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I've recently started doing bible study with a good friend (a devoted Christian). I started at first out of curiosity about what Christianity really is about. However, as the study went on (half way through Luke, beginning of Romans, and bits and pits elsewhere), I started having more and more questions despite some of my initial questions being answered.

A bit of background about myself: I grew up learning religion is often not a good thing. All my close family members are atheists or just in general don't care much about religion. I would consider myself an atheist, but my friend said I'm agnostic.

I knew very little about Christianity (Jesus and Heaven that's all...) before I started bible study. Now I know a little bit more but of course still very far away from the full picture. However, I'm already filled with so many questions that it's almost painful to go about with my daily life without having them answered. (My friend has done a great job in answering a lot of my questions such as what is trinity, what is heaven, how Jesus has paid for our sins, difference between faith and religion, etc. But even he doesn't have the answers to all my questions...)

In general, I've so far come to really enjoy reading the bible. I've come to really like Jesus as a person (living a life like Jesus's is very admirable in any era). Emotionally, I agree with a lot of what Jesus said. But I can't bring myself to really follow his teaching. There is a part of me that really wants to become a Christian, but I feel like I have no right to be one if I can't (not willing to) even follow what Jesus commands.

Jesus has said to love my enemies and give them all I have. I agree with this, emotionally. Vengeance will only lead to more harm. However, if you really follow this and do not stand up to the evil people who harm you, won't that just give them even more chance to take advantage of you? It's indeed noble that you will do what the evil people won't do (love the enemies). And I really wish I had the courage, determination, and faith to follow it. But as of now, I really cannot bring myself to it.

I've always been taught that one should never do another harm, but in the case of being harmed by another, one should strike back as hard as possible. While I've never really fully agreed with this view, I do take a similar stance: never harm, but if harmed, always seek for justice. Not that I believe this is the right thing to do, but simply the most practical thing to do. I'm really afraid to put myself fully in God and follow Jesus's teaching. I'm afraid others will take advantage of me. Perhaps, I'm just selfish.

Jesus also said not to judge others for only the God can judge us at the end of the time. How should I approach this saying? I agree that none of us is perfect, and very often we accuse others of faults without knowing the full picture. However, does that mean we should never judge others? What if a person commits crimes? Do we condemn him or do we withhold our judgment? What if this person had down great injustice to my family or myself?

I admire the way Jesus lived and wish I had the courage, determination, and faith to follow his teaching. I want to believe in God and I want to believe in Jesus. But as of now, I can't bring myself to. I wonder if my atheist view is simply too deeply rooted in me. Is Christianity really for me?

Any help/guidance is appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

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Yes Christianity is for you but it sounds like your seeking something closer to pastoral guidance. I recommend finding a church in your area or dedicating your life to the Lord in prayer. –  caseyr547 May 25 '13 at 10:23
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Remember that Jesus said: "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." And also, the anguished father who pled with him, "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief." If you have faith that Jesus can help you to repent and improve your life, that's a good starting point. You don't need a perfect faith in every point of doctrine right from the beginning; you've got the entire rest of your life to work on that. –  Mason Wheeler May 25 '13 at 12:00
    
If you have no intention of ever taking the risk of becoming "hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten, homeless, weary from the work [1Cor4]," then Christianity is not for you. –  pterandon May 25 '13 at 12:21
    
Currently, you don't belong to Christianity but only beginning to understand it. I hope, soon you will understand it and become a Christian. –  Mawia May 25 '13 at 13:42
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This is a variation of "Who is a Christian", which is specifically a forbidden question. Please see teh FAQ and About pages. It also might not be a bad idea to check out this meta post: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1379/… It's not that this is a bad question, it's that this is the WRONG site to ask it. –  David Stratton May 25 '13 at 15:41
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closed as not constructive by David Stratton, fredsbend, Ryan Frame, Jayarathina Madharasan, Affable Geek May 26 '13 at 12:07

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3 Answers

Christianity is for everyone.

Your question is more like a "Pastoral Advice" which is less welcomed here. However, let me try to sum up about Christianity, which I think, is what you need.

