Is it brave to quote the Bible to atheists who want to silence you?

C.S. Lewis has some words to live by for you
C.S. Lewis has some words to live by for you

I was asked by a commenter whether my advice in a previous post was mistaken. I advised people not to make comments on issues under their real names, where the opposition is irrational and dangerous. I said that you should use an alias so that you can write frequently and effectively about controversial issues, without being subject to threats, intimidation, vandalism, violence, loss of employment etc. – common tactics of the unthinking mobs on the secular left.

So here is what I replied to him in a comment:

I didn’t advise people to be silent at all. Obviously, I have been blogging on this issue for the last 7 years – before it ever entered the radar of most Christians. So I haven’t been silent. I have blogged debate summaries, secular arguments against same-sex marriage, horror stories about gay adoption and child abuse, peer-reviewed papers about the impact of no-mom or no-dad parenting, CDC health data about HIV and STIs, the impact of donor-conception on children, specific laws related to the gay agenda, and every specific case where Christian business owners were punished – in America and across the world.

My alias has given me protection from the bad guys so that I could be FAR more productive and effective than the Bible-quoters who jump up in front of machine guns and call that feelings-driven irresponsibility “piety”. When did being INEFFECTIVE become a Christian virtue? Seems to me that people who address the issues of the day by repeating Bible verses to people who don’t accept the Bible aren’t being effective. My goal is to reach more people with arguments they will actually change their minds. My blog post on a secular case against same sex marriage was linked by the Secular Outpost, a major atheist blog – THOSE are the people we need to be reaching. And so what if they were offended? Because of my alias, they couldn’t get me.

Christianity is about making a difference. It is not about being feeling holier-than-thou. It’s about defending Christ’s honor effectively and efficiently. It’s about getting the job done.

Here is what doesn’t work: e-mailing Bible verses to the Human Rights Campaign along with the name of your employer and your home address. That will get you out of the game really fast. What does work is doing what Ryan T. Anderson is doing – getting a PhD and debating the issue with professors on college campuses. Or you could get a law degree and fight out the issue at the supreme court. But trying to spout Bible verses to people who don’t believe the Bible who can then get you fired is not the answer – that doesn’t work.

Suppose we are playing baseball. Your team is down by 1 run and there is a runner on third and no outs. Suppose you go up to the plate and swing for the fences at the first three pitches that the pitcher throws – all of which were obvious unhittable. You get out and you hurt your team. I guess you could brag later about “I would never do anything other than try to hit a home run every time” and then claim that those who didn’t were cowards. But that wouldn’t change the fact that you would be out and you would have let your team down.

Similarly, when you are on your own 20 yard line, down by 6 with 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter, you don’t get out on the field and throw four hail mary passes and then turn the ball over on downs. Expecting Jesus to bail you out when you act recklessly doesn’t work in any area of life.

The best thing is to be intelligent. What should I study to help Jesus that will work? What job should I get to help Jesus that will work? How can I have an influence to help Jesus that will work? Doing what feels good and expecting a bailout is reckless and doesn’t do anything to help Jesus. When you hand the other side your employer and your place of business and your home address, you are handing them things that they can use to hurt you. Why would you let them have something they can use to stop you from having an influence, when you can withhold that information and strike at them with impunity? These are not difficult things for a rational person to understand.

Frankly, I am at the point now where I view the spouting of Bible verses to dangerous, destructive people as a mental disorder, as much as I would view it as a mental disorder if someone decided to travel to North Korea and do street evangelism. I would urge all the Bible-quoting martyr wannabes to prove their bravery to me by doing that, if they think that the point of Christianity is to be feelings-led and reckless about the consequences of actions. Or maybe they can travel to Saudi Arabia and evangelize the people there. On the bible-quoting rule, to not do this is “cowardice”. I think we are reaching the point where the sexual revolutionaries are just as dangerous as militant atheists in North Korea, or radical Islamists in Saudi Arabia.

Studying all of these issues the way I do and then writing about them costs me about 3-4 hours a night – and that’s every day that I’ve been writing this blog. I have had 6.2 million hits in 7 years of writing. My goal is to influence people to make better decisions. And I think I’ve been able to be more effective at doing that when I don’t hand my enemies personal information that they can use to neutralize my influence. Why would I make it easy for them to stop me from having an influence? No Christian should deny Christ when asked directly. But that doesn’t mean that you should make it easy for them to destroy you.

34 thoughts on “Is it brave to quote the Bible to atheists who want to silence you?”

