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But if He did ...

Posted by Colby Kinser on

I'm sure most of you (or all of you) have encountered someone who objected to the existence of God based on the constraints of science. They want proof of God's existence, and then proof that He has any interaction with humankind. Without proof, they claim, they cannot subscribe to the idea that He exists.

The temptation for us is to lock in and try to convincingly give them the proof they claim to want.

There are plenty of great evidences and reasons to show that belief in God is rational. "Apologetics" is the term we use to describe the arguments we use to build the case for faith. Perhaps some of those great materials would be helpful for someone who has an honest inquiry.

But there are still others who won't give those arguments a fair hearing, no matter how good they are. What should we do with them? Usually (but not always), trying to go down the apologetics route has a low return on investment.

So, without any deception, change the question.

One way to try that is a question like this:

If God did exist, could He love you?

Rather than try to argue the case for the existence of God right away, openly ponder the consequences of His possible existence. Some will argue a moral case, such as in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov ("if God doesn't exist, all things are permissible"). Others may argue for purpose in life in a godless universe, or some other angle.

The question above is more personal. Let's just assume for a second that He does exist just for the sake of argument. Then, given that, and given what a god of the universe would be like, could this god (or the God) love you? That's it.

The person may say either "yes" or "no." Either way, it opens up a discussion that is not adversarial. Why do they think the way that they do? What about God's supposed nature would lead Him to love or not love this person?

You don't need to follow with, "But He does!" It may be way too soon for that discussion.

Perhaps a better follow up question would be, "What if He did love you?" Don't try to push them into your conclusions, correct them, argue with them, or even give your opinion (unless they ask). Let them freely ponder the idea. What are the consequences of a God who loves me?

See where questions like this get you. Maybe, just maybe, you'll get further with people with a "let's ponder together" approach rather than a "let's argue" approach.

And if they have their own "what if" questions for you, go with it. They're inviting you to discuss!

(image: By Jerome Walker,Dennis Myts - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1694871)

Tags: apologetics, evangelism, existence, god, love

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