Christianity is often treated, especially by those outside the faith, as one of many equivalent religions. The common view is that Christianity is nothing more than another flavor of religion. To some extent, it is understandable that this view might be held, especially considering the fact that there are some who claim to be a part of the Christian faith and who hold this very same position. This is due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of the nature of Christianity.
On the surface, Christianity appears to contain the same trappings as many other religions. Of most note is what appears to be a list of rules and regulations, varied in accordance with the respective sect or denomination. This is perhaps the largest cause of confusion; because it is these regulations that often lead to the belief that Christianity is looking for good people who will earn their way into Heaven. As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth. It is precisely the matter of redemption that separates Christianity from every other religion on the planet.
Most religions contain some variety of redemption. For the Buddhist, this salvation is accomplished through ethical conduct and the renunciation of worldly matters, concluding in the achievement of Nirvana. For the Muslim, it is attained by adherence to the Five Pillars of Islam and results in entrance into paradise and acceptance by God. And while the specifics of the redemptive elements for these and other world religions may vary, they all, with only one exception, depend on the efforts of mankind. The one exception to this is found in Christianity, and happens to be the very cornerstone of the Christian faith. For though the Christian is taught that his actions are important, he is also taught that he will never be able to earn the redemption that he seeks, but instead must rely upon the efforts of God.
Unlike other religions, the Christian narrative centers not on man, but on God. It is the story of God and how mankind fits into the big picture, not the reverse. Though it is man that sins, it is God who pursues him and seeks his redemption. The foundation of Christianity is that God became man, and that man, Jesus Christ, took the sins of the human race and gave himself up to be crucified so that his blood could pay the ransom necessary for the redemption of man.
While there are many religions eager to provide lessons in morality, none but Christianity is centered around a creator who loves his creation so much that he is willing to offer himself as the ultimate sacrifice. To reduce Christianity to a collection of moral and ethical guidelines and to label it as just another religion is an oversimplification that completely misses the point. The difference between Christianity and other religions is the love and grace of God, embodied in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his offer of redemption to each and every soul.