Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 6 110 Meanwhile, interactions and conversations with religious others also helped the teachers think about their own faith, confirm their own beliefs, or slightly change their beliefs, as in Adam’s case: “But there are positive things in [the other people’s views].…Knowledge about that can make you more lenient. On the other hand, it confirms what I stand for even more.” Third, some teachers wanted to openly portray the Christian way of life, tell others about it, ask questions to open up conversations about faith, and organize missionary activities. Emma, for example, said: “When people pass the church and they are interested, I invite them in and say: ‘You may have a look….’ In that way, I try to share our faith with others.” Later on, she described her motivation for acting in this way: “It is God’s instruction for us: ‘Proclaim your faith and share it as much as you can with others.’” However, some teachers felt unease about mentioning God or faith in every situation or at any time. During former or summer jobs, for example, it did not always feel appropriate, as in Daniël’s case: “I came there to package vegetables and not to evangelize.” Some teachers said that, although they wanted to share their faith, they did not believe that it was effective to be intrusive, for example, when the religious other is angry, when one does not have a personal relationship with him or her, or when one has previously talked about faith. Teachers’ beliefs about the distinctiveness of the Christian faith Beliefs about the distinctiveness of the Christian faith compared with that of other religions were remarkably unequivocal and can be divided into three categories, each about the teachers’ arguments relating to the uniqueness of the Christian faith. The first concerned the view that Christians did not need to do good works in order to receive salvation. As Lieke said, “[In other religions], you have to earn faith by working hard. I, however, think that God gives faith by grace.” Second, it was mentioned that there was only one God according to the Bible and that the qualities of God described in the Bible (e.g., grace, love, and the possibility of having a relationship with Him) could not be attributed to other gods. Therefore, most of the teachers rejected the idea that Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists worshipped the same God as Christians. Within the third category of beliefs, the teachers referred to the doctrine of the Trinity (i.e., the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead) and paid special attention to the divinity of Jesus and his role as Savior. As Jasmijn said, “Sometimes people say ‘It is the same God.’ Then I reply: ‘But if you do not accept Jesus as your Savior, then it is not open for discussion really.’” The belief that Jesus is the Savior and that people must acknowledge this was decisive for many teachers. As Nora clarified, “I believe that there is an eternal life after this life but also an eternal death. And when you do not choose Jesus Christ in your life, then you ultimately