Are You an Accidental Christian?
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Are You an Accidental Christian?

Several years ago, I was journeying home after my first year of Bible college, traveling from Colorado to Virginia. It was a long, arduous drive (over 24 hours) because I got lost. I didn’t know where I was going and it seemed like there was no help available! Thankfully, by sheer accident, I found myself on the right road and made it home. I was relieved! Later, I would laugh about that journey and label it, “How I accidentally drove from Colorado to Virginia.”

Now, what does all this have to do with the Christian faith? More than you might assume. Have you arrived at your Christianity the same way I arrived home, by accident? Is it possible to conclude that Christianity is true without knowing why? It is not only possible but too often the default condition of many in the Church.

Here is a question I’d like for you to ask and answer on a sheet of paper: Why do you believe what you believe? Now, was your answer similar to one of the following:

  1. I know it is right in my heart.
  2. I had a religious/spiritual experience.
  3. I used to live a bad life and then something changed and I knew it was God.
  4. Christianity is the only thing I’ve ever known.

If your answer resembles any of these four, you’re an accidental Christian. While these are all legitimate, personal explanations/reasons for being a Christian, how beneficial would they be when used in conversation with non-Christians? In my experience, these answers are not very practical for many reasons:

  1. Usually, the skeptic will not accept emotional appeals to religion.
  2. Every other religion uses the same type of arguments. Thus, at the very least the Christian is at a stalemate with the claims of such groups.
  3. The skeptic will note that just because a specific worldview is all someone has ever known doesn't make it correct.
  4. If you’ve had a transformative experience, how do you know that what you’ve experienced is the same as what took place in the pages of the New Testament? [1]

If accidental Christianity will not convince the skeptic, what will? If your answers are the same as all other religious groups, don’t you need better answers? Christians need to have a coherent, evidential faith. Why?

  1. A faith grounded in evidence prepares you to have solid answers for the questions non-Christians will ask.
  2. Such a faith draws you closer God. We will all face times where we don’t feel close to God. But, by having a faith grounded in evidence, the head can hold you afloat until your feelings catch up.
  3. An evidential faith dismantles some of the common stereotypes cast upon Christians. Christians have, for the most part, been labeled as hokey, out of date, and unintelligent by a large portion of society. But what if you had answers for the toughest objections to Christianity? You would definitely change the negative opinions some have of Christians.

If anyone had asked me when I arrived in Virginia, “How did you get here? What route did you take?” I couldn’t have provided any type of substantive answer other than, “Well, I don’t know how I got here, I just went with a gut feeling.” Whether it is a trip from Colorado to Virginia or our own spiritual journey, we can take the wrong route and arrive at the right place and have no solid answer for how we got there. Let us be people who ground our faith in reason and evidence.

Thus, the solution to the issue is to start digging and investigating the claims of the Christian worldview! A couple great starters are The Case for Christ, Reasonable Faith, and Evidence that Demands a Verdict (updated edition). This way, when people ask you what route you took to get to where you are spiritually, you can show them the way.

Follow Up Question:

  1. What are your thoughts about being an accidental Christian? Do you agree with the premise?
  2. What did you find when you answered the question, “Why do I believe what I believe?”


[1] J. Warner Wallace. Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. (Colorado Spring, David C. Cook: 2017), 21.

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