Band Guy A: Dude, how awesome is that new album from insert band name?
Band Guy B (usually me): Yeh... actually... I have never been able to get into them. I just don't think they are very good songwriters.
A: Oh come on, I know those guys and they are all super cool.
B: Well, I am sure that's true, but I still don't like their music. The vocals aren't my cup of tea.
A (now very frustrated): But they are really great guys!
I have been on the wrong side of this conversation more times than I can count. In hindsight, I think there is a valuable lesson that Christians can learn about how NOT to have conversations with people who are skeptical of Christianity. Consider a similar (though not exactly analogous) example to the one above.
Christian: What do you think of this new car? God has really blessed us.
Skeptic: Yeh... actually... I like the car, but I have a hard time believing in a God who would bless you with a car but ignore thousands of children who are dying of starvation.
Christian: Oh come on, I have a relationship with Jesus and He loves everyone!
Skeptic: Well I know you believe that, but how can you say that when your God commanded genocide in the Old Testament?
Christian (now very frustrated): But God is so good!
In the first example, Band Guy B provides reasons why he doesn't like the band's music (songwriting, vocals). In the second example, the skeptic gives reasons why he questions the Christian view (problem of evil, difficult passages in the OT). But in both cases, the other person refuses to engage these concerns. Even though I find the first scenario quite frustrating, I am really not that worried about how Band Guy A prosecutes the conversation about musical preference. At the end of the day, I am content to leave him to listen to lousy music for social reasons.
However, I am really concerned about the way the Christian in the second scenario handled the conversation. First of all because it looks like he has not bothered to examine his own beliefs. He is just regurgitating slogans. Secondly, by simply dismissing the concerns of his friend (which in this case are very pressing and sensitive), he gives off the impression that he really doesn't care--either about his friend or the truth. These oversights have negative implications, not just for the one conversation, but for the broader conversation between Christians and non-Christians in our culture. We need to take objections to Christianity seriously--especially when they call into question the very nature of God. Please don't misunderstand me. I am not trying to suggest that we need to have all of the answers ready on the spot. But it would be better to simply say, "I hear you. I guess I hadn't thought about it like that. I need to spend some time chewing on that." That takes a lot of humility, but it will allow the conversation to continue, even if at a later date. What is more, the person will know that you care about them and about the truth.
You may not like my analysis here, but come on, I am a really great guy!