How to respond to Bible skeptics who challenge our faith

Richard Dawkins has questioned the motives of a 14-year-old school boy in claiming to have invented a clockReuters

It doesn't take much to encounter a Bible skeptic today. Although studies show that the atheist population of the world is only anywhere between 2 to 13 percent, the community seems to make a whole lot of noise for such a small group.

Most Christians admit to feeling burdened by arguments, attacks and insults thrown by tactless agnostics who use mediums like social media, websites, public events and even face-to-face interactions to malign believers of the faith.

But it's important to note that not all Bible skeptics are like this. Only a fragment of the population find it in them to maliciously attack Christians verbally, though it's hard to know what size they are.

While responding and fighting for your beliefs seems to be the most obvious way to respond, this can actually cause more trouble than remedies and should actually be avoided or kept at a minimum. But doesn't the Bible say in 1 Peter 3:14 that we should always be prepared " make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you...?" Well, yes and no.

Many of the Bible skeptics we encounter nowadays, especially online, are also Internet trolls who are on a mission to get on the nerves of Christians. They aren't looking for "defense" and "reason." They are looking for a way to ruin your day, and you would be doing yourself and your faith a great disservice by giving them that pleasure.

No relationship, no discussion

The best rule of thumb in deciding whether to respond to a Bible skeptic's queries about God and His Word is the level of relationship and trust you have with the person. In the context of a relationship, there are no intentions to malign and defame.

Understand their point of reference

Bible skeptics are skeptics for a reason, and majority of the time, it has nothing to do with facts. Many of these people stand by their beliefs based on emotions, bad experiences and violent repercussions. It would be great to understand the person's frame of reference, but when unaware of the details, we are left with the decision to move in unconditional and compassionate regard that there is a reason for the rage and hostility.

Act in love

One of Paul's instructions in Titus 3:1-2 says, "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people." Remember always that love is the motivation of our faith -- love for God which overflows as love for others, even the Bible skeptic. Nothing proves a hateful comment about a "magic fairy in heaven" wrong more than an act of kindness and compassion.