Challenge Response: If Christianity Were True, Enlightened Countries Would Believe It

Here's my response to this week's challenge

0:07 If Christianity were true, enlightened

0:09 countries would believe it.

0:12 And today's challenge says that

0:14 basically if Christianity were really true,

0:15 then it would be gaining believers in

0:18 these enlightened cultured countries, not

0:20 losing them. And so this challenge is

0:22 citing a study that was reported in the

0:25 BBC that suggests that religion might be

0:28 becoming extinct in nine countries.

0:31 Here's what they say: "The important thing

0:33 to note is that in the nine nations

0:35 cited all of them are First World

0:37 affluent and highly educated countries."

0:40 By the way, the countries are Australia,

0:42 Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic,

0:44 Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New

0:47 Zealand, and Switzerland. They say this:

0:49 "The fact that religion is dying in these

0:51 enlightened countries and not, for

0:53 instance, in countries of lower

0:55 prominence is compelling evidence that

0:57 religion is not a product of reality but

1:00 rather a reflection of man's

1:02 pre-scientific superstitions." Now, this is

1:06 kind of a peculiar challenge, but let me just

1:10 offer three quick thoughts regarding it.

1:13 My first thought is this: It seems like a

1:15 bit of an overstatement to suggest that

1:18 religion is going to become extinct in

1:20 nine nations. Now keep in mind "extinct" means

1:23 that no one believes in religion at all.

1:26 Not one person. And so again, it seems

1:29 like a bit of a stretch that that would be

1:30 the case, but nevertheless, alright, fine,

1:32 that's what they're claiming. But to me

1:33 it seems like a bit of an overstatement.

1:35 And by the way, I'm curious, why is not

1:38 say England or the United States also

1:41 not included in that list? I mean aren't

1:43 they also First World, affluent, highly

1:45 educated countries? So again, I'm not

1:47 saying that this disqualifies the

1:49 whole study, but it still makes you

1:51 wonder why that wasn't included. The

1:54 second thing is this: What does this study

1:56 really tell us? To me it tells us that

1:59 people who are living in a very secular

2:02 state, very secular country, who are being

2:05 trained and educated by secular schools,

2:08 probably by a lot of professors and

2:10 teachers who have adopted scientific

2:12 naturalism,

2:13 people who are being raised in such a

2:16 culture are growing up to become less

2:18 religious. Is that a surprise? Doesn't

2:22 seem to me at all like it would be

2:23 surprising. Of course. What else would we

2:25 expect? My third thought is this: This

2:28 doesn't surprise me at all

2:30 what they claim that they have found.

2:31 Think about this. Are people who are

2:35 First World affluent and highly educated

2:38 more likely to believe that they are

2:40 wretched criminals deserving of

2:42 punishment and desperately in need

2:45 of a savior to save them from the crimes

2:47 they've committed against the Holy God?

2:48 No, I wouldn't think that would be the

2:51 case. Are people who are First World,

2:54 highly educated, and affluent more likely

2:56 to take up their cross, deny themselves,

2:58 and follow Jesus on a regular basis? No,

3:01 of course not. So to me, this study

3:04 doesn't seem to prove that religion is

3:06 going extinct. Rather, it seems to be more

3:08 consistent with what the Scriptures

3:10 already say about the nature of reality

3:12 and especially about what Jesus said.

3:14 Jesus said look, it's not the

3:17 healthy that need a doctor, rather, it's the

3:18 sick, and he has not come to call the

3:20 righteous, but rather, to call sinners to

3:23 repentance.

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Alan Shlemon