Saturday, June 7, 2014

Questioning Cousin

Should believers answer questions from doubters? That's what one reader asked Billy Graham...
Dear Rev. Graham: Does it do any good to argue with someone about religion? My cousin says he’s a doubter, and he loves to get into debates with me about God, but I’m not sure I’m doing him any good. Should I just quit trying to answer his questions? -- M.M.
It would be nice if some context was given here. I too love to get into debates about theology. But I will never start the discussion. I don't want to be viewed as that pushy guy that just wants to start an argument. Religion genuinely interests me, and I feel it is an important topic to discuss if our species is to progress.

So is MM's cousin passionate about this topic in the same way that I am? Perhaps his cousin enjoys talking about it because MM constantly brings up religion. If MM is welcoming discussion in this manner, he can't really complain about about finding himself in a debate and unable to defend himself.
Rev. Graham: As long as your cousin is willing to ask questions, you should be willing to answer them — even if you don’t seem to be making any impact. After all, if you ignore his questions, he may conclude that you don’t have any answers, and that he’s right and you are wrong. The Bible says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
I also agree that believers should be willing to answer questions. The problem is that quite often, they don't have answers to the easy questions, let alone the 'tough ones' that Billy pretends we are asking just to try and trap the believer (in his following quote). It's sad when I ask a believer about something in the Bible and they have no idea it's even in there. When asked if I have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ, I'm half tempted to say, "Sure, what would you like to know?"
At the same time, you also may need to challenge your cousin by asking him if he’s honestly seeking answers, or if he just wants to argue. Occasionally I’ve met people who wanted to ask me questions they knew were hard to answer, but in reality they weren’t really interested in the answers.

Instead, they simply wanted to keep God at arm’s length (so to speak), and their questions were a way of doing that. Someday, you might ask your cousin: If all your questions were answered, would you be willing to give your life to Christ?
So what if someone asks a tough question? The tough questions are often some of the most important. Unfortunately, believers sometimes regard any question that they don't have a quick answer to to be tough questions. Often questions comparing people's belief in Christianity to belief in another religion, their sincerity and if they would be a Muslim if they were born in Iran rather than Indiana are considered tough or are just brushed aside and ignored. Sorry, but I think why you believe is important. If you can't logically tell me why you believe as you do, and how your belief is any more justified than a Hindu in India, why should what you have to say compel me in any way over a Hindu, Jew, Muslim, etc?

I love how Billy just assumes we don't want an answer. If we didn't, we wouldn't bother asking in the first place! Perhaps Billy is keeping Thor at arm's length. He doesn't really care about the answers
about the mighty wielder of Mjolnir. He just wants to deny the god of thunder for his own selfish reasons!
The most important thing you can do, however, is to pray for your cousin. What should you pray? Pray first of all that he will realize he needs God. Pray, too, that God will convict him of his sin and his pride. Pray especially that God will turn his heart and mind to Christ. And pray for yourself, that you will be an example to him of Christ’s love and truth.
So the most important thing MM can do is to preform an action that is only self serving and has absolutely no effect on reality at all. If doing something so futile is the most important thing he can do, that doesn't strike me as very reassuring at all...

-Brain Hulk

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