I hope you are engaged with folks to get questions like this, and that you can answer them!
“My boyfriend is an atheist and he’s making statements about how science proves the earth is really old and asking me hard questions! How do I answer his questions?”
Recently as I was standing at the back of the sanctuary waiting for the Pastor to close the service in prayer a teenage young lady made a beeline for me to ask that question.
I said to her, “I’ll answer your question on the methods used for dating the age of the earth, but can we deal with the real issue first?” She said o.k., so I asked her, “Why are you dating an atheist?”
What ensued was a very good conversation. I thought I’d share pieces with you.
Some people are probably going to be upset by this approach, but I believe we have to love people enough to be totally honest with them. I am convinced that believers should NOT date or marry a non-believer.
Yes, having answers to questions we are asked is vitally important, and I did my best to answer her questions because God commands us to do so, see 1 Peter 3:15. (By the way, the illustration that I use to answer what radio-isotope dating actually gives us is on the DVD “Q&A Live at CedarCreek”)
But, living our lives in accord with what we say we believe is just as important, if not more so. If we live inconsistent with what we say we believe then we are what so many in the world accuse Christians to be, hypocrites! And rightfully so.
I shared with this young lady that you’ll not find missionary dating or missionary marriage in the Scriptures. It’s just not there. Personally, I’m NOT a big fan of dating. But, IF you are going to date we’d better obey what God tells us in His Word.
Let me hasten to add that IF you’re a Christian and you’re already married to a non-christian this doesn’t apply to you. 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 tells you how to handle that situation. God just makes it very clear to not willingly put yourself into that position.
Now, the Bible may not say anything specifically about “dating”, but, I believe that there are 2 important points that need to be considered.
Many say these verses apply to people with different physical characteristics getting married. The only problem is that when you read the Scriptures in context that’s not what is being spoken about. Scripture is specifically addressing believers being “unequally yoked” with non-believers and it has nothing to do with “external” physical characteristics!
It’s really quite simple, in Mark 10:8 God tells His children in marriage to “become one”. “Becoming one” isn’t just physical, it also entails becoming “one” spiritually. A believer cannot become “one” spiritually with a non-believer.
God makes it very clear in Deuteronomy 7:1-4 why we are not to marry an unbeliever. 1 Corinthians 7:39 also teaches that believers should marry believers. The only purpose for “dating” would be to see if you are compatible for marriage which would mean “Christians” shouldn’t date those who aren’t potential marital partners!
Am I saying we can’t be friends with non-christians? Absolutely not! We are called to be a light in a dark world. “Dating” is a completely different relationship though.
In this case the young lady is a professing “Christian”. That being the case if she were to marry, her husband should be the spiritual head of the home. How in the world could he be a godly spiritual head as a non-believer? Don’t get me wrong, if it had been a young man that asked the question, it would still be wrong. For a young lady though they have some unique issues to contend with.
She made the comment that she liked him and wanted to help him. I shared with her that if she truly wanted to “help” him, she shouldn’t “date” him! What message do Christians send when we are willing to put ourselves into a position that our Savior doesn’t want us to be in?
I would suggest we are telling the “lost” that what we “feel” is more important than doing what God would have us to do. Again, this is hypocritical at best.
As I said, it’s very clear from the Scriptures that Christians should not be “unequally yoked” with a non-believer. The “dating” process most definitely puts Christians in the position of being “unequally yoked”.
I tried to point this out to her when she told me that he would ask her these hard questions and she was not comfortable to share what she believed because she was afraid he would get mad at her for “pushing her religion down his throat!” I told her that proved my point, she was “unequally yoked”. He didn’t have any problem jamming his “religion”, and atheism is a religion, down her throat, but she felt bad to share what she “believes”.
Maybe that’s the problem! It’s just her “belief”! The way that she said that about her beliefs has stuck with me. So much so that I went to the dictionary and looked up the definition of belief. Here it is:
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
Did you catch that, “a belief that the earth is flat.”! Really, that’s all we’ve got to hold onto is our “belief”? (By the way, that’s the definition of belief from a modern dictionary. Go look at the definition in an 1828 Dictionary and notice the differences!)
Maybe it’s time that we change our approach. I don’t want to hear about your beliefs, (modern definition), tell me what your “convictions” are! Here’s a modern definition of “conviction”:
1. a fixed or firm belief: No clever argument, no persuasive fact or theory could make a dent in his conviction in the rightness of his position.
I’m suggesting to you that until the body of Christ is “convicted” of what we say we believe we will not stand in the face of the present and coming adversity.
May I ask you to consider supporting us! We are on the road over 190 days a year in every venue you can imagine challenging believers to stand firm and to be bold as well as confronting non-believers to consider where they are going to spend eternity. We cannot do this without your support.
This young lady listened. I sincerely believe that she saw my heart and that it wasn’t to condemn or ridicule her. I am convicted that if she stays in this relationship she will be hurt.
At the end of the conversation she told me that what I had shared with her is what she had been hearing from other believers as well. Praise God! I am encouraged that others are willing to love someone enough to tell them the truth. Be that person today!