Guard the Gates Against Frivolous Doubts

I often get questions of the “What if….?” variety.  People either think up or are confronted with some alternative to the Christian Worldview and can become distraught over concerns that it might be true.

This seems like a bit of an overreaction.

Let me explain.  Walls will typically be built around fortifications in order to funnel any attempts to enter through some sort of gate or doorway.  Think of a castle with walls that direct any attempts to enter through a main gate.

The walls are in place so that the defenders only needed to focus their defense on one area.  They don’t field attacks from all areas, but (hopefully) only have to concern themselves with attacks at the weak point, the gate.

In the same way, we shouldn’t consider doubts from just any avenue.  We should have some sort of threshold that a critique has to meet in order to be considered seriously.  My own criteria is justification.  There has to be SOME reason to think that the critique may be true.  The mere ability to think up an objection does not make the objection plausible.

So if someone wants to suggest that the Bible was invented in order to control people.  Ok…why should we think this is true?  Is there any positive evidence that this is what actually happened?

What if we don’t really have souls or free will at all, and we only believe because our biology pre-determines us to believe?  Ok…why should we think this is true?  Is there any reason to think that my experience of having a self and having free will is false?

I could go on.  I get all sorts of questions or challenges like these, and in general they can be dismissed out of hand.  If the person posing the challenge has no reason for thinking it is true, then you’ve got no reason for taking the challenge seriously.

Watch out for people who merely further explain their claim instead of providing actual reasons for thinking this is true.  You might respond, “Ok, I understand what your claim is, I’m not asking you to further explain what you are claiming, I’m asking why you think this claim is true?”

Matt Bilyeu
Chapter Director, Reasonable Faith
Master of Arts in Apologetics, Luther Rice University