The “Whatever” Objection and the Problem of Passivity
Armed with a master’s degree in apologetics I felt like I could conquer the world. Bring on the most ardent atheist and I’d be ready. My training prepared me to launch informed arguments and counter the toughest objections. To my surprise, the biggest challenger however wasn’t the outspoken critic but the one who spoke the least – the passive skeptic who just didn’t care. I quickly learned that the word no passionate apologist wants to hear is “Whatever.”
Hearing my friend utter that word, I thought, “How could you not care?!” Salvation from sin, eternal life, reunited with saints, and reigning with God as kings is too good to pass up. I kept noticing other friends and colleagues voicing much of the same though not always using the “W” word verbatim. I realized my God-given fascination for apologetics and passion to share what I’ve learned wasn’t something I had in common with people around me. I’ve come to see that listening to a debate on my iPod while running the Manhattan Beach 10-K wasn’t normal.
The goal of this post is not to teach the reader how to convince someone that spiritual decisions matter. That task I leave with other writers and ultimately in the working of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of men. My goal is a more humble one; to explain this passivity towards religious ideas and what drives it. It’s my hope that a greater understanding of this will better prepare apologists for encountering passive skeptics…
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