How to Defend the Faith without Getting Defensive

By Mikel Del Rosario

Listen Up!

How to Defend the Faith

Ever get uncomfortable listening to a religious view that’s different from yours? Sometimes, talking about morality and religion can really get some people going—even to the point where you find it tough to get a word in edgewise. But allowing your skeptical friend to share their ideas or experiences is a key part of effectively navigating spiritual conversations.

Some Christians can get all defensive and feel a bunch of pressure to defend the entire Christian worldview when confronted with one objection to the faith! But wait. That doesn’t have to be you.

I’m suggesting we reduce this pressure by employing a modest goal and a simple strategy: Get your skeptical friend thinking by asking sincere, but strategic questions.

And then listen. Really listen. If we want people to listen to our stories and our ideas, we need first to be willing to listen to their stories and their ideas. As my mentor, Dr. Darrell Bock, at Dallas Theological Seminary says:

Sometimes Christians tend to want to talk too quickly and too much. Allowing someone to talk about their religious experience and how they feel about God is very important because you’re being given a window into their heart. We need to be slow to talk and quick to listen so that we give people a time to tell their story.

Ask Good Questions

Jesus did it, too. My friend, Sean McDowell, noted how the gospels record Jesus asking 288 questions! Think about it. Many people who oppose the faith are merely repeating slogans they’ve heard but never really considered. Stuff like this: “The Bible’s full of contradictions,” “Christians are intolerant,” or “All religions are basically the same.” OK. Relax. No need to get defensive.

Truth is on Our Side

Even if you’re totally new to this, there’s apologetic value in a confident believer simply remaining calm under fire. Ultimately, the truth is on our side, and lies are not defensible. Because of this, we can exude confidence by engaging critics with a relaxed, conversational approach which uses more questions than statements.

I love how Greg Koukl says “Apologetics can look more like diplomacy than combat.”

I like that—a lot. In fact, I recommend his book, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, all the time! It’s an easy read, and the tactics are practical. For example, asking questions like “What do you mean by that?” or “What’s your thinking on that?” can help critics consider what they believe and why they believe it—perhaps for the first time.

And if you get stumped by a question, t’s no problem to say something like, “That’s a great question. Let me think about that and get back to you.” Years ago, my pastor in Sacramento, CA echoed this sentiment in his message on 1st Peter 3, saying: “It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know! Let me go ask someone at the church.”

Since I used to teach apologetics classes at church, I actually got to field some of those questions. But I’m confident that if you do your homework, you’ll find there are good answers to the hard questions. And even this exercise can strengthen your faith—a faith we can defend without getting defensive.

[hr]

Now Hear This

If you liked this blog post, you’ll love Greg Koukl’s book, TacticsListen to him read my mini-review on the radio!

Look inside the book on Amazon.com

 


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29 replies
  1. bob says:

    Ultimately, the truth is on our side, and lies are not defensible.
    This statement makes no sense on several levels:
    1 – Christians do not KNOW they have the truth on their side, they just believe they have the truth on their side. It is entirely dishonest to CLAIM that you have the truth when you can not demonstrate that you have the truth. Just for once be honest and admit that what you have is belief. Integrity has a calming affect and it would be so nice, so refreshing is Christians would employ it from time to time.
    2 – The opposite if “truth” is not necessarily “lies” – falsehood would be a more fitting term in this sentence. I don’t even understand who this was directed at? Is the author claiming that skeptics lie, or is this a warning to believers not to lie…?
    .
    Many people who oppose the faith are merely repeating slogans they’ve heard but never really considered. Stuff like this: “The Bible’s full of contradictions,” “Christians are intolerant,”…
    But many people don’t oppose “the faith”. I’m not terribly concerned what people believe, but I am concerned when they make the erroneous claim that they KNOW that what they believe is “true”. The “truth” claims of Christianity deserve to be scrutinized and challenged. And who better to do that than someone who spent nearly half his / her life as a Christian? So when we accuse the bible of having contradictions, it’s not that we are just “repeating slogans” as you claim, but because we can actually recognize a contradiction, even in a “Holy text”. And if we accuse a Christian of being “intolerant”, it’s probably because we can recognize intolerance when we see it.
    .
    “It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know! Let me go ask someone at the church.”
    It’s even more OK to say, ‘I don’t know…that’s a very interesting question…rather than just getting the pat answer from my minister, why don’t you explain to me your thoughts on that question’.
    Rather than just repeating what you have been taught to believe, why not explore the justifications for such a belief?

