Why Faith?

When I think about what Christianity entails, I often find that it very much strains my credulity. If Christianity (at least the version popular with most Catholics and Protestants) is true then it seems rather befuddling to me that faith, particularly the belief that a particular god-man named Jesus died for your sins, would be the fundamental criteria by which we are judged worthy of heaven (yes, I know, Catholics also believe you also must not have any unconfessed mortal sins.) Allow me elaborate.

Regardless of what you personally believe about Christianity, there is a problem in that the vast majority of people will never convert to another major religion during their lifetime. Sure, people may switch from Catholic to Protestant, and vice versa, but a switch from Christianity to Hinduism, or Islam to Christianity, would seem much more rare than simply changing denominations within a religion. The differences aren’t that big. Basically, once you hit adulthood your religious views become much less malleable then when you were a child. Virtually all of the growth of Christianity, Islam, and every other religion, happens not because of converts, but because children adopt the religion of their parents. While there are definitely exceptions to this, very few people convert to away from the religion in which they were raised.

In light of that fact, it would seem that having the criteria of “believed Jesus died for your sins” when you died as the only way to be enter heaven would seem to be extraordinarily unfair. It essentially gives a massive head-start advantage to those who were born to Christian parents, and puts a huge systemic barrier on those who are born to parents who are not Christian. If Christianity is true then it would seem to be that those born into other faith traditions are born setup to fail. If the vast majority of Muslims and Hindus (which account for almost 3 billion people) have made the wrong “choice” and will stick with that religion until they die, and God creates all of us, then God has created them to fail. Why would God make it so much easier for some people to fail, and so much harder for others? If Christianity is true then how many people have been condemned simply because they learned the wrong things from their parents? This isn’t simply a matter of “the path is narrow”, it’s that the path is obscured by human nature and that we learn our religious beliefs from our parents. Sins of the father indeed.

I see one possible way out of this, but it also has its own problems: God could simply save whoever it wants, by giving incorrect believers what they need to convincing them about Jesus as they die, but why take the extra step? The main problem here is that God could simply declare “I choose you to come into heaven“, and drop the whole nonsense of requiring some specific belief. If God is supposed to be sovereign, all knowing, and perfectly good, then God should be able to know who exactly is wanted in heaven without needing humans to have a belief in the first place. Alternatively, God is only putting the ones that it wants to succeed into a place where they will succeed, but then why the elaborate dog and pony show?

Ultimately, it would seem that God thinks that having faith is good, but one can ultimately hold any position by faith. One could believe that the Statue of Liberty is going to come to life one day, smite all of the evil around us, and resurrect those who believed in the values of liberty and justice. It’s really no more preposterous than what Christianity entails.

10 thoughts on “Why Faith?”

  1. My problem regarding the above teachings is this: If you have never hear dof the Biblical God, you go straight to hell without even a chance to avoid it. That is the height of both arrogance, and absurdity. God can only be all-forgiving to the lucky few, while the rest are condemned without even a trial. Such a God is not worthy of my love, respect, or trust. My standards are much too high to worship a blind and bigoted being like the Abrahamic God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written piece. You ask fair questions that suggest an unfair God. And that’s where I think faith begins- believing God is just, even as he appears not. Faith sides with God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Should it not be the case that if God is fair, just, and honest, that the right path would be more obvious? It’s far from obvious that following Christ is the right path, let alone following any other religious beliefs.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m willing to bet you would be saying something similar if you were a Muslim, Hindu, or even a Mormon.

          I’m curious how you know this is God, or whatever you thing you attribute it to, and not something else? Is it just a feeling you have?

          Liked by 3 people

            1. I remember when I was back in church, and they told me I should think that. They had me sing that kind of thing over and over, to recite creeds and readings repeating it, to say it again and again. I wasn’t “drawn to Jesus”, but I was instructed to claim that I was. They told me not to think, just to believe. But once I actually thought about it, I realized that saying that you super really really believe in your invisible friend doesn’t make them real, no matter how many times you repeat it.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. I understand your resistance to improper provocation. I resisted too- don’t tell me how to worship. Some Christian songs annoy and some animate me. I’m not into creeds or recitations and am not a ‘super super really really believer.’ I’m drawn to him.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. That’s what they told me to say about myself too. And there was a time in my life when I would have told you that was true. But it wasn’t.

                  I was drawn to community and acceptance. I was drawn to singing and family events. I was drawn to belonging and confidence, and the price of all that was to spout the same nonsense that everybody else was spouting. That didn’t make it any less nonsensical.

                  Liked by 1 person

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