rebelling against low expectations

How do I represent God in hostile online environments?


STEPHAN WRITES: I’ve recently been participating in a lot of online communities that many atheists and anti-God individuals populate. What is a good way to better represent God to people who lash out against Christians in their comments? I know how to do it in a personal setting, but most of the people want scientific evidence that God exists, which I’m not familiar with since I’m still in high school.

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    • First, I will NEVER and I repeat NEVER give up my faith (I already went down that road and I never want to again). So nothing to worry about there (if I ever do God will do the same for me that He did last time to bring me back to Him). And good article btw I am not a “girl” so I never would of found it (because I don’t go do things like that).

    • Yeah I know about AiG. And I have brought that site up several times but apparently AiG is “not a credible source” in the scientific community. And they most likely don’t even look up those links. Thanks anyway.

          • I really like Jesse, but I think, if you’ll count it, I’m just gonna have to say the entire Eagle’s Nest gang. But I also like Dr. Park. It’s so hard to choose just one!!! πŸ™

          • We used to listen to Jonathan Park, they were quite interesting. We have a lot of the albums, eight I think. Although, I never understood why older Jonathan had a higher pitched voice than younger Jonathan.

          • Hmmm, I thought that the younger Jonathan had a higher pitched voice then the older one. I don’t really remember. I’ll have to go back and re-listen to them.

  • I’ve had that happen before and I was pretty stinking mad at the person who was (rather rudely) challenging everything I believe in. (He was also deliberately ignoring simple scientific laws that would have helped me make my point, so yeah, I was a little put out) That being said, sometimes the only thing you can do is, walk away.
    I know it’s hard and we don’t really like to do it.
    But you have to realize, those people don’t care. Nothing you say is going to convince them. They’ll completely ignore sound reason, because they want to keep on being comfortable in their beliefs.

    It’s tough out there. I’ll be praying for you, Stephan!

  • 1. Recently there was an article on here about online conversations…
    2. Be discerning. Some people may be truly seeking, but many of them are not. In those cases, when the conversation is not going anywhere or being profitable, you need to walk away (like Liana said below).
    3. Ask them why they don’t believe in God. Sometimes, as in the case of a friend of mine, it’s not about the intellectual evidence but something personal.
    4. Don’t take it personally. Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. He is offensive to those who do not believe. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me (Jesus) before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” -John 15:18-19
    5. However, don’t be a cause of offense yourself. You are going to get nasty things said to you if you choose to comment in these places. But “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murder, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” – 1 Peter 4:15-16
    6. Let them know you’re a real person. It’s OK not to always have a snap answer; if you did that would turn some people off. If you don’t know, say so! And let them know you will look into it and get back to them. That being said, Answers in Genesis has a lot of great stuff (scroll down on the page to see the different topic headings)…
    Hope this helps! ~Anna

    • Thanks Anna. Awesome points. Although as I said to Guitar with Arms many evolutionists completely reject AiG’s credibility and validity. I will keep that in mind. In Christ alone.

      • Re AiG…yeah that is a tough one. However, if you look under the “Worldview” section, it can give you some of the basics for engaging with these people. You can find the same information other places if the source (AiG) is the problem but I suggest you take a look at this stuff. It’s not specifically about creationism (mostly) but apologetics in general. This is the more specific link for that section… Someone else mentioned Lee Strobel’s books and those are very good too. πŸ™‚ Get the normal versions NOT the teen ones. ~Anna

  • Hey guys. I recently borrowed your book “Do Hard Things”, and it really caught my attention. I want to change the world and I want to make a difference. I’m homeschooled and there’s not too much in my life to stand up against. How do I change the world? Ideas?

    • Actually, this is a super common question around here. Go back in the Discussion Questions and you’ll find one almost identical to yours. Really, the big thing is starting with little things. “If you are faithful with little, then you can be faithful with much” type of idea. Starting with the ‘little things’ such as respect, honoring your parents and stuff with give the the launch pad to change the world. Welcome to the Rebelution and hope this is helpful! πŸ™‚

    • Hey McKaylee! Liana gave you some great advice below. I just wanted to welcome you to theReb community πŸ™‚ I think you’ll find some great answers to your question if you poke around a bit πŸ˜‰

    • Welcome! I’ve been a part of the Reb for about six months now, and it’s awesome! Reading “Start Here” might also be a good idea to learn more about practically living as a rebolutionary.

        • Start here is the “sequel” of Do Hard Things πŸ™‚ It is a little harder to find at the library since it is newer, unfortunately. I know Amazon has it to order or possibly get an E-book or Kindle version if that’s easier.

      • Alright great! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely looks for that book. Also Ive been needing some prayer for school. Math has really been a struggle for me recently. My grades in math are D’s and C’s. If anyone could pray for that it’d be great. Thanks again!

        • Psst–you should check out a little site that a bunch of us Rebelutionaries are on called πŸ™‚ We have a prayer request section and a lot of other fun stuff, and people there will definitely have more advice about doing hard things in everyday life πŸ˜€

  • Hey, Stephan! Anna G. covered this DQ really well, but I wanted to give you a link to a website (the organization is called Reasons For Hope) that has some great, short videos about the existence of God, Creation v. Evolution, and that sort of thing. It’s a great resource. Here’s the link . You can view the videos on youtube as well. If you check them out, I hope you find them helpful! πŸ™‚

  • My youth group is just finishing up, Not Enough Faith to be an Atheist. It was so good and it offers things that Evolutionists can’t really refute. It doesn’t use things from the Bible either so that people can’t say that we’re taking evidence from a “work of fiction”. It’s just working on showing that there is a God, whether it be Allah or our God or the god of the Jews, there is a God.

