“What do you do for a living?” she asked. Eight of us were waiting on shore for the dive boat to pick us up for a two-tank dive during my visit to Grand Cayman. The boat was late.
“I’m a pastor back in the States,” I replied.
“I’m an agnostic myself. But I find value in all faiths.”
“It sounds like you’ve had several friendships with people of various faiths?”
And we were off. Delayed in diving into the Caribbean Sea, we dove into conversation about religion. I talked about what Christians have in common with other faiths, and a few important ways the Christian message is unique.
The experience reinforced some long-held convictions about faith conversations.
First: You don’t have to invent ways to talk about faith. Just be ready to engage with the interest people show in the topic.
Second: When having a conversation on faith, don’t forget to actually make it a “conversation.” Christians sometimes perceive evangelism as a sales pitch you make in duty to God. But there’s no “evangel” in that kind of “evangelism.” The word “evangel” means “good news.” How has your faith been “good” for your life? Answer that, with the give and take that’s natural to any good conversation, and you’ll be doing it right.
Third: Show the beauty of your faith and then the logic, in that order. Don’t think of evangelism as gearing up for an apologetics argument. Instead, start with why you personally find it so beautiful. As I talked with my dive partner on that sandy beach, that’s what I did. I mentioned that while all religions have certain things in common, the unique Christian claim is that God entered our world in Jesus. I told her that such a claim told me the lengths God was willing to go to make himself know to us. “Make it attractive,” Pascal wrote about the faith. He was a 17th century mathematician and physicist, so he certainly had enough intellectual firepower demolish intellectual arguments against Christianity. But he advised, “Make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.”
(The Anchor Course can be a useful tool in ongoing conversations about faith. Click through the menu items at the top of this page to find out more about The Anchor Course)