Hi Shane Welcome to Worthy!
I would love to help you understand your questions. I already had a nice long reply typed and then managed to lose it all! Oops, well here we go again!
First the easy question. When it comes to other religions, to me Christianity stands out from all the other world views for two reasons. First of all every other religion that I have encountered in my life states that you have to do some sort of work or sacrifice to gain enlightenment, nirvana, heaven, godhood, redemption, etc. Only in Christianity do you receive salvation through a gift. You can choose to either accept this in faith or reject it out of hand. There is nothing you can do to earn this salvation.
The second, as far as I know (I have not looked into this as much) Christianity is the only religion that states that a God of love, created us expressly for relationship with him and even though we blew the relationship he is offering to restore us to the relationship that was intentionally desired, and then to continue that relationship in heaven with him for all eternity. I Could write a book on the subject, however there are several good books out there that explain some of these things much better then I. One I recommend is “Mere Christianity”-C.S. Lewis
As for truth, ask any Christian and he or she will tell you we derive that from the Bible, Gods inspired word. Lets take a short look at this “Book” we call the Bible. In fact it is not one book, its a library, a compilation of books that were written over several years and by many authors from walks of life ranging from doctors to kings to priests, prophets and one notable tent maker.(Paul the apostle). It was also written in three different languages. With all this difference of authorship, time and language you would think that there would be little to no continuity to it, however there is. Again this is another book in and of itself, I don't know a single book that covers this as well, however there are others here that know more about it then I, Shiloh357 for example.
Then there are the differences in how to get saved. Well when you boil them down there are three main ways. The first one, which is the most accepted one, and to my opinion the only one supported by the Bible is the “By Grace you are saved through Faith” version. This is what many of the others have pointed out in this thread on the mechanics of this. Then there is the “Works” people who say you must add some sort of work to this “faith” to get saved, and then there is the “Everyone's saved” who basically believe every human on earth goes to heaven no matter what they have done.
I will say this. I say the first one is the only one that the Bible actually backs and this why.
The first one is simple here is a verse
I know it seems pretty straight forward and yet there are some who would twist the word of God for there own reasons, most often that I have seen with this crowd it is pride. They want to look better then another, in a vain effort to make themselves feel better about there own sin.
Then there is the crowd that says everyone's saved no matter what. Well what does the Bible say about that...
So if even some say they believe and even do wonders in His name, will not make it (The key word is this, they never knew god, only of him., the same way most people know of a celebrity but never know the person on any deeper level, which is what God wants us to have) Then anyone who denies Christ will not make it. For those who embrace this thought, are often wishful thinkers, and sadly some I have known have completely given up Christianity based on this to try other things.
So how do people get deceived? The first one is people do not know how to study the Bible. They read one part of one verse and try to create an entire world view on that, or more often they take several parts that don't fit and blend them together. Sometimes this is on purpose but most often then not, they let there pride get in the way and only search for the answers they want to hear. If the Bible does not line up with what they want, they make it do so. I have seen it many, many times, and it saddens me. Because of this I wrote this post
This is just basic rules. Understanding the culture and times of the person who wrote that passage also helps with the understanding of it. However I have seen even this throw people off, as they study the culture of a person, and times and even the original language, and yet forget to read what the scripture says, in context of what was actually written.
As for the Holy Spirit, well many try to simply read the Bible with out letting the Holy Spirit reveal anything. Many Atheists who hate the idea of God have read the Bible and gotten nothing out of it, including Richard Dawkins.
Well I hope that helps, I suggest you read the post I linked to and the book I recommended to you as well, I believe they will help you very much. Now I hope to see you around the next time I make my rounds, as I don't come in as often, as I don't have a lot of time to do so now days!