Whatís so good about Christianity?

For many people in the West, Christianity is dismissed because itís thought to be bad, or at least not good enough to give serious thought to. Because of our motivated reasoning, more than half of the battle in talking to unbelievers is to establish that Christianity is good news. Whether or not itís good is independent from whether or not itís true, but most people wonít listen to an argument for the truth of Christianity until theyíre convinced that it is at least good. And so for westerners, whatís so good about Christianity? Why should anyone take the time to check it out?

Firstly, Christianity gives you a platform for taking your fears and concerns seriously. In a secular society, weíre fast running out of places and opportunities to talk about our anxieties, sufferings, guilt, broken relationships and death. Christian gatherings regularly address these things in community, giving people the platform that they need to talk about their fears and concerns seriously.

Secondly, Christianity offers an identity that doesnít crush you or others. In western individualism, our chosen identities either crush us when who donít live up to them, or allow us to crush others by our pride when we do. In traditional cultures, the identities that weíre born into either crush us when theyíre low status identities, or crush others when theyíre high status identities. By contrast, the gospel simultaneously humbles us into the dust because weíre more wicked than we dared believe (not crushing others), and affirms us to the sky because weíre more loved than we dared hope (not crushing ourselves).

Thirdly, Christianity offers an identity thatís based on grace and open to everyone. While other identities require people to live up to certain standards, or are closed off to people who are the wrong ethnicity, gender etc, Christianity is uniquely based on grace Ė open to everyone regardless of their past, present abilities, ethnicity, gender etc. Itís one that reaches out to those pursuing virtue, to tax collectors and sinners, and to everyone in between.

Fourthly, Christianity provides a strong basis for justice. While all people have moral feelings, secular people have no basis for adjudicating between moral feelings when people disagree, other than to say that their moral feelings are superior to others. By contrast, Christians can say with Martin Luther King, ďHow does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.Ē (Martin Luther King, Letter From Birmingham Jail)

Fifthly, Christianity provides a view of sex that doesnít lead to loneliness. In a world where loneliness is an increasingly big problem, if sex is seen as a way to get gratification, then casual sexual encounters only contribute to our feelings of isolation and loneliness. However, if sex is seen as a way of self-donation within marriage, then itís a powerful cure to our feelings of loneliness. Sex can make people feel used if itís for our own gratification, or be the glue of committed relationships if itís understood as a way of self-donation.

Sixthly, Christianity gives you a hope that will never disappoint you. If your hopes and dreams are in the things of this world, then they will invariably lead to disappointment, whether you get them and theyíre not everything that you thought they would be, or you donít get them and they leave you feeling like a failure. By contrast, the Christian hope of heaven is unshaken by our circumstances. Indeed, as the world becomes a darker place, the Christian hope becomes a brighter light.

Seventhly, Christianity offers a meaning to life that suffering canít take away. While different people find meaning and significance in different things, if those things are part of this world then suffering will take them away, and when the things that you find meaning and significance in are taken away, you go down with the ship. By contrast, Christianity offers a meaning and significance that canít be taken away by suffering. Indeed, the more intense our suffering gets, the more powerful our meaning in life becomes.

Finally, Christianity gives you an experience of love without hiding who you are. In other religions, God only loves those who live a certain way; and on secularism, the only love we can experience is given when weíre loveable. Both lead people to hide who they really are in order to experience the love that we all need. By contrast, the Christian view of Godís grace leads to an experience of love without hiding who you are. The gospel shows us that God loves us as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us as we are.

Of course, none of these provide an argument for the truth of Christianity. But they should at least motivate us to check out the claims of Christianity and the arguments for and against it. In my experience, when unbelievers do this they invariably begin a journey towards Christ. Persuading people of the goodness of Christianity is more than half the battle. When people see the goodness of the gospel, the realisation that itís true is often not a difficult a step.

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