The Error of Skepticism

Dan Lenington on August 5, 2016

faith,doubt

Skepticism is defined as doubt or unbelief with regard to a religion, especially Christianity. In a more general sense it can be described as universal doubt. Agnostics who believe we cannot know if there is a God fall into this category. While caution is certainly a good quality, skepticism is not. Choosing to disbelieve before hearing all the evidence is illogical and foolish (Prov. 18:13). In a court of law, a case must be decided beyond reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt means that although doubt could be cast in even the tightest of cases, it is only valid if it makes more sense than the verdict. Often, skeptics cast doubt beyond what is reasonable. Christianity is a worldview that competes with secular humanism and should be given a fair hearing by anyone genuinely searching for truth. Ultimate truth is what makes sense of the whole scope of reality. Truth is what is real. Therefore, to evaluate the truthfulness of Christianity, we must ask if it gives the best answers to answer all of life’s questions. These questions include: who are we, where did we come from, and why are we here. No worldview can answer every question exhaustively. Therefore, the pessimism of skepticism is unfair. However, we can find answers that provide rational conclusions for those with open minds.

Let us begin by recognizing that rational man has failed to discover a unity of truth in every area of life. This is evident in the transition from modernism to postmodernism. This transition was paved by the ideas of Hegel who taught that truth is not “either/or” but rather “both/and.” Later, Kierkegaard took it further by postulating that the only way to arrive at personal truth is to divorce it from rational thought and take a “leap of faith.” Thus, today faith and science are viewed as opposites. However, even in science, hypotheses based on incomplete evidence must be made and tested. Therefore, it is not irrational to suspend skepticism until more information can be gathered. But pure rationalism fails because it has vast limitations of experience, information, and analysis. The problem is not with being rational but rather thinking that man on his own beginning with only himself can come to understand a unity of all knowledge and the ultimate “big picture.” Man is finite and mortal. He needs someone from the outside to help him make sense of it all. Thankfully, there is such a Person. As Francis Schaeffer would say, “He is there and He is not silent.”

God has first revealed Himself to us through His creation. A seemingly infinite universe reveals an infinite Creator; an orderly universe reveals an orderly Creator; an intelligent universe reveals an intelligent creator; and accommodating universe reveals a benevolent Creator; and the conscious individuality of the creature reveals a model personal Individual. From this foundation, I consider that this Creator would logically be God (Is. 40:28), the ultimate cause, who is interested in His creation for the same reason that He was interested in creating it (Psalm 19:1; Rev. 4:11). A perfect artist is certainly concerned about the welfare of his artistry. If He is concerned about His creation, then He must desire to make contact with it in order to establish a relationship with it (Deut. 29:29; Rev. 1:1). He has done so through the special revelation which man calls the Bible. The reason this revelation alone must be considered is because it is the only completed revelation of God (1 Cor. 13:8; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18-19). Christianity is distinct from all other religions for Christ is the only religious leader to claim deity (John 10:30) and prove it by a historically documented resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-8); only the Bible declares thousands of prophecies that have been fulfilled to the letter; only Christianity can produce a conversion account such as Paul’s (Acts 9:1ff). Since Scripture is an accurate account of the life of Christ as substantiated by archeology and history, it can be trusted to give an accurate account of reality. While the Bible records many supernatural and unique events called miracles, we cannot simply dismiss these as legends or myths. First, they are attributed to the power of a supernatural God who would logically be capable of this type of act. Second, they are recorded in very plain language without exaggeration or embellishment. Third, contemporaries and subsequent writers reference these events as historical fact.

Scripture gives the most complete and consistent answers to life’s big questions. Who is man? Evolutionists say man is simply a highly evolved animal. Behaviorists say man is simply a complex machine that responds only to external influences and genetic programming. Man is more than a machine because he is more than a brain. Your mind produces thoughts that deliberate and choose. Certainly, environment and genetics affect us but we can still choose to resist these influences. If man is only an animal or a machine then there is no objective right or wrong. Some like B. F. Skinner claim that the only value is the continuation of the human race. But why is that important? Without ultimate values from a higher source, everything is absurd. The truth is that no one can live or function consistently with the idea that man is simply an animal or machine. If someone did, they would probably commit suicide or go insane. Therefore, man is much more than a mere animal or machine as God’s Word explains to us. The Bible says that man was created in the image of God with the ability to have deep relationships, to make rational choices for which he is responsible, and to rule over the works of God in nature (Genesis 1-2).

So where did man come from? Some claim that man evolved from single celled organisms that somehow managed to form from inorganic minerals. However, macroevolution has never been observed either in the laboratory or in the fossil record with any undisputed transitional forms. Likewise, mutations have never been found to increase genetic information but only to rearrange or remove information. More importantly, evolution never answers the most basic question of how life could have come from non life in the first place. Therefore, evolution is not a logical answer to the question of where we came from. Rather, man was created in the image of God and given life through the breath of God (Gen. 2:7). He fell into sin and suffers separation from God (Gen. 3), but will one day be restored to a state of perfection (Rom. 8:18-23).   

Lastly, we must answer the question why are we here? Naturalists would preach that life has no meaning since we are simply a cosmic accident. However, they do not live consistently with this mentality. If they did, they would not be able to find value in art, beauty, love, pleasure, entertainment, relationships or anything else. However, God tells us that we were created to bring Him pleasure and glory (Rev. 4:11). We are His greatest creation not because we are powerful or intelligent but because we can choose to love Him or reject Him. When we choose to love Him, we bring Him pleasure and glory and we also find our greatest satisfaction.

So what about skepticism? God never claims to answer all of our questions beyond every possible doubt. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” He has, however, given us enough information to know truth and act upon it. God gave us a brain to think rationally about life and evaluation claims of truth. However, our mind is finite and must rely on the revelation of our Creator to know what is true. With an open mind, God will prove himself to you beyond reasonable doubt. He requires a measure of faith in order to find him (Heb. 11:6). This faith is not a leap in the dark, but a willingness to follow the evidence wherever it leads and trust Him even though some questions will not be answered in this lifetime.