  • I also just remembered, I completed a philosophy course the other day all about different world views and defending your faith. The textbook we used was Making Sense of Your World by John Stonestreet. It’s super helpful and informative. So, if you are interested, I would look that up as well as Summit ministries. It might be a helpful resource.

    • I’m pretty sure Stonestreet was one of the guys I heard speak at a homeschool conference last year. If it was the same guy, I’m sure the course is good πŸ™‚

    • Ooh, Summit ministries is great. I’m taking a bible/worldview class based on some of their curriculum, and although it’s quite biased towards Christianity (it is a Christian resource after all) it does a great job explaining the core beliefs of the 6 most common worldviews today.

  • While the effort and motivation is good to try and engage the lost, I found that trying to discuss spiritual things with the spiritually dead is a near impossible task. Unless God has been working in the heart of that person, it seems to be reduced to angry and venomous attacks on Christ. I found them to be abusive of Christ. If it gets too volatile in conversation, wish them well and stop the conversation. I will leave these few scriptures for you that helped me.

    1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

    John 7:16-18 So Jesus answered them, β€œMy teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

    Matthew 7:6 β€œDo not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

    Mark 4:10-12 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, β€œTo you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so thatβ€œthey may indeed see but not perceive,and may indeed hear but not understand,lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

    God bless your love for Him and the love for the lost.

    In Him,
    Mrs. Jean

    • Mrs. Jean,
      I am sorry for your previous bad experiences with the lost. Some people truly will do everything they can to attack christianity. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, no one is saved. However, may I point out one thing:

      Romans 5:6-8 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

      We all are sinners before we are saved. This may sound stupidly simple and obvious, but seriously, we all were sinners before Christ saved us. WE were the lost. WE were the foolish. And yet, were saved now. How are we saved? Because even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, and even while we were still sinners, someone shared the gospel with us. Unless someone just happens to find a Bible and open it up and become a Christian without the help of another person, which rarely happens, someone graciously and patiently took the time and effort and love to share the gospel with them.

      • Huh? Are you suggesting that I don’t understand that all men are born sinners and in need salvation? Of sinners, I am chief. Also, if you read the scriptures I posted, it is very clear that there are many that are not going to be saved and if we are going to be out there sharing the gospel, God’s advice is paramount.

        I love the hope that there is in Christ to give to others, but we also need to use wisdom.

        A public website open to any and all God-haters is a very dark place. I admire anybody who thinks they can do any good. But these atheists have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and so God has given them a depraved mind so as not to believe. These aren’t your typical rebellious sinners–these are those who hate any forms of righteousness.

        I think this diversity saturated society has filtered into the churches. It seems as if somebody’s behavior is out of line, we just throw them the diversity grace card. People do what they want to do and with men with seared consciences, it would be wise to let God move on their hearts through your prayers rather than risking God’s Holy Word being trampled on.

        Mrs. Jean

        • I wasn’t meaning any disrespect, nor implying that you don’t understand the gospel. I apologize if it sounded that way.

          • Olivia,

            No offense taken. I am a very straightforward person and sometimes I can seem harsh. Forgive me if I did.

            Mrs. Jean

            PS: Love your name.

  • I would recommend Lee Strobel’s books “The Case for Christ” and “The Case for Faith” (you can also get them on DVD). You might find that his arguments are helpful for you to use, or you could recommend the books.

    Other than that, keep in mind Titus 3:2 “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”

    • Yes! I love the ICR too…and the Creation Ministries Organization is another of my favorites.

  • Everyone below has listed some great apologetics resources, and I’d encourage you to check them all out! I’m in high school too, and believe me when I say you can totally learn all that stuff at a young age.

    However, I’d like to add a different point–representing Christ sometimes means stepping away. Like many people say, there’s a slim-to-zero chance of you every truly changing someone’s mind over the internet. 99.99999% of the atheists will pay no attention to any arguments you bring to the table. Just like you wouldn’t give up your faith because of something they said, they won’t give up their on account of you.

    If someone tries to start an argument, the best thing you can do in most online situations is back away. You can say something like, “I’d love to talk about this with you if you’re really curious, but I don’t want it to turn into an angry YouTube comment section debate. Send me a PM/e-mail/direct message if you want to have more discussion.”

    I’ve struggled with this so much on sites like Reddit and other forums! I know exactly where you’re at. Whenever I can, I try to show people God’s love; and sometimes that just means saying, “Sorry you feel that way about Christians; I promise we’re not all like that, and I’m sorry someone said/did that to you,” and then moving on.

  • If you need scientific evidence, any book by Lee Strobel will help. Don’t wait till you’re out of high school! πŸ™‚

  • Be thoughtful, kind, and gracious. The worst thing you can do is make everyone mad. The gospel is offensive by itself, don’t make it worse. It helps to ruthlessly edit your comments and cut anything unnecessary or wordy (Christianese is a killer).

    About content: don’t stop at creation. Show them the fall too. Tell them how God saves and how he’s coming back for his people.

    Get to the Gospel. Don’t leave them with a god who makes stuff, when you know God who loves enough to save.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’