Christianity for People Who Aren't Christians, Part 1

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Doubt and Faith

I hope you begin this reading plan with a healthy amount of doubt. It’s the best way to explore anything. Give yourself permission to ask questions whose answers you are not sure of. Perhaps this allows you to breathe a healthy sigh of relief. There is something comforting—even reassuring—about such freedom. I have learned that questions, by themselves, are not wrong. Neither is good, solid, healthy doubt, which can be the fuel that energizes any faith when seeking understanding.

It was many years before I settled the matter for my own life, so I know what it’s like to approach the Christian faith (or any faith, for that matter) with a healthy dose of skepticism, curiosity, willful disobedience, and, for my part, ignorance. Our time together is a look at the Christian faith for people who may not be Christians, written by someone who understands not being one. As such, I will try to accomplish two things: first, to explain the Christian faith in a way that doesn’t assume you have a foundational knowledge or understanding of it. 

Second, I’d like to try to answer some of the more common questions people standing outside of the Christian faith are quite reasonable to ask, based on what they do know or understand about it. And I think you’ll find these answers are uncommon—meaning they may not be the answers you’d expect based on caricatures or ideas you’ve already formed about Christians. If you consider yourself a Christian, I’ve got a feeling you’ll enjoy this conversation, too, as there may be certain aspects of the Christian faith you never fully understood or questions that remain unanswered. 

I have invited a partner to join us. His name is C. S. Lewis. I introduce him because his writing and thinking were very helpful to me when I first explored the Christian faith. He also understands what it’s like to be an atheist well into his adult life. The intellectual questions that plagued him during his spiritual journey—why a loving God allows pain and suffering and how Christianity can be the one and only way to God—became the very questions he later navigated with such skill. They were my questions too and some we will talk about as the days unfold. 

At times, do you find yourself shifting between a place of doubt and a place of belief? That is part of the human experience. Let’s pursue your questions without fear, insecurity, or retribution.