Red herrings and excuses

In John 4 Jesus is talking to the woman at the well about the Living Water. He confronted her about the number of husbands she has had and this is the woman’s reply.
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
This is surely a classic “red herring,” designed to dodge the important questions and distract Jesus from the challenge He was bringing. Sometimes a friend will raise an issue which genuinely concerns them but sometimes the same question is just a red herring or an excuse. Note that Jesus did gently answer the woman’s question, but then quickly returned to what really mattered again
Questions about forms of worship are a common red herring but here are a number of others. How can we answer excuses and red herrings?
“I’m not the religious sort.”
“You can’t believe in God these days.”
“It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.”
“I do my best – nobody can do any more.”
“You can’t change human nature.”
“All truth is relative.”
“Through history the church has done terrible things.”
“There are hypocrites in the church.”
“All the church cares about is money and buildings.”
“Religion is just a crutch for the feeble.”
“A loving God would not send people to hell?”

Below are a few common objections which we are dealing with (or have talked about before) in sermons:
“We can’t trust the Bible.”
“All religions lead to God”
“Jesus was just an ordinary man.”
“Science has disproved the Bible/religion.”
“How can you believe in God with all the suffering in the world?”

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