In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Sooner or later, you will encounter a conversation in which someone seeks to ridicule your faith.
I went to Bible college, seminary, and constantly read lots of books – and it all started when someone from a very liberal seminary in my hometown laughed at my faith.
He mocked my beliefs in front of a few young believers that I was discipling, and I didn’t have the answers to his challenging questions.
One of the authors that I have read is John Lennox, a former professor at Oxford University. He is an academic elite who has defended the Christian faith against leading atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
In his book, Can Science Explain Everything?, Lennox talks about a conversation early in his career when a Nobel Laureate challenged his faith.
I didn’t fare well against the seminarian, but let’s read how John Lennox did against the Nobel Prize winner.
Beginning of dialogue…
Nobel Guy: “Lennox, do you want a career in the sciences?”
Lennox: “Yes, sir.”
Nobel Guy: “Then you must give up this childish faith in God. If you do not, then it will cripple you intellectually and you will suffer in comparison with your peers. You simply will not make it.”
Lennox: “Sir, what have you got to offer me that is better than what I have got?”
Nobel Guy: “Creative Evolution.”
Lennox (standing before the Nobel Guy and other students) responded: “I find the Biblical worldview vastly more enriching and the evidence for it far more compelling than that of Creative Evolution, and so, with all due respect, I will take the risk and stick with my beliefs.”
Pastor Grant now interrupting: “Wow, this is much better than my answer to the seminarian.”
Lennox continues: “It was a remarkable situation. Here was a brilliant scientist trying to bully me into giving up my Christianity. But this incident put steel into my heart and mind. I resolved to do my best as a good scientist that, if ever I had the opportunity, to encourage people to think about the big questions of God and science and make up their own minds without being bullied or pressured.”
Pastor Grant again interrupting (It’s what I do best and why I write Interruptions.): “I was humiliated by the seminarian. When I started my ministry, I didn’t have a formal education and was not prepared to make a defense of my faith.”
End of dialogue.
In the more conservative seminary that I attended, I learned how to defend my faith. I also learned in my Creative Writing class that I shouldn’t end an article (or today, a blog) with a quote by another author.
I’m not sure why you shouldn’t do this. So, thinking for myself, and not being bullied by my college writing professor, I’m ending with a quote by John Lennox:
I learned another valuable lesson that day about the existence of a dark side to academia: There are some scientists who set out with preconceived ideas, do not really wish to discuss evidence, and appear to be fixated not on the pursuit of truth but on propagating the notions that science and God do not mix and that those who believe in God are simply ignorant.