As a person that is interested in defending the Christian faith, a part of what I am trying to grow in is sharing arguments for different aspects of what I believe, from the existence of God to why we can believe that Jesus really did rise from the grave. Here is my problem: I am not much into arguing with anyone. Honestly, I try my best to avoid confrontation. Now, that is not to say that I will not speak my mind if I need to and I do not allow anyone to step over me, but I like to hear people’s ideas and beliefs, then share my own in a calm conversation. I have watched some debates between Christian theists and atheists and I have seen comments that may something similar to: “These debates will not change anyone’s mind.” But I am not sure that I would agree completely because I believe that a major part of debating is to hear other sides looking at the same issue. Who knows who will hear something that they might not have heard before and they go back to the “drawing board” and take time to rethink their position on some things. You never know. Plus, if public debates are ever shut down completely, then those in the Christian faith should worry all the more because that will close the door on any kind of open dialogue with the world (those who do not adhere to the Christian faith).
I must say that disparaging remarks made about another’s worldview is never helpful when anyone’s presenting their polemic against that worldview. I look at some YouTube videos and think how sad it is that many of the “performers” have what appears to be a strong desire to belittle those who do not share their view on anything from religion to science. It does happen with those who call themselves Christians, but many more times, I find that videos made by the “YouTube atheist” tend to be about showing very little care about being respectful in disagreement, but strives to be sarcastic and insensitive to the believer. Yes, I know that someone might see me as being a bit too sensitive, because of the whole “sticks and stones” philosophy, but I think sarcastic tones of speech or degrading and demeaning vocabulary does nothing for anyone to “win” an argument. After hearing Dr. Richard Dawkins say that he believes atheists should ridicule and mock others for their beliefs at the Reason Rally held back in 2012, it makes sense to me why many atheists would feel the need to go this route. But the Christian has no excuse to use this kind of a behavior as a means to get across a point of view, even if the nonreligious person is doing it to you.
Love should always be our motive to explain why we believe to others what we believe as servants of Jesus the Christ. I think it will be essential to sharing our faith (evangelizing) to remember that we want to see this person accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We will need to accept that some people will not want to hear our points of view, or they might be so captivated by their own intelligence that they cannot hear anything you are saying to them about faith. I believe, as Christians, we ought to learn ways in how to bow out of an argument gracefully, without appearing as if we have lost just because we could not give great premises in our argument and we lacked some key foundation in our logic. God’s existence is not based on how well we deliver intelligent ideas of reason or profound, rational and cohesive points of natural theology, God’s existence is as unmovable as the gravity that keeps our feet firmly in the ground and He does not vanish (as some sort of hypothesis) when we can no longer bring other ‘evidences’ of Him to the table. God is Love and His existence is steeped in love, along with judgement and His other attributes, and He desires that we share His Love with those around us in the presentation of ourselves. Therefore, we are to present ourselves in a Christ-like manner, and let God do the rest.
One must ask himself/herself: is it possible to love the very person that I am in heated disagreement with?
(Originally posted on my old and now defunct “Watch Your Theology” website back on December 9, 2014.)