Sunday, September 21, 2014

Becoming a Christian Takes Work. ( Criticism of "Intellectual" Atheists and Others)

Staying atheist is certainly the more convenient option, if you are lazy. And let's face the facts, most people who live in the West and don't have faith in Christ are definitively lazy.

You have access to more knowledge in a day, without leaving the chair you're sitting at right now, than most people prior to the printing press had access to in their entire lives. A daily newspaper nowadays would be a month's worth of word-of-mouth overheard from travelers as they passed through your town.

The amount of time it took to copy a book just once was the amount of time it took for a person to gather together enough blank pages, ink, not to mention also a copy of the book, and then for him to rewrite every word on the blank pages, before binding the book and starting anew. Knowledge spread very slowly in a horizontal fashion (from one person to contemporaries, people alive at the same time), and knowledge spread through tradition, from parents to children (vertically) was much more effective. Consequently, a person's ideas could take a century or more to catch on, and they'd never live to see the effect of their work. But now history has come to a remarkable place.

We can access anything that anyone anywhere has found out about the past or found written in the past, so long as it has been transcribed or photocopied onto the Internet -- which is to say, any computer or database connected to the Internet information highway, so that anyone else can access the information as long as they are also connected.

And despite all this, the vast majority of people REFUSE to use the Internet to learn anything important!

You there, o atheist. You who have the knowledge of all the world's history at your fingertips, day in and day out, do you go looking for information that confirms and points to the Bible being true and its admonitions having the force of an ultimate Lawgiver behind them? Do you try to prove the Bible and do you go looking for evidence to utterly convince you that Jesus Christ is God, you are a man of sin, you need to repent, and you deserve His judgment but are utterly at the mercy of His unmerited favor in order to escape?

You can't make this claim. And I know from experience (the other benefit of the Internet is that it allows you to sample large amounts of people at a time to see how they think and consider their personal testimonies) that most people who are atheists are not so from being scholarly, studious and disciplined. They took the first lame reason to reject faith they could find, and clung to it, and now they're monstrously irrational and as a consequence of choosing not to think, CAN NOT think.

Being a Christian is not easy. You might have had that claim in the 1700s, or the 1950s. But 99% of the United States is not now composed of conservative Christians who are seeking freedom from persecution unto death, as they were in 1750, when there were 3 million colonists. Now we are a nation of 320 million, of which far fewer than 40 million can be said to be true believers, and that's being liberal with the estimate. This number includes people who are saved but not doing a good job of being sanctified. And it's not the majority. The culture today is vehemently anti-Christian, it is only possible to find safe havens in various places, because there is enough cultural infrastructure remaining to make it possible to live freely as a believer. The national tide is turning, and the popular thing to do is to be anti-Christ. If you're a believer, you'll be ridiculed on TV, you'll be derided in academia, you'll be slandered and picketed and boycotted and marginalized. Don't expect job opportunities to open up for you. Unless the person reviewing your resume is Christian--and as noted, your chances aren't good.

And this is only the tip of the spear.

Being a Christian isn't the easy route anymore. Now, at this moment, if you choose to be a Christian, you choose to be a rebel. You're choosing the counter-culture. You're choosing to go against popular opinion. You're choosing to leave the mainstream and be part of the fringe. You're not making an easy choice, but a hard choice. And that's why so few people make it. It's so much easier to be lazy.

It's easy to not pick up a book and read. It's easy to mine passages from Kings and Leviticus and Judges and say "I've read the Bible, and it's bunk." Congratulations on your intellectual discovery, you genius of modern society.

The accumulated size of the information existing in Wikipedia alone is massive.
That constitutes about 30 Terabytes of data, in an Internet 100,000 times that size (but see here).

And yet, atheists will say stuff that's totally bananas (squishy, and gets old real fast). Like the following:
"There is no evidence of a god whatsoever." 
"You only believe Jesus because you were born in the West. If you were born in India, you would be a Hindu."
"You can't prove God does or doesn't exist." 
"You know Jesus didn't even teach most of the stuff you believe."
"It amazes me what Christians don't realize is in their Bible."
"It would be great if Christianity could get back to its core message of feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, doing acts of charity etc instead of trying to make everyone believe what they believe."
"The God of the Old Testament is distant and angry and jealous and wrathful, completely different from the God of the New Testament who is loving and forgiving and personal."
And other likewise moronic statements that show not an ounce of thought, or for that matter Bible reading, has been conducted by the person making these statements. The speaker shows he knows nothing about the Bible, who God is or what Christianity is. And these are generic examples. The ones you tend to encounter online are usually more 'colorful' and far less formally stated. They're usually assumed, in the context of some attack on Christianity.

It's so easy to not use your mind. To not think about things. To not do the uncomfortable and ponder stuff that might force you to change your mind at the end. That's why so many people just don't.

People are lazy.

