What If Christianity Is Pointless

pointlesschristianity

What if this is all pointless?

Let the question sink in.

What if being a Christian is completely pointless?  What if Jesus wasn’t who he said he was?  What if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, making Christian faith founded on a lie?

Sometimes it is refreshing to ask the honest questions.  No more pretense.  No more façades.  Just honesty.

The answer: Then being a Christian is pointless.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then you should put down your Bible.  You should stop talking about him so much, he was just one of a thousand other historical figures.  And, what’s with all the singing and worshiping? You should probably stop that too; and, while you are at it, maybe the loving of others too.

Let our anthem be: “Let’s party and have a good time, for tomorrow we die!” (You can thank me later for freeing up your Sunday morning.)

Let’s be honest.  It is pointless living for a lie—so much effort, just trying to feel better about yourself.

Anyone feeling uncomfortable with these honest thoughts?  I know I am.


It turns out, peeps were asking these same questions in Corinth, Greece in 50 AD as well, almost 2,000 years ago.  This kind of honest doubt is nothing new.  Twenty years after Jesus died and allegedly rose from the dead, people were throwing shade on the resurrection claim.

And, to this resurrection doubt, the apostle Paul actually responds, “Yes, if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, you are right, our Christianity is pointless.”  In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives at least 5 “yeah, you’re rights” to the doubters:

If Christ didn’t rise from the dead:

  1. Then, yes, our preaching is in vain—we are found to be building up Christians in a belief-system that is based on a lie. (15:14)
  2. Then, yes, your faith is useless—belief in Jesus rising from the dead to save you, if it is a lie, turns out to be a faith founded on false ground. (15:14)
  3. Then, yes, we are found to be misrepresenting God—saying He did something He did not do and misleading people about His trustworthy character. (15:15)
  4. Then, yes, your faith is futile—You are pointlessly giving your life up to a lie. (15:17)
  5. Then, yes, you are still in your sins—You will not be saved by Jesus’ death/resurrection because, well, it didn’t happen. (15:17)

Yikes!  This is scary stuff!  And, it should scare you.  If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then seriously, you should stop being a Christian.  Otherwise, you are to be pitied for living for a lie.

It follows, if we should be pitied for living for Christ if the resurrection of Christ did not truly happen, the resurrection of Christ is of utmost importance to a Christian.

If the resurrection didn’t happen, then we should stop all of our Christian activities.  On the other hand, if the resurrection did in fact happen, then everything changes. (If you are not sure about the resurrection, my advice is to look into it.  Put the resurrection on trial and see how it holds up.)

There are many reasons to believe the resurrection happened.  (Recommended resources: The Reason for God by Timothy Keller; Stealing from God by Frank Turek.)

Consider this.  The Jews at the time of Jesus would have had no motivation to create a new religion.  Timothy Keller points out that the Jews would have thought it blasphemous to say that Jesus, a human, should be worshipped:

“Jews, however, believed in a single, transcendent, personal God.  It was absolute blasphemy to propose that any human being should be worshipped.  Yet hundreds of Jews began worshipping Jesus literally overnight [after His resurrection].”

If this man, Jesus, rose from the dead then everything changes.

Your Christianity just went from pointless to essential.

That Bible that I just said you might as well put down?  Those words just got a lot more important, if not absolutely necessary.  You should be hanging on every word like your life depended on it.

Your Christian efforts are not some guilt-based-feel-better-about-yourself lifestyle.  No, not even close.  Your Christianity is now a life “sold out” to God and His glory—you would lay down everything, even your life, for Him.

Loving and sacrificing for others to point them to the perfect love and sacrifice of God?  Absolutely!

Living for yourself?  If any lifestyle is “pointless”, I think this one just went to the front of the line.

I’ll say it this way, being a Christian is not about praying a prayer.  Being a Christian is about a complete life re-orientation.  Your life goes from being completely self-focused to being completely God-focused.

If your life should be “pitied” if the resurrection didn’t happen, then it should actually look pitiable.

Here’s the question:  Does your Christian life look pitiable to the outside person looking at it?

Would someone see the way you are living and say it was “pointless” to live for something (or for Someone) with such passion and zeal?  Would they pity you for living in such crazy ways for what they would consider a lie?  Would your life look crazy to anyone?

Let me end by asking the opposite of the question I started with:

What if this is all true?

Alex Etheridge, University of Illinois Cru Staff


For an expanded and interactive resource on this topic, I wrote “A Reasonable Resurrection: How Evidence for the Resurrection Produces Reasonable Faith and Radically Changes Your Life.”
Please email me if you are interested in this resource or if you have any other feedback @ alex.etheridge@cru.org