In fact, I venture to suggest that it is so broad that you probably don't know two Christians who would answer these twenty questions in exactly the same way as each other.
- Can you (are you allowed to) contact God directly or do you need a priest to intercede for you?
- What is the correct method of baptism, and at what age is it appropriate to baptise?
- Is the future of the world predestined, or do you really have free will? If so, how do you square this with your god's alleged omniscience?
- When people 'speak in tongues', is it the holy spirit that is talking, or do you suspect that they are possessed by a demon?
- What are your views regarding purgatory, an afterlife and personal resurrection?
- Is it enough to accept Jesus into your heart, or do good works count for anything?
- Is the bible literally true and infallible? It is so ambiguous that it is hard to argue this, but many of you do attempt to.
- In your church, in what roles would it be acceptable for women to participate on an equal footing with men?
- At the Eucharist, does the bread and wine represent the body and blood, or does it literally become the body and blood?
- To what extent should Mary, the mother of Jesus, be venerated?
- Is it acceptable to worship other spirits (as many 'members' of African churches do)?
- What does your church teach about homosexuality?
- When will Jesus return for the second coming, and how do you explain your answer considering the original idea that he would return within the lifetime of some of the people living at the time?
- Should priests live a life of chastity?
- Does hell exist, so that merciful god can torture us for ever?
- What are your expectations about the end of the world (and do you take the endless stream of such prophecies seriously or casually dismiss them)?
- Will people of other faiths have any hope of salvation (even if they have never heard of Jesus)?
- How old is the world?
- If God created the universe just for us, why did he waste so much effort on the other stars and galaxies which we can never hope to reach?
- At what moment is the soul created? (If at conception, please explain what happens to mono-zygotic twins.)
It must be very confusing for anyone who is tempted to convert, when doctrine is so diverse. If, as I strongly suspect, any two Christians are not able to agree with each other on these points, how can a convert possibly know which Christian cult to join?
And now the 21st question emerges from my observation that Christians who find it hard to answer the difficult doctrinal questions often brush them off as being unimportant. Meanwhile they often indulge in irrationally cuddly ecumenism and even reason that any religion is (in general terms) better than no religion. To them, I would ask question 21:
If these things are not important to you, what does it actually mean to call yourself a practising Christian?
Update: See the related post, 21 Questions for Muslims on 18th August 2012