I just read an amusing article: How to Share the Gospel With an Atheist. – What an amazingly ill-informed bit of garbage!
1. Don’t be shocked, and do ask tons of questions. Some atheists like to shock Christians with the fact that they don’t believe in God. This brand of atheist pulls the pin on the “There is no God”grenade and drops it in the middle of the conversation, expecting Christians to run for cover.
No. Atheists don’t often make a point of announcing their atheism until someone else starts pressing their religion. And, at least for me, saying “I am atheist” is a clue that I do NOT want to pursue a discussion of your religion, I’m not interested, I don’t care, it does not concern me, back off and leave me the fuck alone and take your superstition elsewhere.
And remember that, as you ask questions, your goal is not to trap them but to understand them. Find out areas where you agree. Just like Paul found common ground with the Athenians when he discovered an altar to the “Unknown God,” we can find common ground in a mutual rejection of legalistic religion, a passion for science and reason and, usually, an overall positive view of the historic Jesus.
BULLSHIT! Paul did not “find common ground” with the Athenians. Read it yourself, in Acts 17:22-23:
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
That’s not “finding common ground”; that is both insulting (calling them ignorant) and arrogantly presumptuous (claiming HE was going to explain their unknown god to them).
2. Listen deeply for the real “why.” Often atheists have a reason (other than “reason”) for becoming atheists. Listen for it. Sometimes it’s anger over losing a loved one. Other times it’s that they were hurt by the church in some way. But often there’s a “why” behind the lie they are embracing.
Again, NO! Many believers are angry at their god, and choose not to trust their god, but continue to believe their god exists. They are often referred to as “backsliders”. Atheists have no belief in a god. That’s what the word means: a (without) theist (believer in god).
3. Connect relationally. Atheists are real people with real feelings. They laugh, cry, talk and connect like anyone else. I think that too many times, Christians treat atheists as objects and not people.
Silly author! Atheists (like most other normal people) can sniff out when you are being genuine and when you are just being all chummy in order to get a conversion.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:23-26, NIV).
See? “Opponents must be gently instructed.” WTF? Instructed? How fucking arrogant can you be? It’s not your job to “instruct” atheists, or anyone else. If you are unable to listen and be taught by atheists, you have no business pretending you are able to instruct atheists.
4. Assume that, down deep inside, they do believe in God. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who genuinely rejects the existence of God. Sure, I’ve met many who have claimed God’s existence to be a lie, but I’m convinced that, down deep inside, they really do believe there’s a God.
Why do I believe that? Because Scripture makes it clear in Romans 1:18-21 that there are no real atheists:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
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When you assume that an atheist does really believe in the existence of God, it gives you the freedom not to have to prove God’s existence but to share God’s story. You can be sure that, down deep inside, the gospel is churning in the soul of the atheist.
WOW. Sure, just assume the atheist really does believe, so that you don’t have to bother with all that evidence and proving and stuff. Fuck You! YES, you DO have to provide EVIDENCE that your God exists, because it is the LACK OF EVIDENCE that makes atheists in the first place. There is no rational reason to believe any god exists. Just because your holy book says “everyone knows” doesn’t make it real. Don’t assume lies about atheists just because your book says so; challenge your damn book to see if IT is accurate in its claims.
5. Frame the gospel as a love story (that just happens to be true). When I shared the gospel with James, I wasn’t trying to prove God’s existence. I was simply sharing the story of God’s love. I said something like, “James, at the core of Christianity is a love story. Jesus put it this way: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but has everlasting life.’”
No, at the core of Christianity is a myth. The core of Christianity is that because of Adam’s sin, all of humanity inherited a “sin nature”, and the only way to fix it was to offer up a blood sacrifice in Jesus as Savior. But there was never any Adam, there is no “sin nature”, and no need of a savior.
In the comments section of that linked article, I wrote this:
How to share the gospel with an atheist:
1. Wait until you are asked; do not take it upon yourself to weasel the gospel into every conversation. That just makes you look pathetic.
2. Do not assume you know what the atheist thinks until the atheist tells you. Just like you don’t like to be identified with Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, or Rick Warren, not all atheists are identical to Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, or Sam Harris. We are intelligent and we can think for ourselves and reach our own conclusions.
3. Do not assume that you have anything to offer that the atheist has not already heard dozens of times before, and in countless scores of varieties; many atheists were either raised as Christians, or converted to Christianity, tried it, and found it wanting. Many of us are more well-informed about Christianity and the Bible than the average dutiful Christian “witnessing for Christ” by repeating a package of cherry-picked verses.