“Leonard is engaging in the logical fallacy of reductio ad absurdam, where one takes an argument to its logical extension in order to demonstrate it’s absurdity—And I don’t appreciate it!” —Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory
Just before Easter, an atheist friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that was intended to denigrate Christianity by showing it to be absurd and incoherent. The image, shown here, depicts Jesus with His arms outstretched, with the word “Ta-Dah!” above Him, as though He is a magician exulting in a well-executed sleight-of-hand trick. The “trick” is described above—namely that God created us as sinful, then worked out a plan to save us from that sin that involved becoming a man and suicidally offering Himself to Himself as a sacrifice, to save us from something that was allegedly His own fault anyway. In other words, why worship God? He didn’t do anything great; He merely jumped through some self-imposed hoops to do away with our sinfulness, which He could have just not created us with in the first place. The meme implies that, this being the case, we’re not worshipping a Saviour, but a charlatan, and that any clear-thinking individual should see right through the ruse in an instant.
The fact is, of course, that any clear-thinking individual with any basic understanding of the premise of the Christian faith should see through the fallacy of the meme in an instant. It is not God who is distracting us with smoke and mirrors. It is not Christianity which vainly exhorts us to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” The meme’s creator hopes that his attempt at humour will disguise the fact that he has utterly failed to portray Christian belief. His attempt to reduce Christianity to absurdity itself is manifestly absurd.
For we know that when God created man and woman, He declared that His creation, all of it, was “very good” (Genesis 1:28). Had He created His masterpiece with the fatal flaw of original sin, He could hardly have made that declaration. The problem with the detractor of Christianity, when critiquing the notion of sin, particularly original sin, is that he often sees it as a “something”, rather than the lack of something. God did create Adam and Eve with something—that is, sanctifying grace. Through their choice to sin, they lost this grace, for themselves and for us, since no longer having it, they couldn’t pass it on. Original Sin then, is a lack of something, not the addition of something. If you plan to give your children a significant inheritance, but before the time comes, you lose it playing poker, you no longer have it to give to your children. They cannot benefit from it, nor can they in turn pass it on to their children. Your father, who gave you the inheritance, did not cause you to squander it, nor did he cause your children to be without it. That was your own doing.
The same applies to the gift of God’s grace to Adam and Eve. While they inherited this grace from our Heavenly Father, they lost it by betting on Satan’s bluff. We inherited not the original grace, but rather its absence. But God did, in fact, set out to redeem us. He did do so through very extraordinary means, not simply because He wanted to put on an extravagant display to bribe or trick us into loving Him, but in order to show us just how serious a matter His grace is! Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are not smoke and mirrors to make a trivial event seem extraordinary, but rather, they are an extraordinary event intended to prevent us from trivialising His great gift of Grace!
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