Message – Crutch
Paul: ‘Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God’ (2 Corinthians 3:5).
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17)
Illustration : Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Critics such as Marx have charged that religion is an invention designed for people incapable of coping with life’s pressures.
First, let’s list a definition of ‘crutch’ that people have in mind when they make this objection to Christian faith.
1). Crutch’: artificial, needless prop, or expedient.
True ? False ?
What? What about : radical servanthood and sacrifice to God and man?
2). Even many atheists would agree that believing that God cares about you or that your life is part of a cosmic plan can be a powerful source of hope (or, to put it pejoratively, a crutch). —Virginia Postrel
Countering a “needless prop” attitude
To think this kind of uncompromising call to bold action and counter cultural living is a psychological prop is ridiculous. In fact, in Jesus own time, many who wanted just a “feel good” message abandoned Jesus because they found that Christianity is not for the faint of heart. (John 6:66)
I dislike saying ‘Jesus is my crutch,’ only because it grossly undersells how much I need him. “Crutch” can make it sound like I just need a little temporary leaning post, when in reality, I need a radical surgery for a mortal wound.
Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Critics such as Marx have charged that religion is an invention designed for people incapable of coping with life’s pressures.
…. even if all people have psychological needs that are helped by religion, that does not disprove the exishtence of God.
Dependence on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, money, power, other people, and material possessions demonstrates some people’s need for a crutch. Atheism—the belief that there is no God—can become a crutch for those addicted to a lifestyle contrary to God’s standards of morality.
Moreover, nonbelievers also can use crutches on a regular basis. These can take the form of drugs or alcohol, or fantasy worlds (soap operas, virtual worlds, games, reality TV, etc.),
Illus – Demi Lovato drug overdose
USING THEIR HYPOTHESIS
The real question to ask is, can your crutch really hold you? Christians believe that many people depend on things which are not at all trustworthy, and that Jesus came to kick these false props and crutches away.
Illus – Demi Lovato drug overdose
Luxury vs Necessity
God is not a luxury He is a necessity.
What brings real satisfaction?
Look at HUMAN NATURE
Are we solo creatures?
Garden lie – you don’t need Him….
Children v. Parents – wisdom of listening …
Living w/o a “crutch” ???
What did Marx accomplish w/o God
– mass slaughter, survival of the fittest???
PROBLEMS WITH THE “CRUTCHES” ACCUSATION
THE HEAVY CRUTCH – knowing how to respond ! What to ask!
8. Why would you follow something that you know would make life harder for yourself? If a belief system is said to be a psychological crutch then we would expect it to help you in your day-to-day life and in at least some sense make life a little easier to function and cope with. So how exactly does Christianity fair in such an assessment? From the very start we observe that Jesus’ earliest followers, known as his disciples, were mostly murdered for preaching Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and his resurrection.
THE DEADLY CRUTCH
Consider the following list:
James, son of Zebedee – Beheaded (Acts 12:1-2) Thomas – Murdered in India Simon the Canaanite – Crucified Simon Peter – Crucified in Rome Mark – Burned alive Bartholomew – Beaten, crucified and beheaded Andrew – Crucified – the actual place is not definite although Archaia is the most likely Matthew – Speared to death Philip – Stoned then crucified 
THE NON-FUNCTIONAL CRUTCH
Some details do differ depending on which records are used. However, there is little doubt that all of the above and many more were killed for preaching the Gospel. Even taking into account slight differences in regards to the exact fate of some or the location, the above list demonstrates that following Jesus in the first century was a dangerous path to follow, as for many today it still is.
Then we see that Jesus himself was whipped, beaten and crucified for what he taught. Christians for almost 300 hundred years after Jesus’ resurrection were a persecuted and suffering people, and even today tens of millions of people around the world continue to suffer and die for simply believing and following Jesus’ message. A message that asks you to deny yourself, and take up your cross daily (meaning picking up the cross to die as Jesus did), not to gather vast amounts of earthly possessions, to live humbly, to forgive and pray for your enemies, to acknowledge that you have disobeyed God and are in need of a saviour, simply does not function as a crutch to get through life!
THE WESTERN CRUTCH
The claim that Christianity is a crutch would then only really serve as a reason for the minority of Christians who live in the West, not the vast majority elsewhere.
If anything, it generally makes life much more difficult and actually demonstrates that Christians are willing to follow the truth regardless of how difficult it may be. Are you?
THE TRUE AND FALSE / INVALID CRUTCH
Christianity does satisfy psychological needs. Christianity offers freedom from all psychological problems. For example freedom from worry, freedom from depression, freedom from fear of other people, freedom from addictions, freedom from guilt.
So is this objection a valid objection against Christianity? No. Because what the objection implies is that some people, including the objector, have no need for Christianity. But the truth is that everyone needs Christianity as their psychological crutch.
All humans have at least one psychological problem: guilt. Everyone deep down knows that they are a sinner and that one day a righteous God will hold them to account. They may try and suppress this truth, but it is still there:
‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20).
THE MIS-DIRECTED CRUTCH
Illustration : magician
MISDIRECTION of ILLUSIONIST/magician Caleb’s magic
Some other objections….
• “You believe in God because you need an emotional crutch.”
• “The New Testament was written by Christians, and they were biased.”
• “You are pro-life because you’re a man.”
• “Your belief in one true religion is intolerant.”
• “You are a Christian because you were born in America.”
Each of these trade on the same fundamental error. Do you see it? Find it by asking yourself this question: What are these objections about?
In these examples, the Christian’s views are dismissed because a) he has an emotional need, b) he is biased, c) he is a certain gender, d) he has a character flaw (intolerance), d) he comes from a certain social or cultural background.
Did you notice that each of these objections is about the believer, not his belief? This is a clue to the problem with all such attacks. You can never know anything about the truth of a person’s beliefs by focusing on anything about the believer. You might learn something interesting about his psychology, his culture, or his social background. But you will never learn anything about the accuracy of his views. To learn that, you must focus on the ideas themselves.
“To condemn Christianity for being a solution to universal needs is like condemning the use of food because it satisfies hunger. To reject a cure because it is a cure is silly. We should only condemn false cures, those crutches that work only for a short time, or those that make the condition worse over time.”
The OBEJECTION does not address the issue of TRUTH.
Finally, the real question about Christianity is not a psychological one, but an historical one.
Did Jesus exist?
What did he teach?
What did he do?
Did he really rise from the dead?
C.S. Lewis :
Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself….If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at arithmetic…but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely mathematical grounds….In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.[iii] (emphasis in the original)