To what great extent are people of deep religious faith conditioned to avoid questioning their core beliefs? Consider the following example. Suppose the world witnesses the descent of a great entity from the sky. This being proclaims that its name is God and the time for the world to end has finally arrived. It should go without saying that people are going to want to see proof of its claims. Whatever miracles one requests of God, he is happy to oblige. He has the power to make mountains rise and fall at will. He can set the oceans ablaze at the snap of a finger. He can even return life to those who died thousands of years ago. God can do anything asked of him. Then, someone from the gathered crowd makes an inquiry as to which religion holds the absolute truth. God replies, “The religion of truth is Islam. The Qur’an is my one and only holy word. All other religious texts, including the Bible, are entirely blasphemous. All those who do not acknowledge my word will undergo a lengthy punishment for not following my teachings. Now is your chance to repent.”
What choice does the Christian community make in this situation? This entity has already demonstrated that it possesses the omnipotence and omniscience of a supreme being. Do Christians readily switch over to the side of observable and testable evidence, or do they declare that this being is the Devil tempting their faith in God? Stop and think about it for a minute because it’s an interesting predicament. After careful consideration, I believe we all know that a good portion of Christians would denounce this new being in order to please “The One True God, Heavenly Father of Jesus.” As a result of their collective decision, the supernatural entity forces them to undergo unimaginable torment for a few weeks before offering them a final chance to repent. Do the Christians embrace the teachings of this creature after experiencing its capabilities firsthand, or do they still consider it the final test and refuse to denounce their faith in the Bible? We should not be at all surprised to find that a large portion would still maintain their present beliefs. Childhood indoctrination is that strong and that crippling to sensibility. Once the concept of faith is introduced, the test is simply not fair; yet if Christianity is true, it is the very test that we would all be expected to pass.