Misconception: Christianity is a “feel-good” philosophy.
Truth: Do you really think someone would want to devote their life to something they weren’t sure was true but just made them feel good? As soon as a Christian acknowledges that Christianity is probably just an opiate, they drastically diminish the amount of happiness they can attain anyway. If you think happiness is the main thing Christians are searching for, I don’t think they would find very much of it in a “possibly true,” “feel-good” philosophy. If you know in the back of your mind that it isn’t real, how could you truly and completely be comforted by it? I guess it’s better than nothing, but I would feel pretty crappy about myself if I was following something for the sole purpose of attaining happiness. Sure, people do it all the time, but if they really stopped and thought about it, they would realize that devoting their life to something they don’t wholeheartedly believe is a not worth the disillusionment.
Misconception: It’s all faith.
Truth: There has to be something else going on other than faith. After a while, faith is usually confirmed, and not because of some self-fulfilling prophesy. Following God is about faith but it is also about love. In order to find the motivation to follow unpopular beliefs, a human has to, first of all, love the origin of those beliefs. Nonetheless, that may not be enough since no human could possibly love someone to that degree, except with some type of divine intervention
Misconception: Most of the Bible is just symbolic and not literal.
Truth: A story that is meant to be symbolic doesn’t include a lot of details. Details are found in historical accounts and writings meant to be taken literally. All the details in the Gospels lead me to believe that everything the authors wrote was meant to be taken literally. If it was just meant to be symbolic the writer wouldn’t try to convince you of its reliability with so many details. What have the writers to gain from convincing you of something they don’t believe is literally true? Why wouldn’t they include a disclaimer in the story or a footnote saying that it didn’t actually happen? Many people agree that Jesus existed and that he claimed to be God. Why would the writers have reason to believe that He was in fact God, if He didn’t literally rise from the dead? A man who says he is God, and yet doesn’t rise from the dead as he said he would, deserves no respect, and certainly doesn’t motivate writers to lie about the resurrection just to preserve a crazy but brilliant man’s image or to teach some kind of symbolic lesson.
Misconception: How dare you say that I have overlooked something this significant. Do you think I am stupid enough not to see what is supposedly “obvious?”
Truth: The evidence for God is obvious and clear in the world around us, but many people do not see this especially if they grow up believing differently, like I did. Believing in evolution doesn’t make you more intelligent than a person who believes in creation. And believing in God based on the beauty of creation does not make you more intelligent than an Athiest. Each person follows the available clues that they are willing to follow. Whether obvious, prevalent, or popular, the truth is not always easy to arrive at. Don’t assume that intelligence means that your brain has the ability to arrive effortlessly at truth. Let’s say you consider yourself a smart, logical person. If I say to you that some of your beliefs may be incorrect then I am not in effect disproving that you are smart and logical. I am not trying to prove anything about your intelligence. I am trying to prove something about your perspective and open-mindedness. Therefore, I have not insulted your intelligence. In fact, I haven’t insulted you at all, as long as you see perspective as choice and not ability. While making choices involves some effort, it does not require you to sacrifice your intelligence. Even things with many clues require effort to see because changing your perception is difficult. Don’t assume that you have heard every version of every perspective and there is nothing new to be heard. Caution and skepticism are important, especially since there are so many different beliefs in the world. But what if the same virtue that keeps you from the untrue also keeps you from the true? Skepticism is normal and even recommended at the beginning, but some claims require a second look, a more extensive look. If you can’t tell which ones need to be explored then you may have to explore a few, but don’t think that people who explore fewer before making a decision are gullible. Exploration requires an open-mind but not so open that you become gullible. In the end, the skepticism will either be wiped away by logic or faith…probably both.