Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Self-fulfilling scepticism

One of the primary sources of infidelity is ignorance. And what’s the source of this ignorance?

Well, one major source of liberal ignorance is the fact that books are expensive. Unless you live within easy commuting distance of a major Evangelical research facility, you have to buy your own books.

Now, why would an unbeliever sink thousands of dollars into commentaries, introductions, reference works, journals, lexicons, and so on and so forth, if he already thinks that the Bible is bunk and Christianity is myth?

Short answer: he doesn’t.

In addition, most scholarly works are not what you’d call page-turners. You have to have a sense of duty to plow through this material.

An unbeliever has no such incentive.

And to the extent that he does do any investing, he’s only buys liberal literature. He’ll only read one side of the argument—the side he already agrees with.

The rule of thumb is that even though conservatives read liberals, liberals don’t read conservatives.

There are exceptions, but that’s the norm.

So we end up with a self-fulfilling form of scepticism. He’s a sceptic because he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t know because he’s a sceptic.

We run across this all the time at Triablogue. Apostates and other unbelievers who raise old objections as though they were new objections. Raising them as if these had never been answered before.

They are only new to them because they don’t know any better, and they don’t know any better because they have no motive to buy Evangelical commentaries, reference works, and so on in order to acquaint themselves with the answers.

So it’s a vicious cycle of unbelief. Unbelief feeds prejudice while prejudice feeds unbelief—like using one credit card to pay off another.


  1. Many of the alleged contradictions in Biblical accounts are answered by simply giving a good commentary a quick read.

    Today's apostates raise questions that were answered centuries ago.

  2. Excellent post, I keep seeing the same objections raised year after year, and it gets old. Many of the skeptics are only in the arena of debate and argumentation because they need to have their skepticism reaffirmed when they run across a Christian who doesn't provide a cogent argument or who is perhaps not that well read on the topic at hand. They HAVE to do this to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and hold onto their atheism. But when they have their objections answered appropriately and their arguments dismantled, then we see the panic and the retreat. I would like to see one of the Debunkees apply himself to the study of the relevant conservative works on a given topic, instead of quoting Howard Van Till for example. They do expect you to buy and read the books they suggest though, don't they? Nice job accurately summing up the situation Steve...

  3. S&BL:

    I can't say that I've read a lot of conservative works in the area of creationism, but it is certainly one of my hobbies. I read quite a bit of creationist defender sites like AiG and ICR. I am quite interested in science, so I do it because I want to see if they have coherent responses to those questions that many use to dismiss the Bible outright. Note that as a Christian, I never believed in YEC, and my OEC was something akin to "guided evolution". The problem of natural evil that some people evoke to avoid this I simply reconciled as "foreknowledge" -- that God knew man would sin, and allowed natural evil into the world before the act occurred.

    ANYWAY...don't assume that all skeptics HAVEN'T applied themselves in studying both sides of the debate where creationism is concerned. I don't expect you to buy any Dawkins. I could care the less. The arguments can be distilled and presented, can't they?

    More important is the scientific literature, in which summaries of evidence are given [review articles]. You can get that stuff for free by proxying a library. I would argue with you that the average Christian [and I say this from experience] who is YEC has not read the primary literature on the topic of common descent, or cosmology, or isochron dating methods, etc. The reason is mostly because a background is nearly requisite to digest technical material. The same is true for me and "deep theology", which contains so much jargon I can hardly wade through it. Anyway, just a thought.

  4. Daniel,

    I apologize for being too general in my above statements. I stand corrected. There are some who study the issues with more integrity than others. However, you will never reason your way into the kingdom of God, even if the science is lined up to your liking. According to Scripture, "For since in the wisdom of God the world through it's wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness (considered foolish by some of those who hear it) of the message preached to save those who believe." (1. Cor 1:21) A vigorous intellect has value, thoroughly knowing the arguments for and against your position is important. We need to understand what we believe. All that is well and good, but we also come to science with certain presuppositions. Those presuppositions are going to affect how we interpret the facts of science. Much of what you believe cannot be proven empirically, and naturalists assume the principle of uniformity when they come to scientific research. In my view that takes a kind of faith in and of itself. Reason has it's limitations either way. I think it is quite reasonable to believe an all powerful God spoke and everything was created. I have no scientific problem with that. Even if you came to the conclusion scientifically that there is a God, you would have no way of knowing that God because you reject the Book through which He has revealed Himself.

    The truth is that these issues are about a whole lot more than science. There are those who "are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7) The heart of the gospel is that Christ died for the ungodly. That we need to show forth repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Those are not scientific issues, but moral ones. Look within AND without, with both the mind and heart.

    Just some of my thoughts anyway....