“It's nothing but a bunch of fables,” I might have muttered. But it would have been an evasion, and I would have known it. The truth, of course, is that I couldn’t be bothered to read the Bible until I was in my late 40s. A question of this sort might have made me realize that I’d rejected something I knew nothing about.
2. If there’s a heaven, how does one get in?
I probably would have answered with something as predictable as “you just have to be a good person,” knowing full well that “good” is a relative term, and I hadn’t a clue what it meant.
3. So are you good enough?
I’m pretty sure I would have said, “Sure, I’m a good person,” but the question might have given me pause. I would never have said it aloud, but perhaps I would later think, “Am I really good enough? But what about …?”
4. How do you know these things?
Oh oh – the dreaded “what’s your source of authority” query! I would have had no reply to this question, so I probably would have said something lame like “It just makes sense.” But even I would have recognized this as a weak argument.
5. What if you’re wrong?
“What if you’re wrong?” I would have screamed. Then, I hope, the speaker would have said something along the lines of, “Well, if it turns out that I’m wrong, I’ll have lived a life of peaceful assurance that I’m heaven-bound, and I will have died fearlessly. And if it also turns out that the price of admission is having been nice to others? Well then, I’ll be a shoo-in; as a Christian, I try to treat everyone as I want them to treat me. But I’ll ask you again: What if you’re wrong?”
I’m not sure I could’ve come up with a smart reply to that. And maybe, just maybe, the exchange would have made me give some serious thought to the whole topic. Maybe even crack open that old Bible my parents’ church gave me a half-century ago.
The right questions make people think
You may well have better questions to pose to unbelievers. These just occurred to me today because they’re the ones I should have asked last week, when an unbeliever outlined her vague and unsubstantiated thoughts about the afterlife.
By all means, share the gospel as soon as you have the opportunity. But you may first need to insert a few stumbling blocks in the unbeliever’s thinking; and questions like these can be a great way to do just that.