How to Reason with a Doubting Culture


is interesting but can you stop and listen for a moment?”

plea came on the heels of my twenty-minute spiel. I’d caught myself an atheist.
And he was willing to talk. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity, so I
immediately launched into my best arguments for God and the Christian faith as
we sat across from each other in his freshman dorm.

pulled out a napkin and walked through an airtight argument for God’s existence,
accompanied by a chart showing mutually exclusive options: the universe either
began or it didn’t begin (it began); the beginning of the universe was either
caused or uncaused (it was caused); the cause of the beginning of the universe
was either personal or nonpersonal (it was personal).

The napkin proves it. God exists!

looked up after presenting my airtight case, fully expecting Adam to admit
defeat. Instead, I saw exasperation in his eyes. I was not listening to him.

arguments had failed to scratch where he itched. Seeing my mistake, I set down
my pen and napkin, sat back in my chair and apologized. “Tell me why you don’t
believe in God?”

poured out his heart. His unbelief had little to do with the evidence. It had
everything to do with his poor relationship with his father. I learned a lesson
that night. Making the case for Christianity is about far more than delivering true
content. We must not neglect the relational aspect. We are called to speak the
truth in love (Eph. 4:15). When we present a case for Jesus and the gospel,
Peter implores us to do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Communication theorists distinguish between the content and the relational aspects of communication. According to Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer, “The content level is the literal meanings of the words we are using that convey our message. The relational level expresses the amount of affection, respect, and compassion between people.”

night I…

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- We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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