There was a quickly deleted S.E. post that responded to this question, "is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that Christianity is definitely true?"

The post that was deleted was from a responder who brought up the thought that Christianity is a "superstitious" philosophy.

What is a general survey of the ways that Christian apologists have responded to the specific argument that Christianity is a "superstitious" philosophy, apart from just ignoring it?

  • I wrote that post and I was negatively impressed that it was deleted, simply by presenting another point of view. I am a born christian and I always found religion to be a rudimentary attempt at explaining the universe. Given that for thousands of years Man didn't know math, chemistry, physics, etc., it is understandable how religion came to be and how it evolved from ancient polytheistic to modern monotheistic. No religion can provide a mathematical framework of this universe and how it came to be. Simply saying that "God did it .. " is intellectually lazy at best, and doesn't really explain
    – Adrian
    Aug 30, 2022 at 16:52
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    @adrian, this site is not a discussion board, that's more or less the reason your posts are deleted. This question, for instance, needs to be answered from the perspective of a Christian apologist. Presenting other points of view is not the point of the site. Which is why most questions like that one (and this one) get closed in the first place, because they invite too much discussion even if people like participating.
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 30, 2022 at 19:43
  • The recent edit improved the question, but I think including the argument itself in the Q (the strongest one that can be found on the net) can improve the question a lot more and helps makes the answer more targeted and less prone to discussion / opinion. Aug 31, 2022 at 19:45
  • GratefulDisciple, I have made a couple of additional edits. Hopefully it will pass muster with those that have voted to close the question.
    – Jess
    Aug 31, 2022 at 21:18
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    @Jess Although my suggestion was for a concrete argument (a quote from somewhere in the web) to be embedded in the Q, asking for a general survey may work. We'll see how it goes. Aug 31, 2022 at 21:36

5 Answers 5


Keep in mind that "logical" and "rational" do not imply "philosophical materialism" in any way. Logic is a process by which one builds valid conclusions out of known facts. That's all it is; it does nothing whatsoever to provide an initial set of basic facts (axioms) from which to begin reasoning, and it's perfectly valid logic to take incorrect "facts" and reach an invalid conclusion from them. (This error is known as ex falso quodlibet, "a falsehood implies anything.")

Materialism is nothing more than a different axiom, an alternative to dualism, (the notion that there is a distinct spiritual realm that exists in tandem with the physical world,) that is accepted purely as a foundational belief and can not be rationally proven any more than dualism can. Attempts to do so invariably rely on question-begging circular logic. ("All real phenomena can be explained through physical laws, therefore any reported phenomenon that cannot be explained through physical laws is not real.")

Superstition is the belief in an irrational system of causality. Classic examples include notions of unrelated negative consequences being caused by breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder. There is no way to demonstrate through cause and effect that the reason you got in a car wreck was because it's Friday the 13th — particularly in light of all the other drivers who were completely safe on that day! — as a more probable conclusion than that it happened either because of one of the drivers being careless or reckless, or due to unforeseen hazardous road conditions.

Faith, on the other hand, provides its own axioms and testable promises. Millions upon millions of people, both from ages past and still alive today, have put its precepts to the test and found them demonstrably valid. For example, anyone who has put the promise of Malachi chapter 3 to the test can tell you about how they've learned that the best way to end up with some windfall right when you really need one is to faithfully pay tithes and offerings. And there is nothing irrational or superstitious about believing in and acting on a well-defined, consistent, reliable model of causality, even if some other person doesn't like your axioms.

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    Technically, logic must begin by assuming that logic itself is valid and that truth exists. Otherwise, logic itself has no basis on which to be reasoned.
    – Matthew
    Aug 30, 2022 at 19:22

Given that the 'laws' of physics are the materialist dogmas, those laws are the arbitrary constructs that make the universe what it currently is. Any attempt to conceive of another set of laws destroys one way or another the current composition of the universe.