    In a nutshell – if Mikel Del Rosario taught apologetic’s, this blog post is a rather poor demonstration of his qualifications.
    .
    r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “Christians do not KNOW they have the truth on their side”
      .
      I can not speak for everyone but this much I can tell you: I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW because of The Holy Spirit. Something that you have to experience to actually understand.

      Reply
      • bob says:

        @ Mark

        “How so many absurd rules of conduct, as well as so many absurd religious beliefs, have originated, we do not know; nor how it is that they have become, in all quarters of the world, so deeply impressed on the minds of men; but it is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, while the brain is impressionable, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason.”
        — Charles Darwin, Descent of Man
        .
        r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Charles Darwin:
          Born: February 12, 1809
          Died: April 19, 1882
          .
          Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
          .
          .
          Not sure how you think his quote has anything to do with my statement.
          .
          Romans 1:19-21 19 For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.

          Reply
          • bob says:

            @ Mark

            “Not sure how you think his quote has anything to do with my statement.”
            Of course you don’t – one who believes that they can answer any and every challenge with a bible verse (or two, or three) obviously has a very loose grip on reality.

            A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth.
            — Edward De Bono

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Of course you don’t – one who believes that they can answer any and every challenge with a bible verse (or two, or three) obviously has a very loose grip on reality.”
            .
            Your comment is patently absurd. And my original point STANDS as I said:
            .
            “I can not speak for everyone but this much I can tell you: I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW because of The Holy Spirit. Something that you have to experience to actually understand.”
            .
            Your quote from Darwin addresses none of my comment; not one word. Making it patently absurd as a response to my original comment as well. Though coming from you it is understandable.
            .
            .
            As to your quote from some other man. You should find yourself a better source. A lot of people think he is full of hot air according to Wikipedia.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            Your comment is patently absurd. And my original point STANDS as I said:
            Well, I guess that settles it 🙂
            .
            Your quote from Darwin addresses none of my comment; not one word. Making it patently absurd as a response to my original comment as well. Though coming from you it is understandable.
            Your comments are always so illuminating.
            .
            As to your quote from some other man. You should find yourself a better source. A lot of people think he is full of hot air according to Wikipedia.
            And a lot of people think your source is full of myths…oh, never mind.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “And a lot of people think your source is full of myths…oh, never mind.”
            .
            Here let me fix your last sentence for you.
            .
            And a lot of created beings of the same level as you think your source ( The Holy Bible a.k.a. The Inerrant WORD of GOD ) is full of myths… oops just looked up the meaning of inerrant never mind then.

