Is Christianity merely a crutch for those who believe – a sort of whistling-in-the-graveyard, a head game naive and superstitious people play to avoid the hard reality of materialistic realism? The rise of the psychological sciences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries might lead us to think so. But what psychology does well – describe the human mind, human emotions, human behavior, and human relationships – does not begin to answer all the questions humans have about ultimate reality.

In other words, if there is nothing more to humans than humanity, religion is unnecessary at best, and dangerous at worst. But if God exists, then pursuing knowledge of him is both necessary, but impossible unless God himself acts to make himself known, and since philosophy and psychology can’t exceed the bounds of we humans who engage in them, only what we call religion (the knowledge of God through his self-revelation) can answer these ultimate questions about God.

In this sense, Christianity is a crutch – an acknowledgement that there is some knowledge we can’t get on our own but need outside help to receive. But what makes this charge against Christianity short-sighted is the hypocritical notion that some humans don’t have crutches. Some secularists, perhaps, believe that they are self-sufficient and need nothing, but no one can live without purpose – and whether that purpose is material gain, family togetherness, romantic love, community respect, academic achievements, or the enjoying of a hobby, these purposes function for the secularist in much the same way that religion functions for the Christian. They provide meaning, goals, structure for decision making – in short, a crutch.

The question at hand, then, is whose crutch is most aligned with the universe as it really is; in other words, whose crutch actually holds a human being up instead of eventually being too weak to support a person. And Christianity insists that God alone can give ultimate meaning, purpose, and ultimate support that never goes away, diminishes, or fails.


Aaron Mueller
Chuck Rathert