In the end, most religions ... share the same basic principles. Live and let live. Don't judge. Do unto others as you would want done to you. Help those less fortunate than yourself. Do not get greedy.At a very basic level, I agree with you. Most major religions do have a fairly large amount in common. And the examples that you gave are perfect. However, the commonality can only go so far. At some point it becomes impossible for compatibility between different faiths. Here's a simple example: Christianity, Judaism and Islam say that there is only one God. Hinduism says that there are many. There are two possibilities here: either one side is true and the other is not, or both sides are false. It's really difficult to say that both sides are true, since they are saying conflicting things.
Which brings me to one of the biggest differences in Christianity from every other major religion out there. It's the reason that I think that Christianity is true, despite the bad behavior of some of its participants. That single difference is the concept of grace. Let me see if I can explain grace to you by telling a story.
Imagine that you lived on the moon. And you send me an email: Hey, MJH, come visit me on the moon. I've sent a rocket to the park near your house so that you can come visit. All you gotta do is get on the rocket, and I'll take care of the rest.
My reaction might be: that rocket seems like a silly way to travel. There's got to be a better way. And so I write an email back to you that says: Hey Niffer! I'd love to come see you, but I think the rocket doesn't make any sense. I'm going to try a car. I mean it has a lot in common with a rocket. It has seats. And windows. And it's used for transportation. I'm going to give it a try because, you know, it's a *LOT* more fuel efficient. Besides I own a car. And by taking the car, I get to drive. I'm going to head towards New York and see if that gets me any closer to you. Thanks for the rocket, but I'm going to try my way. And then I drive off to New York.
You send me back an email: No, MJH, that won't work. You can't get to the moon in a car. And you can't get any closer to me by going to New York. The only way is to get here is on board the rocket that I sent you. I'll move it to Central Park in NYC. When you get there, get on the rocket and it'll take you right to me.
Now, I could try driving all over the place. I might even try boats, and airplanes. All of which are great modes of travel. But they are simply not suited for the job of getting me to the moon. At some point, you might say to me: MJH, I realize that you don't know how to get to me. But I know where I am. And I know how to get there. Considering where I live (the moon) don't you think I'd make arrangements for you to get to me? Why do you think I'd leave the transport entirely up to you?
I think that this is the relationship that God has with us. He has made the way for us to get to him. And that way is grace: Jesus coming and dieing so that we can be turned back to God. There are tons of other religions, that have lots in common with Christianity. But in every other one, you get to God by the stuff that *you* do. And in every other religion, you are bombarded by the feeling of not having done enough. In Christianity, you don't have to figure out how to get to God. It's not about what you do. It's about what's been done for you. You could, for example, become a Christian and be assured of finding God in 2 minutes. There is no other religion that can say that.
Frankly, Chrsitianity is the only faith that makes sense to me. God is so different than me. He's apart from me. It makes sense to me that *he* will come to me. He will bring me to him. Not the other way around.
So yes, there are similarities between religions. But there are also important differences. And the one difference that separates Christianity from the rest, is the one that makes the most sense to me.