Atheist Objection #6
There are two ways to respond to this argument. First, we want to understand what the argument claims. The argument claims that Christian belief is the product of cultural conditioning. Understanding an argument or objection is a very critical first step in the process of answering questions and/or defending the faith. If you have paid close attention to my rebuttals of Bob’s atheistic claims, I have almost always turned the table on the atheist. The rebuttal in this post will be no different. I want to show you how to turn the tables of this objection on the atheist. Second, there is evidence that the claim is patently false on the face of it.
To begin with, it is not the case that people only believe in Christianity because they were born in a Christian culture. Christianity would have never advanced to the state it is today if this were true. Christianity began with Christ’s calling of his disciples. The Christian church exploded into existence instantly, according to Acts 2, with a whopping 120 people in Jerusalem. From Christ and a handful of disciples to 120. From there the growth was nothing less than miraculous. If this argument were true, Christianity would have never existed because it could have never gotten started. The idea that any movement is the product of “grandma told me so” is just plain nonsense.
Bob points out,
Why are some fundamentalist Christians so concerned that their kids’ going to college will shake their faith? If the evidence supports Christianity, then more education and sharper analytic skills can only enhance the Christian argument. Their concern is well placed, which doesn’t say much about the evidence backing up Christian claims.
The problem with Bob’s argument is a problem for many Christian arguments as well. You see, Christians are not Christians because of propositional evidence. Christians are not Christians because of compelling arguments. Christians who are as much, simply on the ground of propositional evidence or rational arguments, are not genuine Christians. Their faith is rational, natural, mental assent. They are Christians the same way a Muslim is a Muslim. However, true Christians possess true faith, gifted to them by God, and their faith stands in the power of the gospel and not the arguments or rhetoric or wisdom of worldly men. Christians do not become Christians like atheists become atheists or Buddhists become Buddhists or Muslims become Muslim. Christians are made only by God. Being a Christian is not an act or even partly an act of the human will. Being a Christian is to be born from above, to be born of God! Christians do not join the club, they are born into it by God.
The second problem with this argument is that it applies to atheism as well. Atheists only refuse to believe in God because they were born in a atheistic environment, family, etc. If atheists had not been exposed to atheistic thought along the way, they would have not become atheist. Now, Bob is going to strongly oppose argument and point out all the facts out there that refute it. And in so-doing, Bob is going to refute his own objection that Christians are only Christians because they were born in a Christian culture. The argument should be abandoned because it is self-refuting. If it is true, then it also is the product of cultural conditioning.