What will your answer be?

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Peter 3:15.

If someone comes up to you and asks you “Why do you believe in God”, this question is an ordinary one for the one who exercises apologetics (defending faith by reason) or is just accustomed to defending his/her faith in front of believers or non-believers. Most of us might say, “Ah! Well no worries, I know I believe in God. It’s normal. I can defend it easily!” But when that day comes only a few will be able to proclaim the reason for their belief in the Lord.

Let’s check out the usuals:

“Well, you know I believe in God because, yea, it’s normal… I don’t know. What do you want me to say?” BAM! You lost. It’s the worst answer one can ever give.

“Well, I believe in God because many do, my parents, my friends. I was brought up in the church.” BAM! Wrong answer! If you were talking to an atheist, be sure that he’ll make fun of you for the rest of your days. And if the one facing you was a believer searching for some answers, then you surely gave him the wrong answer, so he needs to go somewhere else to find it.

“Well, I believe in God because He died for me.” If the guy in front of you is lost and is searching for an answer, I must admit that this is not bad. But if that person is a seasoned atheist and knows how to defend his territory, then BAM! Wrong answer! Many people in history died for others, just count those who died to defend an ideology, or just sacrificed themselves so that others may live.

It’s not an easy question after all, well at least not as easy as we thought at the beginning. And yet this is one of the simplest questions that you can be faced with. Let’s not even go about how to defend the divinity of Christ.

We live in a world where science is gathering much speed, and people are more attracted to scientific truth than to the Truth. And if we don’t compensate by reading and studying the Bible we can fall in it as well. It’s so easy to go astray.

Lately, somebody posed this question to me and my friends: “If God is perfect then how could he create something imperfect?” I considered it a fairly easy question, but my friend who is a believer said, “I don’t have an answer”. The guy was happy with his argument which obviously did work until I gave him one argument that may not have been that strong but one that could hold ground for some time. “The world was perfect in the beginning and God looked at what he had done and all of it was very good until Man disobeyed God. It was against God’s will for mankind to be separated from its creator. But God didn’t want us to be puppets he could play with. He gave us free will, providing us with a choice. You always have a choice.”

As Peter commands, we must always be ready to defend our faith. I believe studying apologetics is a great way of developing your faith and continuing the daily struggle with the outside world. Questions like “Why is there evil in this world? What does God have to say about this?” “How can you say Christ is divine?” ”How can you be sure of the truthfulness of the Bible?” “Why do you believe in miracles?” must be thought of to make sure you give a solid answer which might not totally disprove their question but would get them thinking.

To illustrate, one day an atheist writer came to see Martin Buber, a philosopher, with the question, “How can you prove God’s existence?” Buber remained silent. After repeating the question several times the writer became angry and just as he was about to fly down the stairs Buber stopped him, “Hold on! But can you be sure He doesn’t exist?” After 40 years, the writer writes, “I’m still an atheist, but Buber’s question haunts me everyday of my life”. It’s like Pascal’s Wager: if you believe you win it all or you don’t lose anything, but if you don’t believe then you’ve lost it all. This may not be an argument to bring someone to Christ but it has the same haunting power as the philosopher’s question.

I believe apologetics is a good key to success because you defeat your opponent with the same instrument he/she is using to convince you that what you believe is wrong.

Often seminars provide answers, but most of the time the answers don’t fit in the world that we’re living in. For instance, “Why is there suffering in the world?” Most intelligent Christians will tell you, “It’s because of sin”. That sounds logical. But let’s take a little boy suffering from heart disease or a rare kind of cancer. Can you go and say to the little kid’s face, “You know son, let me explain why this is happening to you: It’s because of sin”. I don’t know what his reaction will be, but I’ve got the feeling that the boy will tell you, “I don’t care if it is sin or not. If you’re so upset by all this, why aren’t you here trying to help me get out of this misery I am in?” We are God’s hands and feet, it’s our duty who are privileged to have and believe the Word to go and spread it to the ones that have not heard it, and not just spread it but live it. That makes all the difference.

So, at the end of the day, what will your answer be to “Why do you believe in God”? Is it going to be, “I believe because my family brought me up that way”, or “I believe in God because he gives me a reason to smile everyday, he gives purpose to my life. He has changed me from the inside, has known me from my mother’s womb, and knows the number of hair on my head. Who could ever care for me that much that he was ready to give up his own life. But he wasn’t just ready. His works reflected His words, not like any words that come from the mouth of Man. He made it happen, He is my God, and I will live for Him no matter what anyone says.”

Vahé Jébéjian