Intellectual Barriers to Faith
I could hardly do a better job here than has already been done by Mr. Alister McGrath in his book Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths. Chapter 5 is devoted to the common misconceptions which create intellectual barriers to faith. So I strongly recommend that you read this entire chapter. Try your college's or your town's local library and see if you can find a copy. If you can not, then perhaps you are beginning to realize how the western liberal political agenda has a monopoly on your universities' and your libraries' choice of books.
There is a tendency in western liberal intellectual circles to reduce all religions to an equally valid perception of the truth. Many try to stuff all religions into a "black box" which at first sounds laudable. After all we are trying to respect different religious views. However a closer examination shows the futility of this method. In the following paragraphs quoted from McGrath, he puts forth two propositions to discuss this notion:
"A. Different people have different religious views.
B. Therefore all religious views are equally valid.
Is proposition B in any way implied by proposition A? For the form of liberalism committed to this approach, mere existence of a religious idea appears to be a guarantor of its truth! Yet no one seems prepared to fight for the truth content of defunct religions, such as classical polytheism - perhaps because there is no one alive who is committed to them, whose views need to be respected in a multicultural situation.
The fatal weakness of this approach usually leads to a modified version, which can be stated thus: "any view that is held with sincerity may be regarded as true." I might thus be a Nazi, a Satanist, or a passionate believer in the flatness of the earth. My sincerity is a guarantee of the truth. It would follow if someone believed that modern Europe would be a better place if six million Jews were to be placed in gas chambers, the sincerity of those convictions allow that view to be accepted as true. British philosopher of religion John Hick summarizes the absurdity of this view: 'To say that whatever is sincerely believed and practiced is, by definition true, would be the end of all critical discrimination, both intellectual and moral.' " [McGrath, p. 111 ].
In fact the above assumption that sincerity justifies all gives us a perfect right to invent a religion which only exists to make money for us, because we sincerely want to make money. It also gives someone a right to slaughter millions of Christians if they are annoying us with misunderstood concepts of sin, salvation, or a higher moral standard.
Some philosophers, such as Hicks may also make statements such as all religions lead to God in the sense that they are all varying human experiences of the same infinite divine reality. So he suggests that religions may be understood to complement each other. Hence for Hicks, the ultimate perfect perception of reality can be distilled from an amalgamation of these various flavors of truth.
However, some religions are polytheistic, some are monotheistic, and others\ are nontheistic [McGrath, p.111]. Therefore it is hardly logical to say that all views are equally valid. These three different opinions on how many Gods there are, if there are any at all, can not all be true at once. When one takes the time to think about all the beliefs that are out there, an honest intellectual must agree that just the definition of the word religion is practically impossible.
Christianity doesn't fit a very convenient mold. It claims to have only one way to God the Father. It claims that the savior Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead after dying to save us from the penalty of our sin. At first and second glance, the basic concepts don't make much sense. They are not probable events or easy to grasp precepts. However upon the most rigorous investigation, the entire system of salvation devised by God is logical and consistent. It is said that man could not write the Bible if he would, and he would not write the Bible if he could. God tells it like it is, however uncomfortable the truth is. What other religion addresses the problems of man's mortality, man's failures, sufferings, loneliness, stupidity, and vanity as well as Christianity? Christ is the only one with an empty tomb. Lon Solomon, a pastor in McLean Virginia, is fond of saying "Follow a dead savior and you'll end up just like him."