I was recently looking at a Facebook posting of an individual who was celebrating the fact that she was no longer a Christian, but had become agnostic. Her post was full of problems and conclusions that were not logically or evidentially supported. One of the reasons she gave for her leaving the Christian faith was her experience with Christians with whom she used to attend church. She went on and on about the bad things these people did and made ad hominem attacks against these people. The inference was that she, as an agnostic, would never do or treat people in the same manner as the Christians with whom she had been associated, yet she launched into a very personal attack against them, but I digress. The main inference in her writing about the actions of these Christians is one that is used very often by critics. It goes something like this: If Christianity is true, then Christians would be better people. They would not do the bad things they do and would not have done the bad things in the name of Christianity which they have done in the past. So, because Christians are not always good and have done bad things, Christianity is not true. This objection is a fairly common one and it is used by many famous skeptics including Christopher Hitchens, who uses it regularly in his debates and writing against the existence of God.
Let me start by first pointing out that when we become a Christians, our hearts are changed. We understand that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are to love God with all that we have and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our faith in Christ, our being a Christian, should be manifested in our words and deeds. The world should see a difference in us. That being said, Christians do not inherit perfection when they come to Christ. We are still fallen and sinful creatures. Although we strive to live sinless lives and in no way believe or accept sin as something that is acceptable in our lives, at times we will make mistakes and exercise poor judgment. It is true that many times this failure hurts those around us. Christian have and do at times fail to live out our faith. When we do this we should and do recognize our sinful acts and ask for forgiveness. However, such failure does not lead to the conclusion this person makes and has nothing to do with the truth of Christianity.
Christianity makes very specific truth claims. There is specific evidence both historical and logical that supports its contentions. Although it is always concerning when Christians act inappropriately, such actions in no way undercut the evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity. Such acts are simply irrelevant to Christianity’s truth claims. The evidential arguments for the truth of Christianity neither include nor are they dependent on the behavior of Christians. The hypocrisy of Christians has no bearing on the evidence for its truth. Thus this contention by the lady on Facebook asserting that Christianity is not true because of the bad actions of Christians simply does not follow. It is not a valid critique leading to the conclusion that Christianity is untrue. It does not deal with or counter any of the evidence demonstrating Christianity’s truth. It simple makes personal attacks on individual Christians and then seeks to somehow dovetail this into a broad and sweeping indictment of Christianity. In this manner, she and other have dramatically overplayed their positions. It is a nice try, but it does not effectively deal with the question, “Is there a sufficient basis to establish the truth of Christianity?” The position advocated by this lady on Facebook and others who use it is not an evidential one. It is an emotional postion and offers no evidential reason for one to doubt the truth of Christianity. Nice try, but to borrow a phrase, “That old dog just won’t hunt.”