  1. Wintery Knight:

    I have followed you for a good while, probably more than two years. You are spot on with this post:
    As someone with a passion for learning God’s Word, spreading His Word and trying to live it, I get frustrated when some claiming to be Christian Apologists simply use Bible verses to make their point. As you wrote, it’s not effective at all to do that with those that don’t believe the Bible; in fact it is counterproductive. It may well cause recipients to think that one reciting the Bible verses has nothing else to support their position.

    I enjoy debating with those that believe in Evolution. I particularly like it when they start with the conclusion that Evolution is true and then work backwards. I stop them and have them start at the beginning; how did the universe get here and how did life begin…the answers are vague at best…

    Being a martyr for the sake of being a martyr doesn’t serve as well as effectively spreading God’s Word to as many people as possible. Keep up the Great Work!!!

    1. Thank you so much. I was really really upset that after 7 years of hard work, people are calling me a coward for not writing under my own name. I know lots of Christians who are silent about these issues out of fear. I have NOT been silent. But I’m not going to cut off my mission prematurely, by being reckless about how I carry it out, and then expecting a bailout from God.

      1. I think you are spot on as well. The point is to spread God’s Word to as many people as possible. Getting credit for doing that is not the point nor is it a necessity…….

  2. Hmmm… I didn’t comment on the first blog post addressing this and have been chewing on the topic for a bit in my mind.

    The point of this particular blog that I disagree with is the point about quoting/sharing Bible verses. I don’t want to misinterpret what I believe your point is here, but I feel like you are saying that logic and our words/belief in our “well presented argument” as educated human beings carries more weight with unbelievers than sharing Bible verses. If this is what you are saying, I believe this is dangerous thinking. Isaiah 55:11 comes to mind: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and It shall prosper in the things where to I sent it.”

    I personally believe that there is NOTHING that I can say as a believer that will be more effective than using the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    I believe the WORD convicts us of our SIN and our desperate need for Jesus…

    To address the anonymity issue… I’m quite outspoken on FB regarding faith, pro-life, social issues, politics, and just general nonsense. I’m a woman, so it’s not looked upon as a favorable way for a good “Baptist woman” to behave. I think I’m somewhat of an oddity to most members of my very large church (and possibly family!)

    When I initially joined FB, I had no intent to be anything but “social”. As my experience on FB grew, I noticed most women FB friends were liberals daily spouting the virtues of hating men, free love (translates to free sex), abortion on demand, and free EVERYTHING else provided by the government. No one dared to speak out against these women, especially men as they vilified them for simply being MEN in the first place. So I dove in and got beat up multiple times in the beginning, which made me hungry to be better able to defend my position. I’m still not at the “Wintery Knight” level, but I’ve come a long ways.

    Saying all of this, it never occurred to me to attempt to BE anonymous. At this point in my life, I am a homeschool mom. My husband does own his own small concrete business. My outspoken stance on the issues COULD cause my husband to lose business one day…that IS the reality of our situation. I do feel that it is important for me to speak out especially on the REALLY controversial stuff. I think like-minded people who aren’t the “Oldest Child, Type A, Right Wing Radical, ENTJ, Controlling Eve, Christian” need to KNOW that they aren’t alone in their thinking, even when they don’t have the courage or ability to express their beliefs. I also LOVE to make the libbies THINK.

    I LOVE this blog because it helps me to formulate stronger positions on the issues. I’m thankful for WK’s voice. I respect your choice to be anonymous. I also think that there HAS to be little people like me who are just going to face the nonsense head on.

    Persecution IS coming. I’m praying that when it fully hits that I reflect Christ in a manner that is worthy of his work on the cross.

    Keep up the good work friend!

    1. I think you want to have a balance where you maximize your influence and effectiveness and minimize your exposure to repercussions. If, at the end of your life, you have had a bigger influence over 80 years than someone who was reckless flamed out at age 30 due to poor planning and poor life choices, then that’s a good trade-off. You’ve done pretty well, I think, balancing risk and reward.

      1. I think the point is to not rely solely on Bible verses when speaking with non-believers because as a non-believer they don’t believe the Bible is true. If you’re going to quote Bible verses, follow that with good, solid support for your position that is outside of the Bible.

