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By Fred Hereen
As a science writer, I am excited by topics most people read about only in the dentist’s office when all the popular magazines have been taken. As an evangelist, I’m grateful that my interest in nature is useful in turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones toward faith. Most objections that unbelievers bring up concerning the Bible and science have straightforward answers; however, the problems are often made tougher than necessary because of my skeptical friends’ previous encounters with Christians. I can only imagine how these people must have talked past each other:
Unbeliever: “Evolution is a fact. It occurs through differential reproductive success of individuals in a population.”
Christian: “Oh yeah? Then how do you explain Mount Saint Helens? Creation scientists have proved the Grand Canyon was formed the same way. And how do you explain human footprints found in dinosaur footprints in Texas?”
To which, of course, the unbeliever responds: “Your case is overwhelming. How can I be saved?”
Three Surefire Rules for Evangelistic Failure
If you’d really like to do your part to marginalize Christians and to be sure that skeptics associate us with cultists and loonies, try the following:
1. Rather than displaying confidence that all truth is God’s truth, insist that skeptics choose between the Bible and science, or between your “Christianized science” and everyone else’s science. Give unbelievers some obscure or controversial fact they’ll never find in their biology texts to show them how wrong they are.
2. Rather than starting a conversation with skeptics by finding common ground, look for controversy. Why be like Paul on Mars Hill when you can by like Jerry Springer on TV? You’ll have much more fun getting people riled up.
3. Have an us-vs.-them attitude. Be sure skeptics know that you have marked them out as the enemy. Give them a clever take-it-or-leave-it answer that will put them on the defensive rather than encouraging them to give the issues real thought.
For Success: Have the Right Attitude
On the other hand, if you’d like to do the work of an evangelist, “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” who humbled Himself for the sake of the people He came to reach (Phil. 2:5–8). We have infinitely more reason to be humble than Jesus did, especially when we approach His creation. Just because we’re Christians, it doesn’t mean we are automatically experts in every field and have answers to all the mysteries in nature. We need to approach God’s creation with awe and a passion for truth.
Let’s not start out judging our unbelieving friends for having doubts about our message. Skepticism, after all, has to do with personally examining the evidence — and that’s what we want! I view skepticism as a uniquely human trait, clearly separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Let’s encourage critical thinking in seekers now that will help keep them out of the cults later.
Seven Questions to Get Unbelieving Skeptics Thinking
The following topics may be helpful when scientific issues have become a special sticking point for people you wish to reach. As you seek to find some useful common ground with skeptics, consider raising questions that help them see the lack of contradictions between the Bible and science…
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