Atheism is defined as “not having a ‘god belief’.” This is important to remember, because it’s not that an atheist doesn’t believe in god, because that statement opens the possibility that god or a supreme being exists. The atheist’s worldview is driven by pure rationality, reason, and the scientific method. The result of this is that most atheists hold the theory of evolution to be true, and they reject the possibility of the spiritual world and an afterlife. Most surveys show that around 15% of Americans call themselves atheist.
Let us pretend that you are confronted with a man named Andy. He is an open atheist and has come in your realm of connection (online, in person...)
Questions You Can Ask
1. What makes you most excited about being an atheist?
2. Do you ever feel judged by others for rejecting the existence of God? If so, how does that make you feel?
3. Have you ever been mocked or rejected for being an atheist by those who claimed to be Christians?
4. Why have you chosen to not believe in the existence of God?
5. Are you willing to go wherever the evidence leads, whether or not it supports your worldview that there is no God?
6. Some in the scientific world have concluded that evidence like the specified complexity of DNA and the fine-tuned universe point toward an intelligent designer. Do you think it’s theoretically possible that there was a Designer behind the universe we inhabit?
7. Have you ever considered the possibility that you could be wrong about the existence of God? What might the consequences be if you are wrong?
8. Do you think there is a difference between “religion” and a “relationship” with God? Why or why not?
9. Has anyone ever explained the gospel to you?
Areas You Can Admire
Andy’s commitment to reason and logic. Andy’s willingness to wrestle with tough questions.Andy’s belief that no one person has all the answers.Andy’s courage in facing life and all of its hardships without a belief in a loving and all-powerful God or an afterlife.
Understanding What Andy Believes
About Atheism: Andy believes that atheism is the most rational and reasonable worldview, sometimes because of the ‘damage’ done by religion throughout the centuries, but mainly because it seems to be the most consistent with the observable world according to the scientific method.
About God: Andy lacks a ‘god belief’.
About the Trinity: Since Andy lacks a ‘god belief’, the concept of the Trinity is totally irrelevant.
About Jesus: Andy believes Jesus was either just an ordinary person, or never existed at all. He will oftentimes refer to the ‘Jesus-Myth’, or when he is being really sarcastic, refers to ‘Jebus’ (a sarcastic reference to Christ).
About the Bible: Andy believes the Bible is a collection of myths, half-truths, and lies designed to lead ignorant people astray and give power to religious leaders over the masses.
About the Afterlife: Andy does not believe in an afterlife.
About Salvation: In Andy’s mind, there is no need for salvation from sin and hell. He doesn’t believe in sin, and he doesn’t believe in hell, so why does anyone need to be ‘saved’?
What the Bible Teaches
About God: God identified Himself as “I Am” (Exodus 20:2) – meaning He is the self-existent (has no beginning or end)eternal Creator of the universe.
About the Trinity: There is one God and yet three Persons (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19).
About Jesus: Jesus is fully God and fully man. He is not just an enlightened man. He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 10:30. Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and He is equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
About the Bible: The Bible alone is the word of God. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20). It backs up its claim as the word of God with accuracy, historical correctness, and fulfilled prophecy.
About the Afterlife: Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell. (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15).
About Salvation: Every person born on this planet is born into sin, is destined for hell and needs a Savior. Salvation is by faith in Christ on the basis of His death on the cross. Good works or self-denial have nothing to do with being saved (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29, 47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Things to Remember
The first thing you need to ask an atheist is “do you really seek to discover the truth – even if it costs you your reputation, and even your friends?” If the answer is no, then realize that he/she is not willing to go where the evidence leads; you won’t be having an honest intellectual dialogue, but your conversation may still have a spiritual impact.
Don’t talk about sin with an atheist. In their worldview, morality is generally dependent on the situation and neutral, so there is no reference point in their minds for a concept of breaking God’s universal laws.
Don’t get dragged into arguments about what God did or didn’t do. Focus on the evidence that Christ existed, died on the cross, and came back from the dead. As well, your personal testimony can be a powerful tool, because it’s very difficult to ‘disprove’ the real and lasting change that Christ has brought to your life.
Bottom line with an atheist (or anyone else for that matter) – you cannot argue someone to faith in Christ, but you can (and should) live such a Christlike life that those around you sense something different, which opens the door for you to explain the ‘evidence’.
GOD BLESS YOU.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.