Probe the Mind, Prick the Conscience, Pierce the Heart

Christianity claims to be based on absolute truth. Our culture claims there’s no such thing—or at least, if there is such a thing as absolute truth, there’s no good way to recognize it. So now what? How should Christians have this important conversation with their nonChristian friends? I’d suggest three strategies: probe the mind, prick the conscience, and pierce the heart.

Probe the mind. Ask why they believe morality is up for grabs. Chances are they’ll say something like, “Different cultures have different moral standards—for example, Hindus believe it’s wrong to eat cows. Who are we to judge?” In reply, you might point out that what appears to be a different moral standard is often the exact same moral value being worked out in response to different beliefs. Hindus believe in reincarnation; therefore, they assume cows might be former family members. Americans believe differently about cows, but they agree wholeheartedly that it would be morally wrong to eat Grandma. Same moral value; different belief.

Prick the conscience. The Bible tells us that, no matter how much people might protest otherwise, everyone knows right and wrong exist (cf. Rom 2:14-15). In fact, many prominent atheists and secular philosophers actually agree that moral absolutes do exist. You’ll find this true with most folks, if you’ll probe beneath the intellectual arguments and get to the conscience. Ask: “Is there anything going on in the world right now that people should stop doing, no matter how much they think it’s OK? Anything like that historically?” People intuitively know that sexual abuse, torture, and child abuse aren’t just social taboos or impractical. They’re moral atrocities! Which means that, deep down inside, everyone does believe that there is some kind of universal moral standard people should abide by, no matter what they might say in casual conversation.

Pierce the heart. How? Share Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His claims are utterly exclusive and absolutely authoritative. Jesus is Lord. And yet, He is the only Lord in the universe who, if you come to Him in faith, will bless you instead of destroy you, forgive you instead of punish you, and give Himself to you instead of use you. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” (Luke 12:37)