Is Christianity a Crutch?
Every single college, it seems, has the campus atheist who says, “Christianity is for the weaklings; it is just a crutch.”
Karl Marx’s famous line, “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” is still a common view of many. Those who call themselves Christians are seen as people who need something to enable them to cope with the problems of life. Some people use alcohol, some drugs, others Christianity to get themselves through this difficult world.
The fact of the matter is we all do need a crutch to get by in this world. We are all crippled in some sense, and down deep inside there is a desire for something to sustain us. The real issue is, “Is this crutch we call Christianity true, or is it something on the same level as drugs or alcohol, invented to meet an admitted need?”
There are definite psychological needs, fear of danger, disease, and death, that might prompt us to invent God so that we would feel secure. However, there are also psychological needs that might lead us to deny that God exists. The agnostic or atheist may be using his agnosticism or atheism as a crutch to avoid the responsibility of God’s demands.
The God of the Bible is awesome and a threat to mankind. A God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, righteous, holy, and just, and who is going to judge the world for its sin, is an extremely imposing figure. Thus it is only fair to point out that some need the crutch of denying God’s existence in order to live their lives as they please without fear of judgment.
Aldous Huxley articulated this in Ends and Means: “For myself, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political” (Ends and Means, p. 270 ff.).
The truth of the Christian faith is not based upon psychological needs for or against God. Yes, it is possible that Christianity could have started because people need something to lean on, but the question is not how it could have started but how it did start.
We again are brought back to the real issue, which is the person of Jesus Christ. Does mankind need to lean on Him, or can we lean on something else?
Jesus made the issue very clear, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”(Matthew 7:24–27, NIV).
One could also state it this way. A crutch presupposes two things: (1) that there is a disease, sickness, or hurt, and (2) that a person has been given some type of a remedy (this is why he has the crutch).
Two questions immediately arise. First, what is this disease? Is it real or imagined? And second, is the remedy the correct one for the disease?
With Christianity, God clearly states that the disease is sin, and that the disease is real. It is not a psychological, imaginary hand-up in need of a religious fix as Marx would propound. Rather, the remedy instead of being a religious crutch, is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Christianity in one sense is a crutch. But it is more than a crutch; it is the sure foundation, the truth of life.
If Jesus Christ be God and died on the cross for our sins and created us to be in fellowship with God the Father through Him, then to call Him a crutch would be like a light bulb saying to an electrical socket, “You are my crutch.” As a light bulb was created to function properly when inserted into the socket, so we have been created to function properly in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.