Listening to opposing sides

I find it difficult sometimes to listen to those opposing Christianity. I was taught not to read or listen to people who critique our faith, but learning more and more about apologetics I found I would actually have to do the opposite.

Has anyone ever had to deal with the fear/concern in reading books or listening to talks of those who oppse Christ?

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Hi, @Luna! I’m curious to know where your fear lies? I haven’t been necessarily afraid to listen to/read other viewpoints, but I have experienced fear of personally engaging with them. My fear is basically of appearing stupid. So since I don’t know everything about a topic, I remain silent. God has really done a work on my heart in releasing me (very gradually) from the firm grip this fear holds on my tongue!

What’s your fear like?

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@KMac I guess my fear is more so in 3 areas.

One is in the way you explained where since I may not know enough about it I then shouldn’t engage. A second area is where I mentioned listening to the opposing sides. I was brought up to not even hear those sides out. I guess its the fear of “what if they’re right?”. I’ve been in that position before and it sent me into a deep depression and only a few years later did I find out about apologetics. So I guess not wanting to watch videos, read books, or listen to debates of the opposing sides come from me not wanting to know the truth to a degree.

The third thing is that my social anxiety brings about the fear of conflict so I don’t know how to deal with angry people in a mature way since I’m also passive-aggressive. In the moment I don’t think I could handle it well. I want to be able to do well in these areas and not have fear like I do about them.

If only there were mock debates/discussions done in a safe space to learn apologetics. Lol

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I don’t really have an answer for you, but I also have a fear of engaging with people on super important topics like this. But it’s not because I’m afraid they are right. I know they are not b/c I know what the Bible says. My fear is that it will appear that they are right b/c my brain stops working as soon as the discussion starts. I tend to panic and that only causes my heart to race and my brain to freeze up. I have been helped by taking the Core Module from RZIM and also this forum, but I still have a ways to go. If you haven’t taken the Core Module, I would strongly suggest that as a great starting place.

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Dear Barbara, this is exactly my fear or shall I say, the experience I have had many times. Actually almost always the things I understand about these most important topics I try to tell to others come out of my mouth in a way even I would never understand them if I heard them coming from someone else. I tell myself then I am not an apologetic and the gift of speaking is not the one that Holy Spirit gave me.

I do feel lost about it sometimes and not because I am a poor debater. Mostly because I want to share the Truth to others but am just too clumsy with words to do that properly. My fear then is that my life is not a life of a christian so people don’t see me as one and that is why my mouth speaks what my life does not show.

Hope this came out somewhat clearer than it looks. I am bad at words as you can see.:slightly_frowning_face:

@Luna You should not fear exploring other opinions. I actually found out (as many did before me) that Jesus is the Truth through that. So no fear in other world views. If you seek the Lord, you will find the truth and if you’re afraid of losing Him because you might find something more true I can tell you don’t be! He is the Truth and that is one of the foundations of the whole creation, so no worries.

Any way you turn this, seek the Truth and you will find the Lord or seek the Lord and you will find the Truth. It’s as simple as that! :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Luna

A second area is where I mentioned listening to the opposing sides. I was brought up to not even hear those sides out.

I was not brought up that way, but when I got saved I became part of a church that was like that. Don’t read the newspaper, don’t read that book, don’t listen to that person, etc. It can be really confusing.

I tend to avoid conflict also. I will listen to people and present my view. But once voices are raised and it becomes more about being heard, rather than understanding, I tend to remove myself from the situation. I have been in too many conversations where the person talking or shouting the loudest is the one who gets the final say. I’m done with that.

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I am right there with you, Bostjan Bernik. I totally understand being surprised at the clumsy words coming out of my mouth when I’m trying so hard to speak truthfully and confidently. Because it always went so poorly, I gave up trying to talk to people about my faith or anything else important. I too am a poor debater. Then it feels like I could just burst because I want so much to share truth with people! Besides taking the Core Module, I have also been helped by volunteering at a pregnancy center once a week. Other people can talk off the top of their heads and have it go well. I cannot. I have had to work on and basically memorize key points of what to say as I share truth about abortion and share the gospel. Also I try to remember that it is my job to share truth. It is God’s job to convict and convince. (By the way, your answer to Luna came out very clear!)

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Thank you for bringing this discussion to the table. It’s a great discussion. I have read all the responses and found myself relating to all of them. I haven’t necessarily had concern about reading books from opposing views but I can definitely relate the fear of talking to a person who opposes Christianinty in an angry manner. I have been in those situations where I just had to silently pray to Jesus for wisdom.
There is one particular person who would say such vile things about God it would nauseate me. I found in that particular situation that remaining silent was best. I started praying for this individual and showing extreme kindness even when they kept mocking. This was difficult as first but soon became natural (obviously because Jesus working behind the scene) and I was able to let things roll . This has turned out to be so incredibly valuable. This person has really warmed up to me. We have a great relationship now and just yesterday we were in a deep discussion about God. They were receptive and I can’t explain the joy that has brought me. I don’t always have success in my conversations. I can relate to “appearing stupid” “losing my temper” “stumbling over my words” or losing words all together and completely blowing it.
One key lesson I have learned and try my best to remember is, there is a real entity behind the opposition. That __ Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." ~Ephesians 6:12__
Let’s pray for one another :pray:

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@Luna for many years I was not able to read about other worldviews because I was not sure enough of my faith. I have been a believer for 9 years and it is only in the last two years or so, that I am now 100% sure I will never leave Jesus. Over the past two years I have been confident enough to read about other worldviews. Taking the RZIM Core Module was very helpful in helping me to get to this place.

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Very helpful Sieglinde. Thank you for sharing!

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