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  • Writer's pictureDerek Allen

You're Only a Christian Because You Were Raised That Way

“You're only a Christian because you were raised that way. If you had been raised in another place, you would believe something else.” That statement is almost certainly true to some degree for most of us who were raised in church. Does that mean, however, that what we believe isn’t true? Of course not.

We don't criticize teenagers and college students for believing in the principles of geometry, chemistry, or language arts "because that's just what they were taught growing up." I wonder why we criticize them for their Christian faith in that way. In fact, I think we should believe the basic truths passed on to us by those who love us most until and unless we are given reasons to reject those truths that are logically insurmountable. The logical assumption being that those who love us most are less likely to have a selfish agenda or motivation behind their choice in truths to pass along to us. In such a climate, I'm convinced that biblical Christianity will win the day.

If you're a Christian college student tempted to abandon ship, consider the unfair playing field given to those trying to rip away the truths you were raised to believe.

  1. They are promoting new ideas, which always come with a certain novelty.

  2. They present those ideas without anyone around to challenge their ideas, and if someone does challenge them, it's usually an undergraduate student vs. a Ph.D.

  3. They have your attention at an opportune moment to introduce suspicion of previous authorities.

  4. They often stack the deck with logical fallacies knowing. you won't recognize them.

Those fallacies, which by definition are not logically accurate, can nevertheless be very persuasive, which is why they are cataloged and considered out of bounds in true argumentation.

If you have rejected the Christian faith of your youth have you done so through a process of unbiased logical examination, or were you facing cultural pressure from intellectualism, which says, “No really intelligent person would believe that”? Were you biased by a desire to avoid the implications of the Christian faith? If there is a personal God to which we all must give an account, no area of our hearts and lives can remain untouched by such a truth. Were you in any way open to someone’s ideas simply because they offered a path through which you could reject some of Christianity’s encumbrances? If any of this is the case, would you take the time and risk to reconsider the logical and philosophical weight of Christian truth?

Some will no doubt complain that my opening paragraph is an example of the logical fallacy, "Appeal to Authority." My point, however, is not that Christianity, or any other truth, should be accepted because "my momma told me so." If so, Christians would remain Christian, yes, but Muslims would remain Muslim, Hindus would remain Hindu, etc. My point is that Christianity should not be rejected simply because "my momma told me so." That is an often-used tactic among those who set out to undermine Christian faith in the name of critical thinking. True critical thinking, when encountered with "you only believe that because you were raised to believe it," would ask questions like, "Did my mother/dad/pastor/Sunday school teacher lie to me? If so, why would she/he do that? If not, did someone lie to them? Who would that be? Has this just been a long line of illogical lies believed by many people? Who were the first Christian liars? What was their motivation?" Such a line of questioning will inevitably lead to a philosophical and historical evaluation of Christian truth claims.

No worldview in western history has endured more philosophical attacks than Christianity. A fair examination will find her philosophy, her philosophers, and most importantly, her truth claims rooted in God's revealed word, to be unscathed despite millennia of assault and siege. Her enemies are ever at the gates yet never breach the walls.

“But what about this new idea? And what about that new way of thinking?” The only ideas and philosophies that show any signs of progress in attacks against the Christian faith are those which have not yet been given the time to prove that they too will fail to breach the walls. A careful study of history will reveal that even those ideas are not really new. They have attacked before. They have failed before. They will fall once again at the gate of the impregnable fortress of Christian truth.

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