Response to Ask an Atheist: The Truth About Christianity

In the article “Are Eastern religions a good alternative to Western ones?,” one of the authors, Brian Gallagher, made many assertions about Christianity that were inaccurate and misconstrued the teachings of Christianity. Gallagher claims “In Christianity we are commanded to love … and fear, a being who … may torture us as he pleases. We are told to pray … worship … beg for forgiveness, and to imagine ourselves as … watched, judged and scrutinized.” While some of these comments are correct in that God does command certain things, the picture that Gallagher paints is incomplete. He is missing the grace aspect. Christianity is neither a religion of forced worship nor a religion of pure justice. Rather, it is a religion that man is sinful and wholly unable to fix himself but is saved by a God that is able to right the wrong and gives forgiveness to men who are utterly flawed. God calls us to love Him and to love others, a command which can only better the world if followed. This is something that comes naturally when you begin to understand the depth of His love for us. Fear of God is also something that comes easily when you ponder the awe-inspiring nature of a God that created heaven, earth, man and animal. A god that powerful is one that should be revered and respectfully feared because His power is unfathomable. Job 37:23 states “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.”

The Christian God is not a god that “tortures as he pleases,” but rather a God that loves unconditionally and “pray(ing), worship(ping) and beg(ging) for forgiveness” is how men can return that love and pursue a relationship. God’s judgment, too, is not as Gallagher described. God’s grace comes before His judgment after He has countless times extended His grace and forgiveness and we have freely made the choice to turn away from Him. Because of man’s inherent sinfulness, justice is always deserved, but mercy is given instead. This mercy was Jesus, sent to earth to pay the price for man’s past, present and future sins so that we would no longer be separate from God because of unworthiness, but could instead have a relationship. Still though, humans choose autonomy from God because human nature drives us to be selfish, hateful and egotistical; we refuse to accept that we cannot make our lives better through our own works and thus ignore the free gift of salvation. The only requirements that God places upon man are best described in the book of Micah which claims “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Christianity is not a religion of judgment and malice by an uncaring god, worshipped by manipulated adherents, but rather a religion of individuals who are unworthy to have a relationship with God, but have been offered a sacrifice which enables imperfect men to approach a perfect God. The discussion of religion is an important one and should thus be factually correct when presented so individuals can get an accurate depiction of Christianity and the bigger questions in life.

Emily Badraun is a fourth-year political science major.