JONATHAN WRITES: One way I really hope to work for God and His glory is to write. I’ve been inspired by writers like C.S. Lewis, who wrote fiction and nonfiction to give atheists (and even Christians themselves) a better overall understanding of the biggest points and arguments dealing with Christian life. I hope to do the same.
My problem here is that I am not entirely sure what topics really need to be touched on in my writing that I want to reach out to non-believers. So what do you think are the biggest misconceptions non-believers have, that I could work to clear up in my writing?
The answers I’m looking for do not include what you think the big misconceptions are. Please share some misconceptions you have actually heard from non-believers, or that you know is a commonly shared misconception outside of Christianity.
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I am very intrigued by this question. As a writer, myself, I feel like I can relate to your situation of gathering the most accurate information for your book. I really like how you said…
I imagine you’ve had this problem before, where Christians state their biggest issues with other Christians, and assume that other people have this same problem with Christianity in general. I can imagine how frustrating that would be. =)
I will do my best to not do that! Haha.
One misconception I’ve seen unbelievers have with Christianity, is the idea that Christianity is a “religion”. It’s the idea that it’s just one of the many ways people try to get to Heaven, or to do what’s right.
I feel like that is a very dangerous misconception, because true Christianity is simply a relationship with Jesus Christ, where we surrender our lives to him, and ask him to save us, because we can’t do it ourselves. This is something I’ve seen in people I talked to, both from those who believe in Roman Catholicism, and from those who are “non-religious”.
I hope this helps!
– Trent Blake
You have a very good point, Trent, because I do have a lot of Catholic family where it’s just about “religion” and not at all about relationship. However, I do want to warn you of putting all Catholics in a box of being about “religion” and not relationship. One of my most dear friends and a very significant spiritual mentor is Catholic, and she has one of the deepest, most ardent faith that I have ever seen. I am so proud to say that the “denomination barrier” has not stopped anything, for we are all one in Christ. No denomination, sect, race, etc. can ever take that away. Thanks for your comment!
Thanks for your input, Regan!
I agree that not all people who go to the Catholic church are “religious”. Some are Christians! However, one could say the same about Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (aka, “Mormons”). The Christians in these denominations don’t believe (or don’t know about) the false beliefs the religion itself adheres to.
The point is, Christians in non-Christian churches are the exception rather then the rule. When I characterize a religion (such as Roman Catholicism), I characterize what that religion believes, in their mainstream element. I look at what their leadership says and what their statement of faith says.
If the differences are only preferences (such as Baptism or Speaking in
Tongues), but the core beliefs of Christianity are still there, then
it’s only a difference of denomination. If, however, it doesn’t even line up with the basic, core Christian doctrines, then it’s a false belief system.
That’s what Roman Catholicism is: not simply a different denomination, but a very different belief system to Christianity – and a false religion.
👍👍 one again I totally agree lol
I appreciate your gift of writing and your intent to reach the lost.
I think the biggest misconception that unbelievers have, and also many sitting in churches today, is what a “true Christian” is. The churches are at fault for this. Being a “Christian” today seems to be going to church and living by your own rules. It has had a devestating effect on true witness. The pulpits are nearly empty of repentance preaching. We are in a devastating famine of the Word. Most churchgoers have refused to go the narrow way and seem to love the crowds. The church has not forsaken the world and its ways and the unbelievers have that as a witness. A very sad statement, but also is a sign of these latter times. It is a very difficult time for the true church because I believe that what the lost see today is somebody that for the most part live like them.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
We are called to be separate, which means no connection in worldly ways, thoughts, activities and even yoked relationships. That can only come by the constant work of the Holy Spirit in us to teach us through His Word and who brings us conviction of our sins. Our lives are to be lived, death to ourselves, and alive to Christ. In my whole long life, I rarely run into a person that fits that definition. There really is only a remnant of the church that truly live for Christ.
I know that there are those that are really searching for the truth and I know God will bless your efforts to that end.
To God and Him Alone,
A common misconception I hear in the secular culture is why we/Christians share our faith so boldly.
Quite often Christians are called bigots, legalistic, intolerant, etc. We believe that men and women who don’t have Christ are dying and going to end in a life of ultimate death, suffering, and burning. The secular culture doesn’t understand that we share our faith out love and compassion. We share our faith because we know the truth and the real key to eternal life. If we didn’t share our faith it would be like having a cure to cancer while watching thousands of cancer patients die every day. To me that is the saddest misconception.
