Sexual Immorality and Five Other Reasons People Reject Christianity: Why do people reject Jesus? As someone with a keen interest in doctrine and apologetics, I usually focus on the more intellectual reasons for disbelief. I have found that skeptics are generally ignorant of sound theology, sketchy on the facts of history, and shoddy in their use of logic and philosophy. As such, my goal is always to gently instruct them in these areas, using evidence and argument to help them understand the teachings of orthodoxy and the reasons for believing that the Christian worldview is true. But I also know that even if I succeed in my argument, that’s won’t necessarily get a skeptic to turn to Jesus. There are a myriad of other factors at play. Here are six.
Christians Behaving Badly: People who call themselves Christians can be jerks. There is just no way around this fact. From sign wielding preachers of hate to motorists with fish stickers who flip obscene hand gestures, believers don’t always show much gentleness and compassion. This turns people away from Christianity. [...]
Heartbreak: [...] I’m sure most of us can think of someone we know who is angry at God about some tragedy in their life. Often, it seems, this goes hand in hand with a denial of his very existence. A recent study led by psychologist Julie Exline of Case Western Reserve University supports this notion. In studying college students, her research indicated that “atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals.” If atheists and agnostics are angry at God, what does that say about their skepticism? It seems to suggest that the intellectual label they wear is motivated by their hurt more than rational analysis of the evidence.
Fatherlessness: [...] Vitz’s “defective father hypothesis” suggests that a broken relationship with one’s father makes it very difficult to accept a supposedly loving father in Heaven. Vitz developed this theory while studying the lives of history’s “great” atheists, including Hume, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Russell, Sartre, Camus, Hobbes, Voltaire, Butler, and Freud. All had fathers who died when they were very young or were “defective” in some major way. James Spiegel notes that this principle also applies to many modern day skeptics as well, including Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. (The Making of an Atheist, 68) [...]
Social Pressures: [...] Again, they are not evaluating evidence and making reasoned decisions. They are becoming unbelievers because they like how it makes them feel to be accepted into the “in” group.
The Cost of Discipleship: [...] In cases like this, skepticism is simply the rationalization of a desire to stay comfortable. People don’t want to take on the commitment that becoming a Christian requires, so they claim that it must be false. [...]
Immorality: Now for the big one. Of all the motivations and reasons for skepticism that I encounter, immorality is easily the most common. In particular, sexual sin seems to be the largest single factor driving disbelief in our culture. Brant Hanson calls sex “The Big But” because he so often hears this from unbelievers: “’I like Jesus, BUT…’ and the ‘but’ is usually followed, one way or the other, with an objection about the Bible and… sex. People think something’s deeply messed-up with a belief system that says two consenting, unmarried adults should refrain from sex.” In other words, people simply do not want to follow the Christian teaching that sexual intercourse should take place only between and man and woman who are married, so they throw the whole religion out.
So Paul argues that the nature of reality is clear to everyone but people suppress the truth by their wickedness. Rebellious people become fools as they deny the obvious meaning of creation because of their sin. Their foolishness leads them to indulge in more immorality. Thus immorality is very closely linked to skepticism and we need to be aware that sin will almost always be at least an underlying issue in our conversations.
(click on Don Johnson Evangelistic Ministries link below to read full post. The post is adapted from Donald J. Johnson's book "How to Talk to a Skeptic")
Donald J. Johnson, Don Johnson Evangelistic Ministries 18 Comments
[8/28/2014 2:49:47 AM]
Fundie Index: 7
Submitted By: Chris