  2. Brent Hurst says:

    Dear Bob,
    .
    “”””””””””1 – Christians do not KNOW they have the truth on their side, they just believe they have the truth on their side. It is entirely dishonest to CLAIM that you have the truth when you can not demonstrate that you have the truth. Just for once be honest and admit that what you have is belief.”””””””””
    .
    I agree, most Christian put faith in their faith and don’t really understand the big picture. But I don’t and I do have truth, much more at least than your average Christian. But the claim itself does not disqualify me. Secondly what would qualify as a demonstration, I mean it is obvious people, Christians and Atheists alike, pretend to know things they do not and reject other things which are as obvious as a slap to the cheek.
    .
    “”””””2 – The opposite if “truth” is not necessarily “lies” – falsehood would be a more fitting term in this sentence.””””””
    .
    The Objective universe is divided into “Something verses Nothing”, as obvious as a slap in the face, heat-cold, light-darkness, sound-silence, etc… you might find shades or degrees in between, but the polarities are absolute. Truth possess Being, that means it is a reality whether we recognize it or not. A lie, even with a little truth in it, still gives a false impression, a distorted image as it were, and since a distorted image is not TRUE, then it is a lie, it possess no reality. The opposite of Something is always Nothing, according to the universe we live in.
    .
    Christians, Atheists, most people in general are hypocrites just seeking to present a context to the world where they are superior in some way. As for me, it makes no difference to me whether you accept Christ or not, if He (God) has not called you, then you couldn’t come to Him even if you tried, you would just be one of those, “but we cast out demons for you” to which Christ responds, “I never knew you”. Of course this “knowing” is in the biblical sense by the fact that His Spirit, His seed would not be in you. Therefore your Christianity would have just been a cultural thing, just tares among the wheat, you know.
    .
    But don’t let this depress you or discourage you, I have no threats of torment forever in a fiery Hell, we’ll leave that to those whose are seeking the opposite of that, namely eternal pleasure. As an atheist, you already expect death, dissolution back into the cosmic ocean of energy, Bob will simply be no more. And so it is that Gehenna, the eternal fire will consume all of Creation, both of the Heavenly as well as the Earthly.
    .
    BUT, that consuming, that dissolution is in the future, even if you died today, that which is your soul and true self, the Something, that expresses itself in the Nothingness of Matter, that soul like all things in the Universe must find balance, the universe demands balance even at the atomic level. The fact that we are a complex construct of that foundation of the universe does not exempt us from the universal demand for balance. Nothing is free.
    .
    So, even as an atheist, or one that is love, unsaved, etc… there is still a duty to be kind to other, not to steal from or hurt others unnecessarily or to feed your appetites under any delusion that you can extract anything from the Universe that will not be required to be balanced at some level. You could live a good life, and God might shut your eyes and ears to the gnashing and swearing as others are forced to enter the lake of fire. A true Buddhist as it were, peacefully entering into the void and losing oneself in the universal consciousness.
    .
    But if you keep fighting with these self vindicating Christians, I am not sure you will fair so well. Perhaps focus on some charity, help out some orphans, there is too much pain in the world and we could use your help.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “these self vindicating Christians”
      .
      vindicate – definition from http://www.dictionary.com
      .
      1.to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like:
      to vindicate someone’s honor.
      2.to afford justification for; justify:
      Subsequent events vindicated his policy.
      3.to uphold or justify by argument or evidence:
      to vindicate a claim.
      4.to assert, maintain, or defend (a right, cause, etc.) against opposition.
      5.to claim for oneself or another.
      6.Roman and Civil Law. to regain possession, under claim of title of property through legal procedure, or to assert one’s right to possession.
      7.to get revenge for; avenge.
      8.Obsolete. to deliver from; liberate.
      9.Obsolete. to punish.
      .
      The statement “self vindicating Christians” is logical nonsense. Christians would by definition be vindicated by Christ and not by anything they themselves do.
      .
      Jesus Christ – The Messiah
      Born of a Virgin
      Lived a sinless life
      Suffered and died via crucifixion
      As Atonement for the sins of the whole world
      Buried
      Resurrected on the 3rd day
      Ascended to Heaven
      Currently sitting at the right hand of GOD
      Returning to Judge the world
      .
      John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

      Reply
    • bob says:

      @ Brent

      “…Secondly what would qualify as a demonstration,…”
      I guess it would depend on the positive claim made by the believer, as to what demonstration should accompany the claim. A claim, such as Mark’s above – “I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW because of The Holy Spirit.” is utterly useless in a discussion because he either can’t or won’t demonstrate that this supposed “Holy Spirit” exists, nor that he is in any way in contact with said “spirit”, nor is in any way being influenced by said “spirit”.
      .
      Much of the rest of what you said is beyond me to respond to. I guess because you really don’t seem to be making any claims. Honestly, for lack of a better word, it just seems like so much gobbledygook. Truly, I say that for lack of a better word. I honestly don’t quite know what you are attempting to explain above, but perhaps I just am not grasping it.
      .
      But this I can grasp – “But if you keep fighting with these self vindicating Christians, I am not sure you will fair so well. Perhaps focus on some charity, help out some orphans, there is too much pain in the world and we could use your help.”
      I don’t disagree. I do waste a lot of time here. I usually keep my dialogues with believers limited to email debates with willing parties. As a former Christian, I just enjoy the dialogue. I hope it keeps my mind active and sharp…’ish? I usually restrict my dialogues with believers who exercise some sense of civility, and don’t simply respond with predictable bible passages even after they have been informed that I already know what is in the bible (Mark!)
      But I do have other focuses, such as helping abandoned pets (dogs and cats), and I have other hobbies I am very involved in…but I just can’t resist a good religious debate / challenge.
      .
      r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

      Reply
  3. Brent Hurst says:

