Open Letter to Frost

Posted on December 13, 2011 by


Blogger Frost sent out an email inviting Christian bloggers to express the reasons for their belief in Christianity to young atheists who don’t see the appeal. Here is our brief explanation.

There are 3 reasons to be Christian:

1. It is True
2. It makes society better
3. It makes individuals better

The first reason is the most important reason, and the most difficult to argue for its validity. Before discussing the evidence for Christianity it is important to make the distinction between real Christianity and the feel-good “Churchianity” many so-called Christians actually practice. Real Christianity is distinct from what we see practiced in many churches today. If it is not patriarchal and dogmatic, then it isn’t real Christianity. Over the last hundred years Christianity has been heavily feminized, though remnants of its patriarchal roots exist.

Evidence for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity does exist, but whether the evidence is conclusive is highly debated. Google “evidence for God,” or “evidence for biblical truth,” and you will find an exhaustive list of reading material that could keep any inquirer busy for years. Pascal’s Wager is that it is most reasonable to err on the side of God existing. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Anselm present arguments that are worth further exploration.

If Truth exists, then it stands to reason that knowing it makes a difference in our own lives and in the world. Modern atheists suggest that religion makes the world a worse place, but is this true? Worse compared to what? Would an absence of religion turn everyone into perfect altruists? Or is it more likely that most people would become nihilists and live their lives exactly as they please? Social norms are a source of societal stability, and religion, particularly Traditionalist Christianity, imposes beneficial social norms. Christianity doesn’t make everyone perfect, but everyone would be better as a faithful Christian then they would be with any other religion, or without religion at all.

Social norms positively benefit society and religion isn’t just about creating “rules” for people to follow. The ideal is for religion to deepen our faith and make us genuinely better people. Belief and religiosity are not always the same. Some people practice religion but don’t really believe in it. Some people have strong spiritual beliefs but don’t practice a religion.

Belief, which I will define as an awareness of an invisible spiritual reality, must develop organically. Those who are believers find that faith comes about as naturally as writing with one’s dominant hand. Christians think of belief as a supernatural grace from God. You can accept this grace by being truly open to the possibility that God does exist and has a will for your life. If you are not fully open to this possibility, then God will hide Himself out of respect for your free-will. In order for God to reveal Himself to us, we must accept that our expectations of Him are constraining and finite. The nature of God is not, and He reveals Himself in a manner that we as humans do not expect.

Some atheists have real disgust towards spiritual beliefs. They see it as depending on some “invisible sky fairy,” as a kind of emotional crutch against the harsh realities of life. This is a caricature of a certain type of Christian or “spiritualist” who sees God as some kind of genie whose principle concerns is making sure every ones feels good all the time. Faith that isn’t guided by religious principles becomes very narcissistic. This narcissism quickly leads to a hypocritical “feel good” system, which quickly crumbles under scrutiny.

Most formal religions, especially the traditionalist sects of Christianity, discourage selfishness of any kind. The Christian God is demanding. He desires for us to develop to our maximum potential and we are often admonished to facilitate our growth, even if it causes us to feel bad. While the Christian God is “Love”…it isn’t the lukewarm, watered-down tolerance that liberal society spouts. God’s Love demands justice, mercy, and righteousness. Our Salvation History is full of examples of God’s mercy being exhausted and Him having to act against humanity for the sake of justice, such as with the flood.

Unlike what some atheists think, often a devout Christian will experience many temptations to reject religion during the course of their life. Religion is only an “opiate for the masses” if it is practiced in a shallow way. Religion practiced rightly should make a person more sacrificial, forgiving, and capable of loving others more sincerely. Genuinely devout Christians have experienced a myriad of conditions labeled as unbearable by most nonbelievers along with Churchianity followers. Christianity requires we develop our character so that we can act heroically when we must. Christianity imbues an individual to genuinely act in accordance with principles while seeking Truth.

Traditional Christianity conflicts with the culture in a dramatic way. We reject relativist morality and see Truth as objective. We believe that our wants and feelings should be subject to the greater good. We believe that all human life has dignity and worth, from a tiny fetus to the severely disabled. We believe that some things are sacred and deserve reverence. To be a real Christian in today’s world is like being an alien visitor to another planet. Our culture has thoroughly rejected real Christianity and replaced it with watered-down Churchianity that exists only to validate people’s feelings.

To quote GK Chesterton, “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.”

Recommended Reading:

Conversion Diary-Atheism

A Life Beyond Reason

Conversion Diary-From Atheism to Christianity

Podles

The Only Rule Christians Must Obey

Posted in: Religion