Of course, the concept of explanatorily intelligible account is not easy to grasp: if it were, the ‘heathens’ would not be blind to the existence of religion. However, that does not mean we cannot grasp it either.
I am glad you are beginning to see why the story about ‘Jesus as a Yogi’ (Sankrant’s famous interpretation) is wrong; and why discussions on Sulekha drive me sometimes to despair and the believers (remember Gargoyle Minimus?) into utter rage. Why I keep saying that we think we understand Christianity (Pradip Gangopadhyay even claims that no Christian has understood the teachings of Christ, except himself), whereas we simply do not know what we are talking about.
Adding what, you ask, makes Christianity into a religion? Of course, subordination one’s will to God makes one into a believer (not a virtuous person). That is only possible if you believe in God and in that the Cosmos expresses His Will. (The notion of Cosmos expressing His will should not be interpreted as LILA. Our ideas of LILA have nothing to do with the notion of God expressing His Will.) God made a covenant with the people of Israel that He would send someone to liberate them. The Christ figure is this promised one. The Christians claim that the Christ came not just to deliver the people of Israel from the clutches of the Devil but the whole of humankind. Only by following Christ can one hope to be delivered from the clutches of the Devil. (This is the notion of salvation, which has nothing to do with Moksha. Whether or not you are saved depends not on you but on God’s Grace, i.e., whether or not He will effectively save you. Why should God love the Sinner that you are? The answer to this question is what God’s Grace is all about.) So one must believe not only in God, but also in Christ. That is, that God has fulfilled His promise and that it is His Will that the humankind follows Christ. So, subordination your will to the Will of God is identical to believing in Christ and following the latter, if you are a Christian.
Who is the Devil? According to Christianity, our gods are the minions of this Devil. By believing in these gods, we prove (to the believer) that Christianity is TRUE. We need to be saved from the clutches of these Indian gods. Because, the ONLY result of us worshipping the Indian gods is eternal (to the end of TIME itself) torture in Hell. Of course, we think that Ganesha, etc. is a form or manifestation of GOD, but we are deceived in this belief. Ganesha, Vishnu, etc. are not manifestations of GOD but of the Devil, who has deceived us into thinking that these figures are manifestations of GOD. Christ is the only person who can lead us to GOD. All others will lead us to Hell, whether the Buddha or the Shankara, or whoever else.
In other words, you need to keep the Devil as much in the centre as GOD Himself. Without GOD telling us WHO He is and HOW to worship Him (this is what revelation is), we cannot find GOD. We will find only the Devil in our search for GOD. Because GOD loves us, He wants to save us from the clutches of the Devil. (From now on, do not think of Devil as something abstract, but see all the Indian gods as the Devil himself, and all our gurus and Acharyas as his minions. All they can do is lead you to Hell, even though they promise you that they will lead you to GOD.) Hence, in His infinite mercy, GOD sent Jesus to save us from the clutches of the Devil.
If you can understand the above text (and not use some Indian interpretation to make sense of it), you are beginning to grasp what religion is. (Especially, the religions that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are.)
- Stories and intelligibility
- Apaurusheya, shruti and revelation: theoretical dispute