How to Deal With an Angry Skeptic

If you are involved in apologetics, you will be talking to different types of people. You will talk to Christians who are dealing with doubts and non-Christians who are seeking information. But you will also be talking to angry skeptics.

There is nothing wrong with being a skeptic. I consider myself to be a skeptic. It was skepticism that led me to atheism in my mid-teens but that same skepticism brought me out of atheism in my early twenties. My skepticism is one of my most useful tools when I’m on the internet.

But there are certain skeptics who are very angry. They may be more interested in talking about religion than you are. Instead of just accepting that people believe something they don’t, they go after people. They ask questions, not out of curiosity, but as part of a personal attack (there are Christians who operate this way as well).

If online or in person you come across an angry skeptic, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Determine if they are open to anything you say.
  • Make the presentation of your beliefs as clear as possible.
  • Avoid all red herrings.
  • Don’t respond to a personal attack with another personal attack.
  • Keep careful control of your emotions.
  • Be aware of how other observers are seeing your exchange.
  • Pray for them.
  • Pray for yourself.
  • Don’t let them take up all your time and energy. There are others who are more open to what you have to say.

One of the best books on this subjects is Greg Koukl’s Tactics. I highly recommend it.

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