There are two sorts of objections to Christian belief. On the one hand there are objections to the truth of Christianity. These attempt to show that belief in Christianity is false. Some atheists have argued that evil disproves God’s existence. This would be an objection to the truth of Christianity. On the other hand there are objections to the rationality of Christianity. Here the claim is not that Christianity is false but rather that belief in Christianity is irrational, unjustified, or foolish. The next series of posts address the second kind of objection: is Christian belief irrational?

Science

A very popular objection to the rationality of Christian belief is that, while it has been rational in the past, given developments in modern science (e.g.: evolution), Christianity is no longer rational to believe. As we saw in the previous post, this objection is completely without justification. In fact, the opposite is true; if science is in conflict with anything, it is in conflict with naturalism (the view that nothing like God exists).

Arrogance

A second – perhaps more interesting – objection is that it is arrogant to believe something you know others do not believe. It is highly arrogant for the Christian to think that what seems obvious to her is more likely correct than what seems obvious to others. Christians are therefore guilty of arrogance. Is this a convincing argument?

Well, it seems obviously true to me that torturing infants for fun is wrong. I believe this very strongly. And I know that some people disagree. Some believe that nothing is really wrong. Suppose I’ve thought pretty hard about this belief. I’ve considered serious objections to it. In the end, however, it remains abundantly clear to me that it is wrong to torture an infant for fun. Could I really be accused of arrogance for maintaining my belief in this case? It’s not clear how. Furthermore, the claim is self-refuting; it shoots itself in the foot. For anyone that believes it would be rendered “arrogant” (since not everyone agrees with it). For these reasons, this objection is not a very good one.

Warrant

Karl Marx famously remarked that religion “is the opium of the people”. He held that, as a result of societal influence, believers find themselves with brains that are not working properly. If their brains were working properly, then they’d come to believe as Marx does. Freud, on the other hand, argued that belief in God offers something to the believer. Namely an ability to live out this cold, miserable world. In other words, our brains may be working properly, but religious belief is aimed at wish-fulfillment rather than truth. Fundamentally, Marx and Freud argued that religious belief lacks warrant [1]. Here at least we seem to have found a worthy objection.

What interests us in the coming series of posts is whether or not Christian belief lacks warrant. We will begin by taking a closer look at warrant and then set out to discover whether Christian belief has warrant. Stay tuned!

Part 1 – – Part 2 – – Part 3 – – Part 4


[1] Warrant will be looked at in depth in the following post, but it can be defined briefly like this: “warrant is the property enough of which is what distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief”.

About the Featured Image

There’s not a lot to report here. The image was taken at a rental house in San Francisco. It’s a macro (close up) shot of a coffee table decoration. The piece itself, if memory serves, was not very big. Maybe a foot by a foot. And there you have it.