Guilty of Willful Blindness

Guilty of Willful Blindness

In his book Reflections on the Existence of God, Richard Simmons coined the phrase “willful blindness” to describe many people’s rejection of God and the Bible. This phrase is not confined to people who reject God because they are ignorant, but even scholars and scientists are guilty of willful blindness. 

Thomas Nagel, a philosopher at New York University and a promoter of atheism, described his willful blindness well: “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God. I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

Many years ago, a young man attending my presentations at Purdue University asked many questions. When he became silent, I asked him, “What are you going to do with all of this evidence?” He responded, “I don’t want to quit having sex with my girlfriend, and so I am going to ignore it.” 

Richard Dawkins, considered the world’s leading atheist at the time of this writing, says, “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of Darwinian theory … we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.”

Agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow has made this observation: “Scientific reactions provide an interesting demonstration of the response of the scientific mind – supposedly a very objective mind – when evidence uncovered by science itself leads to a conflict with the articles of faith in our professions. It turns out that scientists behave the same way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist, or we paper it over with meaningless phrases.”

Recently, a reader asked why we continue to do this website. He said that, in his experience, people are not going to be confused with the facts and that we were wasting our time by presenting evidence for God. I asked him why he keeps reading the things we post. He responded that he knew his arguments to reject God were getting weaker and weaker as he read how much evidence there is and how good that evidence is in our material. 

The fact is that, in time, being guilty of willful blindness will bear destructive fruit. I suspect my young friend at Purdue is no longer sleeping with his girlfriend. I feel for him knowing he missed the full joy of sex as God intended. I also feel for those like Dawkins and Nagel who cannot tell you why they exist or what is the ultimate purpose of their lives. Having no eternal purpose in living brings disappointment and frustration. Jesus said He came to give life and to give it more abundantly – John 10:10. Acting on evidence is a first step in allowing God’s Spirit to influence our lives Acts 2:38. 

— John N. Clayton © 2023