By: Jason Hyde
“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.” Colossians 4.5-6.
Many in our society have differing opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints about all sorts of things. Political opinions, viewpoints about morality and religion. When engaging with people of other beliefs, we have to do some detective work and start by asking questions. Columbo is a favorite TV Series of mine, in which Columbo, a Los Angeles homicide detective, was known for his absent-mindedness, pestering and questioning in order to lure criminals into underestimating him as he’s meticulously gathering clues to build a case against them.
When dealing with questions about worldviews and challenges to your own, but be genuinely interested in engaging in dialogue about opposing worldviews. Asks questions like, ‘well, what do you think about God?” Or “what does your faith say about Jesus?” Just trying to get people talking about their own belief systems, is non-threatening, your just simply asking questions. And while you're asking questions be mindful of key points and detect what is it they believe about reality, God, Jesus, morality, personhood and so on.
Press When Needed
Don’t be afraid to push if you must. Show a little aggressiveness when asking hard questions, like, ‘oh you hold to the position that the universe is the cause of its own existence. Tell me, how did you arrive at that conclusion?” Like Columbo, be firm and say, “now that don’t add up…” Push to get them to provide reasons for their claims. Any claims that one makes must provide evidence, reasons, for such claims.
Do not Debate
1 Peter 3.15 “but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”
Peter admonishes his recipients of the letter to give an ‘apologia;’ a reasoned defense of the Christian faith, with gentleness and reverence. While there is nothing wrong with convening to have, or watch a public debate, show respect for the person that is taking the time to have a conversation with you. Just because we may agree on Jesus, the bible, or God does not mean that we have the right to make fun of or disrespect those with whom we disagree. We aren’t trying to win the conversation by making it into an argumentative debate, thinking that whoever yells the most and shows more "passion" wins. Remember, emotions can easily be triggered, keep it together when given reasons for the hope of Christianity. Differing worldviews or not, they’re still a human soul created by God.