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Salvation by Faith Alone

May 19, 2011

The only thing sillier than the insistence by fundamentalist Christians that salvation by faith alone is simple and/or easy is the insistence that there is nothing special, nothing elect, about those who believe.

First, believing something is not easy or simple. I’ve heard a Christian fundamentalist admit that believing on Jesus was simple, but he admitted that it wasn’t easy. Even that much of a concession  doesn’t satisfy me. Believing a complicated doctrine cannot, by definition, be anything other than complicated.

Keep in mind that “believing on Jesus” means something very particular to a fundamentalist. Not only must you believe that Jesus lived, died, and came to life again; you must also believe that all humans are sinners, that they deserve eternal torment in hell, and that Jesus’ death was sufficient to bypass the rules God made for sinners’ punishment. You must also believe that Jesus was the Christ, the son of God, one third of God, and God himself. God apparently didn’t really want to enforce his own rules for sinners but was powerless to change them without putting on the charade of coming to earth, eventually spending three days without the life he didn’t have before anyway, and then coming back to life. 

If you’ve ever looked into the evidence for even the existence of Jesus, regardless of whether the subsequent Christian movement was justified in thinking that he had come back to life, you know that the matter is anything but simple. And then, of course, you have to convince yourself of all the theology that the Christian movement was preaching about this Jesus.

Because the fundamentalists think that all this is simple, they will argue that there’s nothing special about those who believe it. They don’t have to be smart, after all. However, this just leaves the question of  why everyone doesn’t believe something so simple. So what if they don’t know? Surely other Christians would have no problem spreading awareness of such a simple set of facts.

Since many people do not believe the doctrines of Christianity, how can it be simple? The fundamentalists will tell you that they chose not to believe them, because of their sinful natures. The problem is that this means the true Christians were able to overcome their sinful natures. The fundamentalists have unintentionally recreated the special, elect people. Those who can overcome their sinful natures versus those who cannot.

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