“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12
I’ve never had my faith more mocked, and been more personally disrespected, than this past summer while visiting with a friend about the Christian faith.
I’m not certain what happened. We’d been visiting amicably (mostly) for some time online. I had ignored their previous snarky comments toward my faith so as to keep the conversation going, hoping they might think critically and honestly about what I had to share, as well as consider my own story of trying to disprove God’s existence.
I would never allow a person to impose their worldview on me. Likewise, I never impose my worldview on others, always showing respect for them personally. By the way, Jesus never did that either. But, that didn’t keep him from telling people he was right. He simply told the truth, and left the decision up to the listener.
That said, our goal as Christians should never to be to “win an argument,” but rather to win a friend. All of us have the right to believe whatever we choose.
I’ve discovered over time, some people are infuriated at the mere thought that the Bible leaves no room for “multiple truths.” (cf. John 14:6) To claim the contrary is self-defeating since the claim, “There are multiple truths” is itself a truth-claim. As hard as we try, we can’t all be right. To believe we can is a logical fallacy.
Back to my online conversation.
As I began, I don’t know what happened. Something triggered a hostile response. They impugned my Christian faith, and they impugned me, personally.
I’ve had my biblical worldview dismissed before. But this was different. Far from a desire to simply get their opinion voiced, this was driven by anger and disgust.
I must confess, it hurt. It actually took me a few days to get over it. My heart broke for them. It made me think of how Jesus must have felt when a huge crowd of listeners left him in disgust. Jesus was so heart-broken he even asked his disciples if they were going to leave him as well. (John 6:66-69)
While this person attacked numerous points of my faith, I’ll share here just one example from our final visit that, perhaps, will help you if/when you find yourself in a similar situation.
I asked them to find a single scientific discovery that contradicts the Bible. I told them, “You won’t find one.” It went downhill from there. They replied,
“A single scientific discovery that contradicts the Bible? Lol. Jesus being raised from the dead? Jesus being the son of a man in the sky? That’s too easy. A virgin birth.” (insert multiple mocking, laughing emojis)
I never got a chance to reply. I was given no opportunity to explain that “miracles” are not “science;” that they fall under completely different and separate categories. Science is incapable of measuring anything outside the natural world and, hence, incapable of either proving or disproving anything involving the miraculous.
I wrote an essay during my grad studies comparing the approach to miracles by former atheist, C.S. Lewis, and the philosopher and skeptic, Davide Hume, who, although living in different centuries, clearly held opposing views where miracles are concerned. It was an interesting study. But, their disagreement (our disagreement) all comes down to a simple presupposition: whether one believes or not in God.
In short, if an all-powerful God exists outside of the natural realm (outside of time and space), then it makes logical sense that he can easily violate the laws of nature he, himself, created in order to demonstrate love for his creation as well as give us clues for his existence. On the other hand, if God doesn’t exist, and all we have are the inviolable laws of nature, then of course neither can miracles exist.
So, it all comes down to this: do you believe in the God of the Bible?
As I’ve written multiple times before, I have no interest in fairy tales and hollow logic. When using scholarly methods for deciding if ancient literature is reliable, the New Testament is, far and away, the most historically reliable of all ancient literature. Next in line are the Homeric Epics, and it’s not even a close 2nd.
One of my former professors, Dr. Holly Ordway, was an ardent atheist, even hostile to the Christian faith, considering Christians to be fools. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A friend of hers challenged her to read the New Testament through honest eyes, consider its authenticity, and then make her own choice as to what she decides. In her story of how she finally came to faith in Christ, she writes,
“I’d been steeped in folklore, fantasy, legend, and myth ever since I was a child, and had studied these literary genres as an adult; I knew their cadences, their flavor, their rhythm. None of these stylistic fingerprints appeared in the New Testament books that I was reading. In Paul’s letters, I heard the strong, clear voice of a distinctive personality speaking of what he’d seen and heard and done. The Gospels had the ineffable texture of history, with all the odd clarity of detail that comes when the author is recounting something so huge that even as he tells it, he doesn’t see all the implications.”
At the bottom of this blog, I’ve linked an article discussing the issue of “miracles vs. science.” I believe it to be responsibly written and strong food-for-thought.
Let me finish with this:
Should you be someone who’s believed the Christian faith is “a fool’s errand,” you’re in good company. And I respect your worldview. But, if you’ve gotten this far in what I’ve written, perhaps you’re open to honestly investigating the claims of Christ.
That friend who challenged Dr. Ordway to read the New Testament told her something as she was growing curious about her friend’s faith. The imagery behind what he said is beautiful:
“It is odd – I kind of know how to speak with people from a different kingdom than my own (non-believers); I also know how to talk to people in the Kingdom I belong to (Christians); [however], I don’t know quite what to say to you who are wandering in the countryside of the Kingdom. It seems I should just let you enjoy the scenery. It speaks better than I could. I do want you to decide to stay.”
Finally, the reason I was never permitted to reply to my friend who mocked my faith was because they immediately blocked me from their social media account. But, as I was sharing that experience with my pastor he said comfortingly, “They can’t block Jesus.”
***The article to which I referred earlier is linked for you here.
For the Kingdom, nw