Christianity Is Based in Truth, Not Superstition

By Al Serrato

My last post dealt with the belief, common among skeptics, that Christianity is simply a form of superstition. Modern “science-minded” people reject superstitions, and so religious belief holds no interest for them. Historic Christian doctrine is in fact much different, however; while some who claim to be Christian may indeed be superstitious, the faith itself is built not upon fanciful thinking but upon a bedrock of truth.

Christianity Truth Superstition

This distinction, and the importance of pursuing truth can be seen in the following analogy: imagine a person who is suffering from a medical disorder. One day he is fine and the next the disease begins the process of eventually killing him. Initially, he does not know he is afflicted.He “feels” fine. He continues to go about his business, concerned with the problems of everyday life and not suspecting that anything may be different, let alone dreadfully wrong. Eventually, symptoms begin to appear, but they are not particularly troubling to him. After friends insist that he have them checked out, he agrees to see a doctor.This is a big step for him, for he does not “believe” in doctors.He thinks that doctors are often wrong and that they rely too much on pills and not enough on just “living right.” He knows that others really believe in doctors, but he is “sincere” in his belief that doctors do more harm than good, especially when one doesn’t “feel” that anything is wrong. After running a battery of tests, however, the doctor identifies the illness and tells the patient what is wrong.

In addition to understanding the affliction, the doctor also has the means to provide the solution. The patient resists, however, insisting that he feels fine and that he doesn’t need any help. He views the surgery and medicines the doctor offers as “butchery” and “potions.” He sincerely believes that the doctor is practicing voodoo.Ultimately, the patient dies, blissfully unaware of his true condition, content in his belief that he was fine and proud of his refusal to resort to talismanic remedies to fix something he did not believe was wrong.

As this analogy demonstrates, how the patient feels about his situation is not particularly relevant. Nor is the sincerity of his belief. He may feel fine, physically and emotionally, but the issue would be his actual condition, i.e. the truth about his disease. Christianity needs to be assessed on these terms. Either the Biblical claims are true – we are in a world of trouble and only Jesus can save us – or they’re not. If they are true, how we feel about them is of little consequence. And ignoring and rejecting them will, in the end, not succeed.

Now some may object that doctors practice science, and so the analogy is misplaced. The patient was wrong not to rely on science. But science is simply one way of testing and developing knowledge.It is not the only way. Science cannot tell us whether we possess souls and whether these souls are in need of salvation.And science cannot tell us whether improbable past events actually occurred.The only way we can make that assessment is by considering the evidence upon which Christianity is based and becoming familiar with the philosophy that supports its claims.

But we must do so with an open and inquiring mind… for the consequences of ignoring our spiritual illness can be as devastating as the disease was for the unsuspecting patient.

 


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16 replies
  1. TGM says:

    What your argument overlooks is that the doctor can provide empirical evidence that the patient is ill. She can show the blood work. She can identify the virus, tumor, or other invasive item. And the doctor can demonstrate treatment methods that have been effective in helping other patients overcome their own symptoms. If your skeptic wishes to continue doubting, that’s his problem.
    .
    The assertion that Christianity is the cure to some illness requires both 1) that we are sick, and 2) that Christianity provides the cure. The evidence for both of those is orders of magnitude poorer than the doctor’s evidence. Quality of evidence counts.
    .
    From Wikipedia: “Superstition is a pejorative term for any belief or practice that is irrational – i.e., it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown.” Christianity meets any or all of these criteria in its adherents and is an apt characterization.

    Reply
    • Susan says:

      You need to read up on non-overlapping magisteria.

      Science has no authority in the metaphysical realm so it can’t authoritatively classify faith as superstition.

      Also Christians have evidence for their beliefs. HIstorical events are
      usually attested to by participants and eyewitnesses and that occurred in Christianity.

      Because atheists like to accord a metaphysical authority to science that it doesn’t have doesn’t change those facts.

      Maybe you should start consulting God on the metaphysical realm since science only holds keys to the material realm.

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        There is no known authority on the “metaphysical realm”. There are no known metaphysical beings, objects, etc.
        Regardless, much faith is indeed superstition, such as the belief in angels or supernatural beings.
        Christians have good evidence for some of their beliefs, and not for others. Cats exist, but no one has probably been bodily resurrected as if cremated. That there are testimonials claiming to have observed such a thing fail to make it probable.
        It is also the case that a resurrection wouldn’t tell us anything thereby about the metaphysical world.

