Is Christianity a placebo?


Skeptics often assert that Christianity is a placebo faith, meaning that people believe in it and derive peace from it because it's comforting, not because it's true. I don't think this is true of Christianity because in reality Christians must accept several hard truths:

These things, especially living as a Christian, are hard enough that a mere placebo effect wouldn't be enough to compensate for them. In particular, the comfort derived from believing that oneself is saved and will go to heaven is balanced against concern for one's family and friends.

This is not to say that Christians don't derive comfort and joy from knowing God, for we do. But that comfort and joy comes about supernaturally, from the Holy Spirit, even in circumstances when the Christian doesn't expect it. Personally, I don't think my own faith is a placebo because that doesn't adequately explain my experiences with God, including the changes God has brought about in my attitudes and priorities and the answers to prayer I've received; it also doesn't explain the complete transformations other people I know have experienced as Christians.


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