Why does this blog exist?
I'm a Christian. I'm also a geek, and outside church almost all my friends are geeks. I write computer games for a living, so unsurprisingly my colleagues are geeks. And a great many of those geeks believe that an ancient book like the Bible doesn't have any relevance to their lives, or to the geeky stuff they're interested in. That's not a viewpoint unique to geeks, but perhaps it's not surprising that a group of people excited by awesome stuff like new science and tech, or the grand vistas of space exploration and sci-fi, often feel that to be a Christian is to look backwards, but to be a geek is to look forwards, or possibly sideways. I'm generalizing, but there seems to be a trend.
But the Bible is God's living word to us. It tells us everything we need to know to live in his world and have a relationship with him that will last forever. It's always relevant. And here I make that case for geeks in particular. This is why my first post was Why Christians are surprisingly like Cthulhu, it's a manifesto for the whole enterprise. If I can get to the gospel from Cthulhu of all things, an octopus-faced unkillable alien monstrostity, then I can get to the gospel from anywhere.
So here I bring the Bible to bear on various geeky things, and occasionally look at Christian things in a geeky way. Jesus is relevant to geeks. Come and see.
What exactly do you believe?
I'm a Christian. I believe that as a species we've turned away from God and rejected him. But I also believe that Jesus Christ died in my place, taking the punishment for my rebellion, and rose from the dead. This means that not only am I no longer under God's judgement, but I have eternal life in his perfect new creation to look forward to. If you turn and trust in him, the same will be true for you.
That's a simple statement of the absolute core of Christianity. If you want a bit more detail, here's a more wide-ranging summary. If you check out any Christian organization, they'll generally call this their "Statement of Faith". It's like a creed with bullet points.
- There is one eternal God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, that messes with your head a bit, but we shouldn't be surprised if our tiny brains struggle to fully comprehend the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe.
- The Bible is God's divinely-inspired Word. It was written by people, but God ended up with the Bible he wanted — after all, why wouldn't he? The Bible is therefore infallible, and is given to us as our final authority on all matters of faith and living.
- Human beings are made in God's image. We were made for a relationship with him, to love, serve, worship, and enjoy him. He made the earth, and made us stewards over it — it's still his, but he made us rulers of it under him.
- However, we humans universally reject God. We go our own way, we turn to evil. God's perfect, and just, and he's not going to pretend that evil doesn't matter (hooray!), and so we deservedly end up under his wrath and judgement (oh...).
- But there's good news. God has a rescue plan. Jesus (God the Son) came to earth and died as a substitute — he voluntarily took God's judgement upon himself, so that we can be set free from punishment, and be right before God (hooray again!)
- This is the only way for us to be right with God — we can't earn it, he gives it to us through Jesus. God treating us better than we deserve is what Christians call "grace". It's only through trusting in Jesus' death and resurrection that we can be saved and have a sure hope of eternal life.
- God the Holy Spirit dwells within all Christians. He's at work in us, changing us day by day to be more and more like Jesus. Christians are never alone :)
- Jesus will return one day. This will mean the end of the universe as we currently know it, but there will be a new, perfect creation in its place. It's there that Christians will live forever with God. I'm super-excited about this.
I'm not a Christian, but I'd like to know more about it. What should I do?
Awesome! I have two suggestions. First, start reading the Bible. You can find it online (try BibleGateway). I'd suggest starting with one of the four gospels — accounts of Jesus' life. Ask God to reveal himself to you as you go. You might feel a bit odd doing that if you're not sure he's there, but if he isn't it's not like you've lost anything.
Second, get to know some Christians in the flesh. Some people who take the Bible seriously with whom you can discuss what you're reading, who are convinced that Jesus' death on the cross is the only way to be put right with God and are delighted that you want to talk about it. If you're really struggling to find any, hit me up on Twitter and let me know where you are in the world, and I'll see if I can rustle up some contacts for you.
Why doesn't your blog have a comments section?
I thought long and hard about this, and in the end I decided the benefits don't outweight the problems. One faff faced by all blogs with comments is that they need to be moderated. Spammers try to clog your comments up with adverts, and eventually someone somewhere will decide to post something abusive, and so in order to support comments responsibly I'd need to spend time running through all the new posts, which is not a time sink I'm particularly keen on.
The other reason is that I'm not convinced that comments are actually a good way to have a conversation, especially on a topic like religion. Comments give the illusion of dialogue, but the back and forth often happens with gaps of hours or days, and really they're a series of monologues aimed at each other, often with increasing degrees of entrenchment. Plus they're in text, which is easier to misinterpret than a face to face conversation. I've seen enough forum and comment threads (including my own) degenerate, because something's been misunderstood or because people are talking past each other, to conclude that while the Internet is a great way to share articles and blog posts, it's a lousy way to have a deep conversation about them. That's why above I've suggested that anyone who's interested in discussing Christianity does so in meatspace.
Why does your avatar include a plush Cthulhu?
Because Christians are surprisingly like Cthulhu (see above)!