Friday, September 29, 2006

Sharing Faith

I sometimes wonder about how to go about sharing my faith. I mean, there are a lot of non-Christians here (as there are anywhere), but they are all nice, warm-hearted, and kind people that I genuinely care about. I want to share my faith with them (I suppose you could say I want to "witness," although I have an unexplained dislike for that word), but I want to be effective with it. Often times I think evangelicals can be too forceful with their faith, and therefore might ostracize, rather than attract, non-Christians to the church.

But how does one go about attracting people to the church? A few posts ago, in "Bad Few Days," I talked about how I sometimes thought it was unfair that God allowed me to be gay, because that has made it harder for me to be a good Christian and have a normal, happy life. I still haven't gotten over those feelings, but I have thought about how unfair life is for other people. I mean, at least I was raised in a stable, loving, Christian home. I had absolutely wonderful parents and siblings, and I was taught about the importance of Christ from a very early age. In short, I feel like I've been given Grade-A tools, yet my peers--many of whom weren't raised in Christian homes--were given sticks and stones, and yet we're supposed to build the same house.

Okay, that's a bad analogy, but it's still how I feel. How does one talk about God to someone who doesn't have the same background? This might sound bad, but the only reason I'm a Christian is because I was raised in a Christian home. Had I not been, why would I be attracted to the church? I, like many other gay men, would probably see Christians as a bunch of hate-filled hypocrites. Let's face it, our PR isn't that good sometimes, people.

There are many different levels of non-Christians at the school, of course. One, there are people who were born and raised into other faiths. They probably know as much about Christianity as I know about their faiths (and I don't know much), so how are Christians supposed to witness to them? If a Hindu or a Muslim started witnessing to me, I wouldn't budge an inch from my faith. Why would it be any different if I witnessed to a Hindu or Muslim?

Then there are atheists and agnostics. They at least acknowledge that they have thought about philosophy and the spiritual realm, but have decided that either A: There's nothing out there, or B: That whatever is out there, it doesn't need to be known or named. Based solely on observing the ones I've met, I think the main reason they don't like organized religion is that they feel they'd be having to give up their individuality if they worshipped a Creator. I can relate, but I wish I knew how I could express that relation.

Then there are those that are merely apathetic, who don't think about religion at all, though they may have been raised in a church of some sort.

Okay, I'm rambling. I guess what this is a post on is...shall I say "spiritual fairness?" It just doesn't seem fair to me, that I have been given all these "tools"--a Christian home, a church family, an endless parade of Sunday school teachers, Christian peers, etc.--which in turn helped me explore my own faith deeper and reach a personal relationship with Christ. And yet people who haven't been given the same tools--people who weren't raised in a Christian home or even a Christian country--are going to be judged on the same criteria as me. It doesn't seem right that an old Buddhist lady on a mountain in Tibet is not going to find salvation, when it wasn't her fault that she was never exposed to it.

I guess I could say that I'm toying around with a little Universalism (not Unitarian Universalism, mind you). I suppose it's the same paradox that C.S. Lewis once wrote about--to a certain effect, how do you reconcile having a standard of judgment, in which some people will go to Hell and others will go to Heaven, while at the same time realizing that the number of people throughout history who have heard the Gospel is a rather small number comparatively, and many of these people simply do not seem deserving of eternal separation from all that is good.

Until then, I'll simply let my opinions be known whenever I can. Hopefully I'll go about it tactfully. It's funny, who would've thought that the floor's candid gay guy and the floor's evangelical Christian would be the same guy?

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