    Bob,
    .
    Here’s the thing, Bob, I’m thinking you are maybe an Atheist? Agnostic?, Perhaps ex-Christian, Definitely not a Christian, and yet you go out of your way to come to a Christian site, presumably to tell people they are wrong, deceptive, something along those lines??????
    .
    But so Far you seem half decent, perhaps you are just looking to exercise your mind with a bit of debate.
    .
    So here goes, most all of the criticisms leveled at Christians I actually agree with, but then again my understanding of the scripture is much different than that of the present church, and no I do not belong to any other off denomination, but for a while in my life I have studied scriptures from every religion I could find, new or archaic. At a very young age I understood the necessity of Truth, not finding a religion or any belief system that made me feel warm and cuddly.
    .
    In a short story, At 19 God let me see into the Heavens, I searched 13 years driven, reading every scripture I could get my hands on. I went through a personal failure that led to a break in my psyche as my psychological defenses were torn down. At this point God reaffirmed audibly His choice of me, which led me to the Spiritual rest, meaning God and I were good. But over the next few years all that I had learned condensed into a clear view of Creation, structurally as well as its purpose and its end.
    .
    If was a great gift God gave me because I never could accept the blind version of faith that the church touts. But don’t be envious of this gift because even though it was sweet on the tongue, it was bitter on the stomach, why, because as much as I want to share it, it is hard to find a mind that can comprehend it.
    .
    There are two distinctions between my mind and understanding and what is common in out culture, First, when the bible speaks about creation, I read it from a vertical perspective, it might read like a story of past events, but that story has snags, light before sun etc… but there are no snags when one reads it as if it is speaking about how the Creation is structured now, this is living knowledge.
    .
    Secondly, as we are creatures of the flesh, our subjective reality is one of pain and pleasure, where either side possesses the same reality as its counter. They both FEEL REAL. But objectively God created this universe with a duality of Something as opposed to nothing. Cold-heat, light-dark, truth-lies, and on and on it goes, this difference to me is the difference between the mind of the flesh and that of the Spirit.
    .
    When I read the scriptures I use the same duality as God used when Creating. Now I’m not going to rehearse that overview here as it is quite lengthy but I have on some of the other topics, recently there is a thorough one over on “3 Syllogistic arguments” if you would like to see a different view of Christianity that actually parallels science and the Creation.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “At this point God reaffirmed audibly His choice of me, which led me to the Spiritual rest, meaning God and I were good.”
      .
      John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

      Reply
    • jcb says:

      Hi,
      I’m like Bob: I am here because I like to keep my mind sharp, and to see if my ideas are accurate, and to see if anyone has evidence I’ve overlooked, and to point out that many of the mistakes of theists are actually harmful to others. Thus, kind theists might actually appreciate 1. the truth, and 2. realizing that some of their false beliefs do harm to others. Kind people appreciate it when you point out that you were accidentally stepping on someone’s foot, for example.
      So you value truth as well, at least seeking the truth. Great! What’s the truth (about God) that you see, and what’s your evidence for it?
      You say, “God let me see into the Heavens”. That seems false. Are there public details to show this happened?
      You say, “God reaffirmed audibly His choice of me”. Is there any recording of this audible encounter?
      If God gave you personal evidence of his existence, but not me, wouldn’t that seem unkind, and particularly mean if you got into Heaven as a result, and I got into Hell as a result?
      Of course the issue here is whether there is (public/shared) evidence for God. It seems there is not.
      Yes, blind faith is pretty awful stuff.
      Yes, we are fleshy creatures. No, we don’t know what “created this universe”. No, we don’t have an immaterial spirit/soul. “immaterial” means lack of material. If “immaterial” means something more substantial, say what it is, and how we know it to exist.
      I’ll take a look at the article you referred to. Feel free to tell me what truths you think it conveys.

