Wow. I see a lot of talk has been brought about by recent blogs and I am certainly thrilled with it. I am never disappointed by more and more people coming to my blog. There is still much to respond to, but some of my friends are apparently handling that part of it. I thought I’d jump in some, but then I decided against it.
And of course, there’s a reason why.
There are some people I’ve had interaction with before and while I think it’s good to give answers for the sake of those viewing, I also tire of the same kinds of questions. It is as if someone thinks they have found a new objection and post it as if it was pirate’s gold or something not realizing that in 2,000 years of church history, it’s been addressed. (Don’t expect them to crack open books by Augustine and/or Aquinas.)
Now I do grant some people really have factual objections. However, I also grant that a lot of people hide behind supposed factual objections. Instead, these people would often like to go with any other kind of explanation they can have no matter how implausible it is just as long as it isn’t the Christian answer.
If such is the kind of person that I am with alone I will often say “Fine. I’m going off to do something else.” Why? I’ve got better uses of my time. If you don’t really want to believe no matter what, then I see no reason to bother. I could play a game or read a book or watch a movie or do something far more worthwhile with my time.
But what about their salvation? Let me tell you something. The gospel is no secret to people. I could go to the typical atheist today and have him explain to me the gospel and what I must do to be saved. Now provided he did so without using sarcastic language and such, I’m willing to bet he could tell me exactly what the Christian worldview teaches on this question.
Now if it isn’t factual. Then what is it? There are only two kinds left. It is either emotional or volitional. Emotional is quite common today and most doubt is emotional. It is the person of unruly emotions who hides it behind rationality. When our emotions are out of control, we can think of all kinds of reasons to believe nonsense things. We get our emotions under control and we realize that it was all nonsense indeed.
Then there is volitional doubt. This is the kind of person who doesn’t want to believe. They are living in some sort of sin often and knows that Christianity has something to say about it. Or, they could just be an individual with pride who doesn’t want to believe what is for all of these stupid backwater people.
Can I diagnose each case? No. It’s not my place. However, I would just ask simple questions. What is really keeping you from believing right now? I’ve dialogued with some people before who have shown great signs of emotional doubt. I watch for this kind of thing closely when dialoguing with someone outside of the Christian worldview. (For the record, Christians can believe for purely emotional reasons also and these are prone to fall away.)
That comes down to the resurrection mainly. Do you have a killer argument against it? Do you really believe that your argument holds water? If so, present it. Let it be examined. Let’s go through it all piece by piece. If you want to start with God’s existence first, fine. That can be done. If the skeptic needs then the reliability of Scripture, sure. We’ll do it. If he then needs the evidence directly for the resurrection, fine. Just start where they are.
I just ask people in dialoguing to watch not only what is said but what is not said. Watch for smokescreens. If someone keeps raising intellectual objections and doesn’t acknowledge what has been said thus far, you most likely are dealing with a non-factual doubter.
By the way, don’t think that we’re Christians also because we necessarily want to be. I think of what D’Souza said about the Ten Commandments. He could think of three he’d scratch off the list right now if he could. There is only one reason anyone should be a Christian. It’s because Christianity is true. What you like is irrelevant. Also, if I was just choosing a religion I’d like, it wouldn’t be Christianity. It is quite demanding on my life and my desires. I follow it though because it’s true and though my sinful nature screams against it at times, it’s the best way to live in the end.
Watch for smokescreens friends. There is a time to answer and there’s a time to walk away. Wisdom consists in knowing the difference.