An FAQ on Christianity for the Unbeliever
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2012, but is quite relevant for the current year. As such, we've decided to recirculate it.
There’s a brand new thing out there that has been confusing and frightening people lately: Christians. The first prominent Christian anyone ever heard of was probably Tim Tebow, and his appearance on the national scene was quite alarming to many, as his "Christian" behavior was seen as quite odd and new. More recently, people have learned about Dan Cathy and are disturbed to discover that some businesses may possibly be owned by Christians who express Christian-type views. And then there is Olympic champion gymnast Gabby Douglas, whose constant profession of faith in God is so frightening that an extremely bewildered author wrote an article about her in Salon.
Since ignorance is what leads us to fear something (unless we're talking about platypuses, as the more you know about them, the scarier they are -- did you know they're poisonous?), I thought I'd write an FAQ about Christians to help explain what these strange new people are, so everyone won't be all freaked out about them.
How long have Christians been around?
While many people see Christians as a brand new and quite scary thing, records show Christians have been around since at least the 1950s, and maybe even much earlier.
What are their beliefs based on?
It's a book called "The Bible." It's full of thousands-of-years-old religious writing, which Christians believe to have been written by men inspired by God. It's very long.
I see many Bibles are labeled "Holy Bible." What if I got a non-holy version?
Immediately return it for a refund.
The Bible is full of really old values, with lots of outdated views on things like sex. Do Christians actually follow this thing?
Indeed they try. Their view is that while society and technology change, the fundamental nature of man doesn't, and neither do the values God gave us. Thus, the Bible is something they find relevant and expect people to read and follow many years into the future, like Harry Potter.
Don't Christians know how weird and old-fashioned following the Bible makes them? Everyone else is fine with swearing, sex on TV, and abortion. Why do they have to be so different?
To Christians, following the ways of God is more important than fitting in with societal norms. Thus they are gladly counter-cultural.
So they're like hipsters?
Yes, except everything they do is unironic.
There's some really weird stuff in the Bible, like [quote of strange-sounding rule from Leviticus or Deuteronomy]. The Bible sounds stupid, and people shouldn't listen to it.
Parts of the Bible can sound weird in isolation, but it takes lots of study to understand the Bible and how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament.
But don't Christians just pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow? Like [quote rule from Leviticus or Deuteronomy that Christians are unlikely to follow].
Christians do not follow much of what is known as the "Mosaic Law." Much of the reasoning for this is addressed in the book of Hebrews.
Okay, so if I just check that out, I'll find the answer and... wait a second! You almost tricked me into reading more of the Bible! I only need to know enough about it to mock it!
Almost got you. When trying to trip up Christians with quotes from the Bible, just be aware you're unlikely to find anything they aren't already aware of, since they read that thing religiously.
And don't Christians know we now have science, which has replaced religion, and that there is no more need for Jesus, since we have lasers and rockets and other science stuff?
Science covers physical and temporary things, while religion covers spiritual and eternal things, so Christians still feel religion is very important -- even more important than science.
That's blasphemy! Nothing is more important than science! How can they think such things?
Maybe they didn't watch Beakman's World when they were young.
Why do they have to talk so much about their religion? Why can't they just be silent about their religion and be Christians quietly in the corner or something?
Christians get great joy from their religion and the sense of love and purpose it gives them and thus want to share it. In fact, the Bible says Christians should spread their faith. It's sort of like how I want to tell everyone about Arrested Development so they’ll all enjoy it, too
Why are Christians always judging others?
Because Christians are a subset of people, they share the faults all people have and tend to get judgmental at times.
No. This is something unique to bad Christians. They are all closed-minded, ignorant, hypocritical bigots who are stupid and dumb. And they judge people.
Again, these are faults all people have. Christians often fall short of their goal, but the point is they keep trying.