“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD”
Without a doubt, we are living in the most anti-intellectual age in the history of the western world. Though representatives of opposing sides of an issue may claim to have the intellectual high ground, their methods for defending their positions often prove the contrary. Rather than providing us with good and compelling reasons for their positions, what we get are glib slogans, accusations, name-calling, and even threats. A few years ago I was scheduled to participate in a public debate on the issue of abortion. The debate was framed as an interrogative: “Is Abortion a Woman’s Right?” I was prepared to argue, scientifically and philosophically, that no such right exists. Those that opposed my position threatened the venue with riots and vandalism if they proceeded to host the event. Their threats did as intended and the venue reneged on their contract. During the alleged COVID pandemic, I posted some graph images from MB Health in a video on my Youtube channel. The data seemed to call into question the efficacy of the COVID vaccines. Just for that, Youtube deleted my video and gave me a strike against my channel. In both cases—and in countless others just like them in recent history—we see the opposing side of an issue refuse to engage in serious discussion and dialogue. Instead of defending their side with facts and rational argumentation, they resort to threats and censorship in order to silence those who oppose them. This is nothing new of course. When Steven had bested his religious opponents in debate, their only recourse was senseless violence (Acts 7). Luke says “they gnashed on him with their teeth” (7:54) and that “they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord” (7:57). Paul experienced much the same thing in Lystra (Acts 14:19), Ephesus (Acts 19:21-34), and even Jerusalem (Acts 22:22-23). Though we are sometimes shocked by the irrational, hateful and harmful attitude and conduct of those opposed to Christ, we must remember that it can be no other way. Since Christ Himself is the standard of rational and moral perfection, it stands to reason that there can be no rational argumentation marshaled against Him. This is precisely why our culture, moved and manipulated by the spirit of the age, recoils at the thought of any sort of fair, rational interchange. In such a “rational combat arena” those who oppose Christ and His claims will of necessity suffer staggering defeat. Whatever the case, we must never set aside our God-given faculty of reason. Instead we must strive, under God, to persuade people of the truth using rational and cogent argumentation (Proverbs 15:28; 1 Peter 3:15) even as Paul did (Acts 17:2-3; 18:4, 19; 2 Corinthians 5:11). Our efforts will not be in vain. God will certainly reward us openly for our faithfulness (Luke 14:14). Some will believe our witness and be saved (Acts 17:32-34), and this to the glory of God (Philippians 2:9-11).