Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is Christianity a Crutch?

I had a disagreement with a friend recently on this topic. He maintains that Christianity is not a crutch; it is a complete equipping for service. He also says that it's like a carpenter using a hammer: the hammer isn't a crutch but a tool.

For what it's worth, I disagree.

To begin with, "complete equipping" does not contradict the idea of a crutch. Someone who needs a crutch is not completely equipped without one. And a carpenter who truly didn't need the hammer as a crutch could simply drive a nail by hand as if it were a thumbtack.

But let's consider the idea of a crutch more specifically: why would we need a crutch? Well, because we're damaged. We sin. We need forgiveness and some inclination to resist temptation at least. But these things, though good, do not cure the problem: even if I resist temptation, the urge will still be there, and sometimes I may not resist. So I am a cripple, spiritually.

The cure comes when the evil goes: when my sinful nature disappears. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't expect it to until I either die or go in the Rapture. So until then, I'm a cripple in need of a crutch. And this is good to remember.

Paul eventually concluded that acknowledging weakness allowed God to introduce his strength (2 Cor 12:9-10). But that would require humility, which appears to be the bane of modern Christianity. More on that next.


Phy said...

Interesting. For many people, 'crutch' would be a negatively charged word. Instead, you've viewed it for what it is, an implement with a reasonable and practical purpose.

Steve said...

Anything we use to overcome our sinfulness is a crutch. But Christianity is the best crutch, since it helps us avoid sin, repairs the damage sin causes, and will eventually cure the problem itself. The other crutches--false religions, willpower, psychology, whatever--can't do all that.

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