Virtual Apologetics

Hello Family,

I have recently noticed an uproar of facebook and Instagram post from persons ranting and mocking Jesus and the character of God. My island is predominantly a Christian nation and before there was a fear of God on the nation (believers and non believers alike). The younger generation has now adapted the new age and atheistic persuasion and are becoming much more bold and a bit disrespectful with the comments and arguments online.

I unfriended a few persons , but feel that is me running from the line of fire or just avoiding it because its not my problem.

There has been instances where I had to literally fast from social media because the urge to comment and defend the faith was becoming overwhelming. I did not want my responses to be out of emotion and knew these people had no intention of having a conversation , but were completely prepared to prolong a heated argument. The post I came across this morning is as follows.


I just posted the above conversation to show the conversation that a regularly held. My country is a small one and most persons connect through social media.

I am seeking advise if it is wise to try to justify or even enter these conversation online. The intent and message may be lost from behind a screen rather than having a face to face conversation and don’t want things to get lost in translation. Also will I be giving into the trap to start an argument with them.

The scriptures I went to in this regard are :

Proverbs : 26 verses 4 to 6 ( NLT)

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.
Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation. Trusting a fool to convey a message is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!

2 Timothy 2 verses 23 to 24 ( NIV )

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

Does anyone struggle with this or has overcame this situation that is able to shed some light on this matter. I want to be a responsible witness and know when and where to respond to certain things.

Thanks Much !

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Alisha,

For me, the Proverbs verse, which has general application, versus the Timothy verse, which I believe refers to us not getting into needless arguments inside the church body, is the best fit. Answering foolish talk of people that aren’t really seeking an answer but simply want to vent their feelings, especially through a medium not made for deep, personal conversations, wouldn’t be wise. I’ve observed believers being drawn into these threads and they commonly end up enraging and distancing the people on the other side of the argument. I’ve never observed anyone actually changing their mind through a thread post.

Your righteous indignation is a credit to you and exhibits your love of God. But, selecting how and when to respond can be critical, if you want to elicit change.

Something the Lord showed me years ago that I try to adhere to is the ITT method (my name for it). I try to think about these issues in the pattern of:

1- Intention - what is my intention in engaging in the conversation? God is about reconciling all things to Himself and that is my #1 job as His agent. If my goal is to win an argument and not the person then I have the wrong target in place to start with. And, any reconciliation initiative should start with us making sure the beam is out of our eye before we look to take the speck out of another’s (not saying you have one to take out, sister! Just a general statement).

2- Timing - when is the best time to have a particular conversation? We are told to always be ready to make a response to defend our faith. But, I believe that applies to people engaging us. When it comes to us engaging others, when we can be selective and pick a time and place that might be advantageous to them listening, we’ll probably have better success.

3- Tone - how we talk to someone is, probably more important even than what we say. As an example, I was eating with my family at a cafe on a market square at a college campus and a street preacher set up and started shouting “you’re a sinner and sinners go to hell! Turn or burn!!!” Although I didn’t disagree with what he was saying, how he said it made people angry, not convicted of sin, and I believe he hardened people against the faith while winning no converts.

If we’re going to be like Him, then we need to be long suffering, patient and merciful. God is not mocked by words of foolish men - His glory is true, regardless of any words spoken by any created being.

Having said that, you did say that your island has a tight social network. If your heart is burning to share the truth, maybe you can identify some from the thread and engage them in person? I expect such would generate much better results than a running argument through social media.

Hope this helps, sister! God bless…

Kevin

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Hi @A.Sheppard268,

If you enter into this conversation, I think you need to have a support system in place (such as RZIM Connect :slight_smile: and your local church) to remain incredibly humble, kind, and gentle. That contrast is essential. Also, you need to have the time and energy to engage with lots of false statements and a wide variety of arguments with clarity and truth. You will probably be outmatched 50:1 so having some backup elsewhere will be essential.

Here is a story to encourage you of what can happen with faithful witness in online communities that are hostile to Christianity:

A few quotes to whet your appetite:

And we started criticising it and generally laying into him. And then one day, lo and behold, David Robertson himself appeared in the discussion, defending the points that he made in his book and answering the questions and criticisms that had been made against him.