        Reply
      • TGM says:

        My post was not about science. It was about evidence. Science itself is not evidence. Science is the most effective method we have to go about reliably acquiring unbiased evidence.
        .
        You seem to imply that there is a better method of acquiring evidence about the world, including the metaphysical realm. I’m all ears. Can you please share with me how this other method works so I can try it? And can you also tell me how I will know that method is reliable, so that I can trust my results. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Jeremy says:

          I think the word unbiased is not accurate. Scientific data has to be interpreted by a scientist that has biased opinions. Ex. Einstein when he was working on the theory of General relativity. His calculations all pointed to a universe that was expanding and not eternal like he thought/wanted. In his mind if the universe had a beginning it had to have a cause. This the law of Causality. Not liking what his calculations were saying he did something crazy and stuck in a formula that divided by 0. He later admitted this was his biggest mistake he ever made. He did this so he could get the result he wanted of an Eternal universe. So his own basis and beliefs forced him to botch his calculations on purpose. Scientist do this all the time to force the results into their own beliefs. Using the law of causality. I know that when reading a blog post it was created by an intelligent mind. Because there is not proof of a natural process that can create intelligence. So when an atheist scientist looks at DNA of a once celled Ameba which is roughly 3 billion characters long. They immediately state these perfectly aligned characters could not be caused by an intelligent being. Why is that? All the evidence we have points to an intelligent being. Why would they rule it out? My guess is they are like Einstein and they don’t want it to be true. What’s your Thoughts?

          Reply
          • KR says:

            “Scientific data has to be interpreted by a scientist that has biased opinions. ”
            .
            It’s ironic that you would attack science for being biased when it’s the only method we have with a proven track record of reducing the effect of personal bias. Sure, there’s been bad science but as your Einstein story shows, the way we expose this bad science is always better science.
            .
            “So when an atheist scientist looks at DNA of a once celled Ameba which is roughly 3 billion characters long. They immediately state these perfectly aligned characters could not be caused by an intelligent being.”
            .
            Atheist and theist scientists apply exactly the same scientific method and come to the same conclusion: all observations point to living organisms being the result of an evolutionary process. Scientists may differ on the ultimate cause of reality but this is irrelevant when it comes to doing science as it’s only based on empirical, independently verifiable observations.

          • toby says:

            So when an atheist scientist looks at DNA of a once celled Ameba which is roughly 3 billion characters long. They immediately state these perfectly aligned characters could not be caused by an intelligent being. Why is that?
            It seems that you’re impressed by the number of “characters”. Maybe scientists wouldn’t jump to the conclusion of intelligence because there is a plant that has 50 times as much. There’s an amoeba that is reported to have 200 times more DNA than humans. So what about that screams intelligence to you? Intelligent but incredibly wasteful or inefficient, it seems. Doesn’t sound like the work of a “perfect being” or intelligent process that has an end goal in mind.

  2. bob says:

    “Maybe you should start consulting God on the metaphysical realm…”
    How does one consult God?
    If you have consulted with God and have actually gotten a response, please let us know exactly by what means you consulted with him, exactly what you asked him, and exactly what his response was…unless you were just being sarcastic.

    Reply
    • Susan says:

      Christianity is a revealed religion. God reveals He exists through the Bible.

      It is a work of divine inspiration. Given through more than 1500
      years of propecy.

      People today still prophesize.

      Some people even write books on how to contact God and on faith healing.

      How do we know that God doesn’t seem silent for His own reason?

      Have I been contacted by God?

      Yes I have been and I am not going to put up on this board how for people to tear it down or look for reasons to dismiss it like they have done in dismissing God’s general revelation.

      Become a seeker like Derek Prince recounts he did in his book
      “GIfts of the Spirit” and start your own relationship with God.

      You’re not going to
      be able to have one through another person though. You can only observe other people having their relationships.

      If you want to have a relationship then you have to be active and put in the work and become a genuine seeker and not a skeptic playing word and mind games with God.

      I don’t know how you will genuinely seek that is up to you.

      But try being an original.

      RIght now you have taken so many cues from people who have failed at having a relationship that you have just compounded your own spiritual blindness.

      In my opinion it is all about who you consult. We can all pray to God. There is nothing stopping us but maybe we can’t all interpret His answers.

      You’re not going to successfully have a relationship with God learning from people who refuse to have one are you?

      This transfers over into human life too. Some people seek out good counsel and good examples and some don’t and it impacts their success in forming relationships.

