Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly do Christians believe?
You can find a brief outline of Christian faith here.
Who was Jesus?
Historically, Jesus was a man who lived roughly from AD 0-30. He was considered a 'Rabbi' (teacher) although he had no formal training. He taught by telling stories. He was also reputed to be able to heal people. He was executed by the Roman soldiers of Pontius Pilate. That much is fact. Christians believe he was the Son of God, and that God raised him from the dead three days after his execution.
How come you don't believe in evolution?
Not all Christians believe exactly the same things. There are many different viewpoints within Christianity. Some believe that you must take every word of the Bible literally: for them the stories in the first few chapters of the Bible are literal descriptions of how God made the world. They therefore reject the theory of evolution. Others take the view that the stories in the early part of the Bible are 'myths' - that is they tell us a great deal about God and our world, but are not necessarily literal facts: many of these Christians do accept the theory of evolution as explaining the 'how' of creation, while believing the Bible tackles the all important question of 'why'.
How can you believe in God when there is so much wrong in the world?
God is love, and he wants very much for us to live lovingly with him and each other. But love is about allowing people to be themselves: that means God has to allow us to be ourselves. If we choose to create wars and famines, to allow some folk to starve while others die of obesity, to allow adults to abuse children and one group of people to mistreat another, God won't actually stop us. Like a parent of adult offspring, he stands by allowing us to make our own mistakes, and being there to pick up the pieces. Still, it makes him very, very sad.
Why didn't God answer my prayer?
He did. He just didn't do what you wanted him to. People don't always realise that 'No' is an answer too. God knows what is best for us and our loved ones far better than we do. That may sound very hard if you prayed that someone would get well and they didn't: but only God knows what they might have had to suffer otherwise. Some people might suggest that all you need is 'more faith' - but it doesn't work like that. God uses our prayers to give us what he believes is best for us. If your prayer didn't get the result you wanted, it isn't anything you did wrong.
Prayer isn't like putting money in a slot machine, press the button and get what you want: prayer is a meaningful relationship with the living God - exciting, energising and sometimes a little uncomfortable. I guess God might also ask us "Why didn't you do what I wanted?"
Does being a Christian mean giving up all the fun things in life?
Definitely not! Jesus said "I am come that they might have life and have it in all its abundance." Being a Christian as about enjoying life to the full, making the most of God's wonderful gifts to us. Not everyone agrees, of course, about what we call 'fun'. Some of the things people do for pleasure are unpleasantly destructive in the long term. Christians are encouraged to think of their bodies as a gift from God and to treat them with respect.
Do I have to go to Church? I can be a Christian at home, right?
That's a difficult one. Technically, it's possible to be a Christian alone. But from the very beginning Jesus was trying to build a community among his followers. He instructed them 'love one another as I have loved you'. Being a Christian includes being part of the Christian community, and that is most easily found at your local church.
Now, it can be very difficult to recognise the community of disciples of the risen Christ in your local congregation, and to find joyful celebration in their Sunday worship. Sadly, one of the legacies of our culture is that people wear their relationship with God on the inside; they don't make it obvious to others. Our culture unfortunately says 'nice people don't talk about religion': Nice Christians do talk about their faith.
How can you believe in miracles?
The first problem with that is the question of what a miracle is. Many things that make people marvel and wonder could be called miracles, but they are perfectly 'natural' events. On the other hand, there are still many things that our science hasn't yet found an explanation for: and as fast as we find answers, we find more questions too!
Miracles which now look as if they 'break' the laws of nature may well be working by laws we don't yet understand. God is able to use all the resources of nature and supernature to make his wonders known!
Do you have a question? Email RevdKathy with it. She will add it to our FAQ. We hope that you will soon be able to ask it on a bulletin board and get a response from many Christians. J