Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask
- Monday, October 18, 2010
Evidence #3: Apart from God there can be no objective moral standards. But we clearly live in a world that has objective moral standards. Therefore there has to be a divine moral lawgiver. We refer to that lawgiver as "God."
Our experience, science, and philosophy all point to the existence of an invisible God, One that fits the descriptions given in Scripture for Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and of us, as Christians.
Tips for Talking about This Issue
Usually people who doubt God have a story to tell about how they got to that point. It's important to ask them questions and to respectfully listen to what they tell you, even though you'll probably not agree with everything they say. That's okay; James 1:19 says we need to "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." Listening before speaking shows that you care about them, and it earns you the right to talk about your own beliefs.
It's almost a cliché to say that atheists are angry. But if your friends don't believe in God and do seem angry, ask why. Often you'll discover that something bad happened for which they blame God, the church, or a Christian. Listen with empathy and patience. Agree when you can, but also try to help them see that much of what's done in God's name or in religious circles is not from God but from imperfect people and institutions.
Share the answers and information in this chapter, but realize that helping people think in new ways is usually a slow process. Be patient, and be ready to explain it again and again or to talk about additional questions they might want to raise.
Realize there may be deeper personal issues—beyond what people are talking to you about—that hold them back from believing or trusting in God. These may be lifestyle issues, personal problems, hurts, prejudices, or misunderstandings about what Christians think and stand for. Pray for discernment and sensitivity in sorting out what the real issues are, and then address those issues.
Refer to the Bible's teachings in talking about your faith, but realize that many people don't accept its authority or truthfulness—especially those who question God's existence. Its message can still have power, but look to other sources of information to reinforce its truths (as we have in this chapter, with science and philosophy).
The Bible makes it clear that these discussions are not just about logic and good answers—but also about a spiritual struggle. Pray that God will direct your words and attitude and that he'll open your friends up to his love and truth.
Remember that love draws people, and disagreement can drive them away. So let love be your motivation, and be ready to back off if a conversation gets too heated or combative.
Questions for Group Discussion
1. Why might someone think you should believe only in things you can see, hear, or touch? What are some other things you believe in, in addition to love, that you can't see or experience directly through your senses?
2. What are some things you can talk about from your own experience that show you—and might convince your friends—that God really exists?
3. How does the fact that our universe had a beginning or the fact that it's fine-tuned with such exacting precision provide evidence for God?
4. Do you think there could be objective morality apart from God? From where would it draw its authority?
5. How has the evidence for God presented in this chapter affected your faith? Can evidence strengthen one's faith?
Mark Mittelberg is a best-selling author, a sought-after speaker, and a leading strategist in evangelism and apologetics-oriented outreach. He is the primary author of the Becoming a Contagious Christian training course, through which more than one million people around the world have learned to effectively and naturally communicate their faith to others. Mark was the evangelism director at Willow Creek for many years. He is a frequent contributor to Outreach magazine and a regular speaker for Church Communication Network (CCN.tv) satellite broadcasts to churches across North America. He was also an editorial consultant and periodic guest for Lee Strobel's Faith under Fire television show. He and Strobel have been ministry partners for more than 20 years.
Excerpt used with permission.
*This article originally appeared October 19, 2010
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