Why do so many people not read what disagrees with them? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
About a week or so ago, I was in a Facebook debate on a post where a fundamentalist atheist started off with a meme about how the Bible starts with a talking snake and ends with a beast with seven heads. Why should anyone take it seriously? After all, God forbid an atheist actually, you know, study the text. I asked about the last book he had read on the topic and he asked me what the last book I read was.
I actually spent some time putting out a list since right now, I’m going through about a dozen books honestly and I read some of most every day in addition to my Bible and in addition to school books. Another friend of mine jumped in and gave some he had read. The atheist started to insist that my friend had not read any of those books. He was just making it up. He refused to ever accept that any reading had been done. When I went on about my list, the atheist said no one was talking to me, despite my friend pointing out that the sub-thread originally started with me answering the question he asked to me directly.
What book do we know he read on the topic? None.
Later, I even presented Andrew Loke’s book on the resurrection of Jesus. This is a powerful book and even better, on Kindle, it is free. He specifically meant it to be that way so everyone could read it. How many atheists do I meet who are willing to read this? None.
By the way, my list did include books I disagree with. I’m always going through at least one.
Today, I had someone debating me on miracles to which I presented Keener’s books as well as The Self Does Not Die written from a secular perspective and The Last Superstition. Somehow earlier in the thread the guy had been talking about “magic mushrooms” and said he would read those books if I would take a dose of such mushrooms. Yep. Anything to avoid contrary thought.
To top it off, I’m also in a debate page for Christians vs. Mormons and people defending the Mormon prophet saying to never take counsel from those who do not believe. Many Mormons were defending that they should not listen to liars. I remember one asking me if I would be willing to learn about Jesus from Judas. I replied, “Why not? I can hear what he has to say and investigate for myself and make my own decision.”
You know how we have been told that Christians live in their little bubbles to stay safe?
That seems more to describe non-Christians nowadays.
One such modern example is that if a conservative speaker shows up on campus, leftists on campus will go berserk to do anything to make sure that person doesn’t speak. For me, being at a conservative seminary, if I knew we were having a leftist speaker come to address us, I would be salivating at that. I love to hear the side that I disagree with and then to get the chance to interact with them.
I conclude the same way. Either these people don’t really believe what they say, or they have too much pride. If you are a person who claims to care about truth, then you should be open to seeing if you are correct, especially if you’re going out doing arguments on the matter. If you have a goal in life of reaching Muslims, but you have no interest in reading Muslim material, then find another goal.
Also, even though you might not agree with what you read, you can still learn something from it. I have learned from reading non-Christian material. Sometimes I refine my position. Sometimes some scholars who aren’t Christians present interesting ways of reading the text. I generally definitely learn about what other people believe. In the end, any or all of those are a win.
If you want to evangelize today and reach people, know what they think. Read contrary thought.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)