Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

knowledge based religion

Christianity likes to differentiate itself from secular humanism which rejects the supernatural and emphasizes human reason as the ultimate measure of all reality. To the humanist, knowledge received through the senses and properly evaluated by the human intellect is the only route to understanding. The human mind becomes the arbiter of what is real and what is not.


By contrast, Christianity seeks to exalt faith as providing insights into ultimate realities which mere sensually acquired knowledge cannot. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. By implication then faith transcends knowledge, and the pathway to an understanding of God involves much more than an understanding of facts.


This attempt at contrast is ironic when one considers the emphasis that evangelicalism places on religious instruction and conversion. Evangelicals identify the Bible as the only source of knowledge about God, His nature and working, and the means by which man can learn to be pleasing to Him. The essential element which connects mankind to the Creator is the knowledge imparted by the sacred text. Without right instruction in the correct doctrine, one supposedly cannot be accepted by God. Generally, one must not only know the information in the Bible but also be able to properly, i.e. logically, evaluate its instructions before one can apply that knowledge successfully. Knowledge of facts without the right interpretation is not good enough.


Some would counter that the knowledge gained from the Bible is the basis for the faith which is necessary to please God. This is commonly taught as the link between knowledge and faith. If knowledge precedes faith then logically Christianity becomes a knowledge based religion. Once one gets the facts all straight and responds correctly to those facts, then one can be accepted. Human understanding and human reasoning are ultimately determinant, and the real difference between this doctrine and that of humanism is the source of the knowledge. In both cases human ability and effort make the difference.


All religions which claim a sacred text as God’s revelation to man share the same distinction of being knowledge based. Instruction in righteousness is required, and thus the fate of man becomes dependent on a host of circumstances which minimize the likelihood of actually achieving righteousness.