Have you ever been confronted by a sales person who wanted to sell you something you don’t want, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t know?
I was in Bucharest, Romania for an Apologetics Conference I was speaking at, when I stopped to ask directions of a sales lady. She, noticing my American accent, then literately held me there trying to sell me a finger nail polisher. Finger nail polisher! I neither wanted it or needed it. But she kept insisting that I did. It took a great deal of composure to walk away with a “no-thank-you-smile.”
Defending our faith may seem like that to some people, who either are not interested, or from a spiritual perspective, God has not taken them to a place yet in their lives where they realized the finality of life and the depth of their own sin or the necessity of the Divine.
So what are three things to avoid in defending our faith?
First, when arguing (I mean that in the technical philosophical sense) about religion, don’t do with people who are not ready or will take you for a tail spin! Religious people (or ideologically driven atheists) are notorious for misusing logic in justifying their views.
Consider this short humorous video clip from Stephen Colbert’s Islam vs Christianity and here is the transcript of it.
Second, give a reason for the hope within in you, but only to them that ask. Consider, do the Scriptures command Christians to “Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone” ?
. . . 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 . . .
Read it again, it says to always be prepared to give a reason to “those who, ask, you…” If the person is not asking, looking, or does not have a spirit of humility or is genuinely seeking the truth, it is a waste of time, generically speaking, to give them the truth. George MacDonald wrote :
“To give truth to him who loves it not, is to only gives him more multiplied reasons for misinterpretations.”
It is throwing pearls to swine. They will at the least dismiss or ignore the truth, or at worst, trample the truth you do give and attack you.
Third, don’t fall for “sincerely worded” questions that you suspect are coming from dubious motives. We should learn from the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Luke tells us that when Pilate learned that Jesus was a Galilean and under Herod’s (Antipas) jurisdiction,
…he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. (Luke 23:6)
Jesus made no answer to Herod. Remember it was Herod who loved to hear John the Baptist preach, (Mark 6:20) yet it was him who beheaded John. Jesus did not answer Herod’s questions.
But he did answer Pilate’s questions (John 18:33-38).
Why? It seems one had an open heart, and the other did not. One was seeking, the other was not.
What do you think? Are there other reasons not to defend your faith to certain people at certain times?