That’s an excellent comparison – not speaking about the Saviour would be like withholding a cancer cure from thousands.
That is a great way of putting it!
Absolutely! Very expressive – our sister @Haven Asnip has a real way with words.
Yes, absolutely. Even if I don’t particularly like someone, I still don’t want them to never know Jesus and not go to heaven!
Great question, one I have wondered about myself as well. Following are a few misconceptions, questions, and insights I’ve heard voiced on a secular college campus.
“How do you make sense of a God with a split personality? In the Old Testament, He’s this mean, angry God who makes a bunch of rules that are impossible to follow and then sends everybody to Hell because they can’t follow them. In the New Testament, nice, kind Jesus comes along and says, “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, I forgive you and I won’t let God send you to Hell even if you keep sinning.” That’s what one guy on campus asked me. Obviously he had more than one misconception there.
Another girl of a different religion, as we were discussing our respective faiths and morality, exclaimed in surprise, “You mean Christians aren’t supposed to sleep around? Why then are so many Christians doing it?” In relation to this, I wonder why so many churches preach strongly against homosexuality while turning a blind eye to all the premarital sexual activity going on in their midst. I don’t know that God views one sexual sin as worse than another.
Another misconception that may unfortunately be true is that “Christians hate gays and porn addicts.” Um, Jesus didn’t. He wasn’t afraid to call sin sin but he still loved and even died for the sinner.
“Going to church makes you a good person. But my preacher/grandma/etc. says that if I don’t go to church I’ll go to Hell. I hate getting preached down on because I got a tattoo or piercing, so I guess I’ll just stay home and go to Hell.” What’s fun to do here is point out that the Bible nowhere says that you have to go to church every Sunday. Be a part of the Body, yes, but that’s not always synonymous with going to a church building at 10:00 every Sunday morning and listening to a sermon.
Spoken loudly and bitterly by a green-haired girl with various body piercings and tattoos who favors dressing in black and wearing combat boots: “I hate going to the mall because all these stupid Christians start chasing me around and shoving tracts in my face and telling me I’m going to Hell.” Her view of Christians is not that they are people of love who truly care about her as a person, but rather that they are rude, insensitive, see her as a project, not a person, and use her to get a personal ego boost. Kinda like the boyscouts who, in desperation to fill their “good deeds” quota for the day, helped an old lady across the street. When the scout leader asked why it took four boys to help one old lady cross a street, their sheepish response was that “she didn’t want to go”. Sometimes I think we approach evangelism the same way – for selfish reasons while being very callous to the real person and their needs, thereby giving them a justified dislike of Christians.
While studying one day I overheard part of a very interesting group conversation.
This group of students were discussing the attitudes of disgust and discrimination shown towards homosexuals by religious people, especially Christians. Then one guy spoke up and said that there are actually different kinds of Christians. “Jesus Freaks”, he adamantly insisted, are “the nicest people you’ve ever met, will talk to anyone, truly love and care about people, and don’t look down on people who are different than themselves.” “Super-Christians”, on the other hand, “piously strut around shunning everyone who doesn’t measure up to their religious standards of morality and think they are better than everyone else.” Interesting. I don’t know what this guy’s religious beliefs are, but I found it fascinating that he made a distinction between people who are crazy about God (relationship) and people who are just trying to make and follow the rules (religion).
And I’m sure you’ve already heard the “Christians are hypocrites” line.
If I think of more, I may add it, but there’s a bit to muse on meanwhile.
Also, have you considered just straight-out asking unbelievers their perspective in a genuinely curious, non-threatening way? Of course, pray about it first, and get God’s guidance as to specific people to engage and specific conversation-starters, but that could be a great way to build relationships with non-believers and show that you value them and their ideas right where they are. One of the most powerful conversations I had with a classmate of a different faith was spawned first by prayer, but then by simply explaining that I was working on a paper about the problems with Christianity (true story) and asking if he, as someone of a different faith, would be willing to share his perspective. That simple question morphed into a several-hour long conversation that was very eye-opening for both of us and shook him and his beliefs to the core as I asked him to help me understand why he believes what he does. (BTW, one of his issues with Christians is that they are greedy for money, especially the Church.) If we believe that Christianity is strong enough to stand on its own two legs, letting others express their objections won’t frighten us. Which may be part of why you’re asking that excellent question. 🙂
Be blessed as you write for God’s glory!
