How Should I Respond to My “Fact-Based” Friends?

It’s fairly common to talk with non-Christian friends who may, even in passing, say they struggle to believe any religion because they’re “fact-based” people (or something to that effect). Our friends may add that they “believe in” science or math because those disciplines are “fact-based.”

It puts us in a tough spot. Maybe your friend is being genuine. Maybe they are trying to push your buttons. What if they give you a chance to respond? We can’t just say, “Well, I just believe the Bible. That’s why it’s called faith, man!” That’s off-putting. It’s not compassionate. It’s also flat wrong.

So what can we say? It’s not as intimating as it seems. Start simple:

I totally agree with you! I want to—and do—believe in facts, too. 

That’s starts off the response with the right tone. If our friends already know we follow Jesus, chances are they’ll be blown away by that. But can we say more—something with depth that will get them thinking? Here’s a stab at it and something you might find helpful:

You know that I follow Jesus. But my belief in him is not based on blind faith. In fact, quite the opposite. Everything we know about Jesus happened in real time and real space, witnessed by hundreds and even thousands of people. In other words, Christianity is fact-based. Blind faith says, “Believe it because someone (maybe even God) says so.” But it doesn’t seem to me that God wants us to operate like that. Why? Because what we know about Jesus is recorded in the Bible, which is the most historically reliable ancient document in the entire world. The Bible itself, many, many times, points to the fact that it’s because of eyewitness testimony that we can believe Jesus is the God-Man, who came from outside our world to live, die, and rise again.

I’d encourage you to do some research—and I’d be happy to research with you—on every other religion out there. I’ve found that every other religion is actually not based in historical facts and events that happened in real time and space. Instead, they are products of a private vision or dream or a system created in someone’s own mind. It’s pretty amazing how consistently this is the case as we look at their origins. Yet, standing on the other side of every other religious system, is Jesus, the one who had flesh, blood, and bones; ate and drank; healed the sick; raised the dead; and died on a cross and rose from the dead. And it was all accomplished in public and written down for us. What I believe is totally fact-based. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I completely agree with you.

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