Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 12, 1951
NUMBER 10, PAGE 12,13b

Skepticism Versus Christianity

Benjamin Franklin

It is a circumstance not to be denied, that immense confusion exists in the public mind touching the way of salvation. No matter whether the cause of this confusion can be pointed out or not, the fact of its existence can not be denied. It is also a fact that many men of good character, fine intelligence, and who are excellent citizens, are standing aloof from all connection with any church, or identification with religion in any form. No doubt, a main cause of this is that a large amount of the preaching is either insipid, lifeless, and powerless talk, and nothing more, or wholly unintelligible; so that, on one hand, there is no interest in it, and, on the other hand they can not understand it. No matter whether the fact can be accounted for or not, it is a fact, and an indisputable fact, that darkness pervades the public mind on the very matter of the highest importance to man of all others—the way to eternal happiness and renown. It is useless to try to blur it over, to disguise or deny it. There stands the stumbling block before the people. One teaches this way and another that; one says, lo here, and another, lo there. Many stand confounded, and know not which way to go.

An Infallibly Safe Way

The Lord warned the people to be on their guard; to be careful and not be deceived. You can not determine which is the right way by the multitude walking in a way, for many are walking in the broad road, leading to ruin. An important reason for being cautious that no mistake be made in finding the right way, is that each person is to make but one trip: If you were to travel the road many times after missing the way once, you might avoid the mistake next time. But we pass over the way but once, and if we miss, the mistake can never be corrected. All should make sure work of it, and be certain not to miss the way:

In the midst, then, of all the confusion of these times, the different ways held up to the people, as leading to heaven, is there any possible course that a human being can pursue that is infallibly safe? The purpose of this article is to give an affirmative answer—to show that there is a course to pursue that is infallibly safe: We purpose to show an honest and humble person what course to pursue in the midst of all the confusion of the times to be infallibly safe.

The Problem Of Unbelief

What, then, is the first difficulty to be encountered? It is the difficulty between the infidel and the Christian— A man says, "I have read Hume, Voltaire, Volney, Gibbon. Paine, etc., and you admit that some of these were, at least, men of learning, extended knowledge in antiquity, with vast libraries and time for reading and they maintain stoutly, and most determinedly, that the Bible is the work of man, and nothing else; that they have no confidence in it. On the other hand, I have read Paley, Watson, Faber, Nelson, Barnes, etc., men of learning, vast knowledge, antiquity, immense libraries, with any amount of time for research, and they say that the Bible contains a revelation from God, and that the man who does not believe it will be condemned. Now, if these great and learned men, on each side, can not decide the matter; settle the question, and put it beyond dispute, how am I ever to settle the question, and put it beyond dispute, how am I ever to settle the matter?"

Now, do not forget the purpose had in view—to show what course to pursue to be infallibly safe. To what danger is the man exposed who believes the Bible with his whole heart, and honestly practices it, in any conceivable event? To say the least, the man who believes the Bible and practices its teachings, is as good as the unbeliever. He is certainly as happy. Beyond all dispute, he does as much for his race as the unbeliever. So far as this world is concerned, he is certainly infallibly safe in any possible or conceivable event. Nor does any man doubt that he is infallibly safe so far as the world to come is concerned:

The Final Winding Up

Conceive the idea, if you please, that, in the final winding up of human affairs, it were possible for every one to turn out as the skeptic has argued; the Bible to be entirely of man—as Robert Owen argues, all religion founded in ignorance; to what danger is the man who honestly believed and obeyed the Bible espoused? No danger of any sort:

No man living can show that he has lost any thing that can in any way contribute to greatness, goodness, or happiness in this life, and the skeptic will not claim that he has endangered himself in reference to the life to come. No man of any sort, no matter where he stands, nor what he holds, maintains that any great danger can befall a man on account of his believing and practicing the Bible; that he is, on this account, in any sense not safe for this world and that which is to come, even if all the skeptic claims could, by any conceivable event, prove true.

But, now, turn around and look at the other side of the question. Let the skeptic prove mistaken, and look to the consequences of his mistake. He finds himself, in the end, standing in opposition to his Merciful Creator, who has, in kindness and compassion, put forth his hand to save him; opposed his gracious Redeemer, who died for him, and to the Bible, intended to guide him to happiness and eternal glory. He believed not the God who created him, and the Lord who gave himself for him.

The sentence is, "He who believes not shall be condemned:' "He who believes not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him." He knows that his skepticism can not possibly make him any better in this life, any more happy; that it can not do the world any possible good; that it has nothing in it to elevate, ennoble and adorn humanity; that it can not possibly bring any thing great and good to a single soul of the human race, that it can not civilize, educate, or enlighten mankind; in one word, that its whole tendency is to pull down morals; education, and enlightenment in general; and if all it claims could, by any conceivable event, prove true, every believer in the Bible would be as safe in all respects as he, both for time and for eternity!

Skepticism is an awful experiment: It is simply taking the risk of losing everything, without the possibility of gaining any thing for this world or the world to come.

At Death

Why is it that such a large proportion of skeptics, when near the close of their lives, or in the expectation of immediate death, renounce and repudiate their skepticism? Why does their foundation fail them at the very time when they need support more than at any former time? And why does the meekest believer in the kingdom of God press his faith to his heart the more closely as he approaches death? Why is it that not a man who claimed to believe the Bible, while in life and health, ever denied it when he approached death? The answer is, that the divine testimony is sufficient for all confidence, worthy of all acceptation; and the human soul. at the hour of dissolution, when it needs support, leans on that which is infallibly safe, as also infallibly correct.

Does some man reply that this is no refutation of skepticism? It does not propose to be, but shows you what course to pursue to be infallibly safe, whether you can refute skepticism or not, or even whether you can understand it. It has nothing in it good for you in any conceivable event, whether true or false, and it is useless to trouble your mind about it.


Ross 0. Spears, Dyersburg, Tenn.: "We have just recently conducted a gospel meeting with Roy E. Cogdill preaching. Five were baptized and two restored. Brother Cogdill preached in his usual forceful and specific manner and we anticipate more results from the meeting. Large audiences attended every service. He has been invited to return in 1953. The work here continues to grow. A series of tent meetings in and around Dyersburg is now underway.'