Will You Wait for a Long Answer to Your Short Question?

by Bill Pratt

Questions can be really short. Why is there so much evil in the world? Who is God? Why did Jesus have to die? Why do you think Christianity is true? What is the meaning of life?

Most of the time, though, answers are a heck of a lot longer. On this blog, I answer a question on almost every post with a 500-word answer. The question might be 10 words long, so my answer is 50 times longer than the question.

Most non-fiction books are written to answer a single question that the author poses. An author may use 70,000 words to answer a single short question.

My point is that there is an asymmetry between questions and answers. Answers are often far more complex than the question they are answering.

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It seems that many skeptics of Christianity (actually most people in general) forget about this asymmetry when they demand short, pithy answers to their short, pithy questions. Well, here is my challenge to skeptics of Christianity. Are you willing to wait for the long answer to your short question?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been talking to a skeptic and something like the following happens:

Skeptic: “If God is all-powerful and all-good, then why is there evil?”

Me: “Well, let’s start by defining what evil is. Evil is …”

Skeptic (cutting me off): “Let’s face it. You don’t have an answer to this…


Will You Wait for a Long Answer to Your Short Question? | Tough Questions Answered