David Robertson is minister the St. Peter’s complimentary Church the Scotland in Dundee, director of the Solas Centre because that Public Christianity, and also author of magnificent Obsession: Why Jesus is Great, The Dawkins Letters, and Engaging through Atheists.

You are watching: How to witness to an agnostic


*

David Robertson is minister the St. Peter’s complimentary Church the Scotland in Dundee, director of the Solas Centre because that Public Christianity, and also author of magnificent Obsession: Why Jesus is Great, The Dawkins Letters, and Engaging with Atheists.

My next-door next-door neighbors are not atheists. They space Muslims, brand-new Age pagans, agnostics, in the name Christians, and also one family members of evangelical Christians.

Most human being in the uk (where ns live) room not card-carrying atheists (20%), also less therefore in the United says (14%). However, many human being are atheists by default, through “no religion” being the self-designation of 50% because that the UK and also 23% because that the US.

Many Bible-believing Christians see this as a finish disaster. I have a slightly different perspective. In mine experience, the is much harder to reach spiritual and nominally spiritual people than it is to with atheists. And also I desire to encourage all Christian brothers and also sisters not to see their atheist next-door neighbors as hazards to their faith, but as reachable world who require the great news the Jesus Christ.

To help, i suggest 4 things to store in mind when you connect with her atheist neighbors.

1. Treat them with dignity and listen carefully.

How execute we love our atheist neighbors? In the same means that we have to love any type of other neighbors. We try to acquire to recognize them. Us treat them through respect together men and also women made in the photo of God. We sell hospitality and help. We look for to recognize them.

“In mine experience, it’s lot harder come reach religious and nominally religious people 보다 it is to with atheists.”

Our first responsibility is come listen. We should listen come the culture — to what world are saying — and also seek to understand where they are coming from. We can’t assume world understand our language, and also we can’t expect to know theirs. It’s similar to American missionaries who involved Scotland thinking that because we every speak English, us all will naturally recognize each other. Castle soon discover their mistake. The words can be the same, but the meanings are frequently different.

2. Be ready to address their “defeater beliefs.”

Many different varieties of atheists exist. Us cannot simply put people into one category and also rely on standard techniques and also answers.

I call the many extreme form of atheists NFAs: brand-new Fundamentalist Atheists. They tend to be upset young men whose motto is “There is no God, and also I hate him.” You are far much more likely come come throughout them virtual than you are over the garden fence. Yet their straightforward beliefs are the ones that filter down v the media, entertainment industry, and also much that academia. What space these an easy beliefs?

We have actually no beliefs. We room just people who don’t believe in a God — yet if you noted enough evidence, us would.

You Christians are unbelievers in Thor, Zeus, and all gods other than one. We simply go one God further.

We have science; you have faith — and faith, by definition, is blind.

People deserve to be moral without God. Therefore, world have no need of God.

You may be tempted come think that you don’t require to be able to answer these assertions because no one was ever before won to Christ simply by being out-argued. However on the other hand, how plenty of atheists execute you know have been won to Christ through Christians just doing miscellaneous nice because that them? Or by simply going to church? Or by just reading a Christian book?

“When us witness come atheists (or anyone else), our first responsibility is come listen.”

No one can also see the kingdom of God unless they are born from above. We need the holy Spirit to take his word and apply it come those who he convicts the sin, righteousness, and also the judgement come come (John 16:8). However he supplies means, and also those way include his human being — his human being who love your neighbors.

And if we really love our neighbors, we will listen come them, care around how lock think, and also do our finest to assist remove their “defeater beliefs” — the ideas that stop them from also considering Christ.

3. Acknowledge that atheists are believers.

Let’s simply look at among these “defeater beliefs”: Atheists have actually no beliefs.

An atheist is someone that believes there is no God. Furthermore, they believe they have the capacity to absolutely determine whether or not proof is objective. In various other words, countless of them don’t identify that lock too have faith — castle have confidence that they don’t have actually faith! They have faith in the reliability of your rational powers and in the belief the they must only believe things they deserve to prove.

Atheism is based top top a collection of beliefs, most of which space unverifiable. For example, every atheist I’ve ever met to trust in naturalism. It’s no that they have actually verifiable evidence that whatever is material; they believe that everything is material.

They also believe there is no (and have the right to be no) proof for oh my gosh existence. A simple means to respond come this is questioning what evidence they would certainly actually accept.

4. Pursue their hearts through their heads.

See more: How To Get A Flat Stomach In 10 Minutes, 10 Min Abs Workout For A Flat Stomach

I’ve observed Christians who have bought into the social narrative the Christianity requires a type of remote faith, if atheism is the rational, strictly empirical, and frankly an ext intellectual position. This has tendency to command them into mistakenly reasoning that the only means to “win” atheists is to it is in extra nice.

“Our goal is no to defeat atheists in a debate, however to display them the glory and also beauty the Christ.”

While we shouldn’t be arrogant or belligerent, it no loving come concede rational superiority to atheism — because it isn’t true. The atheist place is intellectually vacuous. Atheism is no an intellectual problem, however a love problem. Yet Jesus and the apostles verified that the route to the heart usually passes v the head.

Our goal is no to defeat atheists in a debate, but to present them the glory and beauty of Christ in the wishes that some might be saved. Us argue through atheists not to win the argument, but to have actually Christ success them.