Apologetics - Should I Talk to a Known Atheist?
Welcome back and thank you so much for your feedbacks and reading of the posts. After this post, we will have one more left. It’s been quite the journey. As I sought the Lord in what it is He wanted me to write on, I in turn have learned more about apologetics.
To answer the titled question, of course! There’s no reason to not engage in a conversation with a self-professed atheist. A Christian will not “catch something” from them as if the atheist has some sort of disease. Conversing with an atheist will not cause you to lose your salvation. You may, however, find your patience to be tested and slight aggravation from their responses. Keep in mind how Jesus responded to the Sadducees and Pharisees. We are to be Christ-like in all things.
The Encyclopedia Britannica states that, “Generally atheism is a denial of God or of the gods, and if religion is defined in terms of belief in spiritual beings, then atheism is the rejection of all religious belief.”
Reiterating what was mentioned at the beginning of our apologetic journey, the questions and responses shared in our posts are not the only questions a Christian will encounter nor are the response the only ones you can use. They are simply guides and examples. Flowing in your gifting and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, everything that needs to be said, I’m confident in that it will be said. The results you seek after using apologetics may not always be what you expect. We sow and water, not harvest. We do not judge nor change the hearts; we point towards Jesus and HE does that.
In studying the word atheism, I came across something quite interesting in the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary. Atheos, a biblical adjective, is used only once in the New Testament and it translates to “without God” and signifies an idolatrous religious state, not a state of atheism as it is now commonly understood and used. Though there is not a biblical noun for atheism or atheist, the idea is described in Psalms 14:1;53:1.
A Christian is speaking to a co worker, who is known to be an “atheist”, during their lunch break.
(Christian) “I know Jesus exists and that miracles, signs, and wonders He performed in the Bible are real. Not just because of historical records from well respected historians, but also because He's still doing them. I have personally experienced that my faith in Him resulted in things that only He could have done.”
(Atheist) “I find that hard to believe.”
(Christian) “A relationship with Jesus is key. In my Christian faith, we know and understand that the only way to God the Father is through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. I have a personal relationship with Him. When I’m troubled, I go to Him. When I’m happy and full of joy, I go to Him.”
(Atheist) “Well, I tried praying once and nothing happened. HE did not help me not one bit.”
(Christian) “Okay, so please correct me if I’m wrong. Because your prayers weren’t answered, He’s not real?”
(Atheist) “Correct, therefore there is no God.”
(Christian) “It sounds like you’re wanting a genie in a bottle. Answer this question, please. If a person you did not know asks you for $300 to help with their electric bill because it’s about to be disconnected, would you help that person if you had the money on you?”
(Atheist) “Because I do not know him.”
(Christian) “How about if he said that he would pay it back?”
(Christian) “Why not?”
(Atheist) “Because I don’t know if I would ever see him again.”
(Christian) “Well based on your response, then you do not exist to the person you denied help to.”
(Atheist) “That’s ridiculous!”
(Christian) “You said it. I can not tell you why your prayers were not answered, but I can tell you He does exist and is as real as you are. With no pressure at all, I can teach you how to pray. It will only take a couple minutes. Since you have already tried it your way, how about I help you this time and maybe join you in praying in an area that you’re having trouble with in your life? What do you have to lose?”
If agreed, you can lead him/her into the Sinner’s prayer (tossing the net may have to be done a little differently than you normally would, so being able to tailor it to the situation is key) and afterwards, ask them what issue or thing is troubling him/her and lead them into prayer.
“Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for — believe that you have received them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. (Mark 11:24-25)”- Jesus
May you be continually blessed with the sword of the Spirit. May the words of our Lord be your words and may His words fall on fertile soil. Amen.