How well do you respond when your faith is challenged?
In a world where anti-Christian slogans and comebacks can keep us quiet, we need to learn how to stand up for ourselves and speak up for our truth in a thoughtful and impactful manner.
Dr. Copan responds to this question about relativism: Do relativists say that Christians can’t truly know anything?
“Relativists will tend to say that, we’re going into kind of skepticism, where they’re making a knowledge claim saying, ‘You cannot know’ or basically, ‘We know that we can’t know,’ which again ends up being self-contradictory. A lot of people don’t realize that when they reject truth, they’re affirming the truth.”
We are designed to seek out truth and knowledge, Dr. Copan adds. It is at the core of how God created us.
“We are creatures who have been made in the image of God, who have been made with rational capacities to seek after the truth, to be able to know things. When we reject the very image of God that has made us; that enables us to be truth-seeking beings, that enables us to be knowing beings, we are actually undermining something at the very core of our being as humans. It undermines our very humanity to reject truth and knowledge.”
While engaging in conversation with nonbelievers about our belief in God, we might hear the statement, ‘You can’t know that there is a God.’ Dr. Copan suggests a helpful way to respond:
“I would just simply say, ‘Well maybe you don’t know, but how do you know that I don’t know? It just seems that you’re making a sweeping claim about knowledge, and I want to know how you can justify that sort of a claim?’”
As Christians, you don’t have to bear the burden of proof. Instead, we need to ask the same questions back to the person who is making the claim, and they ought to justify it. In this case, we could say, ‘How do you know that you can’t know?’
Dr. Copan gives another example of a potential anti-Christian conversation, with advice on how to respond with an important question:
“The person might say, ‘Well the arguments for God’s existence don’t work.’ You can say, ‘Maybe the arguments for God’s existence don’t work, but that doesn’t mean that maybe a person can’t have personal insight into God’s existence… How do you know that I can’t have an experience with God, even if you haven’t?’
It’s more effective to ask direct questions to our skeptic or seeking friends, rather than to continuously argue with them in a cutting manner.
“To rule it out utterly, that’s making quite a sweeping claim. We can of course talk about arguments for God’s existence and so forth, but for a person to say, ‘You can’t know…’ I’d want to know how he knows that.”