We are different because we go to the Bible to find our beliefs, not to confirm those we already have. If the Bible doesn't say it, we don't believe it. If the Bible does say something, then no matter who else does or does not agree, we believe it.
How is this different, and why is it so important? If you already hold a belief, then you can find one or two verses that support literally any belief, then walk away assured that you are a Bible-believing Christian! For example, let's say I wanted to prove that in heaven, men and women become a single person, sharing a single body. I could easily "prove" this silly idea by quoting verses like Galatians 3:28 "there is neither male nor female" in Jesus, Ephesians 5:28 "so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself", and Matthew 19:5-6 "they two shall be one flesh".
Is this true? Sure, these verses are true. Do these support the idea that everyone in heaven will have two heads, four arms and legs? Yes. Do they prove it? No! Only to someone who was already convinced before he started studying! Each of these verses is taken out of context and not really what it's talking about (Matthew and Ephesians are strictly talking about this present life, and Galatians is talking about everyone being treated the same - Jew, Greek, Male, Female, etc.). Yet most doctrines today rest on just such shaky foundations, which you can see in the many articles and lessons on this site.
For a slightly more realistic example, if you ask any of the religions that pray to images (Catholic, Orthodox, etc.) where the Bible tells them to do so, they point to verses like the brazen serpent of Moses (Numbers 21:9), the angels on top of the ark (Exodus 25:18-22), the carvings on the door of the temple (1 Kings 6:32-35), and so on. "There," they exclaim, "Bible proof we should worship images!" But was that proof? Or was that merely support for an idea they already accepted?
None of these scriptures require you to worship images. They do show examples of images being ordered to be made by God, for a specific purpose. But none of these images was of God, of any men, saints, and certainly not of the Virgin Mary or the Pope. If you already believed those things, then these scriptures help support that belief. But they do NOT require it, and they do NOT prove it to be good doctrine! The fact is, when Israel did start treating these as idols, and praying to them, God was very angry and commanded it to be destroyed (2 Kings 18:4).
If God wanted you to worship images, or pray to them, or own them, you could walk to the Bible with an empty mind, read it from cover to cover, and KNOW that it was required of all true Christians. If your doctrine cannot stand alone after that test, it is a false doctrine.
The vast majority of Christians are raised in a belief system, and grow up believing it and, while they know there are others, they believe they were lucky to be born into the best one. When they later seek to study the Bible, most of the time they are not looking for the Truth - they believe they already have the answers, or at least, good enough answers. They go to the Bible looking for confirmation of their beliefs. Because they are insecure, or worried about their salvation, or just don't find God as close to them as they've been told He should be.
They usually don't want a different answer. They want to find a better answer, but one like they one they already have. But what if God seems far away because they're looking in the wrong direction? In the wrong place? In the wrong way? Then the only way to be secure about your salvation and to feel closer to God may be a complete change.
When I was 19, I consciously rejected every belief I'd ever been given, until I could prove it with the Bible alone, and nothing else. This was scary, and greatly concerned my friends and family. What if I became a cannibal or something? But if the Bible - and common sense - did not require you to do something, then it wasn't important enough to God to put it in there. And if it didn't matter to Him, it didn't matter to me. I wanted to know WHY I believed what I believed. What do I care what John Calvin or Martin Luther believed? Or what some "church fathers" whom I can't even name decided 1800 years ago?
When I am called to answer for my actions (Romans 14:10), called upon to explain my beliefs, I won't be able to ask Martin Luther why I believed what I did ("he told me so" wouldn't be good enough, just as "the dog ate my homework" isn't good enough). I have to be able to give my OWN answer (1 Peter 3:15). I won't be able to tell God, "Oh, I can't really explain why I believed that, but there's this great book you should read that lays it all out!"
So I set out to establish, for myself, first hand, exactly what the Bible said, and what I believed. I considered everyone's opinions and advice - Martin Luther's and my preachers, my family, and any articles I could find - but I made the decision based on scientific-quality proof from the Bible, and nothing else. If I'm wrong, and I have been, I'll apologize and change. But I take responsibility for my beliefs, and so should you.
Philippians 2:12 ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
I obeyed this command. Have you? Or have you left it to your preacher to work out your salvation for you? Because of my commitment to challenge every belief I ever held, and put it to this test, I understand the Bible in a unique way, for no one I know has ever done this.
Every word I believe, every single thing I do (or don't do) I can explain, justify, and show you where the Bible says it. Because of that, I can answer questions most people can't answer. With a simple answer, not one that requires a book to explain or a PhD to understand. I can do this because when I didn't find my belief in the Bible, I stopped believing it.
I didn't wait until the Bible told me NOT to believe it! I didn't take my belief, and say "Ok, God, I'll stop believing this if You say I should NOT believe it!" Instead, I stopped if I couldn't prove it. I said "Ok, God, I'll stop believing it if I can't prove You said it!"
That makes a huge difference, because thousands of wrong traditions survive in Christianity, and more are added every day, because people require proof to stop. They should require proof to start, and proof to continue. Only then can you find the purity of the Apostles.
And because I've changed my beliefs where the Bible showed me I was wrong, I have constructed the most internally-consistent theology I've ever seen. This is not bragging; God gave me this understanding so I have nothing to boast about. It's simply sharing a success story that you can be a part of. The Bible makes SENSE. Every word, every action, every weird prophecy or strange Old Testament custom., IT ALL FITS. It can for you, too. All you have to do is believe the Bible and nothing anyone else says about it.
If you want to do that, there is no better place to start than enrolling in my free Bible Study Course. And while you're at it, get a Bible study plan and start reading the Bible from cover to cover this year, and as you find things that don't make sense - and you will - ask us and we'll give you The Simple Answers.