Monday, 22 March 2010

Christianity is just a psychological crutch - part 3

In part one I looked at what is meant by describing Christianity as a psychological crutch.

In part two I argued that the assumption that Christians are influenced by psychological factors whereas those who don't believe in God come from a neutral position is not a fair thing to assume.

So, if that's the case, how can we break in to this cycle? Let me suggest two ways.

Firstly, we break into the cycle by looking at the evidence. Don't just assume that there isn't a God or in fact that there is a God, just because that's what makes you feel comfortable. Instead, investigate. Find out. Is the assumption that there is no God true? Or are the claims that Christianity makes true? Here are some good questions to ask:

- Are the historical portions of the Bible factual? Does the Bible's descriptions of places agree with archaeological findings?
- How accurately were the documents of the New Testament passed down?
- Crucial to Christianity is belief in the supernatural including miracles. The pinnacle of this is the claim that Jesus came back to life three days after dying - does this belief stand up historically? Is belief in miracles just pre-scientific, superstitious nonsense?

If it isn't true, Christianity is just a psychological crutch. But the fact that it offers solutions to real problems doesn't automatically make it false. It could be that it is in fact a crutch that holds up. It could be that it does provide real answers and real comfort. So look into it, investigate it. See if it could possibly be true.

If under scrutiny and investigation it proves to be false, then please, carry on dismissing it as a psychological crutch.

But there are plenty of people who have looked into it and found it to be true. There are many stories of ardent atheists who have set out to disprove Christianity. But, when confronted with the evidence, they reluctantly could only come to one conclusion – that it is true. So, look into the evidence for the truth of Christianity, see if it's historically reliable, and I think it will stand up to scrutiny.

That's the first way to break into the cycle.

The second way, I'd suggest, is to meet Jesus. I'm not suggesting nipping up to heaven to see him. I'm suggesting getting hold of a copy of a gospel, an account of his life. Give him a hearing. Millions have done so over numerous centuries, and have been won to him. If Jesus is an historical figure, which I think he is, and if what we have in the gospels are true and historically accurate accounts of his life and teachings, which I think evidence shows they are, then the least you can do is give him a hearing. See what this person is like who so many have chosen to follow, even chosen to die for. To follow Jesus for many isn't just a psychological crutch to comfort them in a hostile world. Many go to prison on account of following him, many face rejection from friends and family. For many it's a matter of life and death. And yet they still choose to follow him. What is it about him? Give him a chance, and see what you make of him.

Christianity does claim to offer real solutions to people's worries. It offers the hope of justice where no justice is found in life. It offers meaning to life, making life more than just 70 years that end in going back to dust to eventually be forgotten. It offers a friend and father in a world that is lonely. It is something that gives great comfort and meaning. But it only does this if it it's true. If not, it is just a psychological crutch. But if it's true then yes, it's a crutch, but it's a true crutch that provides real answers to genuine problems. So look into it. Find out more. See if it's a crutch worth leaning on.

N.B. 'But is it real?' by Amy Orr-Ewing was helpful in formulating these posts, particularly part 2. Check it out!

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