birth religion

In this latest draft for Our Daily Journey, I attempt to put an apologetical spin on a devotional thought. As always, there is still time for fixes if you spot something.

Read 2 Timothy 1:3-14:  I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you (v. 5).

          It’s popular today to dismiss all religions as merely an accident of birth. If a person is born in Pakistan, the odds are that she will be a Muslim. India produces Hindus, Thailand makes Buddhists, Brazilians tend to be Catholics, and so on. Since most people adopt the religion of their parents, why should we think that any of them is true?

         This sounds like a powerful argument, until you think about it. The fact that certain regions tend to believe in different gods has no bearing on whether or not their god is true. Most Russians and Africans reject gay marriage while many in the West seem to accept it. Does this mean neither side is right? Some cultures believe in witch doctors, but this fact does not cause us to doubt the reliability of modern science. Some regions produce a surprising number of racists, terrorists, and cannibals, yet no one thinks their existence should prompt us to reassess the way we treat our fellow humans.

         The Christian faith does tend to run in families, and for good reason. God does not save people from nowhere, but uses means to bring sinners to Himself. Paul said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” and they cannot call unless they believe, they cannot believe unless they hear, and they cannot hear unless someone brings them the good news (Romans 10:13-15). This often requires crossing an ocean with the gospel, but it always starts at home, sharing Jesus with our own children.

         Paul didn’t view this as a problem, but told Timothy it was a reason to praise God. Paul kept the faith he inherited from his ancestors (v. 3), and he implored Timothy to do the same. Did you grow up in a Christian home? Don’t use this as a reason to doubt your faith, but thank God that He was blessing you even before you were born.







2 responses to “birth religion”

  1. I once had an atheist present this argument to me: “If someone living in a historical/cultural vacuum wouldn’t come up with Christianity on their own, Christianity must be invalid.” I replied that while I agree that someone probably wouldn’t come up with Christianity in this scenario, that didn’t invalidate Christianity, but confirm one of its main positions: Faith comes through hearing the gospel. He didn’t take kindly to my reply.

  2. mikewittmer

    That’s funny, Steve. Feuerbach said it counted against Christianity because it seemed to him like something we did come up with on our own. You just can’t win with some people.

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