A Conversation Between an Agnostic and a Christian (Con’t)
Conversational Apologetics • Open Questions • To understand and know them • Pointed Questions • To remove the “roof” of their irrational assumptions • Explain the Gospel • Only when asked • Nurture The Relationship • Help unbelievers grow towards Christ • Help believers to grow IN Christ
How Would You Respond? • Have you heard about that court case in – where it is? – Kentucky? I can’t believe that in the 21st Century, we’re STILL arguing about teaching Creationism in a Science class! It’s ridiculous! Religion and Science are two different things.
Typical Response • Actually, there’s a lot of scientific evidence that God created the universe.
Open Questions • No, can you tell me about that case? • Follow-up: Why does that bother you? • What do you mean by ‘creationism?’ • What’s your definition of ‘science?’ • What do you mean by ‘religion?’ • In what ways do you think science and religion are different?
How Would You Respond? • Oh, no! You’re not a fundamentalist Christian are you?
Typical Response • Well, as a matter of fact, I am. But you know, there’s a lot of evidence that God created the universe.
Open Questions • What do you mean, “Oh, no?” • Why do you say I’m a ‘fundamentalist?’ • What do you mean by ‘fundamentalist?’ • What would a non-fundamentalist Christian be?
How Would You Respond? • Evidence? I’m talking SCIENTIFIC evidence. You know, something that you can prove.
Typical Response • Oh, you mean SCIENTIFIC, like THEORY of evolution?
Open Questions • How would you define ‘scientific evidence?’ • Can you give me some examples of scientific proof? • How would you define ‘truth?’ • Follow-up: Is scientific proof the only way to determine if something is true?
How Would You Respond? • Yes, exactly. Like the THEORY of Gravity! We may not know all the details of how gravity works, but we know THAT it works. We can prove it. And the same is true of evolution.
Typical Response • Actually, a lot of scientists are beginning to doubt whether evolution can be proven. They think that an objective review of the evidence leads away from evolution and towards intelligent design.
Open Questions • What do you mean by ‘evolution?’ • What do you mean that the theory of evolution is the same as the theory of gravity?
How Would You Respond? • A lot MORE scientists still believe the evidence proves evolution, and a handful of Christians who happen to have degrees in the sciences and are letting their faith overcome their reason can not prove otherwise.
Typical Response • I’d say it’s the secular scientists that are letting THEIR faith overcome their reason. Take a look at the cell. Back in Darwin’s day, he could assume that the cell evolved from non-living material because he thought the cell was pretty simple. I remember reading in science textbooks how the “building blocks of life” naturally evolved into “SIMPLE, single-celled organisms.” But modern microbiology has overturned the myth of the simple cell. The cell is actually a complex biochemical factory with thousands of interdependent elements. All of those elements had to be there AT THE SAME TIME for the cell to function. For it to live. Modern scientists who step back for a minute and consider the amazing complexity of the cell realize that it is far too complex to have evolved. They compare it to other complex systems we find in the world, all of which were designed by an intelligent designer for a specific purpose, and conclude – quite scientifically – that the cell must have been designed by an intelligent designer, too: God!
Open Questions • What evidence do you find persuasive? • Can you give me the names of some of the scientists you’re referring to? I’d like to read what they have to say. • How can you tell when someone’s ‘faith’ overcomes their reason?
How Would You Respond? • Wow. That’s a big leap you’re making, there. Just because we don’t understand all the complexities of how the cell evolved, that doesn’t mean we can just arbitrarily say some supernatural creator made it. Science is continually refining itself as new information becomes available. Back when they thought the sun revolved around the earth, there was evidence that it really didn’t happen that way. But they didn’t conclude that God was magically moving the planets – they just refined their explanation to account for the evidence – that the earth really goes around the sun.
Typical Response • But that’s exactly what I’m talking about – refining the explanation. If evolution can’t account for the origin of complex cells and intelligent design can, shouldn’t we “refine” our explanation for the origin of the cell?
Open Questions • You’re right – I may not have spoken precisely. I’m sorry. But what happens in science when evidence is discovered that disproves the theory? • How much evidence do you think necessary before a theory should be refined or restated? • What about when contradictory evidence is first being discovered – what should scientists do with that evidence?
How Dare We? • We have the truth • Truth = Reality • The non-Christian does not • The non-Christian has a worldview that does not correspond with reality • The more the non-Christian follows the logic of his/her worldview, the less they live in the real world • The less the non-Christian follows the logic of his/her worldview, the more they live in the real world
The Point of Tension • “Every person is somewhere along the line between the real world and the logical conclusions of his or her non-Christians presuppositions. Every person has the pull of two consistencies, the pull towards the real world and the pull towards the logic of his system. He may let the pendulum swing back and forth between them, but he cannot live in both places at once.” (Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There).
The Point of Tension The Real The logical Conclusion ---------------|-------------- World Of the non- Christian Worldview
Finding the Point of Tension • The Object of Open Questions is to find the Point of Tension • “The first consideration in our apologetics for modern man, whether factory-hand or research student, is to find the place where his tension exists. We will not always find it easy to do this….it will take time and will cost something to discover what the person we are speaking to often has not yet discovered for himself. We, in love, looking to the work of the Holy Spirit, must reach down into that person and try to find where the point of tension is….The next step, is to push him towards the logical conclusion of his presuppositions.” (Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There).
And that next step is… • Pointed Questions • Come back for the next workshop!