Jesus famously taught that if we seek, we shall find. Those who wish to find favour with God and live a godly life will at some point encounter the teachings of the Bible and be forced to consider the Christian worldview, and whether to embrace or reject the radical gospel of salvation we find in the New Testament.
Considering the truth claims of the Christian faith in a rational way has led me to conclude that there are certain aspects of the Christian worldview that are illogical. But is that a sufficient reason to reject the faith? In this post, focusing on the apostle Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians concerning foolishness, I will try to address that question.
For the sake of brevity I’m only going to quote a section from chapter 1 of Paul’s epistle, but the theme of foolishness runs right through chapters 2 and 3. For those who really want to consider the arguments in this post, I recommend reading the entire epistle. It’s always a good idea to read each epistle as a whole (in the way it was written), as the context of specific verses is always important.
Let us now look at verses 17-25, and then I will offer my reflections.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1 Corinthians 1:17-25 NKJV)
The word ‘foolishness’ is repeated five times in this short passage. The Greek word translated as foolishness in these verses is moria, which is the word from which we derive the term moron, and we all know what that means; to be ‘moronic’ is to be stupid, idiotic, dumb.
To be honest, this is the only ‘knockdown’ argument in favour of Christianity that I have found. It does indeed seem foolish to me that God would judge people for their actions when He has caused those actions by His sovereign will in the first place. It seems irrational to me that because Adam and Eve ate some fruit, we are all sinners who deserve everlasting punishment in hell.
But Paul’s teaching to the church in Corinth seems to imply that we should suspend logic and simply believe and obey the teachings of Christ. Believing the gospel may be a foolish thing to do, but it seems from Paul’s teaching that God wants us to reject what we consider to be wise for the sake of the gospel and that this is the only way to be in right relationship with Him.
This is a challenge I take very seriously, and I find the argument very persuasive. If Paul’s writing is inspired by God, then we all have a duty to heed his words. The only question that remains for me is am I able to live my entire life dedicated to a faith that my rational mind tells me is foolish?
For a more in-depth look at these issues and a discussion of the most important arguments for and against Christianity, you are invited to read my essay entitled ‘An Almighty Predicament’, which can be found here.