P1 Important topics garner a serious/organized approach, not asinine banter
P2 Topics concerning God are [extremely] important
C1: We ought to hold ourselves and others to a high standard in such discussions
C2: Everyone involved in [serious] discussions about God ought to be open and honest regarding their philosophical stance and intentions.
C3: Those not willing to share their world view can justifiably be written off as juvenile antagonists with nothing better to do.
C4: Until a person decides to [be] serious, we under no obligation to take them seriously.
Main points to consider:
I. Out of love and reverence for our God, we should [never] allow our conversations with unbelievers to wax unnecessarily indignant or ridiculous (Matt 22:37).
(a) A certain amount of passion and intensity to drive a point home is warranted, but not full-blown brawling. Spirited discussion = good. Hateful exchanges = bad. Simple as that.
(b) A bit of friendly, lighthearted engagement is a good thing, but our faith in Christ is not a circus sideshow. Our goal is Evangelism via Apologetics, not entertainment.
II. We, as apologists, put a great deal of effort into our work and ought to require forum participants to be intellectually honest. We are under no obligation to entertain hateful or juvenile persons (Matt 10:14).
III. We are justified in respectfully questioning unbelievers about their stance and intentions.
1.) Questions for seekers/neutrals:
> Are you a genuine truth seeker? If so, where do you currently stand philosophically? That is, have you arrived at any conclusions regarding origins, for example?
If you are a seeker, are you doing your own research, or simply asking questions?
If you are doing your own research, what books, website, papers, etc are you reading?
Would you be willing to consider recommended resources?
2.) Questions for hard atheists and anti-theists:
Are you looking to dissuade believers? If so, would you classify yourself as a hard atheist of an anti-theist?
> If you are an anti-theist, doesn’t that mean you’re certain (self-assured) regarding God’s alleged non-existence? I mean, surely you wouldn’t try to steal anyone’s hope by instilling doubt unless you’re certain that Christianity is false, correct?
Have you given any thought to the consequences of your challenges?
> If you learned that someone turned their back on Christianity based on something you said, how would that make you feel?
Have you permanently rejected the Gospel message?
Are you 100% certain that theism in general is false?
Are you 100% certain that Christianity is false?
What do you feel is the best argument for theism/Christianity and why have your rejected it?
3.) Questions for Agnostics:
Is theism the only topic about which you are agnostic?
What are argument for theism/Christianity do you believe garners the most serious consideration and why?
Do you [want] to know the truth about God, or have you made up your mind that knowing God is impossible?
4.) Questions for those exhibiting juvenile behavior:
> Are you passively seeking to amuse yourself as a debate hobbyist? If so, do you care that you’re wasting your time and the time of those who have serious reasons for engaging in discussions about God, the meaning of life, etc.?
Is there any topic regarding religion which you take seriously? If so, what would that be?
1.) This isn’t a comprehensive/exhaustive list of questions nor did we intend to provide one. The above list is composed simply to advance the concept of taking an organized approach to Apologetics discourse.
2.) We ought to advise against rapid-firing these types of questions at any one; it can be off-putting and self-defeating. They are meant to be woven into conversations using wisdom and discernment.
NOTE: Topics are generally determined by thread headings but not always; as below.
Unbeliever: Without using the Bible, what evidence to you have for your God?
Christian: There is actually a mountain of non-biblical evidence for YHWH. What type/category of evidence would you be willing to consider and may I ask what your world view is?
Unbeliever: First, let’s see your evidence (!)
Christian: Sure, we can get to that just as soon as you give me some idea of where you stand philosophically and what type/category of argument you’re interested in to get us started. I don’t think it’s reasonable to insist that I make a blind stab in the dark with someone I don’t know.
Christian: Let’s get off to sensible start. Would you like to discuss the Resurrection, Cosmology, Teleology, etc?
Finally, try to lead discussions toward your particular area of expertise.
In Christ . . .