Q&A: Scholarly Unbelief

Scholarly Unbelief

Question

Why do many scholars dismiss Christianity?

Answer

Unbelief is a very personal thing, and every unbeliever is going to give you his own reasons for his unbelief. But at the root of it all, the fundamental reason that any scholar rejects Christ is the same as the reason that the high-school dropout rejects Christ. Ultimately, all unbelievers hate God and reject his authority in their lives. Probably it sounds strange to think that even atheists hate God, but that's exactly what Paul taught. According to Romans 1:18-19, everyone knows that God exists, but unbelievers suppress that truth in unrighteousness. In an important sense, all rejection of Christianity begins as emotional rejection rather than as an intellectual rejection.

Now, this is rarely something that an unbeliever will admit, and sometimes it's worth discussing what they actually claim to believe rather than what the Bible says they believe. When we do this, what we generally find out is that their intellectual conclusion not to believe depends on their different presuppositions about God, about the Bible, about the nature of reality, and about other fundamental ideas. In the case of a scholar who denies Christianity, he may begin by assuming that a good God would not willfully hurt anyone, or that any tiny copying error in the Bible renders the entire thing untrustworthy. And when the God or the Bible doesn't meet the unbeliever's demands, the unbeliever feels justified in rejecting Christianity.

To put it succinctly, on an intellectual level scholars dismiss the Christian faith because they first assume that the Christian worldview is wrong, then they evaluate Christianity on the basis of some other assumption.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.