Christians can counter materialistic beliefs by three separate approaches: 1) immaterial opposites, 2) historical narratives and 3) absolute scientific laws. Your strategy here is given as dialogue to make it simple to understand and easy to implement. This week we tackle the immaterial opposites, next week the second and third ones.
Here are some possible materialist statements: “I only believe in what I can see.” “My five senses tell me all I need to and can know.” “There is no supernatural; only the material world exists.” “Faith in something you can’t see is foolish.” (There are many variations of these statements, but you get the idea.)
Me: “You only believe in things you can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste, so then do you believe in darkness?”
Me: “There is no such thing as darkness. You can’t sense it in any way. Darkness is the absence of light, but it does not exist by itself. How about the wind? Do you believe in the wind?”
Them: “Of course.”
Me: “The wind itself can’t be seen; only its effect. Do you believe in cold? Cold is the absence of heat and can only be defined by the presence of heat.”
Them: Many possible responses.
Me: “How about good and evil? Neither one can be measured or sensed, but we know them when we see them.”
I: Many possible responses. At some point in this dialogue the Inquirer is going to stop you and ask, “Where are you going with this?” or “You are frustrating me.” So, when they ask, we put the pieces together.
Me: “You do believe in many things you can’t sense. Darkness and cold are opposites of things we can measure. We observe the effect of wind, and we can measure it, but we don’t see it. Evil is the absence of good, but what’s the source of good? How do we know what’s right or wrong? What is a conscience? Is morality somehow inside of people?”
“Your child has just done something wrong, and you confront them. Immediately they look guilty but lie to escape punishment. The Family Circus cartoon depicts this behavior with the semi-invisible character “Not Me.” If you deal with children, you know all about “Not Me.”
I: At this point, it’s important to get them to agree to the principles of good and evil.
Me: “Since you believe in the concept of evil, you also must accept the necessity of justice, because bad behavior deserves punishment. As a materialist you believe anyone’s behavior is just the response of the chemistry and electricity in your brain, but what is the source of those moral ideas? Good and evil is another immaterial concept you know and accept.”
Immaterial opposites show that you believe in more than you can sense, but there are two more ways you also go beyond your senses, historical narratives and absolute scientific laws.,
Summary: Even the staunchest materialist has to accept many intangible things that can be defined but not detected or measured. Immaterial opposites are the first of the three flaws in a materialist’s beliefs. Next week we’ll discuss the other two, historical narratives and absolute scientific laws.
My book: ANSWERS For “The Hope That Is In You.” contains these answers. My personal evangelism strategy is in my book “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer!”
My third book, “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s DEAD!” is currently in the final editing process and will be published later this year. http://yourchristiananswers.com
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