Home > Christianity, Faith > How To Respond To Atheists

How To Respond To Atheists

Several months ago, an atheist found one of my blog posts.  They engaged me in some discussion and I didn’t react in the best manner I could.  I didn’t react badly, but I’ve pondered since then on how I should dialogue with them.  Here are some ways that I could have done a better job.

First, I wouldn’t have responded to the trolling questions and comments.  You know the kind, right?  Where they compare believe in God to believing in fairies or something like that.

Next, I wouldn’t even attempt to “prove” God exists.  Really?  Who am I to prove He exists.  Plus, why do I have to prove to anyone He exists at all?  I would need for them to prove to me that He doesn’t exist.

I would respect their viewpoint better.  Not that I would believe it, but I would try to find out why they believe as they believe.  Have they always believed the way they do?  If not, what was the turning point that led them in that direction?  If they were raised to believe this way, I would ask them what was the difference between us since we both believe what we were taught to believe.

I would ask them how my life would be better believing as they do.   Because they do want me to change my mind.  Just as I want them to change theirs.  I would ask them how discarding everything that I believe in and have all of my life would make my life better.

I would love them.  Not just one of those, I love you because I have to love you things.  I would love them enough to share the gospel with them.  To tell them that there is something else besides us.  That there is hope for something beyond what we have here during our 70 to 90 years.

I didn’t react the best to the atheist that checked out my blog.  Going forward I will do better.

How will you react when you encounter an atheist?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , , , ,
  1. rickd3352013
    June 10, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Always a challenge of the no-one-size-fits-all answer category. On the one hand, I stand pretty much where I believe I need to – I quit the debating society both inside the church (we have one, you know) as well as that outside it.

    When Paul addressed the Greeks, he started with where they were at: “I see y’all are religious folk. You even have an altar ‘To an Unknown God’. Let me tell you about Him and make Him known.” (OK, waay too long a resident of the south to eliminate dialect from my paraphrasing). In like manner, if we look at the ground Paul later covers in Romans, there is a path there for engaging those who you sense might be willing to listen with an open mind.

    Truth be told, I’ve had a harder time with folks who’ve been burned by religion – and by religious people – than I’ve ever had from an honest atheist. Folks who don’t believe, period, aren’t usually the ones who want to pick a fight – He doesn’t exist, therefore what we say doesn’t matter.

    We *are* still to love them.

    Seems to me I wrote about this subject some, but from a different aspect – where some Christian bloggers were actively trying to pick a fight with atheist readers (I’d been steered to some of their blogs). The link is: http://www.plannedpeasanthood.com/2013/05/in-the-crosshairs/

    • June 10, 2013 at 4:58 am

      Yeah, it seems like some folks want to fight more than really display their faith.

  2. June 10, 2013 at 5:37 am

    I have been blogging for over 5 years now and have never encountered an atheist (that I know of). A Deist. Yes. A guy from England that had a strange belief (name escapes me now), but searching for God. Even those who are followers of Christ can be hostile or confronting. I choose to answer with tact and as much love as possible.

  3. June 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    That’s tough man. I like your current stance, and respect your ability to question how you handled it. Way to grow through your experience.

  4. Ricky Anderson
    June 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I run into them all the time, mostly at work. One of my very best friends is an atheist. I’ve found that I get to share best when I shut up and respectfully listen. Then the questions come.

    • June 10, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Great point, Ricky

    • June 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Yep – silly me, but I believe we do a better job when we are face to face rather than Facebook to Facebook – at least, we stand a better chance of being heard when we listen.

  5. June 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

    “I would need for them to prove to me that He doesn’t exist.”

    This shows a misunderstanding of the burden of proof.

    • June 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Good morning. I don’t think I misunderstand that. In a conversation with someone that does not believe in God, I am not terribly interested in proving that He exists. That’s not my game. I am much more interested in finding out why that person does not believe He exists. I’m interested in loving them despite our differences. And I’m interested in finding out the point where they decided they didn’t believe. Plus, I would like to find out how they think life is better not believing. But arguing over whether God exists or not? Nah, there isn’t any point. I won’t be able to argue someone into believing how I do. And they won’t be able to argue me into believing as they do.

  6. philsname32
    June 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Good thought provoking post. I too have had some not so constructive interactions with atheists. Arguing is rarely if ever the approach to take.

    • June 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      I think a good course of action is to shut up and listen to them.

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