I can think of many reasons why writing something describing Christianity for non-Christians is an act of hubris. Big names of the faith – like C.S. Lewis – have tried and failed to come up with a definitive work describing the core of Christian values. There’s also the issue that I’m not a religious scholar, with no formal training in any program of study of Christian thought. On top of this, I don’t even consider myself a member of the religion; I certainly don’t believe in any of the supernatural claims made by Christians.
Why even try?
My biggest reason is validation for every person who honestly believed in heaven, hell, sin, and redemption. Everyone who held those beliefs close and then let them go doesn’t get a free pass to forget what they saw or heard while going to church. Despite that, oftentimes deconverts are asked to keep quiet or ridiculed for sharing their experiences with others. This feeds a sense that people who leave the faith lose their ability to criticize it.
It should not be this way. Considering the implications of many different Christian sales pitches needs to be done with complete disclosure. People need to know whether or not prayer works, or worship does what Christians say it does. Members of the faith are not the only ones with that knowledge. Deconverts often went to the same church meetings that Christians attended. The perspective has just changed regarding what everyone talked about.
That’s the second big reason why I want to write something like this. Non-Christians get bombarded with so many slogans and sales lines regarding a relationship with Jesus. These lines often don’t reflect the full version of what’s being sold. They really can’t, because many different churches have hours of sermons and mountains of text dedicated to talking about what they believe in. Some of these little differences are a big deal, certainly big enough to highlight some fundamental flaws about whether or not anyone should believe it.
Third, I think some of the lessons I’ve learned about leaving Christianity could get applied to other faiths. There are places where Christianity isn’t the dominant faith, but the people in power demand fealty to some other belief system. The actual beliefs might be different, but the net result is the same. One should be part of the same thought-tribe, or one is going to be bullied into silence. If anything I write can benefit them in where they live, I think it would be worthwhile to publish it.
A note about how I want to organize my thoughts.
My goal is to write about tenets of Christianity in order of their importance. Obviously with a religion that’s thousands of years old, I’m going to miss something here and there. Instead of getting trapped in the small details (I hope), I want to describe the big parts and show how they fit together.
As a result, I think doctrines regarding sin are the most fundamental to Christian beliefs. They deserve attention because they help sell the faith to people who otherwise might not be interested. Understanding sin also helps people understand many of the other things that Christians talk about.
But since I’m going to be blogging about this…
I’d also like to hear thoughts about this from non-Christians. As a former Christian, I might not explain something fully enough because I know what it is. Sometimes an important question or thought gets overlooked; much of that is why I remained a Christian for so long in my life.