What is Christianity? Really?

I was asked this question today by a friend of mine. At first I didn't really have a response. I wasn't sure what the question was. After I cleared my mind I came up with this:

Christians was at first a reference to the early church by the Romans and was often taken as an insult. But as it soon became more common to be called one, it was taken as a common name.

Over the years the view of what Christianity really is, was and still is distorted. Christianity simply means "follower of Christ". Their are different sorts of perception of Christianity. To some it is a bunch of stuck-up hypocrites. To some it is a bunch of charismatic raving Bible-thumpers. To some it is unintellectual dribble.

Many people use the Crusades or the Inquisition as an example of the corruption of Christianity. The main problem with this argument is people fail to look at the fact that humans are imperfect and as such, things interpreted as actions for God can be twisted into power grabbers.

None of this was ever Jesus' intention when he came to earth. It wasn't even God's intention when He created the earth. God has always wanted to be close to us. The Bible says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He ACTUALLY walked with them. But then sin entered into the world and what was once holy became unholy and God cannot commune with that which is not as holy as He is. Because we would be blown away otherwise.

What makes the biggest difference between Christianity and all the other religions of the world? Friendship. God actually wants to be our friend, not only that he wants to be our best friend. People try to complicate this fact with rituals and legalistic rules, but the core of the Christian faith is just trying to be better friends with God.

Jesus made it all possible with his sacrifice. It is because he remained holy and untainted that we could come to God through his mercy. I could go into the whole Mosaic law and the sacrificing of lambs to explain Jesus' death and resurrection, but it's pointless. The point is God loves us and he wants to be with us and because of his mercy we can commune with him.

After mentioning this to my friend he said, "Huh. That's kind of cool. I never looked at it that way." None of us are perfect, but in spite of that God love us.