Ah Universalism (Again)

When it comes to universalism there is a line of argument against it that goes something like this: If universalism is true, then Christianity is pointless. A slightly softer version of that claim can be stated as follows: If universalism is true, then Christianity is unnecessary. And the last, slightly weaker, variant that I will point to is this: If universalism is true, then Christianity amounts to an “option” (one of many), that is, a personal philosophy for living which may, or may not, be superior to the plethora of others available. This last line of argument comes packaged with a set of worries that if Christianity is about anything else than getting into Heaven, there’s not much more to it—at least not that much more than one might find in any number of other religions or philosophical disciplines. To be honest I am not a fan of these rather consequentialist arguments concerning Christianity and universalism; they cheapen the Faith right off the bat. At the same time, however, it is at least worth asking why someone would feel bound to profess Christianity as anything other than a preference if indeed universalism is true. For Christianity can be, and for a number of people often is, aesthetical, cultural, and/or psychological. And for a certain segment of the population who frets that their own adherence to Christianity falls into one of those (or several other) categories, universalism cuts off all hope of “elevating” that adherence, or so some fear it seems.