I recently read a comment online from someone asking if being a Christian sucked. The various comments in the comment section were of Christians telling this person how being a Christian did not suck and why they felt that way. The original poster never actually explained in the comment section why he even had a suspicion that being a Christian might suck. The whole thread were Christians giving their answers. Still, that question on that Facebook thread stuck in my mind.
I have said in another article that some people reject Christianity out of moral and emotional reasons rather than purely intellectual reasons. For a lot of people, their denial of Christianity is that they have a cosmic authority problem. They don’t want Christianity to be true because then they’d have a God who would impose His moral standards upon them, expect them to make an effort to live up to those standards, and would hold them accountable if they didn’t. Therefore, they try very hard to talk them out of the overwhelming evidence for His existence (see here, here, here, here, here, and especially here for a look at that evidence). They “suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18) even though God’s existence can be seen from what He has made (Romans 1:20).
However, I don’t think we can narrow the non-intellectual reasons for rejecting God to just “Oh, they want to cling to their sin” (e.g pornography, homosexuality, drinking, smoking, pre-marital sex etc.). There are probably some non-moral emotional reasons as well. However, rather than merely make a list of these non-moral emotional reasons people don’t want Christianity to be true, I’d like to say why I find being a Christian to be awesome. It doesn’t suck at all. In fact, it’s pretty awesome!
I Have A Friend In Jesus
God has always been the closest friend I’ve ever had. I prayed to Him all the time for the first few years. I had a spiritual dry spell where I didn’t pray as much as I used to, but that’s gotten better and it continues to get better. Whenever I need something, I bring my request to God. As The Bible says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) and “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). If I want or need God to do something for me, I ask Him. Sometimes His answer is yes, sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s wait. If the answer is yes, I praise Him and give Him thanks.
But prayer is more than just asking God to do things for you and then thanking them if He does them. Prayer can sometimes just be talking to God. Often times I talk to God just I would another person in the room. I can remember countless times where I have unloaded on Him when I was having a very bad day, or if I was worried about something. I even remember fondly reminiscing about the past with Him. I once talked to him for 15 minutes about how I was never able to play a Legend Of Zelda game all the way through. He’s been my shoulder to cry on and someone to laugh with. He’s kept my heart from falling to pieces in the roughest of times, and He’s filled with joy during the best of times.
A relationship with God is the best thing I’ve ever had, and I regret not coming to Him sooner. It is no mystery to me why the apostle Paul wrote “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). Compared to knowing Christ, everything else is garbage by comparison!
I Have Hope Beyond This Life
No matter how life gets, I will always believe my best days are ahead of me. Jesus Christ has promised that anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16), and that even though he will die physically, he will live eternally, first as a disembodied soul and then as a resurrected soul/body composite (see 2 Corinthians 5:8, cf. John 11:25-26). “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). When I die, I will go to an intermediate state called Paradise (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 5:8, Revelation 20:4) where there will be no suffering, fear, or sorrow. Then at some point, Christ will return to this world and resurrect us (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), and once He’s done that, He will get rid of this universe and replace it with another one; one where there won’t be any more death, sorrow, crying, or pain, and the children of God will live in imperishable resurrection bodies for all eternity (Revelation 21:1-4, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:42).
Aside from having an eternity of overwhelming bliss and happiness that I can’t even currently fathom, I know that I will see my loved ones again some day. I will see my grandparents again, and I will see my parents again too. I will see friends who have died again some day. Death is not the end. It’s akin to the end of volume 1 of an infinitely long series of novels. At funerals, I mourn, but not as one without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). I weep because I know I’ll miss them, and if I lived to be an old man, it will be a long time until I get to see them again. Just as people would cry when their loved ones went on long voyages, so we cry when Christian family members and friends die. We know that we’ll see them again some day, but we weep that it will be some time before we can be in their presence again. In truth, no Christian weeps for the dead at a funeral, they weep for themselves. Their weeping is a selfish weeping. They desire their loved one to stay here in this fallen world because they enjoy their presence. As my friend Neil Mammen put it, “Do not weep for the dead if they know God”
and as Demon Hunter’s lead singer Ryan Clark put it in his song “Save sorrow for the souls in doubt”
. What they both mean is that whenever we weep for the dead person himself, it should be because he died not knowing Christ, and has ended up in Hell (John 3:18, John 3:36).
Does it suck to be a Christian? It doesn’t suck to know that my best days are ahead of me. It doesn’t suck to know that I will see my friends and loved ones again some day. It doesn’t suck to know that the physical demise of my body is not the end of me.
But Aren’t You Not Allowed To Have Fun?
In his classic work Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis told of a story about a schoolboy who was asked what he thought God was like. The child said that he thought God was “The sort of person who is always snooping round to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.” Unfortunately, I think a lot of people have this same conception of God. God is the cosmic buzzkill, the strict Father who says “Do this” or “Don’t do this or there will be consequences” and the result is a life without fun. Well, God certainly has moral laws in place; things He commands us to do and things He commands us to refrain from doing, but I don’t see how this turns God into a cosmic buzzkill.
