Defend Your Faith
Christians are called to preach the Gospel. It isn’t an optional or a suggestion, it’s a command! One of my favorite places to share my faith is on the golf course. It’s great because I get to spend 3 to 4 hours with a person or group of people, and they have no place to go! 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:
#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?”
Thanks for Reading,
Posted on November 17, 2011, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged apologetics, Bible, Christian, Christianity, God, Jesus, Morality, Religion and Spirituality, truth. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.