    2. I think you have considerably more “freedom” to confront issues directly as opposed to being anonymous. I base that on your being a stay at home mom ( kudos to you; there is no prouder profession than motherhood). As your husband owns his own business he has the potential for numerous clients. I suspect he might lose some business from those that might disagree with your positions, yet he has significant potential to gain business from those that agree with your perspective. Most people I know, including myself work, for one employer. It would not be beneficial for me to directly confront positions I disagree with and lose my job as a result, particularly if I can make the point I want to make effectively while remaining anonymous. If I make a point that catches the attention of others, I don’t think it matters who made it….When something of significance catches my attention, seldom, if ever, does the identity of the deliverer, by itself, make much difference to me.

      With respect to simply repeating Bible verses to non-believers, I think it is of critical importance to know that many non-believers have read the Bible. Simply repeating Bible verses is not likely to have a positive effect on such believers. Matthew 22:37 speaks of loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and MIND, with mind referring to knowledge (I’m fairly certain Mark and Luke include similar passages). I Peter 3:15 also refers to being able to explain why you believe what you believe.

    3. That’s a FANTASTIC approach, Kris – well-done! I do also like to use Bible verses but to show how the Bible is fully consistent with extra-Biblical truths. All truth is God’s truth. Thank you especially for speaking out on pro-life issues and for your hard work as a homeschooling mom – homeschoolers were a big reason I converted from atheism! I left fb after an Obama-worshipper made a veiled threat on my life. So, I appreciate your courage there. The only place I am NOT anonymous is on the sidewalk – it did not take long for the deathscorts to figure out who I was. :-)

      The Lord bless you and keep you and your family, Kris.
      The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
      The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and grant you peace. Amen.

  3. Just follow the example and teaching of Jesus: Sometimes he intentionally escaped from authorities who were out to get him. He answered their incriminating trap questions with questions of his own (“Whose image is on this coin?”) He spoke in parables. He taught his disciples to “be wise as serpents.” He told them not to cast their pearls before swine. At the right time, he allowed himself to be captured and crucified, but he didn’t do that before the right time.

    Or look at Paul: he tried to be all things to all people so that he could persuade a few. He learned the foreign culture and adapted at Mars Hill. He used his Roman citizenship to prolong his ministry, using his rights to fight against unfair attacks from anyone below Caesar himself – and he appealed in the courts all the way to Rome.

    Or, look at Peter & John, who escaped prison. They didn’t just stay like sitting ducks.

    At some point, Christians may be forced into martyrdom instead of denying the faith. Until then, be wise and use every smart strategy available.

    I don’t agree with every stand you take, dear Wintery Knight, but I truly appreciate your “wise boldness”. I thought you might catch some flak for your previous post about this issue, and that’s OK. Please keep up the good work!

    1. Yes, this is exactly right. I am more than happy to suffer the consequences as a last resort, but I would like to run up the scoreboard first, rather than just make it easy for the bad guys to bowl me out for duck in my first over. (That’s a cricket analogy for the cricket fans – go Windies!)

  4. Christ quoted scripture, but to people who revered scripture and their adherence to it.

    In my humble opinion, if you can show someone that you can competently converse in a subject that the other person respects, one has a better chance of changing a mind than bible quoting.

    For example, if you are talking to someone who thinks Physics explains everything you are probably more likely to make an impact if you can talk to them on their level [or the level they perceive themselves to be, as some just watch a lot of Sci-fi and think they know a lot] on the subject of Physics and then let it be known that you are a Christian it may get the other to think that if someone who seems to understand Physics thinks there is something to this it is worth exploring than someone who does not seem to be as knowledgable on their favorite subject just quoting verses out of a book they don’t respect.

    A sort of a combination of a Hugh Ross (Astrophysics), a J Warner Wallace (detective’s view of the Gospels) and a Mike Licona/Gary Habermas (the reasonablility of the resurrection). Perhaps in that order.

    Persecution may or may not be coming, but the attack will always go first to the one who doesn’t look like they can fight back. The low hanging fruit that can be used as an example. If you attack someone who is properly prepared, you run the risk of giving them a platform to state their view. In a revolution of propaganda, allowing the other side to speak must be avoided.

    To take a pop culture reference, look at Doctor Who. Not a very Christian show, though they seem to refer to the universe as Creation, but how has he been defeating his enemies for the last 50 (or 2000 depending on your point of reference) years. He is smarter than any opponent and often merely talks his way to victory against overwhelming and well armed opposition. His enemies see him as just a single unarmed human and make the mistake of letting him talk, often pointing out some underlying flaw in the other sides plans.

