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In American culture, including the academy, there are actually very few unique objections to Christianity. It is helpful to understand six basic ones and recognize when someone is proclaiming a variation and then understand a humble but solid response.

Tim Keller, the author and pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City labels these objections as ‘defeaters.’ As academics of faith, I suggest we have a certain responsibility to be able to competently discuss these defeaters with both our students and colleagues.

While becoming a Christian is fundamentally an act of the will, and many people use defeaters as smokescreens for justifying their willful rejection of Christ, some have legitimate questions and baggage, and dissolving the defeaters can lead them to Christ. For those that don’t, they need to come to the point of recognizing that it is a choice they are making rather than because there are not answers to their ‘objections.’

In short, Keller’s six defeaters are:
1)      Other religions
2)      Evil and suffering
3)      The ethical straitjacket (shalts/shalt nots)
4)      The record of Christians (evil committed by Christians and the Church)
5)      The angry God
6)      The unreliable Bible

Thus, I offer as a resource, this primer I found on the web that defines the defeaters, and gives a brief response to them. It is a quick five-page summary and therefore is extremely incomplete, but helps organize the topics and offers a starting point for engaging in conversation.


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