In our Rapid Response series, we tackle common concerns about (and objections to) the Christian worldview by providing short, conversational responses. These posts are designed to model what our answers might look like in a one-on-one setting, while talking to a friend or family member. Imagine if someone made the following claim: “How can you know for sure that Christianity is true? Granted, you feel good about your Christianity, and that’s great; but there are so many other faith alternatives. How do you know that maybe something else isn’t true?” How would you respond to such an objection? Here is a conversational example of how I recently replied:
“I understand the question, for sure. People who know I investigated Christianity evidentially before becoming a Christian sometimes ask me, ‘Hey, did you do the same investigation with Islam? Or did you do it with some other religions? How do you know? Why did you stop? I mean, if you haven’t examined every single possible claim about God, how could you know this one’s true?’
When you first hear that kind of an objection, it seems rhetorically powerful. But if you really think it through, it’s unreasonable. Let me give you example. I investigate criminal cases – murders. Let’s say I’m investigating a case where the suspect is described as a white male of about six feet high. As I examine a few suspects, I discover that all the evidence points to one particular person.
How reasonable would it be for me to stop and say, ‘You know what? I’ve got 40 pieces of evidence that all point to this guy. I’ve got his fingerprints at the scene. I’ve got his DNA. I’ve got witnesses. But, you know, there are still another two million white males of that height in my county, so I better get busy and start investigating all those other potential suspects as well!’ I’d be silly to do that. The first suspect I identified is clearly the best inference because all the evidence points to him. So, it would be reasonable for me to stop right there, and when we get to trial, I wouldn’t expect the defense attorney to say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client can’t be guilty of this crime – no matter how much evidence points to him – because the detectives didn’t investigate the other two million guys who have a similar appearance.’
In the end, the real questions are simple: Do I have enough evidence to reasonably infer that this is the correct suspect? Is it reasonable now to stop the investigation based on this overwhelming evidence?
This approach also applies to Christianity. If the evidence is overwhelming, and it points to the truth of Christianity and the reliability of the gospels, it doesn’t make sense to say, ‘Well, I can’t trust what I’ve discovered until I examine every other possible religion.’ Again, if the evidence is strong, we’re done.”
If the evidence is overwhelming, it doesn’t make sense to say, ‘Well, I can’t trust what I’ve discovered until I examine every other possible religion.’
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This brief answer was modified from my interview with Bobby Conway. To learn more and watch many other short answers to difficult questions, please visit the One-Minute Apologist website
For more information about the nature of Biblical faith and a strategy for communicating the truth of Christianity, please read Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. This book teaches readers four reasonable, evidential characteristics of Christianity and provides a strategy for sharing Christianity with others. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Forensic Faith DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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