Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Josh McDowell on reasons for rejecting Christ

I have found that most people reject Christ for one or more of the following reasons:
  1. Ignorance - Romans 1:18-23 (often self-imposed), Matthew 22:29
  2. Pride - John 5:40-44
  3. Moral Problem - John 3:19-20

I've never found this persuasive, any more than I find atheist explanations of theism persuasive. 

23 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

There has to be a lot more psychological work done on understanding "Ignorance."
Especially "self imposed ignorance." why is it imposed? that assumes a prior rejection. It also assumes it's not really true ignorance.

I( find that the atheist understanding of religion is often totally clueless. I knew2 at the time I was an atheist that I was missing deep profound ideas in religion I knew no one around me knew them, I had not idea want they were. Atheists usually imagine that religion is a tool for social control or an attempt to explain nature, thus religion for them is a failed primitive science.

Of course that is all clueless. When I try to explain the experience of God's presence or reality they just I'm defining God into existence or something silly. Of course they are opposed to emotions and subjectivity that I think they fear their own feelings.

B. Prokop said...

I do agree with this line in the article:

"it is obvious that [Bertrand Russell] has not even considered the evidence of and for the resurrection of Jesus and, by his remarks, it is doubtful as to whether he has even glanced at the New Testament."

That was the distinct impression I got after reading his Why I Am Not a Christian. I could detect no evidence in the essay that he had any real familiarity with or understanding of the Gospels.

Joe Hinman said...

I agree. I was really amazed at how surface3 level his arguments on religion were when I first read them. I was an atheist and in high school when I read Russell's problems in Philosophy. I thought he was brilliant, I didn't read Why I am not a Christian Until I was a Christian. then ZI was amazed at how bad it was. He was brilliant otherwise..

B. Prokop said...

I think McDowell makes a mistake in focusing on why some people reject Christ, rather on on why others accept Him. After all, there are libraries full of rock solid, perfectly convincing arguments for the Faith, and a mountain of evidence for the veracity and historicity of the Gospel narratives. But in the end of ends, does it really matter? "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe - and shudder." (James 2:19) It is clear that intellectual assent to Christianity is valueless without Faith.

"God is not a proposition to be accepted, but a Person to be encountered." These words, or others similar to them, have been attributed over time to more people than I can count. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the first person to say something like it turned out to be Saint Peter.

So I think one huge reason why some people may "reject" Christ is they've been trying to explain Him rather than listen to Him. They're more concerned about who wrote the Gospels than about what the Gospels have to say. The Gospel is not an argument - it's a news story. I think one place where Catholics have a huge advantage over Protestants is that we pay attention to The Lives of the Saints. I get more profit from learning about St. Maximilian Kolbe than from any work of apologetics. Time reading The Seven Storey Mountain is better spent than reading even The Everlasting Man (a book I absolutely love). Spending an hour with Dennis, the homeless guy who "lives" 200 yards from my front door, and buying him lunch, beats debating some internet atheist any day. And time spent in Eucharistic Adoration is best of all.

Jezu ufam tobie!

John Mitchell said...

"Within 30 minutes she admitted she had fooled everyone and that she developed these intellectual doubts in order to excuse her moral life."

That must have been one hell of an enhanced-interrogation-job.
A hell of a lot worse than your ordinary apologetics talks...

Joe Hinman said...

Spending an hour with Dennis, the homeless guy who "lives" 200 yards from my front door, and buying him lunch, beats debating some internet atheist any day. And time spent in Eucharistic Adoration is best of all.

Arguing with atheists on the net is worthless. Especially those like the guy from Loftus' blog who showed up on Sec outpost and said to me "prove it pro ve prove it...., O I'm mot going to read your argument because I know wont be any good." trying to debate that guy would be a huge waste of time.

But hashing out God arguments with people who care about it is super fun.

oozzielionel said...

"I've never found this persuasive,"
McDowell's observation is likely not intended to be persuasive in convincing a skeptic about Christianity's truth claims. It likely will not help someone from the outside looking in except to alert them to their need to repent. For those who have repented of rebellion against God, ignorance, pride and sin may be a very good description of their prior condition.

