The Canards of Unbelief                                                                                    by Jack Kettler


This study will look at a few examples of usual canards that non-believers try to pass off as reasons they do not go to church or for not believing in the truth claims of the Christian Faith. The approach in this study will be one that utilizes the Socratic technique of questioning as a response to the non-believers when they pull these canards out of the grab bag of excuses.


The three questions of the Socratic technique:


1.      What do you mean?

This question forces a person to define their terminology and gets beyond surface language similarity.

2.      How do you know that?

This question forces the person to give reasons for their definitions. Are they parroting things that they heard out of the grab bag of excuses?

3.      What are the implications of this viewpoint?

This question makes a person look to the conclusion of where their position leads. Are they logically consistent or contradictory? Are their conclusions biblical?


In canards 1-5, the reader will get to see how to apply these questions to real-life situations.


The example of Jesus asking questions:


As in the case of Christ, sometimes it is better to ask counter questions. In other words, question the questioner.


Jesus asked questions as a response, which get right to the heart of an issue.


In Matthew, we read how the Herodians, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a series of questions. Instead, Jesus caught them with His counter questions.


“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:41-46)


Synonyms of canard; exaggeration, fabrication, falsehood, untruth, rumor


Canard 1:


“The church is full of hypocrites.”


What do you mean by hypocrite? How do you know that the church is full of hypocrites? Does a personal observation support this contention? If so, explain. Are other organizations full of hypocrites? If so, how does this affect how you live?


Canard 2:


“Christians are always judging other people.”


What do you mean by judging or judgment? How do you know that this is true? Can you provide a personal example of Christians judging? Do you never make judgments? Are all judgments wrong? Were the Nazi’s wrong to kill the Jew? Is that a judgment? Do you ever say that things are right or wrong? Why, since this is judging? How can you live without making judgments?


Canard 3:


“I do not like organized religion. I have a personal relationship with God that can take place in the mountains.”


What do you mean by organized? How do you know your assertion is true regarding personal as opposed to organized? Have you ever been a member of organized religion? If so, when and where?


So you do like something that is organized. Why is disorganized better? Do you like organized sports or disorganized sports?


What do you mean by a personal relationship with God? How do you define God? How do you know that God approves of your approach? How often do you go into the mountains to worship God?


Canard 4:


“The church is a business.”


How do you define business? How do you define religion or church? Can a church and business have similarities and yet be different? Is your assertion that the church is a business a personal observation? Are you saying that all businesses are wrong or just churches?   


Canard 5:


“The church is backward, and it is not relevant for today.”


What do you mean by backwards or relevant? How do you know that the church is not relevant? In what way is the church not relevant? Is this assertion from personal experience?


Are all ideas and practices from the past discredited? How so? What about Plato’s Republic, and Aristotelian ethics?


The goal of questioning the questioner is to cut to the chase so to speak and get to the important aspect of the canard, and exposing the canard for what it is, namely, an excuse for unbelief.


The Socratic questioning process must be done with sensitivity. You are not trying to win an argument and make someone look bad. Sometimes it is helpful to ask the questions in the third person. For example, “what if someone asked you, ‘How do you know the church is full of hypocrites?’” The first person can be viewed as a more direct and personal challenge. Depending on the person, this could be threatening to cause the person to become defensive. If this happens, remind the individual it was they who made the accusation about the church.    


The gospel in a nutshell:


“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)


“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: