Possibly one of the most misapplied portions of scripture is found in Jesus' interview before Pilate. Most may not be familiar with the entire setting of that interview, but almost everyone is familiar with Pilate's infamous response to Jesus's statement, "Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:37). Pilate's often quoted and familiar response was "What is truth?" (John 18:38).
Most seem to think that this was some philosophical inquiry by Pilate. Personally, I don't see it that way. I don't see it as a genuine question, because if it were a question, I believe Jesus would have responded to it. I don't think it is the expression of a man who is searching for truth rather I see it as the response of a man who has been jaded by life; a man who has experienced the twisting of truth and a man who now reflects a skepticism born out of despair.
Many today are like Pilate. People ask me all the time to give them evidence for God's existence, and while I am prepared to do that, I have learned that attempting any such discussion on my part is futile unless first they answer me as to what evidence they are prepared to accept.
For centuries the classical arguments for God's existence were seen as powerful and reasonable. Today they are by and large completely rejected.
These classical arguments are the cosmological argument which is simply the argument that every effect must have an adequate cause. Today that argument is rejected outright. We are told that what we see in the universe is a mere result of time and chance (which frankly is a cosmological argument in and of itself since it argues that what we see had the adequate cause of time plus chance). But let a person suggest that the cosmos points to an all-powerful creator, and you are either laughed at as if you were a fool or pitied as if you are an imbecile.
The second argument, the teleological argument, is the argument from design. While hard science demonstrates conclusively the crucial balance and laws that had to be in play for life as we know it to exist, and while statistics prove the utter impossibility of all these factors coming about by chance, there are still those who angrily denounce any need for a grand designer and hold tenaciously to a theory that has proven itself to be wrong again and again.
The sad thing is these same people would mock me if I were to suggest to them that the computer upon which I am typing this article was not the invention of any man, but rather the accidental product of chance. They understand the foolishness of such an argument on this very small scale yet cannot seem to comprehend the necessity of a designer on the universal scale. I can only say, this is a decided prejudice. Like Darwin they "have no use for any theory of origins which require a God." That is not reason. That is a moral bent that has made up their own minds not to be convinced by the evidence around them. The Greek Philosopher Plato said, "Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding." The great antagonist of Christianity, Voltaire, observed "Atheists are for the most part misguided scholars who reason badly, and who, not being able to understand the Creation, the origin of evil, and other difficulties have recourse to the hypothesis of the eternity of things and of inevitability."
The third argument is anthropological argument which basically says that the fact that we can think and are moral beings points toward a standard, a creator, who placed these abilities in us.
The final argument is the ontological argument which was advanced by Plato who argued that, "because I can conceive in my mind a perfect being he must exist."
Back to my premise: Pilate dismissed Christ's claim to truth by scoffing at the concept of truth. Today many follow in his steps. The evidence is clear and compelling, but they are blinded by their desire to have things their own way, so they simply dismiss truth with a wave of their hands and hand it over for crucifixion.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA, 30016. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org