I am a Christian

Being a Christian means to me that I trust in the Good News and want to rely on it and cultivate this faith. I invest some of my time into activities like praying and reading the Bible. I love to meet with other people who share that faith and practice these activities. I consider these activities as “faith training”. Being a Christian is my favourite sport.

Being a Christian means to me that Jesus Christ is “my Lord and my God” and that the Good News is my highest law. No human law can give me permission –or enforce me– to act against that faith.

Every Christian should be ready to explain their faith to a non-believer, also when they have a limited speaking time.

My summary of Christian faith

Here is how I would summarize the Christian religion.

  • Let us imagine God as a father in heaven who loves all humans. Every single human can pray to him like a child.

  • God wants the visible world to exist and to lead it to a good end. He has a plan with this world. History is not chaotic.

  • God wants humanity to act as the manager of planet Earth. Each of us has their particular individual role in God’s plan. My life is not meaningless, even when I fail to see or understand its meaning.

  • Unfortunately we don’t always act in harmony with God’s plan. We don’t do our job very well all the time. We experience mistakes, weaknesses, errors and failures. We experience them in ourselves and in others, at individual, local and global level. We are not perfect.

  • Now here is the good news: God does not “make you pay your debts”, he does not “punish your sins”. He forgives your mistakes, weaknesses, errors and failures. He loves you unconditionally and will never let you down. See What is so good about the Good News?.

  • This Good News calls me to “love God, and to love my neighbour as myself” (Mt 22:37-39). See Love, and then do as you want.

  • This Good News influences our values, priorities and choices. See About Christian values.

  • Christians believe that every human has a soul, something that will get born into a new world when we die. Our life in the visible world is a preparation for our life in that new world.

Disclaimer

I must add that not all Christians fully agree with my summary of Christian faith. Please also read Some temptations to religious people where I explain what Christianity does not mean to me.

Summarizing Christianity is an old and controversial question! Wars have been fought about this question, wars between nations and wars between family members, wars with both parties holding up the Bible and citing it as a proof for their way of summarizing the Christianity !

One thing is clear: don’t expect me to fix a problem on which millions of humans have been working much harder than I will ever do. I am just bringing in my two cents, my naive little attempt.

No human can fully understand the Gospel, but every human is called to find and realize the part of it that applies to him or her.

Critics

Here are some questions or critical reactions risen by friends about my summary:

  • You don’t explain why Jesus had to die on the cross. See About the cross.

  • Is Jesus the only Saviour? What about Buddha, Mohammed and Baha’ullah? (“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7)

    Short answer: Note that Jesus says “I am the way…” and not “the Scripture is the way…”. The Good News is far more complex than what a document in human language can formulate (See Don’t mix up “Word of God” and “Bible”). At another occasion Jesus says about another religious leader who doesn’t join his disciples that “the one who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:49-50).

  • If God wants this world to end well, it is going to end well anyway, so why should we care? (2 Peter 3:10-13)

    Short answer: We don’t know God’s plan. If we don’t care for this world, we might miss the Kingdom of God and not become part of it.

  • If God forgives our sins anyway, why should we bother to live in abstinence? (“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:11-13)

    Short answer: God’s unconditional forgiveness does not mean that we may live in sin (i.e. do nasty things to ourselves or to other humans). When you live in sin, it decreases your quality of life and/or that of other humans. That’s why you should avoid sins. The Gospel makes clear that this (and not your fear of God’s revenge) is the reason to avoid sins.

The future of Christianity

I believe that Christian faith has the potential of evolving into a universally acceptable religion. This does not mean that every human should talk, think, pray and act in the same ways as today’s Christians do.

I also believe that this inevitably requires clarification about some historically grown and still wide-spread misconceptions about Christian faith, and a reconciliation at theological level between all religions of the world.

Some Christian vocabulary

Jesus Christ

Title given to Jesus of Nazareth when seeing him as the Messiah announced by Jewish religion.

Church

The community of all humans who believe in Jesus Christ and try to follow his example.

confession

A school of Christianity represented by an official organization who explains and illustrates the Bible for its members according to a human-made set of rules.

Most confessions accept other confessions as being part of the Church and collaborate with them.