How does one respond when confronted by someone struggling to understand why they should believe in God?
Well the first thing to keep in mind is that it is not our responsibility to have to persuade, convince or change their mind. That is God’s work. We must plant the seed (1Cor 3.6), give a good explanation and defense of our faith (1Pet 3.15)… but in the end, God does the work of changing hearts and lives.
This is a very subjective question, with no set answer, or perfect solution; so I can only give you some of the questions/thoughts I might offer to this person to get them to try to think.
And that is my first point: when a person is struggling to find Truth (saved or unsaved), in my opinion, it’s better to give them things to think about; point them in the right direction; educate them about the issues and verses that apply… and let them discover the “truth”.
Rarely does “because my Pastor said so” or “that’s what Chuck Swindoll teaches” translate into a firmly held, well defended belief. People have to learn, search, study and dig out the answers for themselves to really come to place of commitment and understanding.
That’s why in my “Answer” series, I seldom just say “here’s the answer; that’s it”. I try to get people to think, to reason, to wonder, to ponder to analyze… and come to their own conclusions based on God’s Word.
That’s a long way around to say this: don’t just give your friend “answers”; give him something to think about:
- What hope or meaning is there to life when there is nothing more than the “physical” that exists?
- How can we logically claim “no Creator” when the human experience declares that each “creation” requires a “creator” (a house, car, computer, pencil, toothpick… all require a creator). “Life” is infinitely more complex than any supercomputer, so why wouldn’t it require a Creator?
- If we are all just products of biology and elements mixed with time, chance and randomness (which must be true if God does not exist), then every thought your friend is having about “prove I have a soul” are just random thoughts of chance and mean nothing anyway! The fact that he is asking and wondering testifies that there is built into him a sense that there “is something more” (Ps 42.7). Who put that “sense” there? A Designer?
- Ask him if you could show him a book that has predicted the future hundreds of times, hundreds of years in advance, and every single time has been 100% accurate, would the rest of the message in the book be credible?
- Ask him is there is any happiness in “we’re born, we live, we die, that’s it”…. but tell him to answer that privately only to himself.
There’s no “smoking gun” GOTCHA’S in any of those questions. That’s just some that I ask “skeptics” to get them to start thinking.
Now typically, the skeptic will give you canned, smug, tired old answers with a big smile trying to show how happy they are without “your God”. But the truth is, the NO ONE is content or truly happy with any consistency or for any length of time without God. We are built to only be happy and fulfilled with God is the source of it.
Oh yes, we will have times where earthly pleasures, treasures and activities DISTRACT us from our hopelessness… but hopelessness and despair always comes back with a vengeance no matter how much we want to deny it, mask it and ignore it.
And don’t forget to always clearly present the Gospel starting with the Law that leads to the Savior, Jesus Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1Cor 1.23). He is the only real answer.