John Pearrell

Occam’s Razor (sometimes spelled Ockham’s Razor) is a philosophical principle that states, “Suppose there exists two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually correct. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation.” Put another way, “The simplest explanation is usually the best explanation.”

We live in a world of seemingly complex problems. At present the big thing on our collective minds is gun violence. The problem is, about the time we think that the answer is in better regulations of guns, we are confronted with a mass killing using knives. And let’s not forget that some of the deadliest mass murderers have chosen common farm fertilizers to construct deadly devices of mass destruction. The problem isn’t the method used, the problem is man himself.

Please do not think the statement above is a commentary on the gun debate; it is not. I simply want to point out that the complex problems of our world, crime, hate, prejudice, rape, carjackings, drive by shootings, terrorism, robbery, burglary, you name it, all have a common source. Jesus identifies that source for us.

Now, let me pause here and say, I understand that many today do not believe what the Bible says. We think we are too sophisticated today for such simplistic answers. But even most who do not believe what the Bible says at least still believe what Jesus said. So we need to at least consider that maybe Jesus was on to something important when He said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts — murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19, NIV). We could save a lot of tax money and time if instead of trying to find complex answers to our world’s complex problems, we stepped back and considered this simple answer. It’s the Occam’s Razor principle.

Immediately there are those who take exception to the above statements. There are two reasons why they do this. First, they do it because they want to shift the blame. Years ago I was dealing with a young man who had murdered his own brother. He came to our program because the institution to which he had been confined had given up on him. We were told by officials at that institution, “D. is a hopeless case. We are tired of dealing with him, so we are sending him to you, only to be rid of him for a time.” I kid you not.

During the time D was with us, he gave his heart to Christ. I will never forget what he said the night before he left us. He said, “Fourteen months ago, my heart was burning hot like that campfire, and I killed a man. That man was my own brother. Although I will never get over the regret and sorrow I have for killing my brother, I know one thing; God has forgiven me.”

D’s change was like night from day. His mother contacted us to thank us for the change that she saw in him. The institution was a different story, however. They also contacted us telling us that they would never again be sending us any of their inmates. Their reasoning was, “We have been trying for 14 months to get him to admit what he did, and you got him thinking now he’s forgiven! He needs to admit his guilt and then place the blame where it belongs on his father!”

Unfortunately, space once again escapes me, so we will pick up next week where we must leave off this week. Next week we will look at why the simple answer so easily eludes us. But, not to leave this prematurely, the answer that D found has been an answer millions over the centuries give testimony to: the power of placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit or email


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.