      It’s strange the people other people consult. People consult other people all the time on relationship issues but they don’t inspect the quality of that other person’s relationships before accepting the advice.

      There are levels of competence in the spiritual realm.

      Atheists are fortunate any spiritual
      people talk to them at all because we have just as many reasons to dismiss you as argue with you.

      We only have to engage another person up to a certain point don’t we…then the interaction can become unbeneficial.

      I think atheists have had bad relationship counseling. When you stress the world’s learning ahead of God’s then you receive worldliness.

      When you put God ahead of the world you start down the path of godliness.

      Doesn’t the individual have some choice on which path he stays on?

      Reply
  3. Susan says:

    Christianity is based on a supreme relationship not a superstition.

    Google the article on seeking God over on the Desiring God site by John Piper.

    Imagine you got your mind stuck in one gear: science or materialism and missed God.

    Only you can try to get unstuck or
    not.

    People have wills and can determine to block themselves to serve their own idols or decide to unblock and actively seek God.

    Am I really going to overcome your will by arguing?

    And did I really respect you by trying to overcome your will?

    Some people respect boundaries of politeness when arguing but many don’t.

    Now if you want to group together to maintain your negativity and reinforce not seeking God then that is up to the individual too.

    But where is the original free thinking in that?

    The Virklers write books on communicating with God.

    How come so few atheists read those books?

    And why read atheist writers as a theist at all.

    As a theist I am in a spiritual relationship building process on a life journey.

    Do I really want to derail my major relationship? How will that affect my life journey?

    LIfe is hard enough without major relationships that one can count on in all circumstances.

    Reply
    • juan says:

      before you critcize us dont reading religios books, have you read atheist books like the atheists bible, the god delusion, god is not great, ot have you read other religious books like the qur’n,book of mormons etc… religion is not a diechotomy

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        Oh am I on personal trial now because I referred to a fact widely known in certain circles which is that the Bible says all people whether believer or unbeliever are spiritually blind to a certain degree.

        I point out the Bible to relieve the condition so people can discover their own identity and start their life journeys and I get the third degree?

        I don’t argue any more. I shouldn’t even be writing this. I should be spending more time in the Bible learning God’s perspective so He can relieve more of my own spiritual blindness but taking these detours sometimes helps me understand more.

        Look at the Bible’s history.

        There is no other book extant given through 1500 years of divine inspiration.

        Reply
  4. Alastair Tucker says:

    Arguments for the existence of the Christian God
    Incarnational
    Christians, believe that God has taken a giant step to make himself known, when he clothed himself in human skin and actually entered human history personally, 2,000 years ago. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this. Hebrews 1:3 states ‘The son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’. Thus to meet Jesus is to meet God himself. Speculation has ended. That was OK for the disciples who walked, talked with and learned from Jesus, but how about for us 2,000 years later? We cannot meet Jesus physically today. But we can learn about Jesus through the historical documents that recorded his life and teaching, the Bible.

    The Bible
    The Bible is the most important book ever written. It is quite unique in its:

    1). Circulation

    The Bible has been read by more people in more languages than any other book in history. Up to 1932 alone more than 1,300,000,000 Bibles had been printed and by 1966 at least one book in the Bible had been translated into 1,280 languages. It is now available to 95% of the world’s population.

    2). Survival

    Great care has been taken in its transmission over 3,500 years. The Jews had whole classes of men whose sole duty was to pass on every letter and digit with near perfect fidelity. No other text can compare. Who ever counted the letters and syllables of Plato or Aristotle? Even Shakespeare’s writing from recent history has hundreds of readings in dispute. In contrast, with maybe ten to twenty exceptions, the text of every verse in the New Testament is settled by general consent of scholars.

    3). Continuity

    A collection of books written over a 1,500 year time span, by over 40 authors from every walk of life. Kings, herdsman, soldiers, legislators, fisherman, statesmen, courtiers, priests and prophets, a tentmaking rabbi and a Gentile physician have all contributed, writing from three continents. The writing is diverse, including history, law (civil, criminal, ethical, ritual, sanitary), poetry, parable, allegory, biography, personal correspondence, personal memoirs and diaries, prophecy and apocalyptic. Yet there is a unity, which binds the whole together, a singular voice speaking through it.

