“Love your neighbor as yourself”
Often objections to the faith come in the form of questions such as, “How can your God allow this?” or “Why does the church hate Gay people?” Whenever a challenge is posed to the Faith it is important to remember the person behind the words. We should remember the questioner lest we lose sight and think we are merely answering questions. No. Don’t address the question, address the person through their questions. We apologists are called to love people, specifically, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). This brief verse has vast implications including how we should treat the individual lovingly. That means we should value them privately, in our thoughts and beliefs about them, and publically, with gracious and encouraging expressions. One of the best ways to show someone that we love them, as well as to keep our apologetics relevant and incisive, is by intentionally engaging with them as a person. When he or she is asking a question, you may have heard that question a thousand times before, but assume you don’t understand the question till you understand the questioner. So feel free to respond to their question by asking follow-up questions, clarifying questions, or inquiries into their motivations and reasons for asking. Before launching into pre-planned response patterns, like some theological fire-drill, consider whether this person is questioning God’s goodness because, for example, (1) he’s sincerely curious, (2) His Philosophy 101 profession has indoctrinated him? or (3) he’s returning from his girlfriend’s funeral? Till you understand the questioner, quite likely, you don’t understand the question.
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