  Eternal communion is heaven for faithful remnant or annihilation for wicked (no eternal hell). 
Life After Death
Agree with historic Christianity on heaven and hell. However, Catholics also believe in purgatory, a temporary state where those who die in a state of grace are purified of their sins over time.  Range of views: *Reward or punishment in heaven or hell (orthodox) *Vagueness (conservative and reformed/reform) *Denial of afterlife (liberal)  Existence in a life patterned after this world, but free of pain & suffering. Wicked are forgotten or annihilated.  Cycles of reincarnation until union with or re-absorption into Ultimate Reality. The desired ultimate state of existence is moksha (final release).  Possible attainment of nirvana (negation of suffering), a state of being that is realized through eliminating desire.  Paradise (heaven) for faithful believers & hell (punishment) for nonbelievers & those who commit shirk (apostasy).  Reincarnation (transmigration of souls) until one attains absorption into God & the extinguishing of individuality. Individual (an immortal soul) retains identity, progresses to presence of God. Heaven: rapid progression to God; Hell: slow progression. 

Latter Day Saint (Mormon) Prophecies 
Fulfilled by the Baha'i Faith

Secular Humanists believe that there is no life after death. They deny that there is a soul or spirit that survives death.  Souls are evolving toward union with God & will eventually find spiritual knowledge & liberation from the cycle of rebirth.