Has anyone ever asked you to prove #God to them? Or prove that the #Bible isn’t just some 2,000 year old, dusty, myth-filled book? Or #prove that Jesus wasn’t just a good teacher but not God? Do you feel ill-prepared to answer such tough questions about your faith? Take a deep breath, relax and listen.
It’s been my experience that most people who ask these types of questions expect an answer in 2 minutes or less OR in a paragraph or two (like in the 140 character Twitter limit). In other words, they’re not really looking for an answer. They just want to shoot down YOUR answer. Granted, not all people are like this, but some clearly are.
I’ve found one of the best ways to answer this is by asking them how they want you to answer their question. Do they want…
Bible manuscript reliability proofs
Classical argument proofs
If they choose one, then you can set the ground rules for discussing it. For example, if they chose archaeological proofs, they must use the same reasons for believing/disbelieving the Bible as for accepting other archaeological finds, like the existence of Julius Caesar or some of the other ‘pillars’ of archaeological history.
Explain to them that each of these areas will require time spent reading and discussing on their part. If they’re truly interested, they’ll agree. If they decline, you’ve just saved yourself a lot of time and frustration. Of course, you could point out that where they’ll be spending eternity should be the most important question of their life and as such, should require the time spent exploring it.
Another way to answer their tough questions about your faith is to say while you know what you believe, you don’t know what they believe or where they’re at with this topic. Knowing this would help you answer them more accurately and not waste time by answering questions they don’t have. Listen to them. When they’re thru, ask them questions like…
How do you know what you believe is true?
Is it just their opinion of how they’d like it to be?
How did they arrive at their viewpoint?
Was it after researching other viewpoints?
Will they apply the same ‘tests’ to their viewpoint that they’ll be applying to yours?
While most people like to talk about what they believe, I’m willing to bet that their viewpoint isn’t all that well thought out. Most people can tell you what they believe but they’re fuzzy on why they believe it.
After answering these questions, they might be more open to hearing your thoughts.
I wouldn’t get into trying to answer all of their particular questions right away. Maybe a few simple ones are OK (to let them see that your faith makes sense) but too many will bog you down and won’t accomplish what you’re striving for. Better for you to be in control rather than them throwing up every little frustration they’ve ever had with ‘religion’. I’ve spent way too much time with some people trying to answer all their questions. You don’t want to win the battle but lose the war. If I had sat back, took a deep breath and asked them one of the above two questions, I could have saved myself a lot of time, frustration and effort.
I have also found that when you do get into a discussion with them, it’s good to start off by defining the methods of proof. For example, if you’re talking about ‘proving’ the Bible, you’d want to distinguish between the scientific method of proof and the legal/historical method:
1) the scientific method says that you must be able to;
Observe the event
Measure that observation
Repeat the observation and measurement
If you can’t do all three of these things, you cannot use the scientific method. Because this method is repeatable and measurable, it is almost always 100% accurate.
2) the legal/historical method assumes you cannot observe, measure and repeat an event. But you will be able to see where the preponderance of evidence points. It can be ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ but ‘not beyond any doubt’.
So for our areas (proving God’s existence, or the reliability of the Bible manuscripts, etc), we have to use the legal/historical method of proof. We may use some scientific tests in doing this but we’re not using the scientific method. We’ll be able to prove our point beyond a reasonable doubt but not beyond any doubt.
As you can see, using either of these two methods requires time. Your answers to their question(s) will not be just a 5 minute conversation but an ongoing dialogue. I would also recommend certain websites to them to read for more detailed information on certain topics. I have listed such websites on my website home page under “Recommended Resources”.
Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers when asked as long as you can refer them to where the answers are. Also, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know but let me get back to you on that”.
Finally, don’t feel like you’ve got to be an expert in apologetics to converse with them. Spending just a few minutes perusing my recommended resource websites should be sufficient.
Remember 1st Peter 3:15…”…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect….”
christiananswers.net….scroll down to the apologetics link
With you on the journey,