Why don't we tell the Good News?


In 1999, I started making a number of webpages with texts about my viewpoints on religion. I had as a hobby creating webpages (in a normal editor, writing html-codes by hand); many of these webpages were about chess variants (and can now be found in the chessvariants.com website), but also on other things.

I feel myself privileged to have worked (and still work) at one of the first places in the world with internet access. As PhD student at the Department of Computer Science of Utrecht University, I could write emails in the early 1980s, and create and publish webpages in the midst of the 1990s. The internet was starting and the world was different: we were allowed, and even encouraged to place (even lots of) personal items on university webspace. E.g., at some point, the head of the computer systems group came to me and said: "Hans, many people search for the rules of chess, but such rules are hard to find on the internet: why don't you make a webpage for it?" (A modified version of the result of that still can be found here). I had as a hobby making webpages (often about chess variants, but also on other things), and then made a number of webpages on something very important to me: my religion. Around that time, there was much debate about evolution versus creation, and I had (and still have) specific opinions about this question, so made webpages about those.

But, in the past twenty years, both the world and I have changed. Not everything that seemed important in 2022 is as important now. Questions I had then received answers, and answers I had then sometimes received new questions. I agree with many things I wrote, but within the context of the world of 2022, some things I would now phrase differently.

In particular, for the first text I wrote, which you can read below, both the world and I have changed. Allow me to explain how.

Universal reconcilliation

What happens with people that do not believe in God in the afterlife? The classic dogma (which, as you can read below, I somewhat hesitantly believed in in 1999) is that they would go to a place of unending suffering (hell). Some Christians believe in universal reconcilliation: Jesus offer is so strong that it provides salvation for everyone; God has a positive plan for everyone.

I cannot believe in the classic dogma anymore - this gives too large paradoxes, and would contradict a fair and loving God. What does the Bible say - that then comes to how different passages should be interpreted.

There is a lot else what can be said about this. Would it be benificial to believe in Christ if all unbelievers are also saved? Apart from the question if this is a good question, the answer appears to be "yes": in this life, you receive Gods love, help, and guidance; and there appears to be some kind of reward in the afterlife for those who follow Jesus. (And then, following is not necessarily the same as believing?)

Why don't we tell the Good News?

In 1999, I wrote a text with the title Why do we keep our mouths shut? In 2022, large groups of Christians give very noticable expressions to their opinions and viewpoints. But, I must say that I find the way large groups of Christians do this very disappointing. What I usually read are opinions, viewpoints, moral issues that are brought up, polical ideas. What usually is missing is the key point: the Gospel, the Good News.

So, the question is: while "we" do no longer keep our mouths shut, do we tell the right things? The Bible does not ask us to convince others (and in particular, those not of our own religion) of our political or moral ideas (regardless how correct or incorrect they are) or tell others that their way of life is sinful (even if it is, but we aren't even allowed to make such judgements (Luke 6:37)).

What we should do is tell people about God, about his love for us, Jesus offer for us. Why aren't we telling that? How can we sing on Sunday that God is a great God, and on Monday, tell others only that they are wrong, but not tell to them that God is great?

When Christians think that non-Christians behave in a non-Christian way, then these Christians should not tell the non-Christians to behave differently, but they should tell them about Christ.

An apology

I am sorry, that, we Christians, make it often so hard for others to believe in God. We, and that includes me, are too often not a mirror through which people can see Gods love for this world and the people living in it. If you are reading this, and do not believe in God, allow me to tell you: He is there, and He loves you. And, please don't let what you see and hear from and about Christians convince you otherwise.

(To get to know God, you can start talking to Him: he hears you. And/or, you can read the Bible; I suggest a translation in simple language, and start with the book John.)

If you want to react, you can email me at h.l.bodlaender@uu.nl.

The following I wrote in 1999:

Why do we keep our mouths shut?

Here is a question, I pose to myself, and to many other Christians: why do we keep our mouths shut?

Let me explain the question: as Christians, we belief, and we know, that knowing Jesus Christ is a great blessing and the most important thing in our lives. Yet, when it comes to talk about this to friends, collegues, and relatives, we instead talk about many other things: sports, the weather, chess, politics, etc.

There is one choice in life everyone must make which is the most important - are you going to live your life with, or without God.

I belief and have experienced that living a life with God is good. At times when things are difficult in your life, you can experience Gods support, and your faith can help you better through those times. Also, the rules and guidelines from the Bible can help you to have a life of a better quality, and Gods guidance helps to make decisions better. The fact that God loves you personally is a wonderfull source of inspiration.

In addition, the Bible learns about what happens to us after we have died. With Jesus, we go to heaven after we died. People without God will go after their death to a place where he is not present, and that place (hell) is, mildly stated, a place to avoid at all cost. To tell the truth, this is not my favorite Bible fact. I still hope that this interpretation of the Bible proves to be wrong, and that God is so mercifull that also non-believers will enter heaven - but it seems that the Bible learns us otherwise.

Given these things, the question pops up: why do so little Christians tell non-Christians about this. And, the question I have to ask myself: why do I not tell my friends, collegues, and relatives about this. I found three possible answers to the question.

Correct me, when I am wrong. Are Christians that do not tell others about their faith like people that know their is a bomb ready to explode in our neighbors house, but do not warn him when he walks up his garden-path, fearing that he won't belief us?

To tell you the truth, I am still too afraid to talk to many of the people I know about Christ. These webpages are an attempt to do at least something - to talk about these most important facts of life here on the World Wide Web. About three years ago, after a revival of my faith, I had put my creed on a webpage. Now, I hope to write more about the Christian faith on my webpages - this text here was the first I wrote.


If you want to react, you can write me by email: h.l.bodlaender@uu.nl. If you do not get an answer, a possibility is that the mail-system of my Department has automatically discarded your email: this then is probably because your provider has not a strong policy against `unsolicited commercial email' (better known as: spam).

Hans Bodlaender, January 14, 1999

Hans Bodlaender - h.l.bodlaender@uu.nl