I am frequently asked by people with whom I am not acquainted and probably don’t want to be if I am a Christian. On the other hand, I have never been asked if I am Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, African-American, Chinese, Japanese, Pantheist, Rastafarian, vegetarian, or Hari Krishna.
Tomas de Torquemada, aka The Grand Inquisitor, is often credited with creating the concept of bad cop (the idea of good cop came much later, about 400 years later).
My problem with being asked if I am a Christian is I am not sure exactly what that means. I read once that there are 20,000 different sects, all of whom claim to be the only path to salvation, so I think the question might be classified as being a bit vague as well as rude and obnoxious, not to mention that it’s none of your business.
However, I do feel fairly comfortable discussing theology, as I was educated by the good Dominican Friars, of whom Thomas Aquinas was a member. Aquinas, as you will recall, was noted for having written the Summa Theologica, which should not be confused with Summa Wrestling since, as to the best of my recollection, there are no scantily clad fat men featured or even referred to in Aquinas’ classic work.
Another good Dominican was Tomas de Torquemada, aka The Grand Inquisitor, who is often credited with creating the concept of bad cop (the idea of good cop came much later, about 400 years later). Torquemada would gently prod a confession from those he was questioning by applying a few tactics that would make waterboarding seem like a day at the beach. Torquemada would apprise the suspect of his right to remain silent, which oftentimes coincided with his tongue being cut out and his eyes gouged while he was hanging by his thumbs.
Not surprisingly, Torquemada enjoyed a high rate of convictions. I think the figure I have seen is 100%. Once found guilty of heresy, witchcraft, or refusing to attend the annual Inquisitors Prayer Breakfast, he or she was burned at the stake, which studies have found significantly reduced recidivism. Interestingly, Torquemada did not participate in the executions because it would be improper for a man of the cloth to be involved, and besides, there was the problem of getting the smell of burning flesh out of his robes.
Getting back to the question of what or who is a Christian, I am reminded of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who once said, and you can’t make this stuff up: “There are known knowns. There are known unknowns. There are unknown unknowns, and there are also unknown knowns. Things that you possibly may know that you don’t know you know.”