What is Christianity, Anyway?

August 14, 2015


I spent a good chunk of my adult life as a non-believer. I thought Christians only believed in Jesus because of the culture they lived in or what they learned growing up. Much to my surprise, God pursued me and opened my heart to the truth of his glorious gospel. I have learned that many non-believers don’t understand what they are actually rejecting, much like how I was.

I decided one day to ask both Christians and agnostics or atheists to describe Christianity in one sentence, the first thing that comes to mind. No Google searches, no asking others, simply “What do you think of first?” I’ve included the responses from each person I asked and will keep participants’ names private as promised. I did not change the wording on any response.

Non-Christian responses:

1) A moral compass for life and hope for a percentage of the population who cannot find hope elsewhere.

2) A belief in the supernatural, no different than any other religion.

3) A good philosophy yet something completely different than what was originally intended due to the different translations and corruption in the past.

4) Christianity is great! Christians should practice it more often.

5) A way for government to control Sheeple.

6) Brings back nostalgic feelings growing up Russian Orthodox, lots of kindness and good things I appreciate in the religion, though now I feel there are many paths up the spiritual mountain in life.

7) I have no idea.

Christian responses:

1) Christianity is a love story about the greatest rebel that ever walked the face of this earth and the love for his children.

2) As a Christian and child of the King, whose Son saved me from my sins, whose Holy Spirit moved my spirit so Christ dwells on the throne of my heart to love, forgive, protect and empower me through His Holy name forever.

3) Christianity is knowing the saving love of Christ and following His teaching and commands.

4) Christianity is the gospel of Jesus…knowing and believing that God sent his perfect Son Jesus to pay the only kind of sacrifice (blood) needed to make me right with God again because of my sin so that I can be with God forever.

5) Christianity is recognizing what Jesus Christ did for every one and thanking Him by telling others about Christ.

6) Christianity is admitting one is a sinner in need of repentance, accepting Jesus’s free gift of grace and salvation then following him with all your heart throughout this lifetime.

7) Having faith in the unseen, knowing that Christ is the Son of God and he died for our sins.

The first thing that is crystal clear is every single non-Christian response failed to include Jesus in their definition/description and every single Christian response centered around Jesus.

Where do many of the outside opinions of Christianity come from? The majority of non-believers will never study the Bible or have a relationship with God to truly understand what Christianity entails. They will continue to look at believers’ actions, what popular culture says, politics, and the history of corrupt governments.

I did the same thing.

A common misconception is that when a person becomes a Christian he or she should act in a way that is consistently blameless. Only one human ever accomplished this feat, Jesus. Jesus said there would be people who called themselves Christian who weren’t. He did not say to follow Christians, he said “Follow me.” Christians are still living in human flesh with sinful hearts, they’ve just admitted they are in need of forgiveness and grace.

Christianity is more than a belief system; Satan believes Jesus exists and is the Son of God. Christianity is more than a moral compass. We obey Jesus because He loves us, because we’ve tasted his grace, his goodness, his compassion. We obey because we have a relationship with him, because we love him, not simply because of morality.

Jesus summed up the most important commandment in Mark 12:30-31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

If a person rejects Christianity, he/she is not rejecting how Christians behave, nor rejecting a moral compass for life, a philosophy or what corrupt governments have done in the name of Christianity.

The rejection is a person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins and who loves us more than any human mind can fathom, without conditions, not based on works. We are broken sinners, unable to rescue ourselves or change our own hearts. Jesus is the only one who can save us from our sins and offer us eternal life for trusting in his righteousness, not our own. John 14:6a “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Tim Keller, author and pastor summed up Christianity in a nutshell: “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”