      Reply
      • Brent Hurst says:

        JCB,
        .
        “””””Kind people appreciate it when you point out that you were accidentally stepping on someone’s foot, for example.””””
        .
        I’m still collecting evidence if this is in fact your intent.
        .
        “”””””””You say, “God let me see into the Heavens”. That seems false. Are there public details to show this happened?
        You say, “God reaffirmed audibly His choice of me”. Is there any recording of this audible encounter?”””””””
        .
        You claim to respect truth and then begin by being glib.
        .
        “”””””If God gave you personal evidence of his existence, but not me, wouldn’t that seem unkind””””””
        .
        Are you not free to give charity to one bum on the street without being accused of being unfair because you don’t stop for every one you see. These kind of arguments for some mysterious idea of “fairness” are dishonest as they have more to do with envy than fairness, children express these sentiments all the time.
        .
        “”””””and particularly mean if you got into Heaven as a result, and I got into Hell as a result?”””””
        .
        You have nothing to worry about, in the same that there is balance at the atomic level, even so at the higher more complex level which are built upon those atomic levels such as our lives and activities the universe will demand to same balance. We might not always perceive this balance but is not balance the nature of the cosmos, we can just call it Karma.
        .
        Beyond this the universe express another universal reality, namely everything that has come into existence will also cease to exist, its that certainty of death. I realize most of Western Christianity tout an immortal soul and eternity in torment, this is a doctrine and viewpoint of scripture that has been influenced by their own fleshly nature as they see the world through the subjective eyes of pain and pleasure (see above post). My witnesses are the scriptures, (second death, god destroys both body and soul in Gehenna), and the universal realities around us. I’m not responsible for the misinterpretations of others.
        .
        “”””””””Yes, we are fleshy creatures. No, we don’t know what “created this universe”. No, we don’t have an immaterial spirit/soul. “immaterial” means lack of material. If “immaterial” means something more substantial, say what it is, and how we know it to exist.””””””””””
        .
        Once you state an absolute, so then does the burden of proof fall upon you. Usually this ends up where you demand some material proof of an immaterial reality, like trying to find a footprint of God in the sand, or thinking there is a voice recording when God, who by nature is pure Being, speaks to my own Being. For someone who claims to be respectful of truth I still find no evidence of that reality and I feel it is my duty as a kind human being to point that out as you flail around stepping on the feet of those who might have seen something you have not.
        .
        Poor form dude
        .

        Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Brent, I can’t find any banter, style or jokes in your post. What gives? Have you turned into some kind of ‘pocket protector’ nerd? This is all very disappointing. If there’s nothing to laugh at in your posts then we’re left with the poor arguments and ill-thought out philosophy, and no-one wants that.

      Reply
      • Brent Hurst says:

        Andy,
        .
        Please be so kind as to come up with your own jokes or puns, stealing material is poor form. And no, it is not the self proclaimed atheists who are laughing with me. I actually tend to be frustrating for them. Though they often claim to be equal poised, their anti bias is obvious so that they have become the same thing (blind believers, etc…) as they claim are against in Christians, and they come around picking on weaker Christians who do not always understand the depths of Christianity and Christ.
        .
        I mean come on, the whole intent of your post above is to try to make me look foolish, to demean me and hurt my feelings in some way, am I not free to return the favor. Besides I am so much better at it.
        .
        You guys want to have honest discussions, I will respond in kind, if not I can play any game you come up with. We’re big boys, we can take it, flag football fine, you want to go all out with tackle you won’t find me running off the field discouraged. So stop complaining when you get some grass stains on your shorts.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “I mean come on, the whole intent of your post above is to try to make me look foolish”
          Nope, I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy of you attacking others for not including enough banter or jokes in their posts. That aside, your replies (to me, KR and Bob) have dissolved into dull content-free attacks. You can keep that up with Mark if you want; if you’ve got no actual arguments I’ll leave you to it.

          Reply
    • bob says:

      @BRENT

      Bob, I’m thinking you are maybe an Atheist? Agnostic?, Perhaps ex-Christian, Definitely not a Christian, and yet you go out of your way to come to a Christian site, presumably to tell people they are wrong, deceptive, something along those lines?
      Perfect! But it’s not really “out of my way”, coming to a Christian site. It’s almost as if I can just click with my mouse and in an instant, I am here.
      .
      But so Far you seem half decent, perhaps you are just looking to exercise your mind with a bit of debate.
      Right again. And thank you for considering me as rising at least halfway on the decency scale.
      .
      In a short story, At 19 God let me see into the Heavens…God reaffirmed audibly His choice of me…
      And I hope you can understand why someone like me, who treasures ONLY – claims made followed by evidence presented, will respond with entirely justified skepticism to any and every claim of someone hearing God.
      I mean, honestly Brent, do you really think that at this point, I would actually consider anything you have to say on the subject of God, Christianity, spirit, reality, etc, after you have claimed that you have audibly heard from God and that claim was not accompanied by a demonstration?

