...and one more

Why does biblical dissuasion work at all?

If God has provided the Bible to everyone, replete with invitations to forgiveness of personal sins, establishment of a relationship with God, and obtaining eternal life, why would biblical dissuasion work at all? How could people be turned from acknowledging and pursuing these offerings? There are a number of reasons for this. Let’s discuss three of those reasons.

An unappreciated battlefield

As mentioned in a couple of other places on this site, we all live on a battlefield. This battlefield may be said to be spiritual, but it is most certainly played out in very real and practical ways. On this battlefield two sides are engaged in mortal battle where both covert and overt operations transpire daily. As on any battlefield, certain tactics are used. Among those tactics are disinformation, deceit, and attempts to influence the participants on the field of conflict. There are two opposing sides and each side is attempting to influence people. The Bible simply states this conflict it in this manner:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds), casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV).

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-10 ESV).

Those who dissuade others concerning the truth of God as declared in Scriputre, "walk as enemies of the cross of Christ," and align themselves with the forces that oppose God. Whether aware of their contribution of not, those who align themselves with the opposing forces "exalt themselves against the knowledge of God." Unfortunately, this warfare and personal stance against God is largely unappreciated for what it is—by those who make their stance against God and those who are influenced by their actions.

An exaggerated promise

There are people in our society who advocate that we forget God and the purported baggage he brings into people’s lives. Unfortunately, the efforts of people who dissuade are more successful than many unsuspecting persons realize.

Take for example former Baptist pastor, Mike Aus, a vocal member of the Clergy Project, an organization dedicated to persuading people to disregard God through the testimonies and examples of former clergy members. Men and women such as Mike Aus now make it their life’s work to inform others of the their new-found freedom by encouraging others to follow their example. During one of Mike Aus’ lectures, he explains to his audience the underlying and beneficial results of turning from belief in God, saying,

When you lose your faith it’s not like a candle going out, it’s like the light coming on: it’s like the lights at Wrigley Field, coming on, for the first time. You don’t lose anything other than the crazy metaphorical baggage for which there is not one shred of empirical evidence. That’s not losing, that’s like, getting rid of the luggage.

For anyone who might be interested, here is the link to one of Mike Aus’ videos explaining how he tossed aside his belief in God.

Mike Aus (and others like him) used to publicly inform others about the gospel but now he attempts to persuade the public that rejecting God brings freedom and inner light. But is Mike Aus’ current position the correct one? Not according to the Bible which he now preaches against. Consider the two primary points Aus makes and the Bible’s opposing views.

First, Mike Aus claims that rejecting God brings inner light. Rejecting God does not bring light, it induces greater darkness. Jesus Christ clarifies the matter by simply saying, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19 ESV).

Secondly, Aus claims that rejecting God brings freedom. The Bible counters such claims and insists that believing in the truth of God through Jesus Christ brings true freedom: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'” (John 8:31 ESV). You see, Mike Aus and dissuaders like him stand directly opposed to God. Such people promise light and freedom, but that freedom is short lived. The emaciating and exhilarating feeling within lasts only a short time. In the end, the temporary sense of freedom proves to only solidify real and lasting bondage. If we reject biblical truth and turn from God, we simply give ourselves to a different form of slavery: “Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin'” (John 8:34 ESV).

Finally, the apostle Peter warns against falling prey to such voices. His admonition and plea for caution about listening to dissuaders should be taken seriously (emphasis added): "...even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1-2 ESV).

A dispersion of disinformation

We are all subject to influence by people who disseminate misleading information. Our society is warned again and again to be on guard regarding disinformation. We all have a certain vulnerability when misinformation is continually presented to us. For example, according to a report, during the year 2020, Americans lost $29.8 billion dollars through phone scams alone. This number is remarkable to the point of disbelief. Why do such tactics work? How would such attacks succeed? Like it or not, such tactics succeed because people are easily influenced by disinformation. Not only that, but people are more easily influenced when told something they want to believe. The case is the same when dissuaders work diligently to pursuade people away from God. When Mike Aus and others claim to offer freedom, light, and emancipation from the so called baggage that God brings, people are often persuaded because deep inside that is what they want.

Furthermore, everyone should understand that the enemies of God have enormous resources at their disposal. To understand this we need look no further than the New Testament’s description of the breadth of those powers—“...and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (I John 5:19 ESV). The resources available to him and those who align themselves to such goals are vast. Make no mistake about it.

And the evil one’s army afoot? Well, they make promises that are misleading—promises that cannot be fulfilled. For example, dissuaders claim that God did not create the world and report there is no evidence that He did. Dissuaders make the claim that God is vengeful, oppressive, and dictatorial—void of love altogether. Dissuaders insist that Jesus Christ is not the solution for mankind’s sin problem. Some go as far as to celebrate that they have uncovered the truth after so long—Jesus never even existed! At every turn and point possible, dissuaders make their stand against the biblical Scriptures. Turning others away from the Scriptures is a primary goal and measure of success.

The goal hoped for

The results of the dissuasion effort is terrifying. Some are turned from God. Many who are searching are blocked from finding him. Many are deflected as their search begins. The disinformation dissuaders present to people hides the truth from many unsuspecting and impressionable minds. The New Testament accurately portrays this tragedy, saying,

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV).

The perpetration and influence of misinformation about God on people is real. No simpler sentence can be located than one provided by the apostle Paul who succinctly encapsulates the whole of this eternal tragedy.

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10 KJV).

The Bible warns all people to beware of dissuaders who claim that God does not exist, that God is but a myth, a burden, a foolish concept, and a threat to people's lives. I hope you will not be led away by the dissuader's rhetoric.

In the last section of this project, we will turn our attention to discussing at greater length those behind these efforts to dissuade as we turn our attention to the Suppressors of Truth.