Friday, June 20, 2008

How to speak to atheists

Talking with atheists is something I don't relish as much as I did in college, where we'd have long debates over dinner in the cafeteria. . .maybe it's because I don't have as much time as I did then, but Jen Fulweiler of Et Tu, a former atheist, in her article suggests that atheists are getting bolder as they seem to have the upper hand in recent days.
"Atheism is a strong and growing influence in our culture. You can see it everywhere from the bestseller table at your local bookstore to the Darwin-mutated Jesus fish on the car in traffic in front of you. Atheists are comfortable declaring themselves atheists, comfortable promoting atheism, and comfortable decrying religion, which, according to some of the more prominent atheists, resides on the list of mankind's blessings somewhere between diphtheria and Nazism.

And now that we're encountering it more often, Christians sometimes find themselves ill-prepared to deal with this kind of muscular atheism. Especially for lifelong Christians, atheist arguments are so foreign that they don't know how to respond, and too often lapse into anger ("How dare you?!") or fear ("What if they're right?!"), neither of which does anyone any good, harming the Christian's witness and leaving the atheist firmly entrenched in his atheism.
Prepare yourself for being drawn into such a discussion, it may come sooner that you think. As 1 Peter 15 says, we must always be ready to give the reason for our hope.
HT Holy Spirit Interactive

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