The Christian, meanwhile, who has studied and compared and reasoned through the lines of evidence, he's not lazy. He's not ignorant, either. He's put in more effort than 10 people do in 10 lifetimes, because he didn't stop when it got uncomfortable.

C S Lewis, in Mere Christianity,
“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”
This applies to investigating Christianity by studying the Bible, also. If I may alter Lewis's words, I would say this:
A silly idea is current that it takes the suspension of intellectual scrutiny to become a Christian. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to learn the best arguments for and against something know which side is the more persuasive... A man who gives up after reading for five minutes simply does not know what he may have read an hour later. That is why "intellectuals" who reject the Bible, in one sense know very little about the Bible. They have lived an ignorant life by never studying it diligently.
If you stop studying because it gets boring, or confusing, or offensive, or doubtful, then you are a giver-upper. You can't know if the proof is solid if you only read the first line. You can't know the content of an article by reading only the headline. You can't judge a book by its cover. You can't judge who won a debate by listening to only the first minute of the opening statement of the side you agree with.

But atheists do that all the time. And so do all muslims, hindus, deists, agnostics of all stripes, Jews, secularists etc, who make the claim that they've searched but not found. You don't find because you do not search.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
― G.K. ChestertonWhat's Wrong with the World
Every self-styled intellectual who purports to sit in judgment of the Bible and the question of God's existence (which is not even a question, Cf. Romans 1:20) is no true intellectual at all. They have checked their intelligence at the door, as they mock Christians for supposedly doing, and they have abandoned the effort as soon as it felt like it would take a little work. Work which they did not want to put in.

After all, if faith is so important, it should be easy to come by, no? DEBUNK HERE

No, if you're an atheist, I'll say it to you straight. You have been lazy. You have not tried hard enough. Because here's the real issue: it's not one of intelligence. It might be tempting for me to say, as a rare exemplar of a "smart Christian" layperson, that I did what you couldn't, and it's because I've got the brains and you don't. That's not true at all. IT'S HARDER FOR INTELLIGENT PEOPLE TO COME TO FAITH THAN FOR THE LESS INTELLIGENT.

1 Corinthians 3:19
1 Corinthians 1:20
1 Corinthians 1:27 "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise."

He's made it harder, so you have to check your pride at the door in order to repent. Being smart enough is not enough. The issue is not your intelligence, the issue is that you refuse to use it rightly because you are too arrogant to admit that you are wrong!! The issue is pride. You have to let go of thinking highly of yourself because you are so smart and educated. You have to humble yourself to admit that despite your amazing brain ("ooh, aah"), you don't know everything, you can't know everything, you can make mistakes, you can be wrong, and by golly, you are wrong, you just have to now commence the uncomfortable process of figuring out what you're wrong about, so that you can put your confidence in your knowledge of the truth in someone other than yourself.

And that is what I call researching Christianity. It's not a casual endeavor. It takes brains, and yet it takes letting go of your hang-ups and pride associated with them. Get over yourself. You're not the most well-read person on theology and history around -- I guarantee you a Christian has you beat -- and if you ever want to say to yourself and out loud that you've really looked into it, then you have to actually put in the hours. Otherwise, the only intellect you've got is intellectual dishonesty.

Get reading. And quit trying to act smart by mocking Christians. You look REALLY dumb to those of us who have "been there, done that" and figured out that your objections are beyond the realm of ignorance.

Ignorance, after all, doesn't merely imply lack of knowledge. It implies you are ignoring the truth.

Stop ignoring the truth. Actually study it. And then make the decision when you have all the facts.

Long before you get there, if you actually take my challenge, you'll have an experience with God. And when you're on the other side, be it Hell or conversion, you'll know that it was never about how much you knew. It was about who you knew. And whether you chose to dignify Him with worship or rest pridefully in your own intelligence.

I look forward to the end of nonsense. And you can do your part.

~ Rak Chazak

Further Reading:
Even if you give up after 1 minute, this is concise enough for you to understand the Gospel.


  1. > The Christian, meanwhile, who has studied and compared and reasoned through the lines of evidence, he's not lazy. He's not ignorant, either.

    Yes, but like the mythical Jesus, he also doesn't exist.

    > No, if you're an atheist, I'll say it to you straight. You have been lazy. You have not tried hard enough. Because here's the real issue: it's not one of intelligence.

    That makes less sense than usual. What is the "real issue"?

    But go ahead. Prove me wrong. Do what Billy Graham couldn't do in his 40's - show me just one good reason to change my opinion.

    1. How could I have forgotten the zinger, "Jesus didn't even exist!" ?

      Not even the most ardent atheist scholars make that claim. Here's an excellent example showing Bart Ehrman, ex-pastor and critic of Christianity, taking to task a radio host interviewer for touting that nonsense.

    2. correction: Ehrman is a history and religion scholar. I accidentally conflated him with John Loftus, who is an ex pastor, but is not nearly so scholarly.

  2. Ehrman wants it to be true, but it's just his wishful thinking. The evidence says there was no Jesus. This one he got wrong.