Jumping Ship With A Straw Man

It’s a sad reality that we all know some people who have decided to denounce truths they once held. I seem to be experiencing more frequently occasions where individuals decided they could no longer believe a particular doctrine of Christianity or Christianity as a whole. Some decide that Christianity is a religion among many religions; some have drawn the conclusion that all religion is false while others have condemned certain biblical truths such as the deity of Christ, the doctrines of grace or the inerrancy of scripture.  They have declared their former belief to be in error and have embraced a greater or more logical way of thinking than us poor Christians. To say that this grieves me is an understatement. I was warned about this by several individuals who once told me that I would know people who knew the truth but rejected it for a lie. In some cases, not only did they repudiate the faith/doctrine but now are basically on a crusade to attack their former beliefs in order to get as many people out of that way of thinking as possible.

With that said, this is not the main reason for posting these thoughts. I can think of several individuals who decided to leave their biblical views or the faith and it was truly a heart wrenching experience for them. They spent years in examining their faith/doctrine with thoroughness and respect. They have, however, come to the very unfortunate conclusion that they reject the truth. I will say that those who fall into this category of apostasy are a very small number. I have honestly only met a handful of people whom I spoke with regarding this issue that I feel had truly spent the time and examination prior to their dismissal of faith. The vast majority of people who have rejected biblical truths or the faith have done so by a very shallow pursuit of truth. It has been my experience that they build a straw man regarding their former belief, tear it down and then feel justified in denying their faith. In other words they make their former faith into a caricature and misrepresent it (the “straw man”), and then refute it.  For instance, I have heard people tell me that because Christ is called “the only-begotten Son” that Christ had a beginning hence He could not be God. This individual came to that conclusion without dealing with the texts that speak of Christ’s eternality, without a proper study of the term “monogenes” and its usage in both the Old and New Testament. When these things were pointed out to this individual, he simply had made up his mind and didn’t want to discuss the issue. There are numerous examples of this and it is unfortunate to see someone leave such precious things.

The next logical question is: why would someone do this? Why would someone just brush off something so easily without giving a fair and deep examination of these truths? Why would someone feel content with building a straw man to justify leaving truth? The answer that has been quite consistent in my experience is that they had already, in their minds, abandoned the faith/doctrine and are merely attempting to find justification for doing so. It could be they have completely abandoned the faith or perhaps they have joined a religion or even wish to “fit in” in certain theological circles but in the end they have a prior commitment to something else which leads them to their conclusion.

It has been a trying experience to attempt to speak with folks under these circumstances. I am saddened by the situation but what is truly unfortunate is the lack of respect they show for their faith by not spending the time in deep examination and especially the misrepresentation they create to validate their departure.

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