I received a comment the other day that I did not allow mostly because it insulted everyone in the discussion (like, intentionally calling people names) including those who agreed with the overall belief of the comment. Regardless, the main thrust of the argument was that Christianity is a crutch. He said that because people are weak and don’t want this life to be all there is they create a God in their own minds and then worship him because it provides comfort.
I’m sure we’ve all heard this Freudian argument (he’s where the argument finds its origins), being told that Christianity is a crutch for the weak, but there are quite a few problems with such an argument:
1) The argument presupposes that God doesn’t exist – the argument itself doesn’t disprove the existence of God. It questions the motives of those who believe in God, but it doesn’t disprove God. In fact, the argument could only be true if God didn’t exist, but the argument doesn’t display that. The argument actually begs the question on whether or not God exists, forcing the listener of the argument to assume that God doesn’t exist to begin with. Thus, the argument doesn’t disprove the existence of God, it simply assumes it.
2) The argument is absurd – saying, “People are afraid of death and difficulty, that’s why they’re Christianity” disproves Christianity no more than saying, “People are afraid of wasps, that’s why people use wasp spray” disproves the effectiveness of wasp spray. It could be that people are Christians because they’re afraid of the troubles this life begets or what is to come after death, but this hardly disproves Christianity; rather if Christianity is true then Christianity is the remedy to such relief.
3) God is very clear that Christianity is a crutch – since humans choose to sin (God did not make us flawed, we chose to end up this way) and evil was brought into the world we are quite ineffective at getting ourselves out of this mess. Therefore, we need someone who can get us out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. But we’re also finite creatures and therefore have a need to rely on the One who is infinite. So even once we’ve been pulled out of the muck of our own sin we will still have an inherent need to rely on God because – for whatever reason – we seek someone greater than ourselves. So yes, Christianity is a crutch, but how foolish for other cripples to mock the crippled man who found use in such a crutch. Yes, the crippled man might look silly hobbling along on his crutch, but at least he’s moving. The mockers might show the strength of their sarcastic wit in their mockery, but they still can’t move forward.
Such an argument is ultimately useless for someone to make as it assumes the motive of the person believing, but says nothing about the existence of God. Proving that people believe in God because they’re afraid of something doesn’t disprove anything. If nothing else, pointing out that Christianity is a crutch is actually a proof for the existence of God (see “Christianity for Modern Pagans” by Peter Kreeft).