Christianity: U R Doin It Rong

Is Christianity a natural state of being? Most Christians I have ever known would answer with a hearty yes! I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit, discussed amongst Christians in Bible study groups or over pie and coffee. It’s also been the topic of many lively debates I’ve taken part in on internet discussion forums.

Christians often argue that humans are naturally inclined toward Christianity; that we have an innate desire to worship God. It’s what we were made for. It is the sole purpose of our existence. Just as naturally as our bodies need oxygen and thirst for water, so do our souls crave God.

Even when we don’t know it, we are drawn to and seek out God. The compassion you feel for others is really God. Your conscience is really God. The love you feel for your spouse and even your children is only possible because of God. Every decent thing about you, every good quality you possess, every good deed or act of kindness you perform is not even you, but God working through you.

I’ve heard it said from the pulpit that God has no grandchildren. That is, people are not Christians because they are born to Christian parents, they are Christians because they are born and God is their father. It is only later in life that people lose their “natural” way and begin following a different (false) god or no god at all.

The usual and most reasonable rebuttal to this is to point out that Christianity isn’t practiced all over the world. What about places where the majority of people are Muslim or Hindu, for example? What about cultures that embrace Buddhism or Islam? One need only glance casually at the many cultures of the world to see that Christianity clearly is not natural to all humans. Christianity is as cultural and learned as the language you speak or the food you eat, just like every other religion in the world.

The assertion that Christianity is natural to humans also calls into question the need for missionaries. According to the Bible, Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But why is this necessary if humans are natural-born Christians? And why do missionaries still travel the world to teach people this inborn trait?

As an atheist who was once a Christian, I am often told that I couldn’t possibly have been a “real” Christian. A true Christian would never abandon Christianity, after all. I’m often told that I just didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t pray enough or read the Bible enough. That’s why it stopped making sense; that’s why I stopped believing.

Bottom line: I was just doin’ it wrong.

But how can that be? If Christianity is inherent in humans, why does it require so much work to get right? If a newborn baby can latch onto its mother’s breast and drink her milk within minutes of being born, surely a grown person who has spent more than half her life rooting around in the bosom of Christianity could find some source of nourishment to keep her faith alive.

Perhaps Christianity doesn’t come as naturally as some claim.

I don’t have to work at being 5’4′. I don’t have to try to keep my eyes green. I don’t have to practice having brown hair. I don’t struggle to maintain my shoe size of 8 1/2. These are natural characteristics. There is no way I can get any of that wrong. And if Christianity were a natural characteristic, no-one would get that wrong either.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On

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11 responses to “Christianity: U R Doin It Rong

  • Postman

    Lottie,

    I think I may have spotted a chink in your eevil atheistickal, (and perhaps even Satanic), argument.
    I don’t have total recall of my entire life, but I do remember being 20 years old and I know for a fact that I was naturally inclined toward sex and drugs at that time. Preferably both at once and in large quantities. Now that I’m… a bit older, my natural inclination seems to be a good, strong cup of tea in the morning, a bit of writing in the afternoon and maybe an episode of Eureka before bed.
    I’m also pretty sure that my folks only had sex three times, never did drugs, don’t drink tea, shy away from reading, (much less writing), and don’t watch Eureka.
    Therefore, by the most solid logic, Xianity must be a natural inclination. Ipso Facto, &tc., &tc.

  • Lottie

    How did I not see it before? It’s all so clear now!

    Thank you for showing me the way, opening my eyes, &tc., &tc.

  • truthwalker

    Ya know the one I get a lot? “You can’t understand it because you don’t have the Holy Spirit.” Or translated out of Christianese “I don’t have to understand it, I’m related to the boss.”

  • Lottie

    Yep! I forgot about that one. We just don’t understand spiritual things. ::sigh::

    And the translation you gave is spot on!

  • Lone Wolf

    I’ve never actually heard that argument. It is a stupid one and very easy to falsify. If it where true than we should find Christan-esk religions develop independently of each other in culture that had no contact with each other but we clearly don’t.
    I’d question the sanity of a person who makes such an argument.

  • Lottie

    If it where true than we should find Christan-esk religions develop independently of each other in culture that had no contact with each other but we clearly don’t.

    Yep! That’s the usual and most reasonable rebuttal, I think.

  • davidtjordan

    Hey, Lottie!

    Yeah. This whole ‘we’re born good’ thang isn’t biblical at all. We are in fact born into sin because of the fall and have absolutely NO inclination toward our creator (Rom 3:10, et al). Our ‘default’ setting, if you will, is actually against God. Whatever pastor or church taught you this was wrong. Lone Wolf, you’re correct to question the sanity of one who believes man is inclined to Christianity. It simply ain’t so.

    I do believe, however, that man is inclined to worship. Be it rocks, the sun-god, the moon-god, TV, sports, money, sex, Isis or even Yahweh- man has, from the beginning of time, worshiped. So I would say there is an innate need to worship something, whether that’s the God of Christianity or not.

    But the idea that Christianity is a natural inclination of humans- pure BS. (that’d be bovine schatology, fyi!) 🙂 You can tell your ex-pastor to take a leap!! And your friends that told you you didn’t work, pray, read the Bible hard enough… WOW! I’m so sorry. I mean that. Christianity isn’t what YOU do… it’s what Christ has already done on your behalf. We’re saved by grace alone through faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), not by works (Titus 3:5). This is what really ticks me off about Christians that don’t read the bible for themselves- they get it wrong! Lottie, you probably had it right somewhere along the way. Leave it to ill-informed so called “Christians” (I have my doubts, based on your post) to screw up the Good News!!! Geesh!

    Oh, well.. it’s been a while and I wanted to say, “HI.”

    ~David

  • Lottie

    And they would say that you have it wrong and show you passages from the Bible to support their claims. Funny how that works…

    But thanks for commenting.

  • Selena

    I know from my personal experience, it wasn’t/isn’t in my nature to crave God, even as a believer. There is a part that does, but a part that doesn’t. I feel very Sybil-like. It’s a struggle, but I still believe. I am still at my mom’s and her internet is slow so I’ll have to come back to this one.

    Good post and hopefully other believers will consider your view!

  • Lottie

    Thanks for commenting, Selena. I appreciate your feedback.

  • Tony Agee

    Hi Lottie.
    Your argument makes perfect sense to me. I grew up travelling around as an Air Force dependent. I couldn’t help but notice that some places we lived, we didn’t go to church, and asked about it. The answer I got was that “they don’t have our kind of church around here”. But I knew that place just down the street was a church, and I’d see people going in there looking just as serious as the church we went to. I was about 10 years old when it occurred to me that it was not possible that so many people could take such different stories of gods to be absolutely life or death true, and only ONE be right. They all had to be wrong. So, I started learning more about different religions, and actually read the Wholly Babble about 3 times by the time I was 13, and I decided you couldn’t see daylight between them for weirdness, and not a shred of evidence for any of them being true, and no sign of a way to tell if any was right.

    I decided by 14 – I’m 53 now – that all religions were just examples of how good men and women can be at fooling themselves in the interest of wishful thinking. In almost 40 years now, I’ve seen nothing to make me think differently

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