There are some misconceptions out there about Christianity and those who identify as Christians, and fairly often judgements about them are made; so let’s clear a few things up.
My dad plays bass in a band, surfs, drinks beer and occasionally DJs. He is also a vicar, which not everyone expects given the activities he likes to do when he’s not in his place of work.
I’ve often encountered judgements about me as a Christian which aren’t entirely true, and are often derived from a lack of information about practising Christians. Here are a few of them:
1) The Christian life is full of rules, regulations and restrictions. This means we can’t and don’t have fun.
This isn’t necessarily true. God is not a petty policeman who punishes you for every mistake you make. I personally believe in a God of love who wants us to live in relationship with him. Jesus taught that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbours. Because of this, many Christians feel that they are changed on the inside, not controlled from the outside; because other instructions in the Bible are rooted in these instructions to love.
2) Where is the proof? Christians reject science.
Many of my Christian friends are scientists, and they’ve been faced with tough questions about why they believe in something without proof, going against theories such as the Big Bang and evolution. It could seem strange and illogical to put your faith in something you can’t see or prove. Although there are many Christians who do believe in the 6 day creation, also many believe that there is a place for scientific theories within God’s creation. So views on science can vary, not all Christians have the exact same view!
3) Christians are judgemental.
In many ways this is true. Christians can be judgemental, but the same can be said for non-Christians. Aren’t we all judgemental sometimes? Even if it’s just a little bit. The Bible says that we have no right to judge others. You might have seen us on a Friday night outside Jesters and Sobar, giving out biscuits and hot drinks. We do that, not to laugh at the drunk people we talk to, (although people do say some funny things. Someone asked us if the biscuit we gave him would turn him into Jesus – it didn’t, in case that needed confirming). Instead we are there for people, to show them love rather than judgement in their times of need.
4) Christians are narrow-minded.
This is another thing from which neither Christians nor non-Christians are innocent. No matter what your beliefs are, it’s so important to be open to exploring what other people believe so that you can make your own decision about your beliefs, not just blindly following what your parents taught you. Many Christians believe that God is revealed in many ways, and because of this, Christianity requires open-mindedness.
5) Christians don’t drink.
It’s true that some Christians choose not to drink, but this isn’t the case for all Christians; it’s a personal choice. Of course, self-control is important as getting drunk can be damaging, but Jesus himself turned water into wine- if that isn’t a licence to have a party I don’t know what is! Jesters is wonderful; we don’t hate Portswood’s palace of dreams.
My life has been very different since I became a Christian, but I’ve never felt that that change has been restrictive. Being a Christian doesn’t put you under an oppressive list of rules; and encourages you to look at the world differently.