I just had an interesting conversation with my 16 year old. Valerie was telling me about a website she had visited in which a young man was giving all the reasons he considers himself an atheist. He cited verses from Leviticus that he thinks are absurd—prohibitions about eating shrimp and instruction to stone homosexuals. In the end, he stated that he believes God is a man-made concept.
My daughter commented on his viewpoints, to which he replied defensively. This is the conclusion she came to: though her desire is to engage in an exchange that would ultimately and ideally end in his being convinced of the truth of God, it is pointless to argue. Pretty mature conclusion, I think. “Nothing I say will convince him, and nothing he says will convince me.” She’s right.
So how are we—who believe in a God who loved us enough to take on the human form in order to restore us to his image—to convey this to those who don’t believe? Logic and experience tell us arguments don’t work. History confirms that legislated belief is no belief at all. “The Bible tells me so” only makes a difference if there is a mutually-agreed-upon premise that the Bible is true.
Still, Jesus did say we are to be witnesses. Exactly—witnesses. In a courtroom, a witness gives an account of what he has seen or experienced. He does not have to feel pressured to prove anything or declare judgment. He is neither judge nor jury. He just gives a true account from his perspective. Jesus never told us to convince people, provide indisputable proof, or argue his existence. He just said, “You shall be my witnesses.”
That I can do!