April 13, 2010

Rational Christianity

jesus just at your dinosaurI have often thought of atheism as the logical outcome of reason applied to the question of gods. But is there any way in which we could conceive of a rational Christianity? That is, could one arrive at Christianity through rational means without any reliance on faith?

Intuitively, this seems quite unlikely. Christianity is based on faith (i.e., belief in the absence of evidence), and we know that faith is inherently irrational. But could someone arrive at Christianity with no faith whatsoever? Is it at least possible to imagine a Christianity existing without any sort of faith?

No matter how much we strive for rationality, we all have irrational beliefs. We all make mistakes. We all follow false leads at times and end up convinced of things that simply aren't true. What if a religious believer (albeit mistakenly) believed that he or she had sufficient evidence to support the existence of some sort of god? This person would be wrong, but would it at least be possible to imagine a god belief that was entirely void of faith?

I'm not sure. I have a very difficult time imagining what it would look like or how someone would reach god conclusions without faith, but I'm not ready to say it is categorically impossible. What do you think?

I suspect that the real challenge, even if we decided that rational god belief was possible, is how one would get from there all the way to Christianity. That seems like far more of a stretch than just simple god belief.