Now then if you have heard that Richard Dawkins himself has been called “Darwin’s Rottweiler”, I can assure you that David Robertson is “God’s Scottish Terrier”, because once he gets his teeth in, he hangs on. He does not let go!

I don’t know how many hours he must have spent just replying, very calmly and politely, to people who were issuing, sending out the most vile insults and criticisms. He just kept coming back and coming back, occasionally with a few words of Scripture thrown into his general discourse. But he just kept coming back and I thought – my initial reaction was, “What is wrong with this guy?” I even published a post myself saying, “What is he doing here? What is he trying to expect…I’ll say that sentence again, “Why does he keep coming back?” What kind of result does he expect?” And of course the more experienced posters on the forum said, “Oh, it is just another Christian attention seeker”.

I realised that the members of the discussion board would mock him and make fun of him and generally take advantage of the situation to prove and show how all religious belief is deluded. And of course, they did. But a few of them went as far as to say, “What a pity he failed in his suicide attempt”. They said they would have preferred him to die. I just could not believe my eyes when I saw that. How could any civilised person say they want to see somebody die? And so I posted a protestation. And in reply, one of the most intelligent members of this discussion board just quoted a few of my words and wrote after it, “LOL” – Laughing out Loud. Just laughing at my protestation, my appeal to some form of humanity. And at that point I really began thinking, “Do I want to really be amongst these people?”

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Thank you guys for your comments and information :blush: Really appreciate it.

@kumquat The ITT method was super insightful and will definitely be using this to help me filter through my urges to respond to online posts. I especially loved the section TIMING where you mentioned selecting a time best suitable for engaging persons ( Never really thought about that ). Will be in much prayer and depend on the spirit to lead me to speak with these persons individually rather than public posts on a thread. He will direct according to his Will so that I dont do things out of wrong motives.

@CarsonWeitnauer I agree about having a support system and backup. That is why I am so happy I have RZIM Connect and my church , but to be honest I don’t feel led to enter this conversation after speaking with you guys. I just probably wanted to be Jesus’s mouthpiece lol :smile: and defend his honor, but as John said His glory is true, regardless of any words spoken by any created being.

The transcript you shared Carson is thought provoking and I dont think I have that kind of time on my hands. I could be using it to help someone else who actually wants to be helped. As we are moving into the technological generation just have to be wiser and more sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit when selecting conversations.

Grace and Peace :+1:t5::blush:

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Hey Alisha
I have had a few of those types of conversations, also. I think it is easy here to get sucked in to a place that really ends up being unprofitable to all involved once it steps over the line of scepticism to outright insults. We want people so desperately to know Him that we continue to engage and engage over and over again. If I can give you a bit of freedom here - Jesus never argued over and over again with others nor did He ever beg anyone to follow Him. He simply said, “Follow Me”. On multiple occasions, He just said the truth as it has been laid out by Him and left it at that. Never once was He stressed over someone following Him except maybe in Matthew 23 or possibly a couple other places where a “woe” was issued with a warning for judgement like Matthew 11:21, Luke 10:13. But again, is was a pleading rather than an on-going, back and forth argument. Eventually, as difficult as it sounds because we don’t have the wisdom to possibly discern this, but Jesus also said, " do not throw your pearls before swine" meaning do not waste the gospel truths on people who cannot appreciate them or at the very least, respect them even if they are not in agreement. Look for the receptive seekers. They will hear what He has to say through you. Hope this helps. Blessings
Jason

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@jrarourke Thank you so much for your advice and the scripture references. I have unfriended some of the persons to at least take back control of what I see on my social media . I need to develop strength in this area and want to protect my pearls and make wise choices with the Gospel.

:relaxed: Have a Blessed Day !

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Hi Alisha
Even the Apostle Paul mentioned in scripture some people that were against him and trying to hurt him. I cannot remember where at the moment but it is usually found near the end of his letters. You are a vessel, a conduit. We cannot soften hearts, open eyes and ears, nor the minds of people so hardened. Remain true to the call to be kind and respectful, as you are, and always remember it it the Lord that changes the hearts. Be blessed
Jason

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