How would you answer a professor who claims that religion and faith are not based on evidence, but rather they are based on what people "want" in life, contrary to scientific evidence, and that what is considered scientific has to be "peer reviewed"? To me it seems that my professor is operating on the assumption that whatever is true and factual has to be "scientific" and "peer-reviewed" and I'm unsure if anything based on the Bible has been "peer-reviewed" in the scientific community. How would you communicate with people about the Gospel truth that believe in the above?
Also in addition to hearing things such as this from university professors, I get really anxious, and angered by the comments and claims presented. So as a result, even if I consider questioning or responding back to my teacher in class, I am too afraid to do so because I'm afraid of fumbling in my words and having the wrong tone of voice because of my feelings displaying anger and tension. For example, I was thinking about questioning my teacher about this by asking him if he believes the Christian faith is not based on scientific evidence, and if so, to provide his own evidence for his claim, but I was too afraid because of my anxiety and feelings, and was afraid to be stumped. Another problem is my motive to question my teacher seems to be based on me winning the argument rather than him hearing the gospel truth for the sake of him getting an opportunity to be saved. I tend to be shaken in my mind and have a hard time relaxing and I think it hampers me from sharing the Gospel truth with people. What do you suggest I do about these things?
First, you have to understand that some people won't be convinced no matter what you say. "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:11-12). Without a love for truth, there is no foundation from which to talk to them.
Second, importance is always placed on the message and not the messenger. The apostle Paul stated that he wasn't an eloquent or clever speaker. "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God" (I Corinthians 2:1). Even Moses stated that he had a hard time getting his words out. "Then Moses said to the LORD, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue"" (Exodus 4:10). Why should you think that you must be perfect before you can make a point?
And really, that is all you need to do. I used to do this frequently in my high school and college classes where teachers thought they were being clever challenging Christian beliefs. I would research just one single point and bring it up either in class or after class directly to the teacher. Then I would research another point and bring it up the next day. I remember taking an "Introduction to the New Testament" at a secular college just for fun because I wanted to see what would be taught. It was taught by a lady Methodist minister who was caught up in Higher Criticism (think of the "Jesus Seminar" type people). I remember one class she was trying to say the Old Testament was wrong because it got the date for the destruction of Jericho wrong. I went that afternoon to the library and pulled about six books from the stack that clearly stated she was wrong. I brought them to her desk before class and pointed out that while she said no one believed differently, the authors of all these books did say differently. Her reply was that they were all written before 1950, so they don't count. That afternoon I pulled another eight books from the stack, all written after 1950 that said she was wrong and brought them to class. Just before class I made the same statement (knowing that a lot of other students were listening behind me) and I pointed out that they all wrote after 1950. She got red in the face, sputtered, claimed they didn't know what they were talking about, and basically showed that she was unprepared for a challenge. In fact, she told me she didn't want me challenging her again. I just grinned because I knew I "won," not with her, but I made a point with other students. The remainder of that class, she was constantly challenged by other students who realized that she didn't know what truth was.
I would like you to start by reading "Is Science the Source of Truth?" I hope that by the time you finish the article you will realize that science doesn't claim to have the truth, it only claims to be pursuing the truth. In that they are no different than the ancient Greeks. "For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21). To such people, God's wisdom will appear like foolishness because it isn't sophisticated enough for them. Yet, God's simple truth always manages to run rings round these supposed scholars (I Corinthians 1:18-31).
Finally, whether you manage to make a point with a teacher and your fellow students or not, remember that your job is not to win every battle, but to give people a chance to hear truth. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4-5). As a solider for Christ, your job is to represent God. Remember what God told Joshua:
"Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:6-9).
There is a reason Joshua was told to not be afraid or dismayed. Jeremiah was told the same thing.
"Then said I: "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." But the LORD said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you," says the LORD" (Jeremiah 1:6-8).
One of the toughest assignments Jeremiah was given was to tell people the truth while looking like he had an iron will.
"Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land - against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you," says the LORD, "to deliver you"" (Jeremiah 1:17-19).
Ezekiel was told something similar.
"And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house" (Ezekiel 2:6).
"Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house" (Ezekiel 3:8-9).
You cannot control whether people will believe the truth, but you can present the truth with conviction. You're facing wolves. If you show fear and trembling then they will jump at the weakness. So state your case, one point at a time, and let those you tell decide if they will believe the truth or not.