      Reply
      • Brent Hurst says:

        Dear Bob,
        .
        “”””””””””And I hope you can understand why someone like me, who treasures ONLY – claims made followed by evidence presented, will respond with entirely justified skepticism to any and every claim of someone hearing God.
        I mean, honestly Brent, do you really think that at this point, I would actually consider anything you have to say on the subject of God, Christianity, spirit, reality, etc, after you have claimed that you have audibly heard from God and that claim was not accompanied by a demonstration?””””””””
        .
        Whoops! you lost all your street cred, a “demonstration”, another anti still expecting to find God’s left toenail under the couch.
        .
        But wait, how could I have been so duped, I actually thought I was speaking to a real human being, I see the words on my screen and I make all kinds of assumption but I have no real proof at all this is a real human, for all I know you are an answering machine, and one sided conversations are boring
        .
        (BEEP)
        (Click)

        Reply
        • bob says:

          @ Brent

          But wait, how could I have been so duped, I actually thought I was speaking to a real human being,…
          Now Brent, I hope you can see in your response that you are demonstrating one thing and one thing only – that you are really not much different than all the other humans that post here. You make absurd claims that you can not back up with evidence or demonstration, just like every other believer, and then when that is pointed out to you, you resort to sarcasm and / or insult (see Mark).
          If any of your behavior (words) here are at all indicative of the presence of or influence of a god in your life, please point out or repeat those particular responses or posts. ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, all I see is just another confused, desperate, and self absorbed believer who claims to have a genie in a lamp but refuses to rub it so we all can see. You, sir, are a poser: a person who acts in an affected manner in order to impress others. Perhaps you need to start over?

          Reply
          • Brent Hurst says:

            Dearest Bob,
            .
            “”””””Now Brent,….You make claims that you can back up…just like every other believer, and then…your behavior (words) here are all indicative of the presence….. of a god in your life, please…. repeat those particular responses……. ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, all I see is just another….believer who…can…impress others…”””””
            .
            Oh Bob, there’s no need for all this laudation, I’m just a humble soul trying the best I can to understand the universe. I really think you are the special, kind, and considerate one, always with a word of encouragement, you are such an inspiration. I would give you a hug but all that talk of “rub it so we all can see” makes me a little nervous around you, no offense.
            .
            Yours Truly,
            .
            The Poser

  4. Brent Hurst says:

    Defending the Faith without getting defensive.
    .
    Rule number 1, Never try to reason with the unreasonable.
    .
    Before I had children I thought, “You know what, I’m not going to spank my kids, I’m going to sit and reason it out with them”, but it did not take long before I realized I was dealing with irrational creatures, so to continue to try to reason with them would have been insanity on my part. Children have an agenda, plain and simply, and their desires are simply stronger than their intellect. And if you give them half a chance they will hound you and hound you just to get their own desires met.
    .
    So this leads us to..
    .
    Rule number 2, A greater thinker once said “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with b…s…, of course the same man set when you have kids, put them in a barrel, drill a hole in the side and feed them through the hole, and when they turn 16, plug up the hole.
    .
    A reasonable debate requires several things, civility, respect, the ability to lay out your argument, and to seriously try to answer those counter points directed at you, and very importantly not to be dismissive. But, as is often the case, there are some who have agendas that have nothing to do with rational thought or debate, and they will work hard to get under your skin, looking for weaknesses so they can claim Aha! Aha! And so it is that the weak are always seeking to appear strong.
    .
    We go to church and the Pastor tells us how special and loved we are by God, no doubt he might have some good intentions, but this is not Spiritual life nor the Spiritual Path, the Spiritual path is one of becoming nothing, God is something, the truth is something, but I am nothing and they really don’t need my defense. If the words of men cannot even effect the clouds above them, how can they change the truth which is firmly fixed in reality, and how much less the will of God.
    .
    It is the bloated nothingness of our egos always trying to be something that makes us a large target, if you become small and insignificant, then what is there to defend, be small, be a fool, be stupid, I have at one time or another played all these parts, so how can I deny these traits also belong to me, surely I am all these things, and more besides.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “A reasonable debate requires several things, civility, respect, the ability to lay out your argument, and to seriously try to answer those counter points directed at you, and very importantly not to be dismissive”
      .
      So you respond to people’s points by asking if they’re drug abusers, if their family are drug abusers, then whine they haven’t made enough jokes to keep you interested, and call them over-serious nerds. Got ya. Still, at least it distracts you from beating your kids.

