Posts Tagged ‘willful ignorance’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 8]:

Greetings Soldier,

Yes, it really is a lot to take in and learn. However, you will find that the ‘Bible first’ approach to dealing with objections to the Christian faith is the God honoring way of resolving the dispute once and for all. While the old ‘evidence first’ approach accomplishes little more than allowing each side to present their interpretation of the evidence they are disputing–ultimately resulting in a ‘stalemate’—and shamefully allowing the unbeliever to replace God as judge in the process, the ‘Bible first’ approach challenges the very foundation and authority of the unbeliever’s worldview along with the assumptions that it is based upon to show that Christianity is necessarily true by the impossibility of the contrary (rather than only possibly or probably true IF the evidence happens to be correct) and asserts God’s Ultimate Authority over the believer instead of vice versa. Now, I will not pretend as if this approach will not take much intentional, deliberate effort on your part to put into practice and to ultimately master, but I can promise you that the results will be well worth the challenge. Believe it or not, but you will actually come to see objections against the Christian faith as arguments for the Christian faith once this paradigm shift in your understanding of God and His Word as Ultimate Authority is made.

While all sincere Christians would no doubt say that God and His Word are their Ultimate Authority, the problem is, they often do not behave that way when it comes to defending the Faith, choosing to inadvertently grant to the unbeliever certain assumptions about the world and reality that they are not the least bit entitled to, given their professed beliefs. Consider for a moment how you might respond in the following scenario:

You have agreed to participate in a live formal debate.  After weeks of preparation, the big day arrives and you take your place on stage behind your podium as the auditorium begins to fill with people.  You look to your left and see your opponent behind his podium with a confident look upon his face.  The moderator gives the introduction and then it’s time to start.  Your opponent goes first and begins his opening statement.  His position? That air does not exist (an a-airist?).

Now, what would you say in response to such an obviously absurd position?  Sure, you could produce graphs, charts, tables, and endless other pieces of evidence to show that air does indeed exist (which your opponent may or may not find compelling and which he may even be able to explain away and rebut via his counter arguments), or you could take a decidedly different approach:  You could simply expose the glaring inconsistency of his position by pointing out that, if air did not exist, he could not possibly be doing what he is doing.  You could (and should) draw attention to the fact that, without air, he could not possibly be breathing, and, as a consequence, he also could not be talking since there would be no air in his lungs to create the vibrations in his vocal chords and, therefore, no way to produce the sounds used to form his words.  Not to mention the fact that, if air does not exist, there wouldn’t even be anything to convey the sound waves from his mouth to the ears of his hearers anyway!  In short, his entire ability to breathe and speak (much less to argue) depends completely upon the very thing that he is denying—-air!  He is defeating his own position with every breath he takes and with every word he speaks, since any argument he puts forth AGAINST the existence of air actually turns out to be an argument IN FAVOR OF the existence of air!!

Such is the predicament of the unbeliever.  The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious, that no one has an excuse for denying him (and are, in fact, behaving foolishly if they do so).  In other words, the evidence is all around us, but there are many who do not wish to accept it, and who will even go to great lengths to deny it.  So what should you do?  I submit that, just as in the example above, you should gently and lovingly expose the inconsistencies of such positions in hopes that the unbeliever will come to see the folly of what they are doing and repent.  It is important for Christians to understand and note that, when the Bible refers to those who deny the existence of God as ‘fools’ (Psalms 14:1), it is not merely engaging in name calling.  This is the proper term for someone who willfully refuses to acknowledge that which has been so plainly and openly revealed.  Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

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(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 11]:

Greetings Soldier,

Your recent enquiries reveal a deep thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to put what you have learned thus far into action. Needless to say, the Heavenly Hierarchy is pleased with this! Regarding your question about whether unbelievers (whom we know to be living in willful denial of God’s revealed truth) are necessarily lying when they profess to believe the things they say they do: the answer is ‘no’—they are not necessarily lying but are often ‘self-deceived’. Remember, satan does have the ability to blind the minds of those who deny God in order to keep the Gospel from reaching their hearts. One of the ways he accomplishes this task is by means of cultivating and promoting an attitude of ‘willful ignorance‘ (merely one form of self-deception) on the part of the unbeliever with regards to things concerning God, Christ, and the Bible.  It has been rightly stated that one will not receive into their heart as true that which their mind rejects as false. Therefore, it is the concerned Christian’s urgent duty to engage in pulling down such ‘intellectual strongholds’ through the bold presentation and declaration of the truth in order that the unbeliever might be freed from the captivity of satanic deception and granted repentance unto salvation by God the Father, through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Understood in this light, Christ’s declaration in John 8:32–‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’–is received with a new and fresh appreciation in the mind and heart of the Christian.

In response to your second question: ‘yes’ I do advocate trying out these arguments online. There you will find no shortage of anti-Christian blogs, posts, and websites where you may engage the unbeliever, expose the error of their worldview, and enlighten them with Biblical truth. Be forewarned, though, that unbelievers do not take kindly to having the basis of their worldview challenged and exposed in this way and you will almost certainly encounter hostility like you never have before. In truth, this is really a positive, since it is a sign that the arguments have struck a nerve and are provoking some discomfort in the unbeliever’s state of mind. Besides, any reaction is always preferred over apathy (since apathy is but one sure sign of intellectual and spiritual ‘deadness’). So long as there is passion and/or zeal present (even misguided passion and/or zeal), then there is hope of a genuine conversion; after all, who can forget the grand transformation that took place when a certain misguided zealot named Saul was converted into that radical new creature in Christ—the Apostle Paul! If you are interested in beginning a conversation on the Dialogue.org site you mentioned, then I suggest you simply state your position plainly as to how Christianity provides the foundation for preconditions of intelligibility and then challenge the unbelievers there with a few direct questions about how those things are reconciled within their worldview. The purpose of this is twofold: it will provide the unbeliever with an opportunity to tell you about their worldview so that an internal critique of it can be performed, while providing you with the opportunity to plainly demonstrate to them how and why Christianity alone provides a rational, internally consistent, foundation for the preconditions of intelligibility required to hold a discussion in the first place (knowledge truth, logic, etc.). For example, you could begin with something like this:

*’Isn’t Dialogue.org great?! We have a place where anyone can come and argue any point about virtually any topic! However, an astute debater will find that the very concept of ‘debate’ assumes the existence of logic, truth, and knowledge. Since laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariants and truth and knowledge are certain by definition, each of these concepts can be (and are) made sense of in the Christian worldview (since they reflect the absolute, immaterial nature of a Sovereign God who has revealed Himself to mankind such that we can be certain of who He is).One should ultimately ask, though, how any non-Christian can rationally account for any of these concepts apart from the God of the Bible. Well?’

This should elicit enough response from the other side to keep you busy for a while and provide you with plenty of hands on practice in evaluating non-Christian worldviews for the presence of arbitrariness, inconsistency, and the preconditions of intelligibility. Have fun,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

*To see this approach utilized at a real online debate site, check out: http://www.debate.org/forums/Religion/topic/55783/