    Gentle as doves; cunning as serpants

  5. For my part, I do not think my comment should have been taken as anything more than a call to be bold in defending truth. How that is done, through the use of verse or scientific data, is contingent upon the given circumstance in which one finds one’s self. I debate on blogs and general comments section on Yahoo and other spots. Whether or not my real name or pen name is used is of no real concern to me, as I am good either way. On Facebook, I of course use my real name when posting stories or responding to stories posted by others. So far, no issues other than a few “unfriending” situations, at least one of which was due to arguing against lumping animal abuse and child abuse together as if there is no significant difference.

    I agree that spouting Scripture to non-believers is fruitless and don’t spend any time doing it, except for those times when unbelievers think they can use Scripture against me. Indeed, I go out of my way to argue social issues on the basis of known and accepted science, to the best of my own ability to understand it. Typically, my faith is assumed, as of course anyone who opposes SSM or abortion just has to be a religious crack pot.

    I believe it is good for the young to see real people defending truth boldly. When we consider the general attitude of young people with regard to the social issues of the day, it seems blatantly clear to me that their approval is the result of good men doing next to nothing to influence their thinking. The young need good men standing up and speaking the truth. They need to see it. They need to know who we are so that they can know they are not alone in believing what we say is true.

    That said, I do not hold that your methods are without advantages. Whatever gets the truth out is good. But it would be nice to have some idea about your effectiveness, just out of curiosity. You spoke of having secular site linking to your blog. Did it result in any converts, either to the faith or the point of view? In the end, that’s all that matters. Too many won’t care how we argue for the truth. Too many won’t care if we use Scripture or science.

    In any case, maybe its my age. I simply don’t care how people react to my defending the truth as I understand it. If they call me names, I insist they justify doing so. If they say I’m wrong, I insist they make their case. If they literally try to attack me, I literally will defend myself with extreme prejudice. With all of that, they will also know that I am not a malevolent force against them, but one who honestly cares, both about the truth and their own wellbeing.

    1. Well said. I’m not at all concerned about people disagreeing with me, calling me names, writing hateful responses to me, threatening me, etc., but in this current culture, it is quite possible that much more serious consequences can and in fact have resulted, so here’s a simple question:

      if you used your real name in directly confronting issues and you knew it could well cost you your job that supports you and your family, would you continue to use your real name or be anonymous? If you would continue to use your real name knowing full well it might indeed cost you your job, how would that be of value to you or anyone when you could make your point just as well being anonymous?

      1. Excactly. I am concerned about redirecting $135,000 of capital away from Christian causes to a legal defense team would impact my effectiveness. It’s a strategic concern. I am not here to thump my chest and brag about how brave I am in a conservative echo chamber. That feels good, but it doesn’t get anything done. My job is to write effectively about the issues of the day, posting about law, debates, lectures, books, legal cases, policies, medical facts, religious liberty, etc. If I were fired, I would be set back in terms of effectiveness. If I were fined $135,000, like the Kleins, then I would be set back in terms of effectiveness. If I had people vandalizing my property and boycotting my business, then I would be set back in terms of effectiveness. This is only a concern for people who are effective, though. Not for people who just want martyr themselves and then brag about how they aren’t cowards. I would think that this would be obvious to anyone with half a brain, but I guess some people prefer to talk about how brave they are instead of thinking about what is practical and effective. I guess a lot of people watching football on their TVs also think they are better players than the people on the field, as well. Especially when they are old and drunk.

        1. Who’s talking about martyring themselves? I don’t think that I speak in a manner that would get me fired from my job (mostly due to the type of job I have), but I would challenge my employer to explain what was wrong about what I said, were it to cause a problem. I would hope my employer allows for differences of opinion, though obviously that has not been the case for some.

          Now as to “brave”, a case could be made that you are now hiding behind your alter ego in daring to suggest those who are not solid with your position on this may have less than a whole brain. I would appreciate you reserving such comments for those who actually suggested you were a coward.

      2. If I knew it would cost me my job to speak the truth, I’m probably working for the wrong type of people. No doubt if other jobs were unavailable I would have to pick my battles more carefully, but here’s a question for you: If you knew you would lose your job for speaking the truth about your position on any given subject, would you lie? Job loss can happen at any time for any reason. Are you prepared for such an event?

        1. I’m not sure I am following you on this. I don’t have a job where I’m particularly concerned about speaking my mind when it’s reasonable to do so. There’s a significant difference between speaking your mind voluntarily and lying.

          I’m not trying to avoid your question, I’m just not sure I understand it. Are you asking me, for example, if I didn’t believe in gay marriage, would I lie if confronted with this question by my employer?

