We are always saddened when Christian believers are reproached for using a mythical God as a crutch. If the accusers weren’t blind, they would see the irony. Christ came to heal the lame; Christians don’t need a crutch — at least spiritually. If you wonder why some Christians do need physical assistance if Christ heals the lame, I point you to the writings of Joni Eareckson Tada, a Christian paraplegic who spiritually soars “on wings like eagles.”
Some may use religion (take your choice of doctrines) as a crutch, but faith in God is not simply religion. It is faith — trust in, awareness of, and familiarity with the truths taught by, and a personal relationship with our living God in whom faith is placed. In today’s world with so much false or manufactured “truth” it is perhaps understandable that non-believers would see God as simply a convenient crutch.
A very intelligent high school friend regularly passed standardized tests in the 99th percentile. He admittedly could not grasp Christianity. “How could any thinking person believe in a mythical being and a virgin birth?” Nevertheless, he freely acknowledged he was glad for Christians, for without them in the world he feared the moral decay that would take over.
President John Adams, one of our nation’s founders, shared that concern in a 1798 letter while our nation was still in its infancy: “…should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising [sic] iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Rather than accusing believers of being “religious charlatans,” we encourage non-believers to be grateful for the moral perspective we offer as a leavening agent in the world. We don’t insist that others join us, and certainly not “goose step behind” us; we know God allows free will. Rather than demeaning the role of believers in the political process, understand that we are a historical part of the process that, even when flawed, has helped build a great nation.
Believers know we are all flawed and trust in forgiveness. Even our flawed president receives forgiveness. His positive efforts to help rid America of corruption and over-regulation, does not preclude his having been a political opportunist with many flaws, but it does suggest he has learned a great deal about the need to clean up our political system before it is too late.
Neal and Bettina Hotelling are Sebring residents. Guest columns are the opinion of the writers, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.