Archive for June, 2011

Must we submit to the demands of Christianity merely on faith?

June 29, 2011

The church I’ve been attending lately places great emphasis on what it calls “community groups”. These are small groups where people meet in the group leader’s home to hang out, eat together, discuss the previous Sunday’s sermon, talk to each other about what’s going on in their lives, and pray for each other. In the community group meeting I attended tonight, a recurring theme was the importance of spending considerable time reading and studying the Bible. Also, in the sermon on Sunday, the pastor pointed out that Jesus doesn’t merely want us to devote our lives to worship and serve Him; He demands it. And this got me thinking that before submitting to such demands, we should require solid evidence that the claims which the Bible makes about itself and about God are true. In other words, it seems to me that we can’t reasonably be expected to submit to the demands of Christianity merely on the basis of faith, which is belief in the absence of evidence.

What really got me thinking about this was that one guy in our group talked about how he was struggling to prioritize several things in his life, including Bible study, prayer, serving God (through the church I guess), spending time with his wife, his job, and his own physical health. And I wondered, what if all this time he’s spending on Christianity is all for nothing — just a big waste? Multiply that by the many thousands, maybe millions, of very devoted Christians in the world, and it becomes a much bigger waste, if Christianity is false. Some may say that even if Christianity is false, it’s not harmful. But it seems to me that if Christianity is false, then it is indeed harmful, in terms of the collective waste of valuable human effort and time.

So it seems to me that if we’re going to devote our lives to something that makes such great demands of us, then we need something more than faith; we need evidence that the claims of Christianity are true. And given the extraordinary claims of Christianity, we need not just any evidence, but extraordinary evidence. So do we have such evidence? The ever-present emphasis on the importance of faith suggests that we do not.

Christians, what am I missing?