In 1990, as a senior in high school, I had an atheist friend ask me: “What, precisely, is it that Christians believe?” I will call her “Amy”, because that was her name. Amy had been raised as an atheist by two atheist parents and had never really known much about Christianity. I had been raised Protestant by two Christian parents, I had gone to Church and Sunday School every Sunday my whole life, I had gone to Christian youth group (Young Life, mostly) for years, and countless Christian summer camps. I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of late 20th-century Christian theology.
By that time, I was basically an apostate myself, so Amy’s question left me with an interesting exercise: how to simply and truthfully explain the essential Christian theology without proselytizing? I had spent a lot of time at that point literally soul-searching and questioning the truth of the Christian message, but until I explained it to an atheist friend without trying to convert her, I’d never reflected on the complete absurdity of it. This is roughly how that sounded: Continue reading