        2. I wholeheartedly agree with your first sentence but it is evident to me some people have such jobs.

    2. I agree it is very important to urge people to support their positions rather than spew political correctness but I don’t see the value of using your real name if it would potentially jeopardize your employment; your means of supporting your family. I have blogged with a number of people and with most of them I have no idea if they are using their real names nor do I care because I don’t think it’s relevant. I have no problem whatsoever engaging others in conversation, dialogue, debate, etc., but in the proper forum. In certain places of employment, one can get themselves in a jam rapidly if they are not careful. I engage in such discussions with several people I work with but I’m extremely cautious about ensuring we’re talking about a subject by agreement and I’m very cautious in discussing “sensitive” subjects where others can hear. Unfortunately, such cautiousness is a necessity in many places in this Country.

  6. I am a big believer in the way the Resistance handled things – without the killing of course. And Harriet Tubman and Corrie ten Boom certainly went out of their way to be discrete, yet bold at the same time. Prudence is a virtue.

  7. Wintery Knight, I think your position/tactics are comparable to early Christians using a fish to make themselves known to each other. They lived their faith quietly and therefore maintained the ability to spread the gospel, i.e. stayed alive. We seem to be approaching a similar time in our culture. God will call some to boldly speak out (and be fed to lions) and some to stay under the radar. He will use both to draw unbelievers to Him as well as to strengthen the faith of the saints. The main thing is to make yourself available to be used for God’s purposes, according to His plan.

    I appreciate your discretion and hope to have your blog available as a resource for a long time to come. Godspeed.

    1. Yes! I’m really surprised at how I cannot get people to admit that being fired or being fined $135,000 is a setback that should be avoided if possible. It seems to me that people can do more when they take simple steps to avoid sanctions like that.

  8. Your blog started me to examine Christian Apologetics when I retired. I study at least 1 hour per day and has given me more comfort in my faith. I look forward to you posts daily. God Bless

      1. That’s nothing: I’ve got dozens of your posts bookmarked, and when I whip them out, atheists and pro-aborts start their weeping and gnashing of teeth. You are despised almost as much as I am in the blogosphere, so it is wise for you to remain anonymous for now.

      1. For some this is a good plan. They must understand the temptations of wealth/influence though. I’m in the UK and I notice increasingly that higher echelon administration jobs seem to come with conditions requiring Christians to choose between career and Christ.

  9. I agree and disagree. The reason is the pattern set by Paul in Acts 17.

    Paul knew his audience and knew exactly how to get there attention even to the point of using a quote from a Greek poet.

    If we eliminate Bible verses completely, then are we not using an argument we created or grabbing hold of something that Dr. Frank Turek and William Lane Craig has said? Would not our man-made argument usurp the Word of God?

    However, when Christians throw around Bible verses as a means of pounding truth into an atheists mind, then we miss how to apply God’s word properly and become nothing more than, as you said, a holier-than-thou type of person. It is an epic fail.

    What I have come across are some Christians who haven’t a clue about Theology in general. They do not have the faintest idea about the attributes of God. For example, they see God strictly as a God of love. Oops, you forgot He is also a Holy God that will judge sin.

    If Christ went through the extreme of willfully going to the cross and paying the price for our sin, how great is the judgment for those who trample on the Son of God? Love and justice go hand-in-hand (Rom 3:24-26).

    The scriptures represent the nature of God and the nature of man. The problem and the resolve. The beginning and the end. Learning how to apply these to arguments in Apologetics is what made Paul a master and is revealed in Acts 17.

    The key is simple; KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

    We can talk to some people and show them how their sin has separated them from God and the Holy Spirit opens their heart and the rest is simple. In some cases, not so much. Using Bible verses in a manner which they make the point useless is a travesty and almost to a point of sin.

    Wisdom must be applied and we must listen when we draw back and when to go forward. But like I said, I agree and disagree.

    I hate the word balance, but our gospel presentation must be balanced and we should know how this is done when we first consider the audience. Just read Acts 17.

  10. In regard to the most current changes to how bathrooms are organized a friend asked me to help him respond on Facebook to a post that supported the new rules. I declined because it seems to me that traditional logic and arguments are not going to be received over the emotion of a shift like this. Has the culture reached a point where it might be wise for the everyday person to be silent in the public square and let this wave crash or should the argument be engaged vigorously by the everyday person? We have already seen normal business people like Brendan Eich and Kelvin Cochran fired when they were not even trying to mak a stand on these issues or be provocative.

    1. I would not recommend saying anything under your real name. If you want to say something then write up a blog post under an alias. I would not engage directly with anyone I knew personally.

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