ANSWERING TOUGH QUESTIONS
I. What about the other religions of the world?
People often ask, "Won’t God accept people who are sincerely seeking Him even when they refuse to believe in Jesus? How can all these people be wrong?" These questions are another way of asking, "How can Jesus be the only way to God?" Again, you must point people to what Jesus said concerning the way to the Father (John 14:6) (John 10:7-9). Then address the misconceptions concerning other religions. There are two basic misconceptions that must be explained.
First, most people have very little idea what these other religions teach, and therefore cannot make a real comparison. Most people believe that all religions are the same with only differences in God’s name. They say, "You call God Jesus, but I call him Allah or Krishna." Therefore, most people believe that all religions are like different favors of ice cream (slightly different but the same substance). However, this is not true. To answer this question you must be able to explain what the differences are between religions and how these affect a person’s relationship with God. How would you do this?
A. Explain the differences between who Christ claimed to be and what other religions teach about Him. He claimed to be God come in the flesh of a man (John 8:24) (John 10:30). The people who heard Jesus understood that He claimed to be God (John 10:31-33). John believed and taught that Jesus was God (John 1:1). However, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was Michael the Archangel. Christian Science teaches that Jesus was a prophet and great teacher. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is one of many gods (one of the spirit children of Elohim). Eastern Mysticism teaches that Jesus is one of the great masters, an expression of divinity. Unity teaches that Jesus is the perfect man idea existing in every individual.
Therefore, you must explain that these beliefs concerning Jesus can’t all be true. Only one belief is correct. You could illustrate this by explaining that you can’t believe that Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States and others believe that he was the King of England, and still others believe he was a perfect man idea. Obviously, someone must to be wrong. Likewise, these contradictory beliefs concerning Christ can’t all be true. Jesus made it clear that if anyone chose not to believe that He was and is the great I AM they would die in their sins (John 8:24). Therefore, stress that it is very important what a person believes concerning Christ.
B. Next, explain the differences between the teachings concerning salvation in these false religions and Scripture. Jesus taught that a person could be forgiven and saved from condemnation and eternal separation from God by simply believing in Him (John 3:16) (Luke 7:50). All other religions teach a complicated system of works to obtain salvation. The best way to illustrate these differences is to describe our spiritual condition as a drowning man. The difference is that Jesus gives men a life preserver and all other religions give swimming instructions. Then ask the person you are sharing with, which would he prefer if he were drowning?
The second misconception is that the sincerity of a person somehow can make what is false - true, or what is evil - good in relation to God. Sincerity has no effect upon the truth or error of a belief. Someone may be very sincere, yet at the same time be sincerely wrong. Here are some examples that you might use to illustrate this point.
A. Hitler sincerely believed that the Arian race was superior to all others and that the Jews must be destroyed to save the world. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong.
B. People sincerely worshipped the god Baal in the land of Israel during the time of the first temple. The people believed that child sacrifice was necessary to placate their god. However, the God of the Bible declared this was a terrible evil and a great abomination (Deut. 12:29-32). These people were sincere, but sincerely wrong.
C. Some people may sincerely believe that gravity doesn't exist and would attempt to leap off a building and fly. They may be sincere in their belief, but sincerely wrong.
The truth of any belief is what is important; not how sincere you believe it.
II. If I’m a good person, won’t God accept me?
Often when you speak with people they will claim their goodness and morality as a reason why God should accept them. How should you respond to this line of reasoning?
First, you must admit that there are a lot of people who do good things for others and display a level of morality. However, you must explain that there is a big difference between morality and righteousness. Righteousness is defined and revealed by our "Righteous Father" in heaven or seen in His Son "Jesus Christ the righteous" (John 17:25) (1 John 2:1). To become righteous before God means that you are innocent or faultless in His sight. Man may look moral when compared with other men, but when compared with Christ, all men fall perilously short. This is why Paul states, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). No matter how moral any person might be he or she has fallen short of the perfect mark of God’s righteousness. This is why in the next verse Paul declares that we have been "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). The only way anyone can stand in the presence of a righteous God is to be forgiven and declared righteous by faith in God’s work in Christ (Phil. 3:9). We are only accepted "in the Beloved" because we believe in the righteous work that He did (Eph. 1:6).
III. Isn't Christianity just a crutch that meets a person’s psychological need?
Individuals that ask this question are trying to convince you that you are a weak person psychologically and somehow you are making yourself believe that there is a God when in reality there is not. It is important to remember that the psychologist Sigmond Freud taught that anyone who believed in God was neurotic and needed psychological help. His teaching is the source of this question. How should you respond?
First, explain that man is made up of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). The real you is a spirit (2 Tim. 4:22) (1 Cor. 6:20). Your soul is reflected in your personality, your emotions, and your will (Heb. 4:12) (Mark 14:34). The Bible declares that before you came to Christ your spirit was dead because of your sins (Eph. 2:1). Paul also declared that those who live in the pleasures of immorality were spiritually dead while they physically lived (1 Tim. 5:6). Therefore, people are alive in body and soul before coming to Christ, but they are spiritually dead being alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:18).
After explaining these truths then share your personal testimony of how you were dead and searching for real life. Declare how you realized that you were incomplete without your spirit alive. You were two-thirds of a person until you received Christ. I wouldn't call Jesus a crutch to help you walk and live. I’d describe Him a whole new life given to complete you as a person. Those who use crutches are still wounded and broken.
Then turn the concept of a crutch around and address their possible crutches. Explain that those who use alcohol or drugs, those who use people sexually, those who live to obtain material things are all seeking to use a crutch to fill the emptiness within their lives. Jesus isn't a temporary crutch; He is the answer that all mankind is seeking.
IV. Doesn't science contradict the Bible?
First, it is important to explain that you must do your homework if you will attempt to discuss issues concerning science and the Bible. This is essential lest you speak about issues incorrectly or you misrepresent Scripture. To better prepare yourself for these questions I would suggest reading books such as: The Genesis Record by Henry Morris, Science and the Bible by Henry Morris, Evolution the Fossils say No by Dwayne Gish. These resources will give you a good overview of the subject and plenty of facts and Scripture that you can use.
Paul warned Timothy, "Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge" (1 Tim. 6:20). There are several fields of knowledge today that profess to have science behind their findings and knowledge on a subject. The falsity of these claims is evident simply because they contradict the teachings of Scripture. Yet, we must admit that there are many great and wondrous discoveries that modern science has given us, however, when science tries to explain the origin of man apart from the God who created all things, many foolish explanations arise.
I believe it is important to remind people that in times past science has proclaimed things as fact which later were revealed to be false. Theories such as the sun rotating around the earth or that the world was flat or that if ships would venture too far out to sea they would fall off the edge of the world. Compare these scientific beliefs with the fact that the Bible has clearly described our globe as early as 700 years before Christ as "the circle of the earth" (Is. 40:22). Jesus also spoke of a day when He would return and one person would be in bed asleep and another would be at work in the field. This statement clearly revealed that Jesus understood the fact that the earth was round which would explain why one part of the earth would be in darkness (people asleep in bed) the other would have day (people working in the field) (Luke 17:34-36).
Therefore, remind people that science has been wrong in the past. Encourage people to study all the evidence and then make a decision. Remind them that if Jesus knew that the earth was round in 32 AD, shouldn't they listen to His insight and knowledge concerning man’s spiritual need? He spoke of the reality of heaven and hell, of the forgiveness He wanted to give, and the way of salvation. Encourage people to seriously consider His wisdom. Their eternal destiny will depend on it.
I leave you with these wise words:
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Tim. 4:1-5).