One of the key verses in the Bible is 1 Peter 3:15, which says, in part, “[B]e ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you….” And in three of the four Gospels, Jesus is quoted, with slight variation, as saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (emphasis mine, not God’s).
God gave us the ability to reason. Knowing this, and reading the above passages, it’s clear that we were meant not only to feel our faith, but to intellectually understand our faith. Many pastors, priests, and other Christian church leaders instead focus solely on faith, and when asked to defend their faith, their response is usually something along the lines of, “I have faith,” which amounts to nothing more than saying, “Because.” It’s as invalid a response as being asked the definition of a computer and answering, “A computer.” It just doesn’t hold up, and it certainly isn’t going to win over new believers.
Many Christian church leaders totally abstain from teaching their parishes why to believe, failing the command found in 1 Peter 3:15 and thus failing the people who come to hear them speak every Sunday. And when those people are failed in this manner, it greatly reduces the appeal of Christianity to agnostics, who would be converted much more easily if it weren’t for the intellectual absence of those Christians trying to lead them to Christ.
The same intellectualism must also be demanded of any Christian, be he pastor or layman, who is going to have an audience of any size. He better darn-well be sure he’s “ready…to give an answer to every man that asketh [him] a reason of the hope that is in” him.
Enter David Rives, who appeared in a video for Creation Today’s YouTube channel to debate Atheists’ origin story for the universe, the Big Bang. He sucked.
As a creationist myself, it pains me to see fellow creationists use bad arguments to advance our beliefs, but he did just that. Sure, he threw in some numbers here and there, numbers which seemed a bit questionable, but one of his arguments is just about the worst one you can give if you’re hoping to persuade non-Christians: it contradicts the Bible.
The Big Bang Theory “doesn’t line up with the Bible,” Rives said, “and it has a lot of problems that those scientists don’t want to tell you.” Face, meet palm.
Yeah, it’s true that the Big Bang Theory doesn’t line up with the Bible, and it’s true that it has some major holes and that it can be challenged on many grounds, including those of basic logic. But the moment you include the words “the Bible says so” in your argument, you have lost all potential converts within earshot.
I’m not prepared to take on the task, but whenever any other Christian is up to the challenge, he should be prepared to do it smartly lest he hurt the cause he’s trying to advance.