A Vice to Believe

“We live in an age in which it is considered a virtue to disbelieve and a vice to believe,” said Christian Philosopher, Dallas Willard.

We need to understand the times in which we live, and Mr. Willard stated it precisely. We live in an extremely skeptical culture, especially in the United States. Our public schools have been educating the majority of the population for decades now with secular humanism, and a value of moral relativism. These independent beliefs espoused in public education have directly conflicted with the Christian faith. Is it no wonder why many mock Christianity? They’ve been told the Bible is full of fairy tales, and to believe in it, you’re an idiot. This affects believers to the point that many simply don’t read the Bible.

Bible illiteracy is at an all-time high. To give you an example, I once had a coworker, who knew I was a Christian ask me, “Wasn’t the original sin when Adam and Eve had premarital sex?” What? I thought every one knew that story! So, I answered her back with a question of my own, “Why don’t you read the first few chapters of Genesis and find out for yourself?” I had a hard time understanding how someone would say a statement like that without even cracking the Bible open for themselves. I never did find out if she took my advice, but I hope she did.

The Barna Research Group states that fewer than half of all adults can even name the four gospels! Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. 60 percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse (it’s not). Those identified as born-again Christians did better—by one percent. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. So it shouldn’t surprise us that many people don’t think the Bible is relevant anymore. And then there are those who think Christians believe in a myth.

My dad used to mock my faith, saying Jesus was a crutch, and I believed in Santa Claus. I tried to explain my faith to him, saying things like “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship with God,” to no avail. The irony is he had a crutch, too, only his was alcohol. Everyone has a “crutch” of some sort. I would prefer to call it a “God-shaped hole” in your heart. You fill that hole with whatever satisfies at the moment…a lover, a bottle of booze, getting high on drugs, food, fantasy worlds in gaming, etc. Name your fill. We’ve all got one. Yeah, mine is Jesus. Mine is the belief that there is more to life than what meets the eye. Mine has turned my life upside down, from self-destructive behavior, to selfless behavior. I now view my life as one in which to serve humanity around me, instead of having humanity serve me. That is what my “vice” has done for me; not a bad thing to happen to anyone! I am a different person because of Jesus Christ.

Is it a vice to believe? Is it a vice not to believe? I’d say you’re better off believing, being open to the possibility that there is a God in heaven who really does love you and life doesn’t end when your body does. Your spirit lives on in a really cool loving environment (heaven) with the one called “Love.”  That sounds like a satisfying “vice” to me.