From the days of Sun Tzu, people have been writing about the art of war. Christians must be well equipped for the battles they face today so they know the tactics and ploys of their opponents.

Hardly anyone will win a battle against an enemy they know nothing about. The key to any successful military operation is to know your enemy. You want all the intel you can get – whether on their aims and purposes, numbers and military capability, strategies and tactics, or strengths and weaknesses.

This truth has been well-known for millennia. As the 5th century BC Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu put it in The Art of War,

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Sun Tzu’s words hold true in the spiritual and cultural realms as well. If you decide to fully and faithfully serve Christ, you will come under attack, which means you need to wear the whole armour of God. If you get involved in the culture wars, you also need to know how your ideological and political enemies operate.

Christians and the Culture Wars

The Bible is full of military actions and imagery – mostly real in the Old Testament and mostly figurative in the New. Jesus, for example, said that before a king goes to war, he must first assess the situation and count the cost (Luke 14:31-32). And Paul said that we should not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

The longer I have been a Christian, and the longer I have been involved in the culture wars, the more I see the truth in this. Satan is the father of lies, and so many of our opponents follow in his footsteps. They blatantly and routinely resort to subterfuge, deception, lies, falsehoods, deceit, and misinformation. They will utilise every trick in the book against you.

To see this for yourself, try setting up an interactive website that proudly defends biblical Christianity and engages in the culture wars. You will learn very quickly what I am talking about! I receive many hundreds of comments each year from my opponents, and I have certainly learned to recognise the enemy’s strategies and how the other side operates.

Based on my decades of experience in this, let me briefly cover five common ploys (among many) used by the other side as they seek to wear you down, discourage you, confuse you, and try to get you to give up.

“You Are All Alone”

This is a standard trick of the other side: they want to convince you that you are the only one who believes the way you do and cares about the things you care about. They seek to plant doubts in your mind that will make you give up. They pretend they are in a massive majority and that you are just some a freak.

The truth, of course, is precisely the opposite. There is indeed a silent majority who are on our side. And they do need to become much less silent! But the other side is just a minority, made up of a tiny number of vociferous activists who pretend they are everywhere since they are so loud and proud.

Ignore them and keep on doing what is right. As I just read moments ago in Acts 18:9-10, “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people’.”

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Since facts and truth mean so little to our opponents, they regularly resort to lies and mangled narratives. Indeed, they will throw anything and everything your way as gospel truth – no matter how blatantly false and misleading it is.

You will see claims like this all the time: “98 per cent of scientists believe…” “Everyone knows this is false.” “You are just a conspiracy theorist.” And so on. Almost always, there is no reference or source provided as they make their wild and unproven claims. We need to be on guard against this and call their bluff when required.

“Answer Me This”

Another prevalent way for trolls and opponents to overwhelm you is just to throw out a whole lot of nonsense disguised as facts and challenges. In this rhetorical technique, they will throw many claims and arguments your way and then expect you to answer each one thoroughly, and pronto.

You may see something like this: “Prove to me that God exists. There is no evidence for him. And the Bible is full of errors and contradictions. Jesus did not really die and rise again. And Christianity has caused all of the problems in the world…”

Trying to answer just one of these charges properly would require a small book! Entire libraries of such books already exist. Your opponent is seeking to push an avalanche of objections and criticisms on you, knowing full well that they cannot be answered well in a short comment response. They are just trying to wear you down and overwhelm you.

“I Am a Christian, But…”

I get this one all the time. Trolls and critics will come to my site pretending to be Christians when it is quite clear from what they say that they are no such thing. “I am a Christian, but the Bible is full of mistakes and is not God’s Word.” “I am a Christian, but I fully support abortion.” “I am a Christian, but there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.” “I am a Christian, but I believe all religions lead to God.”

When you hear people denying fundamental Christian truths, avoid them like the plague. They want to get you to abandon your Christian beliefs and become fake Christians or apostates like they are. Ignore them, and don’t let them try to seduce you to the dark side.

“You Give Christianity a Bad Name”

Related to the above point, you will get folks coming to you all the time trying to put guilt trips on you. While often pretending to be Christians, they claim that you give Christianity a bad reputation because of your beliefs or concerns. They claim that they and others would flock to Christianity if it were not for people like you. They want you to water everything down to make the faith acceptable.

But this is not true. No matter how much you compromise, no matter how much you back-pedal, and no matter how much you try to offer a bland or ‘nice’ version of Christianity, they will never be satisfied.

The truth is, they hate biblical Christianity and will only support those who share their views. They are the sort of people Jesus warned about in John 3:19-21:

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

There are plenty of other deceptive tactics and nasty ruses the other side will use to get you to question yourself, your beliefs, and your work for the Lord. Ignore them. We must not be unaware of Satan’s devices. We must know how the other side operates so we can successfully resist them.

Of course, it is also true that we should listen to legitimate criticisms from real-deal Christians. That is another matter altogether. Dealing with legitimate concerns from legitimate believers – or other well-meaning critics – has its place. That is not what is in view here.

Lies and deception are a fundamental part of how the other side operates. It has always been that way. I finish with a quote from Elena Gorokhova, a woman who grew up in the Soviet Union. In her book, A Mountain of Crumbs, she discusses how ordinary people could see through the baloney of the ugly Communist system:

The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.

Originally published at CultureWatch. Image by Mikhail Odintsov at Unsplash.