Jesus is a Threat
Some people are more honest than others in their rejection of Christianity. In his book Ends and Means, Aldous Huxley gives some insight into his atheism with shocking openness. He says,
“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and 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. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever….Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless…”
Huxley rejected God not because he didn’t understand the reasoning behind theism or because he thought atheism was more logical. Instead, he admittedly rejects it because it is more convenient to do so. Huxley rightly recognizes that belief in God has consequences. It means that life does have a higher meaning than the pure pursuit of animalistic urges, that we are accountable to a higher Judge, and that our actions and goals in life are not to be set by ourselves. Belief in God necessarily opens the door to divine accountability, and since he didn’t want any part of that, he simply chose to reject God altogether.
This is some brutal honesty. Few people would be willing to confess that their beliefs are shaped not on an unbiased search for truth, but rather a desire to have sex with anyone you want without fear of guilt. While some might think Huxley a little nuts to talk like this, it actually makes perfect sense given his atheist worldview.
Huxley specifically mentions “Christianity” as the worldview he dismisses because of the moral obligations that come from believing in Christ. Not many non-Christians I talk to would cite their own moral whims or willful ignorance as the main grounds for rejecting Jesus, but I suppose there is more of the Aldous Huxley spirit out there than is apparent on the surface. Any belief, religious or not, is easily dismissible once you determine it can’t even be an option. Personal bias and the protection of personal autonomy will easily override a genuine search for truth because it is more convenient to do so.
I will at least commend Huxley on this point: he evidently had some grasp of Christianity that was pretty accurate. Many people these days try to take the Jesus of the Bible and form him into some kind of modern-guru that is more culturally acceptable than the crucified and risen Son of God who atoned for human sin. Additionally, many churches have adopted a more secularized brand of Christianity in an effort to remain relevant to the broader public, hanging onto Jesus but ditching all the religious baggage that doesn’t fit with the times. Huxley, to his credit, wasn’t willing to do that. He kept Jesus more or less intact, although he still rejected him on shaky grounds.
The point is this: in our pursuit of truth, we must be willing to follow the evidence where it leads no matter the cost to our personal lives. Discovering the truth can mean that our whole worldview needs to be uprooted and replaced. It might mean that what we have built our entire lives on turns out to be a bad foundation and we have to start all over. Few are willing to even consider that an option, so we close off some doors of possibility and never really give the facts a fair chance. In these “post-truth” times, more than ever, we need to check our personal bias at the door.
I have tried, albeit imperfectly, to do this very thing. I still find myself a follower of Jesus even though he is like a wrecking ball in my life, destroying some of the idols I hold dear. Being a Christian is by no means convenient. It requires a complete surrender of one’s life to God. My ambitions become his, even though there are times I’d rather not have it be that way. Such is the reality of adapting to the truth rather than it to you. There is personal demolition, and then rebirth. In the case of following Christ, as I can personally attest, it is worth it.