By Elias Ayala (M.A.T. & Mdiv)
The Christian can respond in multiple ways to this assertion. First, we may respond with: “So What?” Even if it is true that a person affirms Christianity out of a desire to find psychological comfort, it does not follow that Christianity is false. Furthermore, this assertion commits the genetic fallacy by faulting a belief based upon how a person came to hold the belief. For example, as mentioned previously, if the reason for adopting Christianity was to find psychological comfort, it does not follow that Christianity is false.
Additionally, if an atheist asserts that persons adopt Christianity out of a desire to find psychological comfort, how does the atheist know this? Can the atheist know what each individual who adopts Christianity is thinking and why or why not he or she chooses to believe in a position? Of course not. Such a claim is in fact reversible to the atheist. We could suggest that one holds to atheism for the psychological comfort that he or she will not be judged and held responsible for their actions. But notice that even if this statement is true, it has no bearing as to whether atheism is true or false.
I think the more important question is whether or not Christianity is “merely” a psychological crutch. It is true that if Christianity is true, it provides phycological and spiritual comfort. There is no doubt that the reality of a creator God who loves and cares for His people is a comforting thought, but is it true? I think the Christian has rational grounds to affirm the truth of the Christian worldview. Among many reasons, I think the God of scripture has clearly made Himself known so that “man is without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Not only is there clear evidence of God all around us, because God has made Himself known to us, but God has also provided the only worldview perspective that provides the intellectual prerequisite for making sense of human experience and interpretation of the world around us. For instance, atheism fails as an adequate worldview perspective on multiple levels: 1) Its worldview foundation (in whatever form the atheistic perspective may come) is arbitrary and without adequate justification, 2) Atheism is fraught with internal worldview inconsistencies, and 3) Atheism cannot provide the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. It does not provide an adequate intellectual framework with which one can make sense of human experience and knowledge.
On the other hand, if atheism is false, it does not logically follow that Christianity is true. However, the positive argument for the Christian perspective is that if it were not true one could not prove anything at all. The atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. may reject this positive claim on the part of the Christian, however, this is the claim and the Christian is encouraged to put this claim to the test. The claim is not that Christianity is “a” rational position for folks to consider; rather the claim is that Christianity is the “only” rational position to hold. And “if” Christianity is true, then it follows that all non-Christian world-views are false. For Christianity does not 1) Have an unjustified arbitrary foundation, 2) There are no internal worldview inconsistencies, and 3) Christianity does in fact provide the necessary worldview ingredients and prerequisite for human experience to be intelligible.
In response to the hypothetical claim that the above assertions are narrow minded and arrogant, the reader must be reminded that the nature of truth is by of necessity narrow. If a proposition is true, then any proposition that contradicts it would be false. In other words, if the Christian claim is true, than all other competing claims are false. If a competing claim to the Christian perspective is true, than the Christian worldview is false. If someone suggests that perhaps we should be open minded and neutral in regards to investigating the facts about each worldview perspective, and follow the evidence where it leads, and if this statement is true, then it automatically evinces a bias and non-neutral stance against the Christian perspective which teaches that no one is neutral and open minded in this regard. (Matthew 12:30). In essence, the exclusive claims of the Christian worldview are not unique to the Christian worldview, rather, every worldview makes claims that suggests that some other perspective is false. Competing world-view perspectives are in a collision course with one another…May the best worldview win.