New Book Idea #1

Would you be willing to do this little experiment and then send it to me for the book Speaking of Jesus…?

Ask 10 people (ones who don’t yet have a friendship with Jesus) some variation of these two questions:

  • When you think of the religion of Christianity, what first comes to mind? And/or what would you say are the two or three main tenants of Christianity?
  • Second question is: (And you have to wait until they’ve answered the first question) What first comes to mind when you think of Jesus of Nazareth? What do you think were his main 2 or 3 teachings or beliefs? And then maybe you’d want to follow up and ask them about the disconnect between the two (if there was one).

Feel free to change these questions to something that makes more sense to you or the ones being questioned. And then post your results on my Fan page and/or comment here on my blog. I will assume that you will be giving me permission to use your name and the responses you post by the submission of your results on my Fan page or blog.

Let’s roll…


  1. Rachel says:

    This sounds awesome, and I’m excited to get started on this. I also just wanted to mention how I’ve been listening to your podcast, and how encouraging and inspiring it’s been to me.

  2. Susanne says:

    From a 30-something woman who grew up Muslim, but is now part of the Universal Unitarian Church.

    On Christianity:

    “The first thing that comes to my mind is Jesus. After that, beautiful churches and Virgin Mary. After that come the crusades and the Inquisition. I think the main tenants would be: belief in Jesus as God, belief in the Holy Spirit, and belief in spreading the Gospel.”

    She considers Jesus as her spiritual guide though she does not worship him as divine since she believes God is one and Jesus does not teach that he is God. She loves Jesus and tries to think “what would Jesus do” in order to do the right things each day.

  3. Susanne says:

    From a mid-20s Syrian Muslim from Damascus whom I talk to on Skype.


    Prior to meeting Susanne, I would say that Christianity is OK because I know Christians in Syria who are peaceful and we get along with them well. On the other hand, American Evangelicals were modern-day Crusaders whom we feared coming to power. (They are so hard on us!) Ann Coulter claims to be Christian yet she preaches hatred that would get a Muslim thrown into jail for hate speech. So American “Christianity” is different from what we see here in the Arab world. And different in a very bad way for us!

    Since meeting Susanne and some of her American friends who follow Jesus, I have a better view of evangelicals although I still don’t like them coming to political power. Look at Sarah Palin for instance. She claimed at one time that the Iraq War was a mission from God. And nearly all evangelical politicians as well as the non-evangelical types support Israel.

    As for Jesus, I have good thoughts of him from the Quran – a prophet of God who gave teachings to his disciples.

    Susanne assures me that many Christians do not follow the teachings of Jesus since he told his followers to love their enemies. Obviously most American “Christians” are not doing this … at least, I don’t see it much.

  4. Susanne says:

    Also from the UU lady mentioned above.

    What first comes to mind when you think of Jesus of Nazareth?


    What do you think were his main 2 or 3 teachings or beliefs?

    1. Tolerance
    2. Humility
    3. Love

  5. Susanne says:

    From a mid-20s Syrian Muslim currently working in the UK. Via e-mail.

    The first thing comes to my mind is: the Crusaders…
    The two main tenants in Christianity to me is: The bible, Trinity !

    The first thing that come in my mind about Jesus : That he is still living and i am waiting him !

    The teachings (I think): Love your enemy as your love your neighbour, and his right (Original Bible)…

  6. Cam says:

    I believe you mean to say ‘tenets’, not ‘tenants’.

    I’ll try to think of who I can ask the questions to…

  7. And I’m not looking for them to be Muslims. Just your regular friends….

    1. Susanne says:

      I’m sorry, Carl. I figured any friend would do, but most of those around me would consider themselves “friends of Jesus.” (I live in North Carolina where we have a lot of rather conservative churches and even though not in churches seem to consider themselves “Christian.”) I’m sure Muslims would consider themselves friends of Jesus to some extent, but I knew they wouldn’t think so highly of “Christianity.” I didn’t have any “regular friends” to ask. I guess I need to make more American friends in order to help you out with this book.

      1. Susanne says:

        “even though not in churches” — THOSE not though…sorry

  8. Ryan says:

    I asked the set of questions to a new friend I just met named Asaad. He is a Muslim and it has been great getting to know him and learn more about his faith.

    He gave me permission to share his answers publicly (save of course his last name and location).


    Ok.. So here I go.. Lets see if i can get this right.
    What comes to mind when I think of Christianity ( i am just gonna throwing out phrases that come to mind)

    Beautiful Churches, their belief that Jesus is the son of God, protestants and Catholics, the Pope, the confessions chamber, and the crusades.

    What I believe the major tenets of modern Christianity are
    1. Belief in Jesus as the son of God and that he died to save the people.
    2. Belief and following the old and new Testaments.
    3. Everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved.

    What first comes to mind when you think of Jesus of Nazareth?
    The first thing that comes to my mind when Jesus is mentioned is that Jesus was a divine messenger of the one God, one of the most important ones. He lived to guide people to the right path.

    He was born a virgin and was taken up body and soul to God.

    I believe his main teachings were to enjoin good and forbid evil and to live like he lived on this earth and follow his example. I also believe that he will return as the Messiah.

    The disconnect I feel is that he taught us to live by avoiding sin and also I think Jesus would have wanted his followers to enforce the laws of the old testament, I think that he never invalidated the laws of Moses and that they should still be practiced. Among his teaching I do not think he would have allowed a free pass just by believing in him and leading a sinful life.

    Hope that helps. If you want me to shorten or lengthen it or go into detail on some other area, feel free to ask me.


  9. Jon Fouch says:

    Ok. Here is what I got so far. let me know if you want this to be more in-depth.

    1. University student who has grown up in China, and is now living in Kazakhstan. She comes from a nominal Muslim family, but does not like to place herself in a category of Religion. When asked both questions, she first responded by saying she had no idea. She said she really did not know anything about Christianity and Jesus.

    Principles of Christianity:
    -Be kind to others
    -Have a clean heart

    Teachings of Jesus:
    -Be kind to others
    -Have a clean heart

    2. University student who grew up in China, and now lives in Kazakhstan. He has no religios background, but believes that God exists. (we have been talking about God, so I believe his answers might have been different a few months ago.)

    Principles of Christianity:
    -Believe in the Bible, God, Jesus, and Mary.
    -Do good things.

    Teachings of Jesus:
    -Love everyone.
    -Believe in me.

    3. University student who grew up in China, and now lives in Kazakhstan. His family is nominally Muslim, but he does not have any specific beliefs, except that God exists.

    Principles of Christianity:
    -Belief in 1 God.
    -Do good things.

    Teachings of Jesus:
    -Love everyone
    -Have a pure heart

    More on the way!!!!

  10. Susanne says:

    From Ahmad, mid-20s Palestinian

    about ideas the first things are :
    the “naive” and illogical beliefs (pleaaaaase forgive me for saying that)
    the hypocrisy

    the main tenants as i think are :
    the redemption and the original sin