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Wednesday, 4 February 2015


Modern Christians are very poor evangelists. Catholic churches are better attended than C of E and other protestant churches (with the possible exception of the charismatic churches). Even Catholics, though, rely on family traditions to keep the numbers up – and the numbers are not good.

Most Christians in the UK are shy about talking about their faith and I think this is deplorable. One reason is that the attacks upon it from the new atheists are so vicious. The faith that is being attacked is a lamentable parody of Christianity. Dawkins calls himself and his fellow atheists “brights”, implying that Christians are just silly. Christianity is portrayed as being like belief in Father Christmas or the tooth fairy. This is a very stupid argument because belief in Father Christmas and the tooth fairy are beliefs out of which everyone grows.

There are no absolute proofs of Christianity, not even for the existence of God. For the truth of Christian doctrines like the Trinity and the Incarnation the situation is worse. But believing in Christianity is not just silly. There are many good reasons to believe. Faith is not simply credulity.

One sort of reason for believing Christianity to be true can be arrived at by looking at its fruits. The reverse argument can be made about Socialism (a quasi-religion) or Islam (a legal system with a pinch of theology). The fruits of Christianity include Science (which only ever developed in Christendom), Parliamentary Democracy (likewise), Human Rights (likewise also), Capitalism, Paradise Lost and medieval cathedrals – oh, and the Abolition of Slavery. To be sure, many post Christian societies pay lip service to these fruits. Also, to be sure, these fruits did not ripen suddenly in the first century in the Roman Empire. The ripening happened gradually in Christian Medieval Europe.

Incidentally, the Middle Ages have recently been enjoying a rehabilitation among historians; the “Dark Ages” slur is one which most historians would now be embarrassed to utter, unless perhaps in connection with the epoch ushered in by the so-called Enlightenment and the French Revolution. What could be darker than the catastrophe of the First World War, from which we are still experiencing aftershocks.

In short, everything we most value is the product of Christendom, and arguably of Christianity.

This is not a silly tooth fairy system of belief. It is insulting to human intelligence to even suggest it.

Christians have been very heartened by scientific discoveries in the twentieth century. Big Bang cosmology and the discovery of DNA as well as the discovery of the astonishingly fine-tuned nature of the Universe, while not proving Christianity to be true, are entirely consistent with Christian theology. Moreover, historians have destroyed the myth that there was once a great war between Christianity and Science and that Science won. It didn't happen.

In my view, this is a very bad time to be a Materialist. It’s also a bad time to be ashamed of Christianity.

One very good reason to believe in the Christian doctrine of the Fall is that stupid ideas, such as Materialism and Socialism, are so widely accepted. The fruits of Socialism, for example, are manifestly pernicious – blindingly so. A little thought and as much observation as you like ought to convince you. A moral compass is helpful too. 

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