Defend Your Faith

I am big on witnessing to people. I do not go street preaching but I have gone street witnessing. Street witnessing is not something I do regularly anymore but I do take the opportunities given to me to share my faith. The place I share my faith the most is on the golf course. It is a great place because I get to spend 3 to 4 hours with a person or group of people. I wrote a little about this in an earlier post entitled “Go Tell it on the Mountain”.

When I do share what Jesus did for me on the cross I get a plethora of responses. Some people ignore or pretend they didn’t hear what I said. Some roll their eyes and talk about how boring church is. Some, by God’s grace, have ears to hear and say they will look into what I said. Then, you have the objector who will attack what you are saying.

I have spoken with a couple of objectors on the course. One objector was a guy that still sends me text messages inviting me to go play with him.  The first question that he asked me was, “How can you believe in a god when there is so much evil in the world?”

Before I go into the response I want to highlight that engaging in these dialogues is important. It is critical to understand that you do not need to know all the answers. There have been plenty of times that I have engaged folks that brought up interesting arguments that I could not answer at that moment. I told them I do not have a complete answer but I will do my best to find one. The key is doing our best to get answers and being ready to give them to those around us. 1 Peter 3:15 says:

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” -ESV

When we come across people who disagree it is imperative that we interact with “gentleness and respect”. That does not mean that we do not share the truth with them, but we do it in a way that is pleasing to Jesus and respectful to the objector. Now back to the question, “How can you believe in a god when there is so much evil in the world?”.

This is probably the most common question that come from the unbeliever. Yet, I find that a lot of Christians have not thought through how to answer it. My theology is in line with the reformed tradition. If you are familiar with reformed theology you know that presuppositional apologetics has its roots within it. The key to answering this question isn’t so much answering for God why evil happens. Rather, it is asking the atheist or agnostic how he/she can call anything evil?

It all comes down to exposing presuppositions. When the person says, “there is so much evil in the world,” the Christian must examine what that means. This objection implies that the objector knows what is and what is not “evil”. The problem is that his/her worldview cannot account for evil.

Here are a series of questions that the objector needs to answer:

D-Fence

#1 Are morals universal?

#2 Are morals unchanging?

#3 Are morals immaterial?

Most objectors will say, “Morals are not universal or unchanging. But they are immaterial.”

By saying that morals are not universal or unchanging the objector is saying that morals are then subjective. Some will say that morals are subjective to worldwide consensus (how they could know this baffles me). Some say that morals are subjective to the local community (should America have stopped Hitler then?). Some will affirm that morals are only subjective to the individual and nothing more. No matter which one of these the objector holds they still have one problem…they are subjective.

Once a person admits this subjectivity they are left with nothing but their own personal/communal opinion on what is right and what is wrong. When that happens you get what occurred in the White vs. Silverman debate:

White asked, “When you stand at the gates of Auschwitz all you can say is, ‘For me, this was bad’?”

Silverman responded saying, “yup.”

That is really what it comes down to. The objector has no grounds to call anything morally wrong or evil because he/she cannot even substantiate the moral grounds by which anyone else can determine what is right or wrong.

When their lack of moral foundation gets exposed the Christian needs to respond saying, “How can you say that there is no objective moral truth but use objective moral truth to not believe in the God of Scripture?”

If the person cannot answer that question they are faced with the fact that they cannot live consistently within their worldview. Then, the Christian can share  the Gospel with them again.

Share your faith, defend the truth, and let God handle the rest.

Click the hyperlink for the White vs. Silverman debate “Is the NT Evil?” 

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About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we are expecting our first child in June! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on November 17, 2011, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. ACB:

    I’ve written a post about Greg Kokul’s attempt to respond to the Problem of Evil. I didn’t think much of it. You’re not taking quite the same approach, but this article is on topic, I think.

    An Inept Attempt to Defang the Problem of Evil

  2. So, according to your Bible, slavery was correct and continues to be correct? Or was it never correct, even though the Bible says it was? Or was it once correct, and now isn’t?

  3. Thanks for reading Bob.

    NAS: I would really appreciate someone take some time and look at what slavery was during the time of the Bible. Slavery as America saw it was nothing like what it was in the OT or NT.

    Also, Can you give me a reason why slavery is wrong? Dan Barker says that humans are nothing more than “cosmic broccoli”. So, why is it wrong for something so meaningless as broccoli, cosmic or not, to be the master of other broccolis?

    Travis

    • “Slavery as America saw it was nothing like what it was in the OT or NT.”

      Don’t care.

      The owning of another human being is wrong. I don’t care if the owner was the nicest person ever.

      You think slavery of any kind is a morally good thing?

      “Also, Can you give me a reason why slavery is wrong?”

      Because I don’t want to be owned by another human being, and I extend that desire to other people, because I’m an empathetic person.

      Why is slavery wrong? Because it demonstrably causes harm, and because I say so.

      • You “don’t care” that they are two completely different systems…

        Then why bring it up?

        “You think slavery of any kind is a morally good thing?”

        No, I think that some kinds of slavery are morally neutral. The American form as wrong because it was based on the color of someone’s skin and nothing else. In the OT it was the form of paying off debt and the work for the common man. In the NT it was a Roman and secular system. But then again, you “don’t care”.

        “Why is slavery wrong? Because it demonstrably causes harm, and because I say so.”

        This is really the issue isn’t it? The harm shouldn’t matter to you because it does not fit into your worldview. You have no reason for universal moral standards. It simply only comes down to “you say so.” Just like I quoted Silverman in my article. All he could say at the gates of Auschwitz was “for me, this is bad”.

        If it is only about personal opinion you need to accept others personal opinions. And if their personal opinons say that it’s OK to kill Jews or enslave blacks how can you say that their personal opinion is wrong? You would then have to say that personal opinions were useless thus making yours useless as well.

  4. “In the OT it was the form of paying off debt and the work for the common man”

    Good. Then I’ll come by and enslave your family. I’m sure you won’t mind, since it isn’t immoral.

    “how can you say that their personal opinion is wrong?”

    By asking the blacks and the Jews.

    • I think you are missing my point. If it only comes down to personal opinion why would you take the Jews and the blacks opinions instead of Germany’s and the white-slave owners?

      I can tell you why it is wrong but you cannot. Every single human being is made in the image of God. Every human is a creature of God. And because of this they have worth. However, all you have is personal opinion. How can you hold other people to your own personal opinion?

      Also, I don’t owe you anything and I have a job. So, me choosing you as a slave owner would not need to happen. Oh, you didn’t know that slaves would choose to work for their masters even after their time was served? Shocker that you wouldn’t know that since you “don’t care”.

      • “If it only comes down to personal opinion why would you take the Jews and the blacks opinions instead of Germany’s and the white-slave owners? ”

        Why not?

        And it comes down to harm, not just personal opinion.

        “And because of this they have worth.”

        Except when you want to enslave one, or god tells you to kill some, apparently.

    • God has never told anyone to kill anyone that did not deserve it. God could have everyone killed because we all deserve death for breaking his commands. However, God does not because God is gracious.

      But you haven’t given us a reason for accepting that personal harm is bad. Can you account for morality in your atheistic worldview?

  5. So my question is: how do you account for evil when talking with someone who does believe in objective moral truth?

  6. It’s easy to show the flaw in the atheistic/agnostic worldview when it comes to morality. Just play the devil’s avocate for a moment:

    “In my opinion the Holocaust was a good thing – I mean, less people on this planet, more food and space for me (survival of the fittest and all that). If I can get enough people to agree with me, does that make it morally good?”

  7. 2 Timothy 2:23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

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