    The Bible was also written under a variety of circumstances. It was written on 3 different continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Yet, the great themes of Scripture are maintained in all the writings. The Bible does not contradict itself. There is no way, apart from God the Holy Spirit supervising the writing of the Bible, that this could have been accomplished.
    4). Influence

    The history of Western art, literature, law, ethics and culture can only be understood with reference to the Bible. It is a scandal that many otherwise educated people have not read it for themselves. As historian P Schaff has summarised:

    ‘Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.’

    5). Self authenticating

    Seeing the glory of God in Scripture is not a leap in the dark. It has a real objective self-authenticating reality. God is not honoured and does not glorify Himself if we toss a coin. A leap into the unknown beings no honour to one who has made Himself known.

    The Bible provides several template for this glory – the Glory of God (Romans 1.21) in the following:

    ● In nature (Romans 1.19-20)

    ● In our hearts (Romans 1.15)

    ● In the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4.4)

    ● Radiant through Christ (John 1.14)

    6). Fulfilled Prophecy

    One of the strongest proofs we have of the Bible as God’s word is fulfilled prophecy.

    God spoke to men telling them of things He would bring about in the future. Some of them have already occurred. Others have not. For example, there were more than 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ’s first coming 2,000 years ago. There is no doubt that these are prophecies from God because of manuscripts and scrolls dated before the birth of Christ. These were not written after the fact. They were written beforehand. Scientific dating proves this.

    7). Unabridged

    The Bible presents its heroes truthfully with all of their faults and weaknesses. It does not glorify men as other religions do about their heroes. When you read the Bible, you realize that the people it describes have problems and do wrong just as we do. What made them great was that they trusted in God. One example is David. David is described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet, David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11:1-5) and murder (2 Samuel 11:14-26). This could have been left out of Scripture to hide these details of David’s life. But God included these things.

    8). The support of History

    Archaeological findings support the history recorded in Scripture. Though many unbelieving people throughout history have tried to find archaeological evidence to disprove what is recorded in the Bible, they have failed. It is easy to say that Scripture is untrue. Proving it to be untrue is a different story. It has not been done. In fact, in the past the Bible contradicted the current “scientific” theories, only to be proven later to be in fact true. A good example is Isaiah 40:22, which declared that God “sits on the circle of the earth” long before scientists claimed the earth was a globe.

    It is a fact that no archaeological discovery has ever found the Bible in error and many are confirming it.

    The Bible’s claims of being from God should not be understood as arguing in a circle or by circular reasoning. The testimony of reliable witnesses – particularly of Jesus, but also of others such as Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, and John and Paul in the New Testament – affirm the authority and verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Consider the following passages: Exodus 14:1; 20:1; Leviticus 4:1; Numbers 4:1; Deuteronomy 4:2; 32:48; Isaiah 1:10, 24; Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 11:1–3; Ezekiel 1:3; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:16–21; 1 John 4:6.

    Also of interest are the writings of Josephus, an historian who recorded much of the history of Israel during the first century. In this he records events which coincide with Scripture. In particular the crucifixion as a historical reality. Considering the evidence given, we have no choice but to accept the Bible as being from God (2 Timothy 3:16).

    9). Transformed Lives of the Apostles

    What no sceptic can explain are other consequential FACTS arising from Jesus death and resurrection namely the empty tomb and the transformed lives of the disciples from a demoralised rabble who fled the scene when Jesus was arrested to fearless preachers and defenders of all they had witnessed.

    They wrote their testimony in their own blood. They took what they had witnessed and reprised it in their own deaths many by similar crucifixion. People do not die for what they know to be a lie.

    There isin’t a single non-Christian record that contradicts the claims of martyrdom offered by the local communities and historians. Many of the Apostles were totally unrelated prior to their calling. Their martyrdom is in a completely different category from those of followers who had no first hand experience to know what the truth really was. The apostles would not die for what they definitely knew to be untrue.

    Sceptics can deny one death but they cannot ever, have never and never will be able to deny nor explain the deaths of the Apostles in similar fashion. Their deaths as much as anything testify to the TRUTH of the original crucifixion of Christ and you cannot just dismiss, explain away or deny it.

    Jesus knew the importance of evidence. He pleaded for His miracles as a ground for belief.

    10). The Testimony of witnesses

    The Bible’s claims of being from God should not be understood as arguing in a circle or by circular reasoning.

    The testimony of reliable witnesses – particularly of Jesus and His contempoaries who wrote the Gospels and Epistles indeed the entire New Testament canon was completed within the same generation.

