Tract #43: Does Christianity Make Sense?
Tract #43, Does Christianity Make Sense?, is ready for you to download and review. Download it, see page #3 for printing instructions, and let me know your comments! Thanks!
Does Christianity Make Sense?
With its confusing monotheistic God, odd path to redemption, and holy symbol seemingly celebrating an instrument of torture, can Christianity possibly make sense? Off hand, many atheists would say no. But is this a rush to judgment? Can Christianity make sense?
It depends on how you define your terms.
If the question is whether or not Christianity can make sense to everyone, then the answer is no. There are some concepts — such as the triune nature of God and substitutionary atonement — that some atheists just plain won’t be able to get past because they are so counter intuitive and difficult to explain.
If the question is whether Christianity can be scientifically validated, then, again, the answer is no. There are some aspects of Christianity that are out of science’s domain. At best, Christianity can be made to not disagree with science.
If the question is whether a literal reading of the Bible can comfortably exist alongside modern thought, we have another no. Believing the Bible to be literally, word-for-word true requires the believer to reject great hunks of well-substantiated non-Biblical knowledge.
But if the question is whether Christian philosophy can be described in a way that is internally consistent, doesn’t conflict with observed reality, and is logical enough to be accepted by a rational person, then the answer is (finally!) yes.
There are a number of Christian philosophers who have devoted their lives to creating a consistent, intelligent, philosophy of Christianity that contradicts neither the Bible nor science. These philosophers understand that the Bible was written for an audience thousands of years gone and therefore needs to be read in context to be understood. They have carefully constructed definitions of key terms like justice and redemption so that they are free from contradictions.
These philosophers won’t agree with atheists on a number of topics — they believe in the supernatural and in miracles, for example. But this is largely just a disagreement about how much evidence is needed to prove that an extraordinary event took place. These theists may agree with atheists on many topics, such as the importance of rational thought, the legendary nature of some church teachings, and even, in many cases, evolution.
The problem with these sensible Christian philosophers is that there aren’t many of them. Your average Christian on the street hasn’t taken the time (and it does take a lot of time) to logically flesh out their religious beliefs. Most of them hold beliefs that are an amalgam of things they heard in church, things they picked up from others, and unverified assumptions about God and faith. They often don’t even know what their own church’s position is on key issues, or can’t explain things that should be central to their belief, such as why Jesus had to die.
If all Christians were like philosophers — thoughtful and consistent — we’d all get along much better.