Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Paul Copan's important book, True for You but Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith, (Bethany House Publishers).
Many Americans today don't believe in absolute truth. Instead, they simply accept the relativistic philosophy that's so popular in our culture. Christians who reach out to them too often struggle to respond successfully to their objections about the faith. But some thoughtful comments can help clear up people's confusion and pique their interest in seeking Christ themselves.
Here are some statements people commonly make when objecting to Christianity, and how you can respond:
"That's true for you, but not for me." It doesn't make sense to say that no belief is true for everyone, because by making that statement you're claiming that your own viewpoint (relativism) is universally true - and thereby contradicting yourself. And simply living life depends on belief in truth of some kind; everyone must implicitly trust that certain things exist in order to survive.
"So many people disagree - relativism must be true." Just because it's sometimes difficult to discern the truth doesn't mean that truth doesn't exist or can't be discerned. The fact that people disagree doesn't say anything about an issue's truth or falsehood. Often, people don't have full knowledge about the reality that exists.
"What right do you have to convert others to your views?" If you're trying to persuade me not to share my viewpoint, you're trying to convert me to share your own view that people shouldn't evangelize. Faith may be personal, but that doesn't mean it's private. Everyone naturally wants to share what they're passionate about with others.
"You can choose whichever religion you want." If you build your own religion simply by personal preferences rather than according to truth you seek, you're dangerously out of touch with reality. It may seem safe to create God in your own image, but it actually will end up destroying your soul.
"Who are you to impose your morality on others?" When you denounce imposing morality on others, you're taking a moral position yourself (saying it's wrong to impose moral values). You don't use moral standards only when they suit your agenda. All people intuitively recognize certain moral basics.
"We can be good without God." Goodness must have its source in a good God. If God doesn't exist and people are the product of valueless processes, why would valuable people with moral rights exist? Practical reason alone can't give people morals, help them act ethically, or give rise to human dignity.