People come to Christianity for all different reasons, when you get right down to it. Sure, you could say they all came to it because “it’s the right religion”, but that would be woefully incomplete if not downright inaccurate. We’re human beings, not computers. We don’t know for certain what’s true and what’s false; all we can do is pretend to be certain, because such pretense can be a useful way to maintain a semblance of sanity and equilibrium.
We could also say there is more than one reason for choosing Christianity, and that would be a fair claim to make, but I submit that for most new Christians, there is a single fulcrum or deal-maker — one final, crucial reason that sets us down the road with Christ in earnest.
That reason may be “big” or little — “deep” or shallow. It may be a reason with moral or philosophical substance — or it may be as frivolous as “I like the funny hats on the priests.”
You may contend that there couldn’t possibly be any legitimate reason for becoming a Christian other than “Because Christianity is the truth.” If you do so contend, then I would enjoin you to ask yourself, “Self, are you sure? No, really, are you sure?”
I would also ask you to consider whether it would necessarily be a bad thing to become a Christian for less-than-pious reasons. Must we necessarily fully understand why the God we claim to believe in chose us to believe in him? Must we claim to know so much about the human psyche that we can without a doubt say that our subconscious motives really are as pure and correct as God himself?
I believe we all have many deep, dark, secret, personal reasons for calling ourselves Christians — some of which many of us would not like to admit to publicly.
Nor are we required to admit them. Some secrets are between us and God. That’s why for your affirmation and convenience I list below 13 examples of such divergent reasons. If any of them speak to you, you are not required to admit it. Just wink at God, and know that it is okay to be human.
But if you do feel completely safe publicly admitting some other reason or reasons why someone would choose the label of Christianity, feel free to append them in the comments.
All names below are fictitious.
Bob: I became a Christian because all my friends were doing it. I wanted to fit in. My family was doing it too, except they were a little more laid-back about it. They’d been doing it longer, so I suppose it was no big deal for them anymore.
Jim: I became a Christian because I didn’t want to fight anymore. All these evangelists everywhere I go. I didn’t want to have to tell them no anymore. I wanted to be able to look them in the eye and say, “Yes, I do know Jesus died for my sins. Thank you for your work.” I could just lie to them, but I hate lying.
Sally: Because I had a spiritual awakening in which Jesus appeared to me. A ghost, like. He told me I am to follow him. So I do, now.
Jake: I became a Christian because it provides me with answers to many of life’s questions. I was tired of wondering. Tired of vacillating between belief systems. I don’t even care if the answers are correct; I just wanted something to call the shots for me so I didn’t have to belabor the point anymore.
Annie: Because Jesus is the Way, simple as that. The Way and the Life. That’s all you need to know.
Mike: Because my old religion was B.S. My parents were devout believers in their religion, and they proved through their abuse, lies and hypocrisy that their religion sure didn’t do them (or the people around them, namely their children) any favors. I came to Christ and instantly was surrounded by people who don’t suck so bad.
Bill: What did it for me was that Jesus promotes kindness. Yeah, a lot of Christians aren’t so kind, but you can find jerks in every religion (or lack thereof.) The image of Christ in my mind is a constant reminder to be kind. It makes me a better person.
Nancy: My life just works better with Christ in it. I pay the rent on time, I’m more reliable. I don’t have to worry so much about how I’m going to make ends meet. Part of being a Christian is taking care of business. It helps me.
George: It just seemed the thing to do. Why not. Doesn’t really matter what religion you pick. If it works, go for it. That’s all I’ve got to say on the question.
Ike: I think Christianity has the most beautiful story. Dramatic, too. The bible has a lot of good tales. It’s the most engaging of all the religious stories.
Shirley: I just wanted to join civilization, finally. Yeah, it’s not perfect, Christianity. And the church is a complete mess, full of hypocrisy, but dammit, I just want to participate in this thing called humanity. It’s part of being human in a human world.
Suzy: It fills me with light. When I bathe in the blood of Christ (metaphorically speaking, I suppose), I feel cleansed. Guilt, shame, fear — these things stop being an iron weight around my neck and start being motivators. I feel well and full when I pray.
Frank: The churches are beautiful. I’m surrounded by beauty when I go to church. Nothing wrong with that. Makes me happy.
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