These men in spectacles spoke much of a man named Newton, who was hit by an apple, and who discovered a law. But they could not be got to see the distinction between a true law, a law of reason, and the mere fact of apples falling. If the apple hit Newton's nose, Newton's nose hit the apple. That is a true necessity: because we cannot conceive the one occurring without the other. But we can quite well conceive the apple not falling on his nose; we can fancy it flying ardently through the air to hit some other nose, of which it had a more definite dislike. We have always in our fairy tales kept this sharp distinction between the science of mental relations, in which there really are laws, and the science of physical facts, in which there are no laws, but only weird repetitions. We believe in bodily miracles, but not in mental impossibilities. We believe that a Bean-stalk climbed up to Heaven; but that does not at all confuse our convictions on the philosophical question of how many beans make five.

G.K. Chesterton - Orthodoxy - The Ethics of Elfland

The cosmologists often talk about the Earth being in the Goldilocks zone, which is a good thing, it means the Earth is in a Good place, and it's not superstitious to think of the Earth as lucky to be here. They take the Goldilocks notion a step up and say the Solar System is in a lucky place (lucky to be left alone) and the Galaxy is in a good place (not part of a crazy cluster; not a quasar - we have, perhaps the most pleasant supermassive blackhole in the middle).

But this all concocted for our own benefit. We can't really thank the universe for it, even if we try.

This was my first conviction; made by the shock of my childish emotions meeting the modern creed in mid-career. I had always vaguely felt facts to be miracles in the sense that they are wonderful: now I began to think them miracles in the stricter sense that they were WILFUL. I mean that they were, or might be, repeated exercises of some will. In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician. And this pointed a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has some purpose; and if there is a purpose, there is a person. I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller.


The ancients (and the deists) who only believed in a maker were wrong, science has proven that we have a Maker and a Law giver and a Benefactor. That He should want to come amongst His creation and redeem it is not an inconsistent behavior.

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    I think there's a lot more to say than this, especially about miracles. I've always personally felt that miracles appear rare because they're concocted in a way to not impede our freewill (or our ability to freely love God). But nearly everyone I've talked to has experienced a miracle or two in their lives.
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 30, 2022 at 15:14

Is it superstitious to have a worldview where supernatural interventions are not just possible but likely?

What are some of the best ways that Christians have responded to that type of allegation [that Christianity is a superstitious philosophy], apart from just ignoring it?

Craig Keener's two-volume work Miracles : 2 Volumes: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (link) is a direct response to this:

Most modern prejudice against biblical miracle reports depends on David Hume's argument that uniform human experience precluded miracles. Yet current research shows that human experience is far from uniform. In fact, hundreds of millions of people today claim to have experienced miracles. New Testament scholar Craig Keener argues that it is time to rethink Hume's argument in light of the contemporary evidence available to us. This wide-ranging and meticulously researched two-volume study presents the most thorough current defense of the credibility of the miracle reports in the Gospels and Acts. Drawing on claims from a range of global cultures and taking a multidisciplinary approach to the topic, Keener suggests that many miracle accounts throughout history and from contemporary times are best explained as genuine divine acts, lending credence to the biblical miracle reports.

See also Craig Keener's more recent book Miracles Today (link):

Do miracles still happen today? This book demonstrates that miraculous works of God, which have been part of the experience of the church around the world since Christianity began, continue into the present. Leading New Testament scholar Craig Keener addresses common questions about miracles and provides compelling reasons to believe in them today, including many accounts that offer evidence of verifiable miracles.

This book gives an accessible and concise overview of one of Keener's most significant research topics. His earlier two-volume work on miracles stands as the definitive word on the topic, but its size and scope are daunting to many readers. This new book summarizes Keener's basic argument but contains substantial new material, including new accounts of the miraculous. It is suitable as a textbook but also accessible to church leaders and laypeople.

Lee Strobel published a similar book titled The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural (link):

New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel trains his investigative sights on the hot-button question: is it really credible to believe God intervenes supernaturally in people's lives today?

