Do the moral failings of Christians prove that Christianity is false? As I write this, another Christian celebrity is being accused of sexual impropriety. To their credit, they have acknowledged wrong doing and have accepted responsibility. This doesn’t excuse the behaviors by any means. But at least the victims do not have to live through the anguish of having their claims denied.
Stories like these break my heart. As the father of a daughter, one of my greatest fears is of something happening to her. And while I don’t want her to live a life of fear, I do want her to have a realistic view of how the world works. And this does require a healthy skepticism of people both in and outside of the church.
A Human Problem
But what do such acts tell us about Christianity itself? Does the fact that some Christians behave this way mean that Christianity itself isn’t true? And if it is true, why don’t more Christians behave the way we are told to in the Bible?
First, I think it’s important to recognize that in a group of followers of any belief system, there are those that are going to have moral failings. We see this in religion, politics, education and every vocation known to man. If you think that your specific group is immune to the problem, then you are kidding yourself. This isn’t just a Christian problem, it’s a human problem.
The Bible Actually Predicts This
Secondly, Christianity predicts that people will fail morally. It’s at the heart of our story. This is the whole point of why Jesus came. We are incapable of living morally perfect lives. Even if you devoted every spare minute of your life to focus on living morally, you would not be able to do it. We need a redeemer precisely because we fail.
Why does God give us laws? Why do governments make laws? Is it because people wouldn’t know how to behave otherwise? No, it’s because we know people will not behave morally. If left to our own devices with no consequences, people will become worse and worse. Any parent can tell you what happens if you fail to correct bad behavior in a child. They will not stop as long as they know they can get away with it.
Is It True?
Christianity properly understood accurately describes humanity as I see it. If you look at the world the way it is and think “This is how things should be”, then you need some serious counselling! We all recognize deep down that the world is broken. But what actually makes sense of that feeling? Are we to believe this is just a trick of evolution to get us to survive as a species? Or do we actually think that right and wrong exist?
Christianity not only accurately describes the nature of humans, it offers a solution to the problem. It gives us a standard to strive for. It offers a formula to follow when we fail as well. We accept responsibility, confess wrongdoing, ask for forgiveness from those we wronged and God, and then do not repeat the behavior.
How Do We Know Christianity Hasn’t Made People Better?
But if Christianity is such a great system, and it’s true, shouldn’t it’s adherents be more like Jesus? Yes, they should. But therein lies the rub. How exactly do we know that Christianity HASN’T made a difference in someone’s life? Perhaps they would be worse without the moral restraints put on them by the Christian worldview. Maybe not. But to just assume that Christianity hasn’t made a difference in their lives is not an assertion that can be proved.
So Christianity is not about being morally perfect. Christianity accurately predicts that we will fail morally. It then offers solutions to rectify our relationships with those we have hurt, and with God Himself. Ultimately, we rely on the grace of Jesus to cover us from the wrongdoing we will never stop doing. So moral failings are not a sign that Christianity is false. It’s actually an indicator of how correct the Christian worldview actually is.
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