Why Christians Accept Bad Arguments, The Gruth Creed, Part 2

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how problematic the Gruth Creed is, the idea that God = Truth. This causes many problems between Christians and non-believers, because it means that they simply do not have the same standards for words like “evidence” or “proof” that many others seem to have. Let me give you an example.

A few weeks ago, I was treated, in my home church, to a story of a woman’s back pain. Much like the story of the woman bleeding for 12 years and in need of Jesus (Mark 5:25), this church congregant had been dealing with pain for a long time. One day, the pain got so bad that she, in her distress, cried out to the Lord in prayer, not even sure if He’d hear it (Psalm 18:6). She went to bed that night with only her back spasms and agony to keep her warm, but when she awoke the next day, she felt better.

God also never seems to heal amputees…or anyone with a camera.

While I was supremely underwhelmed by this story, it was the heavyweight champion at church that day, packing a punch just as good as any of Muhammad Ali’s. People were astounded and amazed that God, in His infinite glory came down and healed this woman’s back pain. Just for the sake of posterity and not because we need to to change anyone’s mind, let’s remind ourselves of what the blinders are here.

In order for this story to be meaningful, you have to ignore the fact that about 3 people die per hour of some car accident across the US every single day. This is really just one statistic out of many we could draw. Stillborn children born, people dying of allergic reactions, people mauled by bears (42 people, to be exact), people actually getting crushed to death by vending machines, etc. I always thought that last one might be a hard way to go, and my point is this: I’m not saying that God didn’t heal this woman’s back pain. I’m just saying that He’s clearly not a multi-tasker.

The only reason that I can think of that this woman’s story about a pain that could clearly go away without divine intervention from the Creator of the universe was considered powerful is because of the Gruth Creed. In the Part 1, I said that Christians lie because they think that God is truth, and if God is truth, everything that leads to God is truth. Here’s the other side of the same gruthy coin: If everything that leads away from God is truth, everything that leads to Him is.

This is what I call truth by proxy. Because of the fundamental assertion of God and its inherent, trustworthy status in the mind of the believer, believers tend to grant that truth status to just about anything leading to God. That’s why you can have a national tragedy where two important buildings are destroyed and thousands of people killed, but all Christians can talk about is how wonderful the God they serve is because two bars of metal look like a cross. Or a train derailment that injures and kills hundreds, but a “miracle” baby survives.

You know what else is in the shape of a cross? Intersections where people die in their cars.

When I was still a Christian, one of the most powerful presentations that I saw was put on by evangelical pastor Louie Giglio. He gave a talk called “How Great is our God” and it featured music by Christian artist Chris Tomlin. It was centered on showing the absolute majesty of the universe – the one within and without. He effectively used a golf ball to illustrate comparative size of the earth with just about anything else and hammered home the point that this was not the biggest deal anywhere, but the holy King of Kings decided to come here to redeem the human race.

Near the end of the talk, he gets into talking about a protein called laminin. And apparently, this protein is amazing because it keeps our cells together and it kinda looks like a cross under a microscope. That’s it.

I’d love to hear what you guys think, but as for me, I think it really is true what they say: “Seek and you shall find.” (Matt 7:7) You always do find what you’re looking for, and if you are already committed to an answer, it seems there’s nothing that you won’t do to get there.

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3 thoughts on “Why Christians Accept Bad Arguments, The Gruth Creed, Part 2”

  1. This is quite insightful. I have never thought of it quite like this, though I don’t believe that even in my most Christian moments, I ever signed on to the Gruth Creed. This is why I was finally able to leave the church. I took the truth of God’s existence to be the same as any other kind of truth, and when I eventually weighed the evidence, I found the claims of God’s existence to be wanting.

    This is not to say that, as a Christian, I did not take certain statements about God to be true without questioning them. I took God’s existence for granted, in the same way that I believed that the earth was round. I think many Christians are much the same as I was – willing to change their beliefs about God, but only if shown a mountain of compelling evidence.

    The thing is that Christian churches, through luck or design (with a good deal of natural selection thrown in, I suspect), are perfectly suited for insulating their members from any facts which contradict their beliefs. There is an eerie symmetry between the authority structures of the church and those of academia, with the only difference being the methods used. I think that the majority of creationists, for example, are not lying for Jesus, but are instead parroting the things they’ve been told by authority figures such as pastors and evangelists, who they see as being more trustworthy and moral than secular scientists. Thus, only a few believers have to actually lie. The rest just have to believe the liars.

    Anyway, this is an interesting series, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rest of it.

    Like

    1. Thanks! I mean, I respect your opinion, but I hardly think its controversial to say that God equals truth in the Christian paradigm. I don’t want to overstate it, but I don’t even know if you can be a Christian without believing quite heavily that God represents some kind of final, absolute truth.

      But I totally get what you’re saying about how most Christians behave in regards to authority figures. This week, I’ll be writing a post about authority and credibility, because we all have to rely on it. I don’t know everything about everything, so I have to believe other people about climate change, the theory of evolution, elections, engineering, racism, or vaccines. We all have to use people as proxies for knowledge, because we can’t have a deeply internalized understanding of everything, and so what we have to think about is the mechanisms by which we make the choices of who is credible and who is not.

      I hope to see more of your comments!

      Like

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