Challenge: Salvation by Grace Causes Bad Behavior

Here’s an objection to Christianity from an atheist:

Christianity credits what you believe far above what you do. This idea has caused much misery and suffering over the course of the past two millennia. The notion that what you believe can erase your bad deeds is a very attractive idea to someone who wants to take liberties with the lives and property of other people. If you believe that the threat of the death penalty is enough to dissuade people from breaking the law then you must acknowledge that the promise of unconditional forgiveness is enough to entice people to break the law. And this is exactly what happened during the scourges of the Inquisition and other atrocities committed by Christians.

How would you respond to him on this one? What questions would you ask? What ideas would you ask him to defend? Where is his reasoning shaky? What ideas about Christianity would you clarify?

Let us know what you think in the comments, and come back on Thursday to hear Alan’s response.

[Update: View Alan's video response. Explore past challenges here and here.]


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Amy K. Hall