"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever," we read in a beautifully encouraging quote from Isaiah 40:8.
Christianity may be the most popular and prolific religion in the world, but there are a few misconceptions held by non-Christians which have, unfortunately, been quite damaging to how they view Christians and their choice to believe in Jesus. Let's take a look at what these misconceptions are so that, if we ever come face-to-face with them, we can arm ourselves with the necessary knowledge to correct them with courage and with grace. Three of the most common misconceptions that non-Christians have about Christianity are:
1) The Jesus Myth
One of the most common ways that people attempt to discredit Christianity is by saying that the "Jesus myth" -- the story of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection -- is nothing more than a rehashing of the myths of popular pagan figures such as the Egyptian god Horus, the Hindu god Krishna, and the Zoroastrian figure Mithra. The claim is that these figures were also born to virgins in a barn on December 25th, and that they also died and were resurrected. However, even a cursory glance at the mythology surrounding Horus, Krishna, and Mithra reveals that these supposed similarities don't actually exist.
2) The Historical Jesus Debate
Another common misconception among non-Christians is that there is absolutely no evidence for a historical Jesus. The truth, however, is that the majority of Church historians, secular historians, and Biblical scholars do have compelling evidence that Christianity was started by a real, historical figure. The first line of evidence is provided by both canonical and non-canonical gospels. Though these texts may have a religious message, there is no reason to suppose that their historical information is a lie. Secondly, Jesus is also mentioned in the works of a Jewish historian and several Roman writers of the day.
3) Editing of the Bible
Many non-Christians contend that the Bible has been heavily edited over the years, and that certain teachings were added or removed. This would be a damaging accusation, as even the Bible itself contends that it is the unchanged word of God. "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever," we read in a beautifully encouraging quote from Isaiah 40:8. The truth is that the only "editing" that has been done to the Bible is in deciding which books should be canon and which should not. Many early Biblical texts have survived, and scholars have noticed no significant alterations between them and the copies available to today's Christians.
If you ever encounter any of the three misconceptions above, you should strive to correct the other person in a calm and thoughtful matter. Getting angry and defensive will not do anything to help your message. If the other person is only interested in attacking Christianity at any cost, then simply excuse yourself and walk away. You don't need to bother with those who are convinced they know your faith better than you. If, however, the other person is willing to have a constructive conversation, then you could likely both gain something from one another's viewpoints.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.