Monday, 25 March 2019

Sound-bite Christianity

It would be useful, wouldn't it, to have ready a sound-bite answer when somebody asks something like 'What is a Christian?' - or, more likely, 'OK, then what do You mean by 'Christian'?'

There is an answer, in two short statements - which is stated clearly and repeatedly in the Fourth Gospel - and that answer is something-like:

1. Jesus is the divine Son of God who brought us the possibility of eternal resurrected life in Heaven. 2. If you want that; then you should believe, follow and trust (i.e. love) Jesus - though death into eternal life.

That's all that needs to be said. But a modern person will almost certainly want to know 'But how can I know this is really True?'

He will suppose that this means he needs to hear the 'evidence' for these claims...

But whatever kind of evidence you provide, it will Never Be Enough.

Because modern people will believe anything nonsensical or false that is mainstream or fashionable (e.g that people can change their sex); and can disbelieve anything anything true and vital on the basis of whim, convenience, expediency - or for no reason at all.

So - forget about 'evidence'.

Rather than getting enmeshed in trying to convince him with history, scripture, church authority, philosophy and logic, science or anything like that...

The proper and effective answer is that the only thing which could potentially convince would be when he discovered it for himself, by thinking seriously on the matter.

Nobody else can do it. If the thinking is not serious, it won't work. If he does not want to do this, or cannot make the effort - nothing will happen.

You can tell him what Christianity is. You cannot make him a Christian.

If he does not want to be a Christian - he won't be.

If he does want to accept Jesus's gift, but is unsure whether it is true - then nobody else can (or should) convince him of the fact.

If he wants to know - he can.

But it does require effort.  


Stewart Cowan said...

Actually, Creationism has turned many people to faith in the Creator once they comprehend how unlikely (or impossible) Darwin's theory is and how much evidence there is for Divine creation and the worldwide Flood and so on.

Joe said...

On the other hand, Creationism has turned many away from faith in the Creator, because whether through bad reasoning by Creationists (in which the Creationist implicitly trusts an authority that others don't, or accepts evidence that others don't), the low social status of Creationists (which means they aren't seen as an authority, and it is realized that considering them an authority has negative social implications), or some other reason, the evidence presented by Creationists is not accepted as evidence, or is actually used as evidence of no God.

So things like Creationism and the validity of fossils or dating methods or the way natural selection works, etc. are "down stream" from more fundamental assumptions; their trustworthiness depends on previously made determinations of who and what is trustworthy, as Bruce explains well in the previous blog post.