I suppose it depends on your idea of a good time is. Do you find watching pornography fun? God doesn’t want you doing that. Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Is your idea of fun having sex with your girlfriend? God tells us not to do that. The Bible says “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4). and “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9) Is your idea of a good time going down to a bar and getting drunk? The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” Galatians 5:19-21 mentions drunkenness as one of the “works of the flesh”.
However, it is false that God is anti-fun. God is anti-sin, not anti-fun. There are plenty of ways to have a good time without sinning. You can attend a concert, play sports, watch sports on TV, play video games, board games, biking, watch movies (as long as the film is wholesome, no nudity, bad language, or excessive violence). You can even throw or attend parties.
Contrary to what you might have told, partying is not intrinsically sinful. However, parties are typically associated with sinful things like drinking, drugs, alcohol, etc. so parties have been bashed by many Christians on account of it. However, these good intentioned brothers are committing the guilt-by-association fallacy. What if I threw a party and there weren’t any of the aforementioned things? What if I threw a party and there were no strippers, no alcohol, no drugs. Just a bunch of friends getting together and having a good time. There could be music and dancing (almost all of TobyMac’s songs are songs you can dance to), games, etc. However, I suppose for the nonbeliever who loves sinful activities like drinking and watching naked women dance, that would be a rather lame party.
Here lies a big difference. The Christian and the Non-Christian have totally different oriented wills. The Christian is oriented towards God’s will and the non-Christian is oriented towards self will. He is his own god. When you come to Christ and are “born again” (John 3:3) and become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:12). You then no longer desire sinful things, but things God wants. “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5), and the Spirit being talked about here is The Holy Spirit. When you become born again, you have a totally different mindset. You will no longer have a desire to sin, but a desire to please God as Romans 8:5 says. When you receive Christ, you will fall madly in love with Him, and because you love Him, you will desire to do what He says. Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:2) and He said “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23).
By falling in love with God, you will desire to do what pleases God, and when you screw up morally, it will grieve you. You’ll try your best not to sin. You will, therefore, also find alternative ways of having a good time.
People party and drink and sleep around and think we are idiots for not having “fun”. And then years later if they haven’t killed themselves with disease or intoxicants they wonder why they are so unhappy and empty. I think being a Christian is the only lifestyle that doesn’t suck. Look to Lot’s wife and what you are actually missing out on is nothing.
The Problem Of Man-Made Sins
I think the conception of God being anti-fun in the above subheader is fed further by what I call “man-made sins”. Now, what are man-made sins? Man-Made Sins are things that some Christians have deemed “sin” but there’s no scriptural or logical support for making that statement. I can give you a long list of things I’ve seen called sinful, but can’t find any reason biblically or logically to think so; Pokemon, Dungeons and Dragons, Watching Dr. Who, Christmas (and things associated with it like Christmas Trees, Candy Canes, etc.), Monster Energy drinks, rock and metal music (even if it’s Christian Rock, like Skillet). When you hear their arguments for why they think these things are evil, the logic turns out to be so laughably illogical that one wonders how anyone with a brain could have come up with them.
Some people have grown up in ridiculously strict Christian homes where the children were forbidden from doing things that aren’t sinful. It’s one thing to say we shouldn’t watch porn, have sex before marriage, engage in homosexual relations, get drunk, or do drugs. It’s quite another to say that you’re sinning for listening to a song that employs a certain specific set of musical instruments, or for playing Super Mario Brothers or Pokemon games.
The unfortunate result of all these unnecessary dos and don’ts resulted in the kids resenting their Christian upbringing by the time they were adults, rejecting Christ, and doing the non-sinful things their parents prohibited them from doing in addition to actual the sinful things banned in The Bible.
Back in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees would make up rules out of thin air and burden the Jewish people with them. For example, carrying your mat on the Sabbath was considered breaking the Sabbath (see John 5:2-10), and even picking a little grain to snack on was considered working on the Sabbath (see Mark 2:23-27). However, The Old Testament scriptures forbade neither. That’s why Jesus a.k.a “God Incarnate” (John 1:1-3, 14) took no issue in either circumstance. The Pharisees had added to God’s Word and were saying certain things were sinful when they really weren’t. Sadly, many Christians, both in the clergy and the laypeople, are doing the same thing in modern times.
Being a Christian is awesome! Jesus is the greatest friend I ever have, and I share Paul’s sentiments that everything else compared to it is garbage. Moreover, my best days are ahead of me. I’m Heaven-Bound. Not only will I see an eternity of uninterrupted happiness, but I’ll be reunited with my loved ones who died before me. And no, my life isn’t devoid of fun. I don’t consider displeasing my Lord to be fun. I love Him and want to do what pleases Him. If you give your life to Christ, you will become the same way. Your desires will change. You won’t consider sinful activities “fun” anymore. You’ll consider them a barrier from the fulfilling relationship with God, and you’ll try to rid them from your life gladly, not begrudgingly.
Also, make sure that you’ve been told is a sin, is actually a sin. There have been many things put on the list of sins by Christians without warrant. Make sure what you’ve been told has the biblical backing behind it. It may be, in some cases, that you don’t have to stop doing something.