This provocative book starts with an unlikely interview in which America's foremost skeptic builds a seemingly persuasive case against the miraculous. But then Strobel travels the country to quiz scholars to see whether they can offer solid answers to atheist objections. Along the way, he encounters astounding accounts of healings and other phenomena that simply cannot be explained away by naturalistic causes. The book features the results of exclusive new scientific polling that shows miracle accounts are much more common than people think.

What's more, Strobel delves into the most controversial question of all: what about miracles that don't happen? If God can intervene in the world, why doesn't he do it more often to relieve suffering? Many American Christians are embarrassed by the supernatural, not wanting to look odd or extreme to their neighbors. Yet, The Case for Miracles shows not only that the miraculous is possible, but that God still does intervene in our world in awe-inspiring ways. Here’s a unique book that examines all sides of this issue and comes away with a passionate defense for God's divine action in lives today.

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    "Most modern prejudice against biblical miracle reports depends on David Hume's argument that uniform human experience precluded miracles." Viewed from a different angle, miracles preclude Hume's notion of uniformitarianism.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Aug 31, 2022 at 11:11

Have you read I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist?

Until someone comes up with a coherent explanation for how matter, or life, spontaneously came into existence, Materialists also believe in supernatural miracles. So I guess Materialists are "superstitious" by whatever criteria is being used. Thus, if we assume that what Christians are really being accused of is irrationality (or delusion), Materialists are being hypocritical.

It's not irrational or delusional to believe in miracles (i.e. "supernatural intervention") if such really occur(red). What's irrational is refusing to accept reality. If a miracle should occurs, it would be irrational to deny that it occurred. If the available evidence strongly suggests a historic miracle (e.g. the existence of the universe, or the existence of life), is it rational to insist on a world view that denies that miracles can occur?

Yet, this is the heart of Materialism.

...But you asked about if Christianity is "superstitious". Well, what is superstition?

A superstition is any belief or practice considered by non-practitioners to be irrational or supernatural, attributed to fate or magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of that which is unknown.

It should be blatantly obvious that Materialists are superstitious from a (biblical-historical) Christian perspective. One response is to simply point out this plain fact. Naturally, Materialists, desiring to control the rules in their favor, will simply deny this, but it doesn't change that they lack coherent explanations for various pillars of their beliefs, or that there are significant evidentiary problems with those beliefs.

If one wants to be pedantic, however, Christians are superstitious, in the sense of believing in the supernatural (that is, God, miracles, the resurrection of Christ, etc.). And so what? Defined that way, there's nothing wrong with superstition. What's "bad" is irrationality, a trait which is frequently more prevalent among Materialists than among Christians.

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    "It's not irrational or delusional to believe in miracles (i.e. "supernatural intervention") if such really occur(red). What's irrational is refusing to accept reality." Exactly this. I've had my life saved by direct, physical intervention from an unseen being, that left behind clear, convincing evidence.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:46
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    But when I explain what happened, someone always comes up with a way to explain it away materialistically, the explanation is always dependent on one of the clear details of the experience being incorrect, and pointing out the discrepancy invariably results in accusations that I must necessarily be remembering it wrong because there is no such thing as divine intervention.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:46

Viewing the world through a supernatural framework imbued with meaning is not superstitious, but reasonable and in accord with human nature.

There is an innate desire in us for something more than the monotony of life and thus most try to escape reality by turning to transitory pleasures and distractions. However, this inevitably makes them detest their routine even more!

For, in comparison with the fantasy worlds they escape to and debauchery they engage in, their routine is wholly dull and unappealing.

The Christian, however, instead of attempting the impossible flight from the nature of things, delves deeper into the fabric of the world and finds it at once incredible and insufficient.

And according to this realization he conducts himself jovially towards the marvelous creation, finding that all things "shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands."

Thus the godless seethe in envy, deriding the faith of the faithful, they try and convince themselves they don't need it. Without purpose they stray into anguish and despair, and there they stay, forever.

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