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QUESTION: How can I witness to an Atheist?



ANSWER:  An atheist is someone who denies the existence of God.  However, before one can be an atheist and positively assert “there is no God,” he must presumptuously assume for himself the wisdom and omnipresence of God.  He must essentially be everywhere and know everything to have any confidence in his theory.  You might say that, in order to prove there is no God, you would have to be God.  Therefore, even the atheist believes what he believes by faith.  And so the bottom line is actually, who are you going to believe: man’s reasonings or God’s Word?


The Word of God makes no effort to prove God’s existence.  That fact is taken for granted.  The very first verse of the Bible refutes atheism. This verse declares that there is a God, that He is alive, and that He created us.  Because He created the heaven and earth, we will some day answer to Him.


Because the first step toward salvation is the knowledge of God, we must somehow reach every man with that fact.  The Bible says faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17).  And without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).  So, in order to witness to an atheist, you must use the Bible.  He may not want to read it, but you can slip it in from time to time in your conversation.  As is said of the beautiful, “It may be shown but not proven,” so we say of the existence of God.


My experience has been that most people who claim to be atheists, do so for the shock value.  They don’t want to talk about religion and find that to be an effective way to turn the conversation.  Give them time, love, patience, kindness and a consistent Christian life and you’ll win them to Christ.  The lost world knows how a Christian is to act.  If you drink, smoke, tell or laugh at dirty jokes, your atheist friends will never come to Christ.  Do you attend church regularly and live your Christianity 24/7.  The world expects that a Christian would pray and read their Bible and be significantly different (no night clubs, partying, gambling, etc.).


You might use some logic.  There does seem to be some indirect proofs which point to God’s existence as the necessary ground and condition of the existence of anything else.  First, the law of cause and effect demands that the universe came from someone or something at least equal to it.  Second, the law of order is demonstrated by all things having their use, order pervades the universe, and the methods of nature are rational methods.  Man’s moral conscience cannot be satisfactorily explained without a holy Lawgiver and Judge.  You might also ask how else we could account for the fulfillment of prophecy, miracles and conversion (the moral and spiritual change in man) apart from the existence of God?



The Word of God is logical, practical and harmonious with every fact of nature.  Be patient.  Always remember that someone is watching you to see if what you have is real.  Is it?



ANSWER (part 2):  I did not intend a part two answer to this question and certainly don’t desire to stir up more controversy than the topic does in and of itself, but I had a very civil conversation with a man who claimed to be an atheist who called from the East coast.  He desired to remain anonymous and took issue (nicely) with my definition of an atheist.  I looked up the word again in two separate dictionaries and on the internet and in each case I found that the definition I used is accurate.  An atheist is someone who denies the existence of God.  From the perspective of the man who called me, an atheist doesn’t deny God’s existence, but simply doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence to prove He exists.  I’ll give you that.


A bias is a starting point.  I am certainly biased.  I clearly see intelligent design.  Iran can reverse engineer our technology only because it was engineered in the first place.  We can figure out how stuff works because God created the laws that make it so…from gravity to nanotechnology.


The following is compiled from Grace and Truth magazine, Sept., 1975: Years ago an English atheist by the name of Charles Bradlaugh challenged a simple minister by the name of Hugh Prices Hughes to a debate on the validity of the claims of Christianity.  Mr. Hughes immediately accepted but with wisdom he added a challenge of his own.  “Since we know, Mr. Bradlaugh, that a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still, and since the debate as a matter of mental gymnastics will not likely convert anyone, I propose to you that we bring some concrete evidences of the validity of the claims of Christianity in the form of men and women who have been redeemed from the lives of sin and shame by the influence of Christianity and by atheism.  I will bring one hundred such men and women, and I challenge you to do the same.


“If you cannot bring one hundred…I will be satisfied if you will bring fifty men and women who will stand and testify that they have been lifted up from lives of shame by the influence of your teachings.


“If you cannot bring fifty, I challenge you to bring twenty people who will testify with shining faces, as my hundred will, that they have a great new joy in a life of self respect as a result of your atheistic teachings.


“If you cannot bring twenty, I will be satisfied if you bring ten.


“Nay, Mr. Bradlaugh, I challenge you to bring one, just one man or woman who will make such a testimony regarding the uplifting of your atheistic teachings.


“My redeemed men and women will bring unanswerable proof to the saving power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who have been redeemed from the slaveries of sin and shame.  Perhaps, Mr. Bradlaugh, this will be the real demonstration of the validity of the claims of Christianity.”


All of London was stirred.  What would Mr. Bradlaugh do?  In great discomfiture and chagrin, Charles Bradlaugh publicly withdrew his challenge for the debate.  And London smiled.