Is Christianity Relevant Today?
We live in an era of incredible technological advances. Thanks to our growing understanding of science and our mastery of the natural world, many live in unprecedented comfort. Every day, we discover new techniques for treating disease. We are now also the most well-informed people to ever live. The study of any subject is but a single web search away. We have instantaneous, free communication around the globe. With our combination of technology and communication, we have every reason to be optimistic about our potential to improve our lives and make the world a better place.
Is there a place for Christianity in a world like this? Is it even needed?
The Challenge Against Religion
In the face of such intellectual might, there is a growing suspicion in western culture that there is no longer a place for religion, including Christianity. If you browse secular blogs, you will be bombarded with claims that religion is merely a crutch people have used to make up a real understanding of how the world works. Religion may have benefits for strengthening communities and giving people hope, but it is far more destructive than it is helpful.
Religion is declared to be an instigator of war. It is said to divide people and generate hostility. In fairness, it is not hard to see why people would believe this. One only need turn on the news each day and read about acts of terror committed with religious justification.
Religion is also often said to be the enemy of progress. Why try to study our world when we are convinced that gods and demons control our rain and cause our diseases? Some even claim that religious leaders will do their best to halt scientific inquiry, for science has the potential to undermine their authority and destroy the power they have over their followers.
Like many criticisms, these concerns have an element of truth to them. However, their threat is far overstated. Yes, there have been much evil done in the name of religion, but there has been also much evil done apart from religion. Yes, there are religious leaders who are more concerned with holding power than with truth, yet many scientists who hold religious beliefs contribute to our knowledge as well.
Why Religion Matters
So, if we step aside from assaulting religion for a moment, I believe there is reason to be cautious about dismissing religion too quickly. Religion is not merely a collection of values and traditions. At its core, religion is a worldview. It is a comprehensive understanding of reality. The claims it makes about reality are either true or false.
This is not controversial. Take one of the most fundamental questions about life: what happens to us after we die? Do we merely rot in the ground? Are we reincarnated based upon how much good we have done? Do our spirits merge into a single unified consciousness? Do we go to a heaven or a hell? Are our bodies eventually resurrected?
Almost everyone has a belief about the answer to this question. At least they should if they have ever thought about death at all. Basic logic dictates that the contradictory beliefs about death cannot all be true. Furthermore, wishful-thinking does not necessarily reflect reality. This is especially evident for Americans after the latest election. Regardless of what a person wants to believe, positive or negative, Donald Trump is now the President of the United States.
Does Christianity Have a Place?
With this understanding of worldview in mind, let us return to our original question. Does Christianity have a place in our modern world?
The answer is yes. Our scientific advances alone do not have the power that a worldview has. For example, it cannot be a moral judge. Science may give us the ability to make a bomb that can wipe out thousands of people in the blink of an eye. However, science does not provide us with the resources to know how our technology should be used.
Science also does not have the power to answer the most basic questions about human life. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What should we do? What is wrong with the world? What can be done to fix the world?
As a worldview, Christianity can answer these questions. Therefore, if it is true, Christianity should have a central place in our lives. But is Christianity true? Is it practical? Does the Christian worldview make the best sense of the truths we intuitively perceive about life?
I want to suggest that it does. Christianity makes sense… better sense than anything else. I hope that this bold claim has piqued your interest. Whether you think I’m right or wrong, would you be willing to hear me out?
If so, you have my thanks! You can keep reading here to see the case I will make for why Christianity makes sense.