Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Christians, Stop Arguing with Idiots
I subscribe to a couple of Christian forums , and if you sit back dispassionately and watch the going on, there are definitely some observable trends. One of the trends is that people hostile to the gospel or hostile to the Bible in general will post things intended to insult or belittle Christians. Sometimes the scoffers will originate a post, or sometimes they will simply weigh in on someone else's post. The end result is that Christians ill-equipped for the battle will charge on ahead, and the discussion quickly gets out of hand and off-topic. I've even seen Christians get 'in the flesh' and speak unadvisedly in these matters. I've seen professing Christians resort to obscenities. Meanwhile, the skeptics and gainsayers are high-fiving each other as they use you for their entertainment.
I was told years ago by a much wiser man "Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." I don't know if I have ever received better advice.
With that in mind, and as part of a small service to the body of Christ, let me present with you some points to keep in mind as you scoot about the internet or talk to people in person.
1. Arguing with idiots is not contending for the faith.
Jude 1:3 reads "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." but the counterbalance for that commandment is found in places like "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." ( Prov 26:4) and "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." (2 Tim 2:23). You are not required to entertain the incessant questioning and scorning of fools. In fact, the Bible tells us in Titus 3 "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." According to Romans 1:29, debate is a work of the flesh anyway, and you certainly aren't required to hold endless discussion with insincere people.
2. There is a difference between a seeker and a scorner
Prov 1:22 says "..scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.." and Prov 14:6 adds "A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.". A scorner isn't asking because they want an answer; they are asking because they love the act of scorning. According to the Bible, if they wanted the truth, they would find it. The Bible says in John 3 "light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil".
Compare the scorner to men like Nicodemus in John 3 or Cornelius in Acts 10. These men weren't believers, but they weren't scorners, and because they came to God on His terms, and not armed with endless array of smart-aleck 'objections' founded out of the darkness of their own heart, God granted them repentance.
In dealing with people, we should use wisdom to discern after two or three interactions whether this is a person that is sincerely seeking the truth or a God-hating scorner who will trip over the truth all day long no matter how well it is presented.
3. They hate God, but they can't get to God, so they take it out on you
Hebrews 11: 6 says "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." If a man comes to God with an imperfect heart, God refuses to deal with him. You see in the gospels where Jesus Christ had time for people full of devils and lepers, but no time for the self-righteous or the foolish. Prov 1 tells us "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
If you pay careful attention to the rantings of most 'skeptics' it is obvious that at some point they got mad at God. Most will even tell you of their early church-going background, but somewhere along the way something happened. Either God didn't do something they thought He should have or He didn't stop something from happening that they think He should have stopped. They decide that they are right, and God is wrong. Bitterness and anger harden their heart towards God and since they can't get to God, they will try to spew their vitriol on God's people. The Bible tells us "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." (Prov 22:24-25). Their issue is with God, not with you. Don't get caught up in their issue.
4. Proving God is not your job.
I am thankful for the people who have devoted their lives to apologetics, and I don't mean this as a slight towards them, but frankly, most apologetics is a waste of time. God gave us a Bible, and as much as I appreciate the fact that, as the Creator, He left His fingerprints all over creation, its the Bible that is our proof, not 'creation science'.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told to run around trying to find Noah's ark or Solomon's temple . If they find that sort of thing, I must admit its interesting, but if it never gets found, I still have a Bible written by One who cannot lie. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to use human reasoning or philosophy to make God's case for him. Nowhere are we commanded to use our own experiences as the cornerstone for God's existence.
We are simply told to "go ye into all the world and preach the gospel". While doing that we will run into sincere people , and to those people we preach the gospel. We will also encounter insincere people, and to those people we preach the gospel. A man that rejects God doesn't reject God due to an insufficiency of evidence; he rejects God because he has a dirty heart. Were you to somehow find 'proof' outside of the Bible and present it to him, according to scripture it wouldn't change anything because his heart is still dirty towards God. In Luke 16, the rich man is told "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." The issue wasn't proof or lack of proof, it was their heart.
A man told me once "If only God would show up on the earth and appear to man, then we would believe." He did, and they didn't. By rejecting the gospel, a man blinds himself, opposes himself, and ultimately condemns himself. No amount of 'Back to Genesis' articles will change that.
5. The word of God is our only weapon.
In Psalm 119:130, the Bible says "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." In Ephesians 6, when listing the 'whole armour of God', the only offensive weapon listed is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" That sword is said to be ".. quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" in Hebrews 4. The Apostle Peter, after recounting his own eye-witness experiences in 2 Peter 1, appeals to the scriptures as being "a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts"
So when a person comes to you with an objection, you tell them what the Bible says. When they try to hem you up and belittle you, tell them what the Bible says. When they resort to name-calling, tell them what the Bible says. After two or three admonitions, they have proven themselves to be a scorner and a fool and you are no longer obligated to deal with them.