A few years ago I was running as a regular part of an exercise routine, despite having injured both knees playing intramural sports in college. After many instances in which I had severe, sharp knee pain, I went to the doctor to find the cause. His examination showed that I had very little cartilage in my knees. His solution to reduce my knee pains – stop running.
I wish to reject that diagnosis. Running is an exercise I really enjoy. I mean enjoyed. I don’t like the fact that running will cause more knee damage. However, I cannot allow myself to reject the facts because of an emotional response. Unless I want knee surgery in the near future.
There are other truths I don’t like either. But rejection of those truths may have serious consequences. For example, I love eating ice cream. But eating ice cream for every meal will cause disease and early death. Though I would get great emotional satisfaction from eating ice cream for dinner, I must make wiser decisions if I want to live to see my future grandkids grow up.
The majority of religious skeptics and critics I have spoken with say that they reject Christianity for rational reasons. When I ask them to explain further, they often reveal that their reasons are actually emotional roadblocks. There are certain things that they don’t like about Christianity, and therefore they reject the faith. Some common emotional reasons for rejecting Christianity include:
1. Denial of authority of the church, which often is a dislike of “organized religion”
2. The behavior of Christians, i.e. Christians are hypocrites
3. A particular behavior or lifestyle in described in the Bible as sin – fornication, adultery, and homosexuality
4. A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell
5. The amount of suffering in the world
When we read the news headlines or watch a news broadcast, we see story after story describing events that we don’t like – child abuse, rioting, civil wars and natural disasters. Do we deny that these things happen because we don’t like them? Of course not.
There are some things I don’t like about Christianity.
- I don’t like that sin has consequences.
- I don’t like that hell is real.
- I don’t like that I won’t be married to my wife Michelle in heaven.
But these dislikes do not stop me from believing. There is too much evidence for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity to reject the faith based on my emotional objections.
If it is foolish for someone to believe in a faith just because of some emotional response, then isn’t it equally foolish to reject a faith just because of some emotional response?