Why can’t we explain our faith to the skeptic?

I’ve had a hard time using logic to explain to skeptics why our Christian beliefs are true and defensible (and even logical). Why? Because some of the wisdom was gained through the logic of life experience, and no shortcuts exist.

When getting to know a stranger for the first time, we may start out with distrust or indifference. That’s normal. Respect or trust for the other comes with experience spent with that person or hearing of his or her admirable exploits. So it is with people who don’t know Jesus or the Father. Their questions are sometimes filled with mistrust, doubt, or anger. Jesus said to abide (remain) with Him, then we’ll bear much fruit (John 15:4-7). There are no shortcuts to being a fruitful Christian; but when the fruit is attained and God gets the glory, the Christian can look back and trace the work of God, and it all makes sense. It’s a logic born of experience.

In the same way, we have a hard time explaining our mature beliefs about life to a younger generation: they haven’t gone through what we went through. They’re still young; they’re a blank slate; we can’t jump-start their understanding through logic alone. Most of us can only state what we know to be true, and that isn’t enough for them.

I know that my religious beliefs are solid enough to stand on and defend because of my understanding of the Word, and my experiences with the God who works in the lives of those who have come to trust in Him. Romans 8:28, which tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God, is a personal insight one gets when one has grown in admiration of His love and integrity. It’s a logic born of experience. Christians who love the world more than Him won’t get this truth; Christians who prefer their wills over God’s will can’t arrive at this settled conviction because it comes from the wisdom gained through a trusted relationship.

“My peace I give to you,” Jesus said (John 14:27), and many Christians miss this peace because they haven’t remained with Jesus long enough to “get it.” Christian workers who spend long periods of time in the Word, prayer, and the practice of their faith gain a richer set of experiences than those who spend little or no time in these disciplines. The former grow in their convictions because of the logic of accrued experiences; things just make sense after going through it. We have a saying that goes something like, “Don’t criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” The idea, of course, is that you’ll have a better understanding after accumulating the same experiences as that person. Wisdom gained through experience.

Many times, some Christians are simply not bothered by the questions people, questions that the Bible does not directly answer (“What about the fate of all those who never believed?”) We understand some religious issues simply because we can draw from our experiences in this life and see similarities with the Bible picture, or simply because the Bible explains it. Since we have become assured of God’s integrity, we are convinced that He in His love and justice will work out the things we don’t know in a righteous manner. I can trust the Father in His infinite wisdom to work out the mysteries I can’t solve on my own, just as a child does in a healthy relationship with his earthly father.

The logic that comes from trust through experience takes time to attain, and no skeptic can arrive there by another path. He can’t start with the solid footing of those who have gone before. The knowledge that God has it all worked out is not a blind faith as some think, but a logical conclusion of someone who is banking on God’s integrity — and finding it sound.

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting lives in Southern California with his wife and son. He enjoys encouraging others through writing, and likes reading, digital photography, the outdoors, calligraphy, and iced coffee. He has written several books and ebooks, and hundreds of Christian devotionals. Steve is also having a great time illustrating God's Word with calligraphy.
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