    In the Old Testament others such as Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the Old Testament affirm the authority and verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

    Consider the following passages: Exodus 14:1; 20:1; Leviticus 4:1; Numbers 4:1; Deuteronomy 4:2; 32:48; Isaiah 1:10, 24; Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 11:1–3; Ezekiel 1:3; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:16–21; 1 John 4:6.

    Finally anyone doubting the EVIDENCE should go and see Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” He wasn’t the first hard bitten athiest persauded by it and he won’t be the last.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “Archaeological findings support the history recorded in Scripture.”
      Not really. No archeological evidence has been found to support the historical accuracy of the Exodus story, whereas one would expect a huge amount left by such a large group of people – 600,000 men on foot, plus kids – over 40 years. Mainstream history and archaeology now consider the Exodus never to have happened.
      .
      “People do not die for what they know to be a lie”
      Which disciples do you have clear evidence: 1) Were killed specifically for preaching the risen Jesus, 2) Claimed to be eye-witnesses to Jesus post-Crucifixion, and crucially 3) Turned down the chance to save themselves by recanting their claim?
      .
      “A good example is Isaiah 40:22, which declared that God “sits on the circle of the earth” long before scientists claimed the earth was a globe.”
      A circle is not the same as a globe – beer mats are circles but are not spheres. The Hebrew word ‘Khoog’ is given, not ‘dure’ the more fitting word for ball, as used in Isaiah 22:18 (“toss thee like a BALL into a large country”).
      What’s more, Isaiah 40 is widely believed to have been written around 600 BC, when the idea of a spherical earth was no uncommon in Greek philosophy. Further, there’s plenty in the Bible to suggest a belief in a flat earth. In Matthew, Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain to see ‘all the kingdoms of the world’. We are also told in Joshua that God caused the ‘sun to stand still’. Note, he didn’t make the earth stand still. The author appeared to believe the sun moved around the earth, not the other way around.
      .
      None of the rest of your post even strikes me as evidence, but claims and non sequiturs – “Who ever counted the letters and syllables of Plato or Aristotle?”. Who cares, so what?

      Reply
  5. bob says:

    Al Serrato – “…the faith itself is built not upon fanciful thinking but upon a bedrock of truth.”
    And then he spends the next 4-5 paragraphs NOT revealing this supposed bedrock of truth, but instead offers us an analogy. I don’t accept analogies as evidence of truth. Come on!
    Obviously, this was written for believers, not for the skeptic, not for the doubter.
    This is why it is so very easy to be a minister of the gospel – all the people looking up at you are going to nod in agreement, even when they are not listening, even when you lie.
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Susan says:

      I don’t know why you continue to try to force the Bible to serve your purposes.

      It isn’t a science text. It is the book of salvation and Christ brings spiritual birth to those who return his love and receive him.

      I pick up books all the time on the nature of man and most mention a spiritual component.

      What if man has a faulty spiritual component that needs replacing and you refused to get it done in favor of debunking God erroneously.

      If God had wanted to give us a science text He could have but He didn’t and He can have any number of reasons for not giving one.

      If you take the bait and engage in round the clock atheist games then you miss the point that Christ made in John 3:3.

      If atheist ideas keep you too angry to focus on Jesus then you miss out on John 3 again.

      You are going to have to start to focus on God’s promises and purposes and stop letting His detractors distract you or you miss out on John 3:3 and everyone needs spiritual regeneration even you.

      Too many people in this world starve themselves spiritually in favor of feeding their intellects but Christ said man does not live by bread alone.

      So you may need a good bible teacher to help you digest the Bible until your spirit matures in you.

      RIght now all this arguing is impeding your spiritual formation.

      The first basic right of every human is to be born again.

      Make sure you don’t miss out on that due to all this world’s foolish up roar.

      The world provides a lot of dangerous distractions so many people miss out on the fact that Christ came to bring spiritual birth to people.

      The people that didn’t recognize the spiritual birth process of God at work in this world like to deny this process to other people and tinker with and raise objections to it.

      But if they never received spiritual birth in this lifetime how do they have authority to argue and attempt to change the actions of people who did?

      Jesus Christ died to ensure spiritual regeneration but one must first acknowledge Him then receive him with love and respect.

      For that people need focus on Him.

      So read the Gospels until you receive a clear picture of him and stop disputing.

      You are only delaying and making your own spiritual birth more difficult.

      Christ came to deliver you spiritually but first you have to be formed spiritually.

      So stick to the New Testament until
      you understand spiritual formation or you lose the birthright that Christ died to give you.

      Peace Be With You!

      Reply

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