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January 7, 2014 / BTM

How Would You Respond To These Statements?

pointing finger“Christians shouldn’t push their morality on others.”

“That’s just your opinion.”

“Christians are intolerant and arrogant when they think their way is the only way.”

Ever heard these before?  Ever read them in a newspaper or heard them spoken on TV?  Are they correct?  How would you respond?

In my last two posts I mentioned the need for Christians to be able to think clearly, logically and critically.  I shared some of how we’ve begun to teach this to our own children.  But the challenge with helping our kids to become critical thinkers is that we ourselves often have not been taught to do the same.

Do you fit in this category?  I certainly do.

However, I’ve learned that many accusations or criticisms of Christianity fall into a few categories of flawed thinking.  The ones stated above all make the same mistake in logic.  Learning to understand why they are bad accusations or arguments against Christianity (or you as a person) will enable you to have confidence should you ever find yourself on the other side of one of those accusations.

“Christians shouldn’t push their morality on others.”

As Christians, this statement should be false for us – we should never seek to push, but persuade, the truth of our position.  Asking questions of the person making these types of statements is an engaging, non-confrontational way of discussing the validity of their statement.  For example, you could ask how you (or how Christians in general) are pushing their morality on others.  Often the response will be: “Christians think that they’re right and others are wrong.”

You could then politely ask: “Why shouldn’t I push my morality on you?”  Often the response will be something like: “Because it’s wrong to do so.”

Do you see the logical problem with this position?  It’s wrong to tell others that they’re wrong.  Your response would be: “But isn’t that what you’re doing to me?  Didn’t you just say that it was wrong to tell someone that they’re wrong?”

Most people have never thought about this before.  It puts them in a difficult position as well.  If they hold this position, they can’t disagree with anything you say without contradicting themselves.

That’s just your opinion.

Can you see that this accusation follows the same pattern?  Politely ask what they mean by ‘opinion’ and ‘just’.  Ask them if their response is ‘just their opinion’ as well.  If so, why should you (or anyone else) take their ‘opinion’ seriously?

You’re intolerant and arrogant.

You may not get such a hard-hitting response, but you will likely get a response that is quite similar:

People should just tolerate each other. 

Religious people create their own problems when they become intolerant of other’s beliefs and opinions.

The same process goes for this accusation.  Ask: “What do you mean by that?”  The answer will likely be something like: “You think you’re right and everyone else is wrong.”

Very politely ask: “Do you think you are right?”  (Of course.)  “Do you think I am wrong?” (Yes again.)  “So then, are you also being intolerant, or is it only me who is intolerant when I think I’m right?”

Look out for these kinds of statements this week.  They’ll come in many formats, but will all boil down to the same basic statement.  As you start to notice flawed thinking, point it out to your children as well.  How might people come to hold these attitudes toward Christians?  If you can appreciate this, you can appreciate how to speak to them persuasively about the truth of your faith.

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