Ilíon said...

VR: "I've never found this persuasive ..."

Then that would be your problem, wouldn't it?

Those *are* the reasons that so-called atheists reject Christ. I mean, Hell! it certainly isn't for logical/rational reasons; that's abundantly clear from even a cursory interaction with them.

While there may indeed be persons in this world who reject Christ due to simple/honest ignorance, there is not a single so-called atheist anywhere in the world who does so from simple/honest ignorance; their ignorance is *always* willful. And it always involves capital-P Pride. And it generally involves the desire to use other human beings a fuck-toys while asserting that doing so is not immoral.

John Moore said...

I agree that evidence and argument aren't usually what cause a person to disbelieve (or to believe). We use evidence and argument to justify a decision we've already made due to subjective emotional reasons.

Where I live, most people reject Christ simply because it's a foreign cultural concept, and Christians tend to be weird non-conformists. Most people are comfortable in their tight-knit community where family, friends and neighbors all share a loose collection of vague quasi-pagan pantheistic superstitions. Yeah, most people just go along with the crowd.

Ilíon said...

^ The past really is a different country, eh?

John Moore said...

Japan

B. Prokop said...

Ah, Japan. Although I spent a good part of 3 years in Korea during the mid 1990s, I was only briefly in Japan, and did not get a chance to see much. Absolutely love Japanese cinema, however. My all-time favorite director is Yasujiro Ozu. I've seen 25 of his movies - many of them multiple times. Have you ever watched Hirokazu Koreeda's Still Walking?

Korea is one of the most "religious" countries I've experienced (and I've been just about everywhere over the years). Ranks with Poland and the Philippines for depth of belief and the public nature of devotion. You're not the first person to tell me that religion in Japan is mostly a very private, family affair.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

The first college I attended (perhaps 3000 on-campus students at the time), 1975-1977, had a high percentage of foreign students: mostly Chinese from Hong Kong, but also Iranians and various Arabs ... and one Japanese girl. Oh, there was also one Japanese guy ... and she didn't like him. So, anyway, while she wasn't a Christian, she spent her time with us weirdos (as viewed by even the Americans) who explicitly were.

I don't know whether she was related, but she had the same surname as a later PM of Japan.

B. Prokop said...

Ah, all this time I've misjudged your age by a good 10 years. I was an undergraduate at Arizona State in 1970-74, so we're fairly close in our respective decrepitudes.

(It was there, by the way, that Victor and I first became friends, and thus my presence here on this site.)

Ilíon said...

I'll be 58 in a few months.

Ilíon said...

The avatar image is from about 2001.

B. Prokop said...

Whilst my image is from 1465. HERE is the complete painting (La commedia illumina Firenze by Domenico di Michelino).

John Moore said...

If any of you guys are going to be in Tokyo sometime, you could send me a message through my blog, and then maybe we could meet up in person, like at the Starbucks or somewhere.

Ilíon said...

Japan is the foreign country I'd like to visit for a year or three. Except, of course, I don't have that kind of money and I don't speak a word of Japanese.

Ilíon said...

... I think I still remember how to count to ten, but that's probably not enough to get by.

Jakub Moravčík said...

Well, if people mostly reject Christ because of pride and sin, do they also reject Buddha, Allah, Lao´s, Jehovah and others due to pride and sin?

Here in Czech republic (maybe it´s similar also in other countries, I don´t know) sometime people say that "everybody masturbate and who says that he doesn´t masturbate twice more". It seems that for many christians this can be rewritten: "everybody who reject Christ rejects him due to pride and sin and the one who say that he reject him from some other moral-free reason rejects him due to even bigger pride and sin"

:-/

Edgestow said...

do they also reject Buddha [etc.] due to pride and sin?

Yes, they do. God is God (there's only one), and whatever you call Him, you accept or reject Him for the same reasons, wherever you live.

Ilíon said...

That was a "senior moment" above. I'm already 58; I'll be 59 in a few months.