The Best Reason Not to Be a Christian
by Travis Lambert
I was sitting in a coffee shop just the other day when I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on a conversation. There were two men sitting at a table by the window.
“So I told him I wasn’t a Christian, and he told me I was going to hell!” said the first man.
The second man shook his head in commiseration. “That’s why you’re perfectly justified in being an atheist.”
I was brought up to believe that belief in anything should be dependent upon the strength of the evidence and the validity of the arguments for it, not upon the character–or, in the present case, the tact–of the person who believed it. Ah, but how easy and refined and (above all) modern it is to believe or disbelieve something based on how much affection one has for its proponents, or how fashionable the idea is, or any number of irrational factors. How much easier it would be, rather than slave away thinking about an idea and evaluating the arguments for it, to simply find some mean person who believes it.
I immediately thought of certain professors and fellow students who, upon finding out I was a Christian, accused me of being ignorant, intolerant, and backward. I wanted to ask these coffee shop philosophers if such an experience justified my not being an atheist, but somehow I expected that I would have received a different answer. Probably they would have resorted back to my original feeling, namely that for all things the evidence must be weighed. What a pity that such a valuable concept only lends itself to cases of special pleading.
But isn’t Christianity a valid exception? Isn’t Christianity supposed to make people nice? And if we find Christians who aren’t nice, aren’t we justified in believing that Christianity doesn’t work? Still further, that it is false?
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