Vol.XIII No.X Pg.6
December 1976

The Real Excuse

Robert F. Turner

Evidence That Demands A Verdict is a compilation of historical evidences for the Christian Faith, by Josh McDowell. (Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc.; 1972.) McDowells comments are flavored with evangelical concepts of the Holy Spirit, but he is reasonable, and presents material that is usable and appealing. We give an example, from his introduction.


The rejection of Christ is usually not so much of the mind but of the will; not so much I cant, but I wont. I have met many men with intellectual excuses but few with intellectual problems...

Excuses can cover a multitude of reasons. I greatly respect a man who has taken time to investigate the claims of Christ and concludes he just cant believe. I have a rapport with a man who knows why he doesnt believe (factually and historically) for I know why I believe (factually and historically). This gives us a common ground (though different conclusions). I have found that most students reject Christ for one or more reasons: 1) Ignorance — Rom. 1:18-23 (often self-imposed); 2) Pride —Jn. 5:40-44; 3) Moral problem — Jn. 3:19-20.

I was counseling a student who was fed up with Christianity because she believed it was not historical and there was just nothing to it factually. She had convinced everyone that she had searched and found profound intellectual problems as the result of her university studies. One after another would try to persuade her intellectually and to answer her many accusations. I listened and then asked several questions. Within 30 minutes she admitted she had fooled everyone and that she developed these intellectual doubts in order to excuse her moral life. One needs to answer the basic problem or real question and not the surface detour that often manifests itself.

A student in a New England university said he had an intellectual problem with Christianity and just could not therefore accept Christ as Savior. Why cant you believe? I asked. He replied, The New Testament is not reliable. I then asked, If I prove to you that the New Testament is one of the most reliable pieces of literature of antiquity, will you believe? He retorted, NO! You dont have a problem with your mind, but with your will, I answered

Aldous Huxley, the atheist,... admits his own bias (Ends and Means, pp. 270 ff) when he says that: I had motives for not wanting the world to have 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 a 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 do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves.... For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.