What would happen if we categorized Christianity as an adult activity? It would be like smoking, drinking, voting, driving, sex, and so on—things that you must be mature enough to handle wisely. This adults-only Christianity would die out within a few generations.
We all have inside us what could be called a “Nonsense Detector”—that common sense that helps us believe as many true things and reject as many false things as possible. For example, present most American adults with a case for Islam or Hinduism or Sikhism, and they will be extraordinarily unconvinced.
As adults, we’re far better at sifting truth from nonsense than we were as children. And that’s why Christians must be indoctrinated as children, before their Nonsense Detectors are mature. This is the idea behind the Jesuit maxim, “Give me a child until the age of seven and I will give you the man.”
I think most Christians would admit this. Imagine a conversation between the father of a 6-year-old child and the grandmother.
Grandma: “Little Johnny is old enough for me to take to Sunday School now.”
Dad: “You can take him when he’s 18, but I’d prefer he stay out of church until then.”
Grandma: “But 18 is too late! By then he’ll be set in his ways. He won’t accept the truth then.”
What kind of “truth” is it that must be taught before people are mature, before their Nonsense Detectors are fully functioning? Grandma realizes that only before someone’s Nonsense Detector is operating correctly can the beliefs of religion be put into someone’s head. This is a very poor stand-in for truth.
That Christianity must have access to immature minds to survive is strong evidence that God doesn’t exist.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
- See all the arguments in favor of atheism at the first post in the series, God Doesn’t Exist: Historians Reject the Bible Story.