One reason it can be frustrating to talk to dishonest skeptics is that they tend to change the rules mid-conversation. For example, they may say they cannot accept the Bible as truth for a certain reason, but when they are shown a logical way to resolve that particular conﬂict, instead of accepting the logical reason, they discard the logic and simply come up with another reason for not accepting the Bible. And if they are shown the answer to that objection, they just come up with yet another reason. The reality is that they have already decided they are not going to accept the Bible as truth, and no amount of logical discussion will convince them.
Some time ago I met a young man whom I will call Thomas Youngfellow. Thomas had grown up in a home that was very strict in its religious views but lacked emotional depth or warmth. His parents often kicked him out of the house for minor issues, while espousing belief in God at the same time. Thomas’s parents bounced from church to church, always ﬁnding fault with the pastor or other leaders in the church. It was not surprising when Thomas rebelled against his parents’ unhealthy religious expression and experienced what he calls a “de-conversion.” Though Thomas enrolled in college for a time, he did not complete his bachelor’s degree. He eventually moved back in with his parents because he was unable to ﬁnd a job that could fully support him. He spends much of his time surﬁng the Internet for articles about how religion is evil and God is immoral. In one conversation with Thomas, I pointed out how he was simply replacing God’s opinions for his own opinions. He responded by saying if he had to choose his opinions or God’s opinions, he would go with his own ideas. He trusts himself more than he trusts God. That is simply not a logical conclusion for a young man in his situation. After all, he lacks a complete college education. He is underemployed. He is in a constant state of tension with his parents. He has alienated most of the friends. He is often depressed and angry.
Despite all this, he thinks his opinion is better than God’s, and no amount of logical discussion with him can move him from his position. Though Thomas tells himself he is a seeker of truth, many people who have discussed issues of faith with him have concluded that he is a dishonest skeptic. Thomas is just one example of tens of thousands of young people who think they are seeking truth when in reality they are simply ignoring it. My prayer for Thomas, and for so many others like him, is that the truth of the Gospel would penetrate the hard exterior of his heart.
Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.