19. Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10)
What would happen if everyone acted consistently all the time? That is to say, what if people’s actions matched their professed worldview? Do you think that discussion between believers and unbelievers would be possible? Or between different forms of unbelief? Do you think there could be any point of contact? We could even add more points to the 11 in the table above such as the use of logic, what science is, and so on. It really seems impossible for people to talk across worldviews; as the Austrian-British philosopher Wittgenstein puts it: “Where two principles really do meet, which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and a heretic” (Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty).
There simply can’t be any cross-worldview communication.
Is that the end of it, then? Should Christians either give up on talking to non-Christians or should they compromise their commitment to Christ? Many Christians would seem to prefer the latter (although they would not see it as such), but this still ignores something important. Some people confuse “common ground” with “neutral ground.” Sure, we don’t have anything in common with unbelievers if we both are consistent to our respective worldviews, but that is the whole point of Romans 1:19-20, namely that unbelievers do not act in a way which is consistent with their professed worldview. Unbelievers, regardless of what they profess, already know God because God has made Himself known to them (verse 19), so much so that they are without apologetics (a reason, or justification, for their unbelief). That is to say they are not consistent with their own professed worldview.
You can see this clearly in the different non-Christian beliefs as to the nature of reality and the human condition, and the solution to the problems faced by humanity. If we take reality to mean only matter or only illusion, we can’t come up with “laws” or “change.”
The Bible teaches there is extensive common ground; however, it’s very much NOT neutral. It’s God’s. “The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,” (Psalm 24:1, Deuteronomy 10:14, Acts 17:24, Nehemiah 9:6). Every point of creation is a point of contact; we have these points of contact because man and the universe are what God says they are. Thus we appeal to unbeliever as someone created in the image of God who lives in a universe created by God and sustained by Him. Our discussion doesn’t take place in a vacuum; it is packed by the power of the Holy Spirit who “convict[s] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). We are not autonomous and we don’t enter into a discussion alone; we have to see things God’s way or Not-God’s way. There is no other choice, and there is no such thing as “no man’s land” in apologetics.
Let’s just remind ourselves at this point that it isn’t our job to convince unbelievers of anything; that is the job of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Only God can grant them repentance (2 Timothy 2:25). Our job is simple and clear: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).