If Christianity is true, why are there so many denominations? When I first became a Christian, I remember driving down the streets of the Los Angeles county and seeing, because I wasn’t sure where you can go to church, right? But there were a lot of options. I mean there was all kinds of denominations of church, Christian church in Southern California and I thought that if Christianity is true, wouldn’t there just be like one place to go to get it? I mean why are they all these different denominations? I can see why people might think that that variety of differencing and different opinions might actually demonstrate that Christianity isn’t true.
But even as an atheist I recognize that you know to hold a view and if humans hold it, there’s going to be all kinds of variety about their views that that tells you more about humans than it does about any view held by humans, about any claim embraced by humans.
Atheism also divides into a number of different camps – strong atheism, a weak atheism, implicit atheism, logical atheism. We can go on and on. Every view held by humans eventually starts to break down into different camps because that’s who we are, that’s our nature. As prideful, rebellious know-it-alls we all are, we all struggle with that and it takes every view. It’s kind of the equivalent of saying “Hey the USA isn’t true because there are 50 states. The fact that there are 50 different views about how you ought to govern locally within the larger thing called the United States just demonstrates how if you give people enough time, they will divide over any claim true or otherwise. The fact that there are many denominations of Christianity does not bother me because I know that’s how people do things.
Let me give you something else to think about. You believe in the existence of the universe right? I do too. You realize though that cosmologists are wildly divided on both how the universe got here, how it sustains itself and why it looks fine too? The number of theories about the emergence of the universe from big bang cosmology or any kind of cyclical cosmology or you name a multiverse theories, quantum theories. There are a number of ways that physicists divide. Does their division over their notions related to the universe either nullify the existence of the universe or even the validity of their work as scientists? Of course it doesn’t. This is the nature of who we are as people right? Even when we embrace something as true, we will divide over how we interpret that something. This is also true for every worldview including Christianity.
Let me give you one last thing though to consider. As you respond to this objection, why would you be surprised for a moment that we wouldn’t disagree? I think I’d be more shocked if we had agreement and I would suspect something’s up if a set of people agreed over a long period of time on every single detail than if they disagreed because again it comes down to our personal likes and dislikes. The differences between people and that ugly little thing that divides all of us is repeatedly called pride. In the end it’s not a view that has a problem. If people interpret the view differently, it’s about the problem with people. That’s just the nature of who we are. We don’t agree on small details related to even the most benign matters, let alone critical matters. Why would you be surprised that we would disagree about things when it comes to any world view including Christianity?