If you’ve had anyone question your faith in any way, it doesn’t make you feel good. It might make you feel sad, angry, confused, and/or disheartened. What’s worse is when it seems like someone is trying to prove that you are wrong.
I had a situation a few weeks ago where an agnostic friend was questioning the “logic” in the bible to me. They were telling me two different things found in the bible that seem to contradict each other. While in a way they were making valid points, I felt the need to defend myself and God’s word, because “I’d be a terrible Christian if I didn’t.” In some points of the conversation, it was hard to defend it without saying just, “well, that’s just how it is because it is.” or “God works in mysterious ways.” Because I knew that wasn’t a good “argument” for this person, who is a very logical realist-type person. Non-believers don’t want to hear that. It’s not enough “reason” for them.
If you are a Christian, how are you feeling right now reading about this situation? Did you roll your eyes at the agnostic friend? Do you feel frustrated that people are questioning God’s word? Are you sad that people just don’t seem to get it? I felt that way a little bit, but instead of getting angry and yelling at this person, I listened to them. I kept an open mind, let them say what they wanted to say, and they did the same for me. I stood my ground without getting upset. You see, this person wasn’t trying to “prove me wrong” or anything. They are genuinely interested in the answer. They are agnostic, so they haven’t completely written off the fact that God is real. It’s simply hard for them to truly believe it because they think too hard about what is logical.
As Christians, we are meant to not only spread the Word, but stand up for the Word. However, there can be a wrong way to do it. 1 Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts revere Christ the 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,”
Below are a few guidelines to think about when you find yourself in a situation where you have to defend your faith and/or the Word of God.
Think about any argument you have ever had. Did it end well when one or both parties got angry? Once you allow yourself to get angry, you start to yell, say hurtful things, and push the other person away. This is the very LAST thing we want to do when we are trying to help someone understand why this is so important to you, and should be important to them.
Take a deep breath. Think about how calm Jesus was when he was questioned and not believed in (even by his own brothers!) If you have to sit for a second to gather your thoughts, that is fine. If the other person is also calm and not angry, and actually wants to have a conversation to try and understand, then they will be patient with you. Literally “Be Still” and the answer will come to you. Remember that God is there to guide you. It is not on us to convert a non-believer, it is up to God, so don’t feel that pressure. God can only use us to plant the seed in their head, and maybe even give it some water, but He will be the one that makes it grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6–7
6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
Tied in with the last point, arguments can just lead to anger and hot tempers. Don’t think of it as an argument, but more of an educated discussion (or debate if you want to look at it that way).
Explain The Best Way You Can
In an educated discussion or debate, each side gives the other time to explain themselves the best that they can. Even if going into this discussion you are not sure if you will have the right answer (because likely you did not foresee it coming), you must trust that the words will come to you. Staying calm will be just a small step to being able to explain in a way that is easy to listen to.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
2 Timothy 4:2
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Disregard everything they say
How do you expect someone to listen to you if you aren’t listening to them? People can tell when what they are saying to you is going in one ear and out the other. As soon as that happens, they are going to think you are a “typical close-minded Christian.” Of course, that is NOT supposed to be typical of our faith, but unfortunately some think that is the “Christian way.”
Listen and keep an open mind
I’m not saying to take in consideration that what they are saying about your faith being illogical or what you believe might not be true, but really listen to them and to an extent really take in consideration what they said and bring it into your response. Or say something like “I truly understand why you would think that, but look at it this way, too…” This lets them know that you are listening to them and they are being heard. They will know that you are not blocking out what they are saying just because you automatically think that what they are saying is nonsense.
Faith vs. Reason
In reading about logic in faith, I came across this article. I encourage you to read it, but here are a few of my favorite quotes and verse references.
“Are we to live by reason or by faith? Are we supposed to rely upon our intellect, drawing rational conclusions, rejecting those things that don’t make sense? Or are we to accept the teachings of Scripture without regard to logic and reason, even if it does not make any sense?
…[the confusion/internal conflict] stems from a critical misconception about the meaning of both faith and reason.”
“The Bible does not promote a belief in the irrational or any type of unwarranted ‘blind faith.’”
“Biblically, faith is having confidence in something you have not experienced with your senses. Biblical faith is not ‘blind’; it’s not the act of ‘believing without a reason.’ Just the opposite; biblical faith is the act of believing in something unseen for which we do have a good reason.
For example, when we believe that God will keep a promise, this constitutes faith because we cannot ‘see’ it and yet we have a good reason for it: God has demonstrated that He keeps His promises.”
“Reason is a tool that God has given us that allows us to draw conclusions and inferences from other information, such as the information He has given us in His Word.”
God tells us to reason (Isaiah 1:18) as the apostle Paul did (Acts 17:17).
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
“Reason is not a substitute for God; rather, it is a gift from God.”
Proverbs 4:5, 7
5 Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.
“God wants us to use the mind He has given us. But He wants us to use our minds properly, in a way that is honoring to Him.”
“In order to reason about anything we must have faith that there are laws of logic which correctly prescribe the correct chain of reasoning. Since laws of logic cannot be observed with the senses, our confidence in them is a type of faith.”
Why We Should Act With Kindness
This really should be a given, but it cannot be reiterated enough. A lot of non-believers are non-believers because they think Christians are close-minded, judgemental, don’t care what you have to say if you don’t believe in the Lord, and will pick and choose what they want to preach from the bible. Unfortunately, the people who do this tend to speak louder to non-believers than those that teach and exemplify the love that the Lord has for us.
Instead of condemning those who don’t believe, we should lead by example, give them just as much love as you would give fellow believers, and show them that having love for Jesus is so freeing and life-changing for the better. Show them that Jesus loves all of us, non-believers included.
If a non-believer is questioning your faith or the reason/logic in your faith, take it as an opportunity to lead by the example Jesus wants us to. Take it as an opportunity to teach, rather than taking their questions personally and lashing out at them. We want people to know the love of Christ, not think that we think they are going to hell for every little sin. The person asking questions might be genuinely intrigued by the answer, meaning they might be open minded to learning even more which might be a huge stepping stone for them in being saved.
If The Person Asking Questions Gets Angry
If you feel yourself getting upset or angry, simply stop and take a breath. Think about the example you are setting to this non-believer as a Christian. If the other person is getting angry and upset and there is nothing you can seem to do to calm them down, it might be time to walk away. Don’t tell them “I’m praying for you,” don’t lash back out and say something hurtful, don’t tell them they’re going to hell. Stay calm, say something as kind as you can to end the conversation, and walk away. These people will have to come to the realization of the truth on their own, and at that one moment there is nothing more you can do.
If it is someone you love, maybe walking away is temporary. Let their temper cool. If you think you can circle back around when they are less heated up, absolutely go for it! However, don’t force it on them. If they do not want to listen, they won’t, and trying after several tries of them blocking you out will unfortunately only push them away more. You can still teach them the love of the Lord without speaking as outwardly of the Lord. Just continue to show them love even though you know they don’t believe what you do. I can’t say it enough: lead by example.
Have you encountered someone questioning your faith or the logic in your faith? How did you respond? Do you have any other tips on what to do in this situation? Let me know in the comments!