How to start explaining Christianity to a non-Christian?


#1

Have any of you ever been asked by a non-Christian (Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) about Christianity? I’ve been wondering lately if I’m ever asked about my faith by a non-Christian, what the best way would be to start explaining it to them so they would hopefully want to learn more. Does anyone have any experience doing this?


#2

[quote=Elzee]Have any of you ever been asked by a non-Christian (Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) about Christianity? I’ve been wondering lately if I’m ever asked about my faith by a non-Christian, what the best way would be to start explaining it to them so they would hopefully want to learn more. Does anyone have any experience doing this?
[/quote]

Have you ever read Mere Christianity?

Lewis starts by talking about our innate moral obligations and how we offend them, and then moves onto the concept of the Atonement as the solution to it. It’s interesting, and perhaps it merits looking at.

I’m sure the other posters here will have better ideas…


#3

Yes!

If a non christian ask you about your Christianity, then you have made the first step a success which is the hardest of all. For some reason they know you are religious, therefore you have shown them through your own character of what your religion is about.

With them seeking you out for information is or would be great. Now obivously they know you are Catholic or something else. So I would ask them what they know? And then what they want to know? Knowing this you can then share your faith, you might not know all the answers but this website is great resource to find those answers.

I would not overload them with too much information, even us Catholics have questions about our own faith, and thats good its just part of the walk.


#4

I lived in Japan for two years, and I was able to talk a lot about buddhism and other religions. The basics I learnt are don’t deny your faith, live your faith by example, and if anyone asks you questions, be honest. If you don’t know the answers, say so, but say you will get back to them. Paul, in Romans, said:
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Let’s be like Paul.


#5

[quote=Elzee]Have any of you ever been asked by a non-Christian (Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) about Christianity? I’ve been wondering lately if I’m ever asked about my faith by a non-Christian, what the best way would be to start explaining it to them so they would hopefully want to learn more. Does anyone have any experience doing this?
[/quote]

Here is an outline:

God created everything from nothing
God created Man to live in perfect harmony with Him.
Sin entered the world through Satan and Man fell from paradise - permanently scarred with the stain of sin. We all bear this scar, and it prevents us from perfect unity with God and results in death - both physical and spiritual. Even worse, we are incapable of restoring our relationship with God.
Enter Jesus Christ - God incarnate - who is capable and actually effected the restoration of our relationship with God. This is a freely given gift which must be recieved. Grace is the term used to describe this unmerited gift from God. Faith is the acceptance of this gift by living it. Christ left us a church to guide us in knowing how to live our faith so as to do Gods will. He also instituted help for us in our struggles during this life so that we may succeed. At the completion of our lives, we will be judged as having accepted God grace or having rejected it. If we are judged to have accepted it, we return for all eternity to our original paradise, which is Gods very presence. If we are judged as having rejected God’s grace we will be separated from Him forever and the longing in our hearts will never be filled for all eternity.
Do you have a longing in your heart that nothing of this world can fill? We all do! That is because our hearts were made to rest in God and we are restless until they do. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life we must follow Him to gain eternal life.

Phil


#6

I start out by saying that we are all seeking the truth, and that we must respect each other while on that journey. Then I find something that we have in common-Our Blessed Mother and angels. God is our Father, and why.


#7

You might also discuss the four levels of happiness, which are:

I. Materialistic Pleasures and Possessions
II. Egotistical Accomplishments
III. Intimate Relationships of Love with Other Human Creatures
IV. Intimate Relationship of Love with God

What this analysis shows is that only the love of an Infinite Being of Love could ultimately satisfy the longing of our hearts. In other words, attempting to make any of the first three levels a source of total fulfillment is fleeting. For example, trying to make physical pleasure the ultimate leads to the hell of addiction (for example, talk to any 12-step group for alcohol, drugs, sex, etc, and they will verify this).

Secondly, attempting to place accomplishments as the ultimate is equally futile, for even if we accomplished everything possible in this world, if we must come home to an empty house, with no friends or family, we would be lonely and miserable.

hence, it is ultimately love that we are looking for, love that is deep, intimate, intellectual and personal. Therefore, what we long for is the Heaven of Catholicism, the possession of the Infinite Love who is God as the primary happiness, the love of myriads of creatures (the saints and angels) as a secondary happiness.

:slight_smile:

scott


#8

I could also suggest to you an article on my blog about suffering here (you might choose to skip the first three big paragraphs). Really, I believe that the Catholic Church alone gives the most deep, meaningful, and beautiful answer to the problem of evil and suffering. In short, God has redeemed human suffering so that we, as Christians, can love and help others by offering up our sufferings through Christ. In this way, we are able to love God and the persons in our life in a much more profound way than if man had never sinned in the first place.


#9

Hello All,

When encountering people of Eastern faiths it is always good to familiarize yourself with their religion. Two good books about world religions and sects are:

Teach Yourself World Faiths by Paul Oliver
Strangers at Your Door by Albert Nevins

Also, it is important to know your own Faith too:

Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth
Exploring the Catholic Church by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
What Catholics Really Believe by Karl Keating

You should know good Evangelization Methods:

The Everyday Apostle by Edward Garesche
12 Painless Ways to Evangelize by Karl Keating
Winning Converts Edited by John O’Brien

Lastly, you should know good Christian Apologetics:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Beginning Apologetics 1 by Jim Burnham and Frank Chacon
Moonie Buddhist Catholic by Thomas Case

I hope this helps! :bounce:


#10

I hope you don’t mind me sharing this but I came across this web site when I was doing a web search for Albert Nevins, who is my Great Uncle.
He used to visit my family’s house for holiday dinners when he was living in Indiana. I believe the town was Huntington.
I knew he was a bit famous but I am suprised to see him quoted and to have his book recommended.
He gave me some of his books when I was a kid.
The last time I met him was shortly before he died. He was living in Tampa at the time.
Anyway, sorry to interrupt.


#11

Sometimes the best way to answer questions, is to start out by asking a few questions yourself:

“Sure I can tell you about Christianity; why do you ask?”
“What do you know about Christianity?”
“What do you know about Jesus?”
“What do you know about Catholicism?”

In this vein, you can accomplish several things. You can avoid telling them things they already know or are not interested in.

You can learn something of their perceptions and misperceptions and so remove some potential barriers better answer their questions.

It will provide some focus for your discussion that is personalized to the person you are talking to to avoid giving canned or generic answers.

After this, you can follow up with appropriate recommendations for further reading and information, and offer to answer any future questions. Always be prepared, however, to share your testimony: How following the Lord makes a difference in your own life. For some inquirers, this may be the most important thing of all.


#12

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