In a hypothetical, worst case scenario, where remaining humanity did not accept Christianity, turned away from it/died out/whatever, would the religion of Christianity still exist?

Theologically speaking, do mainstream Nicene Christians hold to the non-contingency of God, or is God's existence predicated on the acts of his followers?

  • 1
    I would argue this is actually a good, standard theological question - Is God contingent. Whether or not it is a fit for the site is a different question. That said, I think that there is good input from established theology to answer the question. The difficulty is that it doesn't clarify what theological constructions are useful in answering the question. Feb 10, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    Meta post concerning this post.
    – user3961
    Feb 10, 2014 at 16:25
  • Also, I was not asking a question on whether or not "god" is contingent. I'm asking if Christianity is contingent on human existence. That in it of itself demands some other questions.
    – rpeg
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:09
  • You'll notice I dealt with two questions - Is Christianity contingent on humans (yes) and is God contingent (no). They are related, and the first is your focus, but the second is the more common focus. Feb 10, 2014 at 19:26
  • I just want to clarify that I wasn't concerned with the "common" focus.
    – rpeg
    Feb 10, 2014 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


No. Christianity would not exist without humans

Any religio (from whence the word religion derives) cannot exist without humans. Definitionally speaking, a religio is literally "the way" meaning the way in which a human acts on a regular basis. Under that definition, all people - even atheists - have religions. It is simply their way of being in the world. Some religions require regular ritual practices like praying, studying, or visiting the temple/high place of worship/shopping mall, others ways of believing, and still more ways of interacting with their fellow man.

Christianity, is a religio which focuses on comporting oneself in Christ. It involves living through him and following him. Indeed, originally, Christians were called "the Way" and "followers of Christ." To Follow inherently requires a follower and a followee. Absent these things, there is no following, and hence no Christianity.

For many Christians, raised in an anti-Pharisee mindset, this is a good thing. We eschew ritual and focus on relationship. We seek to worship in spirit and Truth. We have no love of ritual per se, but rather the object of our affection. Absent one to enjoy that relationship, indeed, Christianity ceases to exist.

Yes, God would still continue to exist without his creation

That said, Christians believe that God is a non-contingent being. IN other words, God's existence cannot depend on his creation. It is ultimately a strange irreducable distinction - leading many theologians to even consider it a false dichotomy, but the point is simple enough - an omnipotent God does not derive his existence from his worshippers - rather he created them. Any other action disregards both his omnipotence, and simple causation.

Biblically speaking, Christians believe that "In the beginning, God". That simply means that God did exist for a long time without followers. THe concept of redemption - re-calling his Creation back to him necessitates that.

As such, no, the religion may not exist absent followers, but that does not mean that God himself does not.

  • There are religions that can exist without humans. Scientology may be an example. I believe this is a relevant question for any religious construct.
    – rpeg
    Feb 10, 2014 at 17:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .