Superstition vs Christianity
Anti-theists equate Christian faith with superstition. Richard Dawkins, caustic opponent of Christianity, described students in Christian schools as ‘taught superstitions drawn from ancient scriptures’.1
Ironically, research shows that Christian faith counters superstitious thinking, such as belief in astrology or ‘luck’. Adding to the irony, the research was published in the Skeptical Inquirer, a periodical founded by atheists to oppose Christianity.2
This article showed that conservative Christians, who are the most likely to reject Darwinism, were the most likely to reject ‘occult and pseudo-scientific notions’. Conversely, surveys showed that regions poor in Darwin-rejecting churches had the most cults, occult activity and superstition.3
This should not surprise us. Romans 1:21–22 says that people who refuse to honour God descend into ‘futile thinking’ and although they think they are smart, they become fools. As someone once quipped, ‘The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.’
Bruce Hood, a psychology professor at Bristol University, claimed that humans evolved to be susceptible to supernatural beliefs.4 He juxtaposed ‘creationism and paranormal phenomena’, claiming that they are both held by ‘faith alone’. He equated religious belief with superstition.
However, Prof. Hood’s definition of superstition shows he does not understand Christian faith: ‘Superstitious behaviour—the idea that certain rituals and practices protect you’. This is a common misconception, that we can manipulate God to do our bidding by being ‘good’, or praying a lot or going to church, or … . According to Ephesians 2:4–10, we are saved (protected) not by what we do, but by the grace of God:
‘But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’
Furthermore, Christian faith is not ‘faith alone’ in Hood’s misleading sense of being without evidence.
Hood claimed that ‘creationism’ has been ‘countered by the evidence’. He probably also argues that creation should be excluded from science classes because it is not testable—many Skeptics seem to embrace these contradictory notions! Creation magazine provides abundant evidence that supports biblical creation.
Christian faith involves evidence; it is not blind faith (Luke 1:1–4; John 19:35, 20:31; Acts 1:3). God endowed us with brains and provided evidence for us to see and believe. The universe itself testifies to creation which requires a Creator (Romans 1:18–20). The big bang notion that the universe made itself from nothing without any cause defies the most basic principle of science and logic: something that has a beginning has a sufficient cause.
Many have tried to refute the evidence for the resurrection and ended up following Christ.
We pray that this issue encourages you in your reasonable faith and that you can share articles with those who are perishing, to challenge their unbelief.
- The root of all evil? Episode 2: The virus of faith, Channel 4 (UK), aired 16 January 2006; channel4.com/culture, September 2006.
- Bainbridge, W.S., and Stark, R., Superstitions: Old and New, The Skeptical Inquirer 4(4):18–31, Summer 1980.
- Wieland, C., Antidote to superstition, Creation 20(2):4, 1998.
- Henderson, M., Superstition the product of evolution, The Australian, 6 September 2006, theaustralian.com.au.