Is religion a crutch for the weak?



It's a popular one-liner to throw at Christianity, bandied about to shut down the argument before it begins: “Religion is just a crutch for the weak.”

The unspoken implication is, “I'm not weak, so I don't need religion – and don't you dare call me weak by suggesting I do!” We hate anyone telling us that we're not good enough or strong enough or smart enough by ourselves. 

It is horrifyingly true that Jesus demands we admit our weakness and failures if we want to allow him to save us from them.

We have no hope of earning eternal life by ourselves. We can’t hold onto this life any longer than our time. We can’t maintain enough control over our lives to avoid hurting other people or being hurt ourselves. We’ve seen it in our personal lives, and we’ve seen it in history. Despite the ‘progress’ of science and philosophy and human achievements, our world is just as rife as ever with sickness, poverty, injustice, pollution, decay and death. 

To follow Jesus, we have to be willing to say to him, “I’m weak, broken, wrong. I can’t make this work. I need you.” It’s an insurmountable hurdle for many people: we’re too proud to admit that we’re not strong enough, not right enough, not God enough. But it’s what God demands, because he can’t transform us into what we’re made to be when we refuse to accept that our Creator’s ways are better than ours.

And strangely, those who (bravely, in my perspective) surrender their perceived self-salvation believe that they are not shackled by this 'crutch' they rely on, but instead are liberated by it. Christians believe that to lean on God is to embrace the way we were created to be – making life fuller, more beautiful, more free and more right than we could achieve with our own huffing and puffing.

What if the Bible is right and we're all weak? What if we're all crippled? What if we all need God? If that's true, would it be strength or stupidity to refuse the 'crutch' that Jesus offers you? 

Would you rather be a cripple with pride intact or rely on God to make you strong?


Tessa Baty