  1. God's perfect creation: God created man perfectly along with woman (see Genesis 1:27). Everything was fine. No death*, no suffering and no sin.
  2. The fall of man: Satan the deceiver came to the woman and deceived her to disobey God, the man also followed (see Genesis 3). This results in separation of God and man. Man belongs to Satan now. Man is now a sinner by nature and cannot change by himself.
  3. The redemption plan: Then God made a plan to redeem man and his inheritance from the slavery of Satan and sin. God selected a people called Israel and instituted them of the Laws of God and the requirements to purge sins from man. Animal blood was required to receive forgiveness of sins from God. (see Leviticus 4) Old Testament sacrificial laws are the shadows of the things to come, which is the New Testament.
  4. Jesus Christ paid the penalty: The redemption plan was completed successfully by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He paid the price for our sins by pouring out His own blood as a sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of sins. He died on the cross but was resurrected on the third day.
  5. Salvation through Jesus Christ: Now, by believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and by following his commands, God forgives our sins and we become the children of God. We no longer need to try to achieve holiness and perfection. We simply rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us. God no longer demands your perfection but your faith alone.

    John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If you are ready to believe this and receive Jesus Christ in your heart by prayer, you become a Christian! It's simpler than you think but it takes time, of course. It is also important to join any Christian congregation which will help you to grow in your faith.

May God bless you.

*Different Christian groups interpret this differently, some believing literally that nothing (including animals) died prior to the fall of mankind. Other groups say the death mentioned in Genesis was strictly a spritual death (separation of man from God). And there are a number of interpretations that fall somewhere between.

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Jesus Himself turned away people on several occasions (Luke 9:60, Mt 19:16-22; just about everything said to the Pharisees). It's not for everyone. –  pterandon May 25 '13 at 12:43
    
@pterandon Jesus tried to explain himself many times but they refused to believe. The curiosity of the Pharisees were incurable. Jesus rebuked them because of their disbelief. –  Mawia May 25 '13 at 12:48
    
@pterandon You are wrongly interpreting the verses you mentioned. Jesus did not ignore the Rich man. The rich man asked the right question and Jesus also gave the right answer but the man refused to believe. –  Mawia May 25 '13 at 12:55
    
@pterandon There is a huge difference in turning people away and not forcing them to follow you. Jesus laid out requirements, many people chose not to listen and left. –  2tim424 May 25 '13 at 18:32
    
Good answer. I added a small side note; I hope you don't object. –  Flimzy May 26 '13 at 4:37
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Romains 10:9 states it plainly:

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Following all of God's commandments is an important part of being a Christian. But the most important part is declaring Jesus is Lord in your life, and believing He was raised from the dead. Everything else is friut of the relationship with Christ.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Faith obivouly involves believing in God, but more than that it's required that you believe He will reward you for seeking Him. If you seek Him you will find Him.

When Jesus and the Old Testiment spoke about requirments for behaviour He did so knowing that following everything was impossible without Him. The whole point is that you cannot be good enough on your own. Jesus is the way, The Truth, and the Life. Everything you think is difficult to follow is actually impossible to follow on your own power. But when you come to Christ and make Him Lord of your life, He says. "My yolk is easy and my burden is light." It's stops being about what you can do in your own power and starts being all about Him and what you will let Him do in your own life.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

So it's not obeying Christs commands that makes you a christian, or gives you salvation. It's Proclaiming Jesus as Lord, Believing in the resurrection, and trusting in God to reward you for seeking Him. It's this that empowers you to follow Jesus commands. Everything else is a testament to what level you have surrendered to Christ.

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Others have already mentioned that this question requires a pastoral approach. But let me address questions. They all have answers, but only the mature in faith and love will understand the nuances of choices offered him or her in Christ in these situations.

"However, if you really follow this and do not stand up to the evil people who harm you, won't that just give them even more chance to take advantage of you." Unfortunately, the statement, 'the evil people who harm you' is vague, since evil comes in many forms and severity. However, this will be acted upon by different Christians in different circumstances. In some cases, the Christian will meet the evil head on with tough love, without doing evil themselves; it will be loving TO OTHERS to stop them from harming anyone else. In other cases, they will show love to the evil in order to show them the richness of the love of God, with tenderness and compassion for the evil person they have become; the Christian may make it a point of laborious prayer to save this evil person. Of course, my response to evil changed over time as I matured and trust the Lord more to take on the load Himself.

Your questions are good, but they lie in a gray area. As a Christian, we would act in faith in each circumstance as we believe the Spirit directs. You possibly had more knowledge about God than I did before I became a Christian; I simply believed Billy Graham's message that I was a sinner and God is willing to forgive. So don't hesitate to accept Christ because of unanswered questions, but accept Him because of Who He is.

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