Summary: Responding to common objections to Christianity from non-Christians
October 26/27, 2002
Last week I shared a story about a missed opportunity to share faith – my wife Joanne had been asked a question by a coworker which Joanne later recognized as being a place where she could have shared her faith. So this past week, Joanne took the initiative with her co-worker and picked up from the previous conversation and created an opportunity to talk about spiritual things. And guess what – God had already been at work ahead of Joanne! This coworker is from an Asian background, so Joanne wasn’t expecting her to have had much exposure to Christianity. But as they talked, Joanne discovered a whole bunch of places where God has been working in her life, and revealing Himself to her. She has even been attending a Christian church here in Edmonton! In the last little while, some things have happened that have kept her from church, and she told Joanne she has been missing it! She laughed and said “so maybe that makes me a part-believer!” As the conversation continued, Joanne was able to share how she used to be driven to succeed, to work hard and do well, as an attempt to find significance and feel like she was worthwhile. But she has recognized now that her significance and worth comes not from what she does, but from who she is as a child of God. She was able to share the difference that being a Christian has made in her life!
I want you to notice a couple of things from this story. The first is simply that God has it under control. He is working in people’s lives, and our job is to do whatever part God has for us. We aren’t responsible to save people – that is God’s job – we are responsible to be witnesses for Him as He works in people’s lives. The second is to notice how Joanne shared the difference that God has made in her life – that’s what we were talking about last week.
Thirdly, I want to springboard off of the comment, “maybe that makes me a part-believer.” Let me show you this (note that this comes from Becoming a Contagious Christian): (draw bridge analogy; emphasize the question at the end and the idea of helping people move from one side to the other.)
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
We’ve been talking about how important it is to share our faith. Today I want to talk about some of the common responses we hear from people – some of the things we can expect to hear them say as we share Christ with them – and I want to give you a few tools to respond to those questions or objections. I want to do this so that we can “always be prepared.”
Objection #1: Science proves there is no God
The first common objection to Christianity has to do with the perceived contradiction between God and science. Most often, the objection expresses itself through evolution – the person says something like “I don’t believe in God, I believe in evolution.” In fact, the conversation Joanne had included this element –two scientists, working in medical research at the U of A, and Joanne’s colleague said something to the effect of “I can’t be a biological scientist and not believe in evolution.”
Obviously this is a huge topic, there are literally thousands of books and responses. And it really is an impediment for many people coming to faith in Christ. If putting faith in Christ means concluding that all the supposed “facts” of science are wrong, then most North Americans will side with the science. That is their mindset, their predisposition, and they would conclude that Christians are the same today as they were when they rejected Copernicus and Galileo – people with their heads in the sand, afraid to face the facts because if they do their faith will crumble.
How do we respond? Obviously there are many options; let me give you one simple response. Both science and faith are seeking the same thing – truth. There are many, many Christians who are scientists who see absolutely no conflict between faith and science, my wife being one of them. As to the specific question of evolution, I believe that God created: if science figures out the “how” of creation, and concludes that there was an evolutionary process, then I am happy to believe that evolution is how God chose to create. Here is a great quote from Galileo: “the Bible is intended to teach men to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” We know longer look upon the Bible as a science textbook. Science and faith do not contradict – they answer different questions. Science talks about how; faith talks about who and why.