Michael: “Hey, Chris. How ya doing?”
Chris: “Pretty well, I suppose.”
Michael: “That’s good. Hey, just out of curiosity…I heard you’ve been attending that new church in town. And I was just wondering…”
Chris: “Oh yeah. We love it there.”
Michael: “So you DO go to church?”
Chris: “Well yeah. Why?”
Michael: “Don’t take this the wrong way or anything…but why? I mean, c’mon. Hasn’t our culture moved past this religious nonsense?”
Chris: “Ummmm…what ‘nonsense’ are you referring to?
Michael: “Well, we know by now that there is no God. I mean, how in the world can a ‘loving’ God allow so much suffering to go on in the world? I just don’t buy it. Not to mention people rising from the dead. Not to mention so many wars in the name of ‘God’. Not to mention…”
Chris: “Hey, just let me stop you there. I may not be able to answer all of your questions, but I believe God is loving. I believe He exists. I believe…”
Michael: “You believe it, huh? But why? Why do you believe it?”
Chris: “You know, if you have so many questions why don’t just ask my pastor. I’m sure he’d love to answer your questions.”
Michael: “You want me to talk with somebody else? C’mon, just tell me why you believe it?”
Chris: “I just do. Can we stop the 20 questions already?”
Michael: “Sure, I’ll stop. And I’m happy to hear your answer whenever you’re ready.”
Over the next couple of weeks, Chris does his best to avoid Michael around the office. But he occasionally thinks about Michael’s questions about God. He knows he doesn’t really have a good answer, and in time he begins to question his own faith. He thinks about world poverty. Suffering. Some of the claims within the Bible. And he begins to doubt…remaining unsure of how to respond to such challenges.
It’s one of the simplest questions anyone can be asked: “Why do you believe what you believe?” And sadly, some of the most common answers are the worst ones to give. For example:
The Bible Says It, So I Believe It!
I know what you’re thinking. “Why is this a bad answer?”
Well, because you’ve just opened the door to a number of additional questions.
“Oh, so you believe slavery is a good idea?”
“You believe we should stone people?”
“You believe women should wear head coverings?”
“All these things are in your Bible, you know?”
And they’re right. They are. And there’s a good answer to every single one of these questions. But the original question was, “Why do you believe what you believe?” And now you’re way off topic.
I’m Sure My Pastor Would Love to Answer Your Questions.
It’s true. I would. Any pastor would. But here’s what the Scriptures say:
Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)
You have a responsibility to answer the questions of others. Pastors are happy to help, but you yourself have a responsibility to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
I’m Not Sure I Want to Talk About This Anymore.
This, too, is a poor response. But it is a popular one. Unfortunately, by giving this answer you’re essentially choosing to not share the joy and hope you hold so dear.
I’m planning to continue this series of posts for quite some time. But for now, feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you would respond to the question. Why do you believe what you believe? How should you respond to this question? If somebody asked you tomorrow, how would you respond?