I was doing a radio interview recently. It wasn’t a Christian radio show. My book has given me the opportunity to talk about my faith in front of audiences that would otherwise be ambivalent. This is something I am very thankful for.

Those are always the most interesting to me. They are also the scariest because I never know what’s going to happen. Will I be up all night thinking about something I shouldn’t have said? Or something I should have said?

It’s odd, but when doing interviews like this some of the same issues always come up. Without fail they reoccur. And that’s what happened on this recent interview. So the host starts out at a full gallop right out of the gate and asks:

So do you believe in a literal Hell? And how does one end up there?

Wow! I said I guess we’re going to hit the ground running (with a chuckle).

Sometimes this question is a trap. Sometimes people are curious. It’s always the question your uncle (or someone) asks you at the end of Thanksgiving, which ends up ruining it. It’s always something that we want to avoid answering–especially if we believe in Hell.

Yes, I do. I answered it.

But what I like to do in this instance is to quickly turn the focus on Heaven instead, and talk about how to get there. This way I focus on the positive. So I said:

It doesn’t matter what I believe about this. It matters what you believe. Jesus is quoted as saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We all have to personally decide if we believe that or not. Either he was crazy, a liar, or he was really the Messiah.

What that answer also does is take the pressure of me and put it on the asker. It also diffuses the natural tension that this question carries.

It went as well as could be expected. So much so, that the host asked me to describe, from my understanding of the Bible, what Heaven will be like.

It’s not fun talking about some topics. But we have to figure out a way to do it respectfully if we’re going to have influence with others and be able to talk about our beliefs.