Hi Alec,Good afternoon Steve.
It is often pointed out to me that without Christianity there is no basis for morality. For the sake of discussion, I will agree with this statement.
If we ask the question "Who is God?" we should be prepared to consider every possibility. People such as ourselves, who live in America, a country of freedom and prosperity, might say God is loving and generous. Someone living in a country where there is starvation and oppression might say that God is cruel and heartless, or perhaps indifferent.
It has not been stated to me in this manner but it's as if the logic of some Christians goes as follows: Christianity benefits humanity, therefore it is true. The fact that it benefits humanity is evidence that it is true. God is a good God and wants humanity to be happy. The Bible says so. Societies that believe in the Bible have freedom and prosperity. This must mean that the Bible is true.
I find this to be a circular argument. For example, if I make the following statement: Burning fossil fuels will cause temperatures to rise. Temperatures are rising, therefore my statement is true. I'm using the fact that temperatures are rising as evidence that my statement is true.
Thanks for your time Steve.
Thanks for writing!
I agree with you that the case for Christianity, as you have presented it, lacks logical cogency. It is certainly not an argument I would ever have made. Christianity does not promise happiness, prosperity or political freedom in this life. In fact, it seems to promise the opposite.
The basis for believing Christianity is true is a very objective and historical one: Jesus arose from the dead, just as He predicted He would, and has been promoted to the right hand of God, from which His reigns with supreme authority.
That Christ arose from the dead can be established by the most reasonable synthesis of the witnessed historical facts and the absence of any coherent alternative explanation of the evidence. The impact that Christianity has on societies, or on personal happiness, is secondary or tertiary in importance, in terms of evidence for its veracity.
It is interesting that the belief that God is good and loving did not arise in a peaceful and comfortable environment. It arose among the Jews—the most gratuitously hated, oppressed and persecuted of all races throughout history. It was perpetuated, further, by Jesus, who suffered the greatest and cruelest injustice imaginable, and by His disciples—who lived in poverty, were persecuted and suffered martyrdom. The idea that God is love may be doubted by some, but not on the basis of the theory that this belief flourishes best in comfortable environments.
Thanks again for bringing these points up for conversation.