Wow Rebecca, lots of great points to think about!
Wow! Thats so true!
I would say possibly being intolerant and being hypocritical. Living your faith boldly and sticking by it, which some people do respect while others call you intolerant and bigots. Being wishy-washy, going with the world, and saying one thing and doing another is much, much worse. The world sees that and says, “what is up? I thought you were a Christian?” We paint a different picture than what we say, with actions speaking louder than words.
The first one I thought of was that the Christian’s life is boring; they never get to do anything fun. I almost laugh when I hear other people say this, because I live a very “fun” life. I have Jesus (he gives me joy, happiness, peace, and everything else you can think of), I have the Word of God, I have a strong Christian family, and I have strong Christian friends, both online and at home and church. I honestly believe that I have a more happy and fun life than most unbelievers do because of the things mentioned above. Plus, I also don’t have to struggle with all the mind-boggling questions about no God, or false gods, evolution, etc. You get where I’m going with this… 😉
I totally agree!! Sometimes I am tempted to look at non believers and think, wow, their life is so cool and fun. They’re doing a, b, c and seem to be having so much fun while I’m at church. But then I look at my own life and realize that not only do I also do fun and cool things, I also have everlasting peace, joy, and hope. So no matter how happy they seem at the time, at the end of the day non believers must still have such a void in their lives. If I didn’t have Jesus I don’t know where I’d be — what an awful existence it would be.
Nailed it! 🙂
They think that it takes away from their free time where they could be doing something a lot more fun.
They think you HAVE to read the Bible everyday and go to church, etc.
They think Christians are hipocrites, which sadly, some are.
They also think if they had to be a Christian you would have to preach to people, or direct every conversation you have to end up talking about God.
One thing that has come up very recent, is that we are haters. What I mean by this, is, for example, the gay community. People think Christians hate them and that we are mean and we shouldn’t judge. But they don’t understand, that we don’t hate them, we just don’t agree with their life style. But they make it up to be such a huge thing, that now people are losing businesses over it.
You see what I’m getting at, right? 😝
I 100% agree with you, but I do know Christians that have said to me personally, “It is essential to read your bible everyday and go to church, blah blah blah.” I’m just saying there are some people out there who are like that.
You’ve seen the world, would you go out there without a bit of Jesus in the morning? As for going to church, Hebrews 10:25 says “do not give up meeting together” so if you’re healthy and are there, church should take priority
Well we *do* have to go to church…and we are most definitely supposed to witness to people…
*Agrees with the comments below* *finds nothing to add*.
I’m not sure if anyone will see this since I’m late commenting, but a big (and touchy) on concerns gender roles:
People think Christian men are all oppressive jerks who promote them selves by demanding submission. But a godly man loves and cares for his wife and leads her gently and humbly.
On the other end, some people think Christian women are weak-minded and oppressed, trapped in the kitchen and bedroom and too dumb to try to get out. But actually, biblical womanhood gives dignity, strength, and honor — and it is much more than just marriage and parenting.
This would be pretty easy to put into fiction, maybe just let the characters live in front of your readers. Sidenote: please don’t “preach” in you fiction, let your characters speak for themselves.
On my end, definitely the biggest one would be that Christians are closed-minded and won`t listen to anyone who does not agree with them. This probably stems from most atheists believing that he is right and no one else is (on the question of atheism v. religion); and therefore, Christians, who will not agree with the atheist, are foolish and stubborn, refusing to let go of the tattered remnants of a bygone era that was full of superstition and paganism. Now, not being an atheist personally (although I know several), maybe that isn`t exactly their train of thought, and probably they differ on this opinion, but that is the idea I have gathered from the culture around me. When you look at it from their angle, it does make sense, especially since back in the 1900’s, atheism was making a lot of scientific advances that Christianity could not yet combat and many Christians simply had to believe without “proof”. One of the ways I have tried to combat this is to use the techniques in “Tactics” by Gregory Koukl, a wonderful book about how to explain and debate your faith with others.
Hey guys I’ve been having doubts that God exists and I need those doubts to go away but they don’t even though I try my best to grow my faith in God the doubts still come, They make me feel depressed all the time.
How do I post questions?
I was once asked about racist Christians and I said that Jesus was probably black and racist Christians weren’t really thinking and a bystander said all of them, so she either said all Christians are racist or all Christians are idiots