If you are interested in comparative religion, it is worthwhile to ask American or other Westernized Buddhists, precisely because they are probably converts who were raised with another religion. It is easier for us to compare Buddhism (rationally) to other faiths.
In Protestant Christianity (of the evangelical variety) there is deep emphasis on "salvation by grace, not works". You go to heaven because Jesus allows you to go to heaven, in spite of you not deserving it. "Lest any man should boast." There are, of course, other takes on soteriology within Christendom, and there are faith-based doctrines as well as works-based doctrines enshrined in Christian scriptures.
What I find appealing about Buddhism is that it is entirely works-based; there is nothing un-earned about progress, transformation, and enlightenment in the Buddha Way. In Buddhism, there is no shortcut around the law of Karma. Everybody who deserves to go to hell, will go to hell, and will stay there until they learn the appropriate lessons.
But the doctrine of hell (in Buddhism) is different than the doctrine of hell in Christianity (or Islam for that matter). In Christian teachings, hell is a place where souls are tortured and tormented after having received a well-deserved prison sentence from a judgmental Higher Power. In Buddhism, you are not going to be sent to burn in hell; you are "in hell" already. "Hell" is temporary happiness. "Hell" is a mental state of anguish, ignorance, hatred, confusion, regret, loneliness. "Hell" is your future lives, your past lives, and your present life where you believe that happiness comes from sensory pleasure, flattery and praise, the absence of difficulty, accumulation of more for oneself at others' expense -- when that is absolutely not the case. Happiness cannot come from any of those things. This is the meaning of hell. This is the cause of suffering.
And, whether you believe it or not, you are going to continue to relive the same pointless struggles over and over again until you learn what happiness actually is.
While enlightenment is entirely based upon our own merit, the Way to enlightenment was offered as a free gift, from the Buddha... lest any man should boast. For the Buddha to teach us the dharma, it was necessary that he be born into this world, full of suffering and death and decay, with a human body that would necessarily get old and die like ours. He had sufficient merit to be born in a much better world, but he endured the suffering of this life for our benefit. In that way, the Christian can readily see how the Buddha's birth and death was like a crucifixion, but at the same time he did not "pay the price" for us to actually attain enlightenment. We must pay that price ourselves.