Why People Reject Christ

by Jefferson David Tant

We live in a nation today that is becoming less and less “religious,” which includes an increasing number of those who reject Christ, as they may believe he is a myth, or if a real person, certainly not a divine being. Let us examine what may be behind what is happening in our nation.

Is there sufficient evidence for an intelligent person to believe in Christ? There is truly an abundance of evidence, and when we have examined it, I trust that our own faith will be strengthened and that we will be equipped to help others to have this same faith. A study of the evidence is not the theme for our study, as we are considering why people reject Christ and the principles He taught.

Some People Reject Christ out of Ignorance

Often this is a self-imposed ignorance, which was the basis of the ignorance mentioned in Romans 1:18-23, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Sometimes people will say, “I don’t want to hear it,” as a discussion about the Bible takes place. In some way, it is felt that this relieves a person of responsibility if there is no knowledge. Thus, they assume “ignorance is bliss.”

But ignorance doesn’t excuse one of responsibility. Try that with a policeman who stops you for going 70 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone. “Oh, I didn’t see the speed limit sign.”

Others Have a Problem with Pride

This is often the hindrance for those who have “much learning” which has come from some of our institutions of higher (or “lower”) learning. It is simply amazing to see the lengths to which our institutions will go in order to destroy faith in God. One of my professors in college, J. D. Thomas, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago some years ago. He was told that he was probably the last person who believed in God and would receive such a degree from the university. In effect, he was told: “We don’t believe a person is a fit candidate for a degree from this institution if he goes through our program and still believes in God.”

It is sad to see so many of our young people lose their faith when they go to great universities. A good percentage of believing students do actually lose their faith in these schools. Professors openly state their goal to destroy the faith of believers in their classrooms, and they will openly ridicule such students.

My own children experienced ridicule for their beliefs even in high school. The world looks upon a belief in God as childish and superstitious, and only uneducated simpletons are religious. In truth, it’s the other way around.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord'" (I Corinthians 1:18-31).

Pride was a great problem with the Jews in Jesus’ day. “For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 'He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.' These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:39-43).

A Third Great Hindrance Is a Moral Problem

This is often the problem that may underlie the other excuse. Jesus outlined this problem in John 3:19-20: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Some years ago, my wife and I went to call on a young wife who had left her husband and was involved in an adulterous relationship. She didn’t want anyone to find her, so would only give her phone number out, not her address. We traced the phone number to a location and went to see her. She had been brought up with God-fearing parents, had been a faithful Christian since her baptism into Christ, and had been active in the teaching program of the church.

When Flora and I began to talk with her, one of her first statements was “I don’t think I believe in the same God you do anymore.” What was the problem? It was not an intellectual problem, but a moral problem. The only way she could justify her sin was to reject belief in the one who defined her actions as sinful.

So often those who come up with their “intellectual” arguments against the existence of God are only covering for the moral problems in their lives.

Aldous Huxley was a great philosopher and thinker who was an avid atheist. In his life, he has a great influence in turning many away from belief. Near the end of his life, he wrote a revealing confession in one of his books.

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning. Consequently assumed that it had none and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with the problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in a way that they find most advantageous to themselves. For myself the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.”

What an honest admission! Whatever intellectual problems he had with the existence of God and absolute truth and values were basically a cover-up to excuse his sexual and political practices and views.

[Note: This is one lesson from a 26-lesson course I taught some years ago on Foundations of Our Faith, A Study in Apologetics.]

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