      Reply
  5. Brent Hurst says:

    Dear Andy,
    .
    “””””””So you respond to people’s points by asking if they’re drug abusers, if their family are drug abusers, then whine they haven’t made enough jokes to keep you interested, and call them over-serious nerds. Got ya. Still, at least it distracts you from beating your kids.””””””””””
    .
    Points? What points? Name dropping some scientific disciplines that are chasing down still unproven theories are not points,
    .
    And this is only done to dismiss other lines of thought, once I began pointing out that your points are mere theories themselves you guys flip to the ad hominem attacks,
    .
    And so here we are, you hoping to prove the point that I am a hypocrite, and even if I were a hypocrite what does that say of you. Would the fact that I am a hypocrite absolve you or Bob or KR from being hypocrites. Would the fact that I am stupid, defensive, and wrong somehow imply that you are smart, secure, and right.
    .
    I was willing to meet you at the debate table, but when you guys introduced the elementary playground I simply switched to your game. Now here we are, the bullies standing around me saying, “look at Brent, isn’t he scared, He’s not a real Christian,”, and blah, blah, blah,
    .
    So I’m just having a bit of fun mate, I just will you guys were a bit more challenging at repartee, seriously, whine? Got ya? Beating the kids? Borrrring!!!!

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “once I began pointing out that your points are mere theories themselves you guys flip to the ad hominem attacks”
      In your very first reply to me you said “Atheist also feel intellectually superior as they see themselves too intelligence or modern to fall for such superstitions” and other ad hominems – points addressed at people rather than their arguments. You started with that line and continued it all the way in your subsequent replies. It was only when you moaned that our posts didn’t have enough jokes, style and banter that I pretty much gave up on trying to engage with whatever points may have been buried in your posts. So no, it was you who ‘introduced the elementary playground’.
      .
      “I was willing to meet you at the debate table”
      You really weren’t.

      Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      I’m done with this conversation, feel free to have the last word. I wish you the best in your search for more challenging in repartee.

      Reply
  6. Susan Tan says:

    We probably wouldn’t have to defend the faith if we could help turn the rebellious into seekers.

    So defending is a time honored custom in Christianity but this is 2018 and why should we repeat old patterns defending when we can use the Sword of the Spirit offensively to actually win souls to Christ.

    If you could teach an unbeliever to stop raising objections and seriously look at God’s perspective for a change that would be a start.

    Why are they even objecting to the perspective of someone they say doesn’t exist. That is self contradictory.

    Stop letting them raise the same old questions where they attempt to wear Christians out.

    Instead inform them. Their minds and wills are broken by sin and if they want to be fixed they need to seriously learn God’s perspective.

    What are they afraid that He might change them?

    Well they are already broken so why not trust God to change them thereby testing God’s friendship and seeing He is real for themselves? But instead of taking the plunge they dance around the proving delaying the test by asking questions.

    Christians are the ones who have been tried and tested by God over and over and from personal experience know Him best yet we play these games with the unbelievers instead of showing them how things are done.

    Training and teaching and seeking are always superior in obtaining knowledge of a subject than arguing is and this subject is God.

    So take the lead in the conversation and tell the unbelievers to seek to know God His way or you don’t know what you are talking about but are allowing spiritual darkness in your own mind to overwhelm you and staying in the dark mentally and emotionally too long is good for nobody.

    Teach them simply to accept that they are loved by God because supernatural divine love is the most powerfully effective force in the world and changes everyone it comes into contact with for the better.

    Why would anyone deliberately sin in the darkness when they can walk in the power and certiude of divine love which is spiritual enlightening?

    Spiritual enlightenment has persisted down the centuries because it works. The relationship with a benevolent God is actually beneficial and effective for people.

    Reply
  7. Susan Tan says:

    Meant to say sit in the darkness above. Thanks for reading. May God grant you more of His empowering, life changing grace.

    Reply

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