Listen for “Red-Flag Words”

Words can depict reality as it really is or they can twist it.  Words shape the culture. An integral tool in the Meet-The-Skeptic approach is the Red-Flag-Words list included in each category (Spiritual, Moral, Scientific, Biblical) in the book. These are words skeptics falsely redefine. For example, if a skeptic said that you were being “intolerant” because you disagreed with his view, stop there and clarify the meaning of “intolerant” because “to disagree” is not its true meaning. (Actually, we are expressing true tolerance when we disagree with a point of view, yet respect the person’s right to express it.) When we hear words like this, a mental red flag should go up alerting us that the skeptic is misrepresenting ideas.

Jesus responded to a Red-Flag word when He encountered the rich young man who asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good?” (Mark 10:17-18). Instead of giving a direct answer, Jesus questioned the young man’s understanding of “good” to uncover his motives and assumptions. We can do the same thing. Clarifying the meaning of words alone can defuse many objections.

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