I’ve heard it many times from many people – coworkers, friends, relatives, even celebrities on television – “Christians, what a bunch of idiots.” “People actually BELIEVE this stuff??” “Yeah, I believe in Jesus, I believe he was a groovy guy and a great teacher, but the Son of God? C’mon.” “Christianity? You’d have to be a simpleton to believe that fairy tale!”
Perhaps these detractors think Christianity is merely a fanciful lark, an avenue by which one can take the easy way out of life. After all, Christians do not have to think for themselves; they leave everything up to God. They simply numb their brains to the logical and live a life of unquestioning acceptance. How simple and convenient that must be, right? Wrong! Let me assure you that for many Christians this is not the case. For many of us, it is an on-going struggle to find a balance between our logic and our faith. To think that Christians blithely accept and never question is an uninformed and unrealistic idea perpetuated by nonbelievers and, unfortunately, even some church folk at times. (Warning: churchy terminology ahead!!) Accepting the Lord does not negate your logic and reason. You are transformed in your spirit and in your view of “the world” but, at least in my experience, the basic wiring of your brain does not change. If you were a logical individual with sound reason and intellect prior to becoming a Christian, chances are you will remain so after becoming a Christian.
Bearing in mind that most Christians I know are intellectually sound and sane, I am always surprised when a nonbeliever feels the need to point out the improbability of the Bible as if that’s something Christians have never wrestled with before. Of course we know how improbable the Bible sounds with its story of creation, Immaculate Conception, righteous vengeance, suffering, redemption, resurrection, and forgiveness. Of course we go through seasons of questioning (if we’re honest), but we have chosen this path through our God-given free will because it is a path worth taking. Nonbelievers are not intellectually superior simply because they choose not believe in the existence of an unseen God, his works or his word; likewise, Christians are not intellectually inferior because they do choose to believe and have faith in a God they cannot see. In fact, apart from the obvious, there is perhaps not much difference between the nonbeliever who devotes hours of study to substantiate his non-belief and the believer who devotes hours of study to substantiate his belief. Even non-belief can become a religion of sorts and eventually both parties are left with the same challenge in the end – they will each need an unerring faith in their “religion.” Just as the Christian cannot definitively prove the existence of God to a nonbeliever, the nonbeliever cannot definitively disprove the existence of God to the believer. Belief or non-belief is a personal journey that eventually ends with a choice and faith in that choice. Those of us who choose to become believers will need substantial faith to accept the more nebulous, spiritual teachings and promises of God. Those of us who choose to become non-believers will need a substantial amount of faith to accept that we are nothing more than another soulless primate wandering the earth.
The truth is Christianity is not easy especially if you are a generally skeptical person. I struggle with many events and concepts in the Bible. I know how they sound, but I choose to believe. I’ve tried the other way – relied on my intellect, put my faith in evolution, engaged in the “live and let live” philosophy, claimed agnosticism – none of that worked and I grew tired of feeling empty. I finally decided to take the “easy” way out – to put my faith in a Creator, a God I cannot see, one who performed miracles that challenge my logic every time I read about them; a God who asks that I live by a set of beliefs fairly unpopular with many of my peers and much of this country; a God who expects me not only to forgive but to love my enemies; a God who warns against being “of the world” while living in the world. I still have a long way to go. I struggle to get to church. I fail. I make mistakes every single day of my life and I will continue to do so.
There will always be those intellectuals who view Christians as nothing more than illogical idiots. So be it. Maybe one day, if I study diligently and pray faithfully, I can be the biggest idiot of them all.