Is Faith a Crutch for the Weak?
Not EnoughSkeptics ridicule faith-more specifically, Bible believing Christians-by saying belief is a crutch. The target of these dismissive remarks is important since faith is seen as beyond reason and weak if not subordinate to a humanist worldview. I do not agree with this view. As a committed Christian, this may be predictable. I do so in the opposite way one may assume, however.
There are two primary reasons. The first is a crutch may be the accusation of cynics toward those of faith as weak-minded and needing it to support them, which need they are above, but the image itself is feeble. A crutch is not enough. It is undependable as an idea or any usable reality. To help ourselves along is not what broken, sinful humanity needs. Propping myself up with a wishful idea of Jesus will not get me far. It is essential for the actual reality of the living Jesus to redeem me and carry me entirely. If belief is only a pleasant but unrealistic prop, my faith is one of anemic convenience. God does nothing halfway, nor is human dependence on Him partial. This is true for the Christian as they live for Him. For unredeemed humanity, it also remains true in the gospel's call.
Are We Weak-Minded?
Before I address the second point, assuming those of faith are simple-minded is an issue important to respond to. Not to defensively defend an insult. Rather, it obscures open inquiry to the detriment of the one who holds the view. Faith in Jesus Christ can bear the weight of objective intellectual examination. It has for two thousand years and will continue to do so. No Christian is required to check their brains at the door. We hold tested beliefs, truth based on the evidence of witnesses and propositional content.
Self-ReliancePresumptions of our own strength are my second point. A crutch is an aid. It helps us while we take care of the rest. The problem here is this implies self-reliance, with a faith walk beneath the users own control and will. We do not require a little help. The Bible proclaims we are fallen, dead in trespasses and sins, without help or hope beyond God’s grace alone. Jesus said this truth is so inherent we must be born again. Without the free grace of God in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we have no life. It is no wonder films featuring the undead are so prevalent today. Humanities deadness pursues us, expressed in sin, failure, and destruction, with viscous enmity toward God and others.
There can be a tendency among nominally committed or naïve Christians to have this same view of faith as something to simply lean on. Admitting they need help even if it seems wishful to them, it matters little to have depth. Again we assume we have enough merit and merely require assistance, though that of a supposed unrealistic vagueness of faith. This is quite backwards. It is we who are unreliable in ourselves and faith in a personal God that accepts the true actuality which is real. We are so without our own ability, the very faith we have is a grace gift of God, not for us to claim as something special God noticed in us ("No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." John 6:44. ) The power of God in His mercy claims us. Not as a crutch, but in our complete surrender.
Me, Myself, and IThe natural mindset of fallen man is all we need is me, myself, and I. We use every worldview, concept, and system to give us the illusion we are masters of our own fate. Though we know we fail to consistently live our own version of right or wrong, let alone the standards of a holy God, we cling to self-sufficiency. It is sad the evidence of our lives revealing the baggage and wreckage of brokenness does not call us to our knees. With hearts of sin we do not need a crutch. We need born again, converted, faith-filled repentance. In the redemption of Christ we are free, all the more empowered as we surrender to Him as Lord. The crutch can be put on the shelf as He gives us new life in Himself alone. In Jesus we are made strong and joyously transformed to new life.
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