Invitation For Christians To Consider Alternative Beliefs

invitation-for-christians-standardA conservative Christian friend wrote to me today, “I am willing to consider that some beliefs that mainstream Christians currently hold are not true. I am not willing to consider that Christianity is wrong.”

This was very shocking to me, since we’d been having many open and deep discussions into the potential objections to core doctrines of biblical faith.  I responded as copied below:

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If you’re not “willing” to even consider that your current beliefs or religion could be wrong, then how can you ever claim to have or desire any level of spiritual/intellectual honesty or humility?

Isn’t possible that Hinduism is true and that you are Christian primarily (or perhaps solely) because you were raised in Georgia by Christian parents and surrounded by other Christians? Or that America is dominated by Christianity and virtually any spiritual seeking and religious/philosophical questioning in this country is unwittingly directed toward this worldview?

The Bible is full of instruction that encourages readers to pursue truth wherever it leads, “test all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), “come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15) and use natural reason to examine the actual powers of various deities along with morality in general (Romans 1).  In these aspects, the Scriptures affirm honest inquiry, healthy self-doubt and the process of learning/evaluation in order to reveal more accurate viewpoints and deeper realities.  This was the basis of argument used by Christ’s twelve apostles, the early church and theologians/apologists throughout the past two thousand years to offer Christianity to people who held other beliefs.

If you stand in error regarding your belief in Christianity, there could be dire consequences for you in this life and the next.  Example 1: If Islam is true, then all infidels like yourself are living in opposition to God and thus suffer extra turmoil right now and in a future hell.  Example 2: An enormous amount of political, scientific and social decisions are made in relation to religious ideologies, so if you’re off-base about your opinions/convictions, then you could mistakenly be supporting immoral and destructive projects.

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3 comments

  1. Hi there Andy,

    I was brought up a very religious Catholic, but I was always taught to have a healthy dose of doubt. I remember announcing to my parents, around age 10, that I realized the world wasn’t really created in seven days, and a lot of the Old Testament was mythology, but of course I believed every word of the New Testament. They answered, “Why should you do that?”

    I’m glad my parents raised me to be so open-minded, though I was annoyed and confused at the time. If we didn’t believe in the literal truth of the New Testament, I thought, then why did we go to church at all? I guess I went through my crisis of faith when I was very young, still obliged to follow my parents to church, and at least able to get an appreciation for the metaphor and the aesthetic of it all. To this day, I can still say to myself, “If my mother and father think religious truth is completely separable from fact, then I can think so, too, and still be a good practicing Christian” When my parents die, or if I have children of my own, I figure it’ll be much harder for me to make this excuse.

  2. G’day Andy
    Thank you for following my blog ☺. I just had a read of a few of your posts in the category of “objections to Christianity” and I think your logic and arguments are robust and balanced. So I enjoyed the stimulus and feel that you and I have explored a lot of common theological and ontological ground. But it seems we’ve reached quite different conclusions … but that’s cool ☺, I’m happy we can share each other’s journey. I just thought I’d share this blog post of mine from a little while (see link below) ago in case it interests you, relating to your topic of discussion above.
    All the best as you explore and help liberate others through your writing. I look fwd to checking out your other categories (poetry etc ) a little more in time.
    Peace
    David
    http://wp.me/p3oIh7-E

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