After gaining your composure, you realize your friend is likely color blind and unable to see the difference between orange and green. To him this orb in your hand is green and nothing you say is going to change that “fact”.
He insists that the burden of proof is on you. In order for him to believe that this orange is actually orange you will have to prove it. Secondly, he insists that only six colors exist and every other “color” is just a myth created by the greedy tyrants at Crayola. Lastly, he cares little about what others believe on the issue—he won’t believe it until he sees it with his own eyes.
Apart from the discovery of a cure for color blindness you’ll never win this debate. But what has actually been proven in this debate?
By your inability to win the debate your friend has not disproven that oranges are actually orange. Nor has he shown that oranges are actually green. All that has really happened is that we’ve shown that a fruit that is the color orange cannot and does not exist in your friends view of the world.
When Christians Lose the Debate
The above scenario is played out in lunch rooms every day, but over things far more significant than the color of an orange. There are those who insist that the Bible is a bunch of fairy tales and that God does not exist.
Just as the color-blind dude in the above scenario insisted that the burden of proof was upon you, so also unbelievers insist that we must prove that God exists in order for them to believe. They will say things like “if something is true then it must be scientifically proven” even though such a statement itself cannot be scientifically proven.
Furthermore, they will set the rules and standards for the debate. Things that are supernatural must be considered mythological. If they cannot be scientifically proven then they cannot be counted as evidence. They must be seen and observable over time in order to actually be considered true.
Christians will never win this debate.
But again losing this debate hasn’t really proven anything. Concerning the Bible, James White is correct when he says:
…the testing of Scripture’s claims on the basis of a foreign standard, context, or worldview usually lies behind allegations of error.
If you impose a Western or atheistic standard, context, or worldview on the Bible and it doesn’t pass the muster it doesn’t prove that the Bible is false. You’ve just proven that the Bible isn’t Western and it isn’t compatible with an atheistic worldview.
We’ve got to come to grips with the fact that what must happen to the color-blinded man must happen to the unbelieving mind. The leopard cannot change his spots and an unbeliever cannot be won to the Lord through his atheistic worldview. If the leopards spots will change the Lord must do work.
God must change the heart and the mind of the unbeliever. That is the only hope. And the means that he uses is His powerful Word. And so let us whole-heartedly and confidently proclaim that which is of first importance—the worldview-shattering and life-shaping gospel of Jesus Christ.