Christian Teachings vs. Religions of the Past

      How would you compare the teachings of Christianity to the values cherished by earlier civilizations (particularly the Greeks, and the values expressed in Homer's works)? Conversely, can you see anything in common between Christianity and some of the great ancient thinkers we have discussed?
      Christianity is interesting in its teachings because it was one of the very first religions that taught of a single, all-powerful God (as stated clearly in John 1:1-5), whereas most religions before it had been founded on ideas of many gods, each of whom had power over only a handful of aspects of life. The Greek pantheon is an excellent example of this, containing such familiar gods of myth as Apollo (god of the sun), Athena (goddess of wisdom, war, and homemaking), and Zeus (king of the gods). This is the most obvious difference between the teachings of Christianity and the religions of earlier civilizations: the belief in one all-powerful God rather than many lesser gods.
      Another significant difference is the attitudes of the deities themselves. The Greeks believed in gods that were rather childish in their behavior; they were selfish, easily angered, and prone to scheming against each other and the humans they were meant to rule over. Christianity teaches that God is wise, all-knowing, just and fair, and does not give in to the temper-tantrum-like outbreaks that characterized the Greek pantheon.
      There are similarities between Christianity and older religions and beliefs, because Christian teachings embody all that humans value as good and virtuous thinking and behavior. Honesty, love, kindness and charity, as well as many other positive values, are encouraged by both Christianity and several older religions. But while most older religions required strict obedience to a ritualistic set of laws in order to be "right" with one's gods, Christianity teaches that one only has to be saved and made clean by the grace of God – no sacrifices, rituals, or ceremonial laws to keep.
      While similarities between Christianity and older belief systems do exist, I feel that the differences are greater, because there has never been a religion like Christianity since its founding with the birth of Jesus Christ, and there was never one before (save the religion of the Jews, which shared the same teachings and values of Christianity but with more ceremonies and rituals – all of which were made obsolete after the birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled the coming of the Messiah for the Jews).

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