It is no secret people criticize the Christian faith for being a “crutch” or an appealing illusion to diminish the harshness of real life.
A few weekends before I returned to school, my mom and I went to see Woody Allen’s film Magic in the Moonlight. From the trailer, I arrived at the conclusion that it seemed like my kind of movie: 1920s, England, superstition, and Colin Firth.
It was indeed a lovely way to escape reality for ninety-seven minutes, and what seemed like nothing more than famous people pretending to be mediums and 1920s costume/scenery porn turned out to also be an interesting exploration on whether or not anything exists beyond this world.
To spare you from spoilers, I will not summarize the entire film; however, I will say it pushed the question of whether or not it is beneficial to believe a lie as long as it brings someone happiness.
Many people look at Christianity in the same way, but what if you are the Christian looking at your own life that way?
This happened to me a while back. Seeing only the negative aspects of life for ninety percent of the time, I often considered the other ten percent as my “Christian time”- a time where I was okay with life but only because I was focused on God and what I knew from my personal study, church, and upbringing. Soon, I began to wonder- If I could only convince myself of God’s truth for ten percent of the time, was I using Christianity as a crutch to get me through the other ninety percent?
I wasn’t sure.
Lies beguiled me for the ninety percent. Lies about myself and my life. Voices that told me I would never be good enough or that certain people hated me or that everything was my fault.
I came up with a strategy.
I looked up Bible verses, wrote them out, memorized them, and thought about them whenever the lies attacked. It worked- as long as I convinced myself that they were more true than my own feelings.
This seemed like a form of brainwashing myself, and if I had to use Christianity to brainwash myself, it was definitely a crutch and maybe even an illusion that I allowed only because it made me happier.
The truth is, I didn’t like the idea of relying on something other than myself and my own feelings in order to find a sense of satisfaction with my life. I wanted to provide the answers for my suffering and confusion and the solutions to my problems. Whenever I had to rely on God’s Word to explain things that were pretty much unexplainable, I felt weak and insufficient. Like a human whose purpose had malfunctioned. I wasn’t supposed to not know the answer or to not have control over my circumstances and feelings.
But a person who is broken and in the process of healing will fall without using crutches.
I hate feeling weak and imperfect and unable to handle life, but that’s for another post. What I’m really trying to convey here is that lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe all Christians should embrace their crutches because, like Jesus, we can’t carry our crosses by ourselves.
Now, before you go off on me for being heretical, let me put a disclaimer here:
I am not saying my faith is based on a blind leap into the dark void of something I’m not really certain of.
When I talk about struggling to trust God and doubting and lies, I’m not talking about “Is Christianity even true?” or “Is God real?” but emotional and relational issues with God Himself. Like, “How do I know I can trust God if people in the past have hurt me?” and so on. I am not saying Christianity is an illusion I put my trust in to make myself feel better.
I am saying that God Himself is my crutch to help me walk through a world full of evil, sin, suffering, and disappointment, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Comments and questions are always welcome!