1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Austin Cline

How to Talk to An Atheist?

By August 14, 2013

Follow me on:

Arrogant
Arrogant
Photo: Gregory Costanzo/Getty

Do Christians know how to talk to atheists? That isn't very likely. The biggest problem is probably that Christians, but especially conservative evangelical Christians, have no idea what atheism is or what atheists think. Everything that they think they know about atheism they have acquired from evangelical writers who promote more myth than truth, more prejudice than knowledge.

Mike S. Adams wrote a few years ago:

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I saw a car covered with sacrilegious bumper stickers. It seemed obvious to me that the owner was craving attention. I'm sure he was also seeking to elicit anger from people of faith. The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism. And, all too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.

Of course, Christians who put provocative signs and stickers on their cars are not seeking negative attention -- they are just sharing their faith because they care about others. If anyone takes those messages negatively, that just demonstrates that they are in denial about God because they want to lead a wicked life and object to anyone reminding them that they are responsible to a Higher Power.

In fact, just the other day, I heard a Christian refer to Michael Newdow as an "attention-craving SOB." It reminded me of the time I heard someone refer to Annie Laurie Gaylor as a "bitch." I don't have the same reaction towards atheists, even when I see them attacking my basic religious freedoms.

The fact that there aren't any organized (or disorganized) efforts by atheists to restrict Christians' religious liberties is irrelevant. The fact that theists, including Christians, bring more church/state cases to the courts than atheists doesn't matter. All that matters is that the Christians who dominate the nation feel the need to perceive themselves as "persecuted" because their holy book tells them they will be. If they aren't being persecuted, then something is wrong.

Adams says that he used to be an atheist, which may be true. Adams also says that C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity had a profound impact on him, helping to lead him to Christianity. That may also be true, but if true it demonstrates that his atheism wasn't much founded on reason, logic, or philosophy. Lewis is one of the worst Christian apologists of the 20th century. He was a popular apologist because he told believers what they wanted to hear, but that's the problem: his arguments are only effective with people who already believe, who are looking for an excuse to believe, or who simply lack basic critical thinking skills.

Yet Mike S. Adams thinks he has some idea of how to talk to atheists and wants to share his "insights" with others.

Comments
July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am
(1) Esbee says:

As much as Christians might want to say the right thing to a non-believer it is God’s Holy Spirit that prepares the heart to hear the truth. And all people are imperfect, hence the need for a savior, the Christ who was perfect and died on the cross to pay for our sins. There is a heaven and a hell. And a devil. And we live by faith.
Those who do not believe can come up with all sorts of reasons, such as hypocrites who act badly, priests, who molest children, the Crusades, etc etc etc. Who says they are really Christians? Does putting a turd in the cookie jar make it a cookie? Do you throw out your toilet because the plumber you called in did a poor job in fixing it and totally does not know what he is doing?
Or do you give up your vocation because some in that vocation do not do their best in that vocation and give it a bad name?
Non-believers base their decision to not believe based on events in the lives of people they never met or did meet and saw them to be hypocrites, which they most likely were and are. Why not look at those who got it right and lived a good life and yes there are many.
But you can practice Christianity all your life and never get it right. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the one True God (HE said it, not me) made possible by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

July 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(2) Todd says:

Esbee,

You should read your post (to a five-year old article) and think about how wierd your claims are.

Nailing someone to a wooden plus sign isn’t a sacrifice, it’s just a mean way to murder someone. And a horrible thing to ask of someone. What does it have to do with ANYTHING? What about all the people who died BEFORE the crucifixion? Were they screwed out of this relationship? They didn’t chose when to be born, your god did (according to you).

Seems more likely that this Jesus guy was a thorn in the side of the Romans and they killed him for it.

Jesus might have been one of the first self help gurus. That’s far more likely than him being the product of a virgin birth.

Got any proof of this heaven or hell? Why should i care about them any more or less than Valhalla or Stovokor?

Your vocation comparison does not hold when the things done in the name of the vocation/religion are done because they are part and parcel of the vocation/religion. Hitmen give hitmen a bad name because they murder people for money. It’s their job. Priests molest children because they can’t get laid and Xanity warps sexuality.

Living by faith is silly. Faith doesn’t lift planes in the air. Faith doesn’t design planes. Faith isn’t anything more than a wish.

Few atheists are so because of the actions of preists or poorly behaved beleivers. For most of us it’s the conclusion arrived upon by reason and examining the non-existent evidence.

Why not look at those who got it right? Because they could have been good people without faith, without being Xian or even having faith in any other supernatural thing.

Why do you think imperfect people need a savior? Your answer is “for the Bible tells me so” which means as much to me as reading it in a Superman comic. They don’t need a savior, they need help and good parenting.

Wait a moment… is this a Poe’s Law troll?

July 10, 2010 at 1:26 am
(3) Zack says:

And all people are imperfect, hence the need for a savior, the Christ who was perfect and died on the cross to pay for our sins. There is a heaven and a hell. And a devil. And we live by faith. — Esbee on July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

How about offering some reasons to think any of that is true?

Those who do not believe can come up with all sorts of reasons, such as hypocrites who act badly, priests, who molest children, the Crusades, etc etc etc. Who says they are really Christians? Does putting a turd in the cookie jar make it a cookie? Do you throw out your toilet because the plumber you called in did a poor job in fixing it and totally does not know what he is doing?
Or do you give up your vocation because some in that vocation do not do their best in that vocation and give it a bad name? — Esbee on July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Did you stop believing in the Tooth Fairy because your dentist did a bad job filling your tooth? Did you stop believing in Zeus because your favorite Greek restaurant put too much oil in your hummus?

If your disbelief in the Tooth Fairy and Zeus isn’t because of silly reasons like these, why do you assume I have silly reasons for not believing in your god?

Non-believers base their decision to not believe based on events in the lives of people they never met or did meet and saw them to be hypocrites, which they most likely were and are. — Esbee on July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Do you disbelieve in Santa Claus because of events in the lives of people you never met? Is it because some people who believe in Santa Claus are hypocrits?

Why not look at those who got it right and lived a good life and yes there are many. — Esbee on July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Well, for don’t hide your light under a bushel basket! Name some of these believers who got it right!

But you can practice Christianity all your life and never get it right. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the one True God (HE said it, not me) made possible by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. — Esbee on July 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Well, of course Christianity is a religion. Look up “religion” in the dictionary, pal.

Everyone thinks their religion is special and different from all the rest.

July 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm
(4) Dave Y. says:

The REASON atheists don’t believe in your fairy-god is simple, its make believe and we gave up making believe in childhood, seems you haven’t!

thios leaves one respnse, GROW THE F&%# UP, FOOL!

August 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm
(5) Cousin Ricky says:

And Esbee strolls into the joint like (s)he owns the place, and gives us a perfect illustration of how not to talk to atheists.

August 19, 2013 at 2:57 am
(6) jc says:

I think Todd, Zack & Dave gave Esbee the respect he deserved. Esbee is clearly bereft of his senses (sight, hearing) and mental faculty (inability to think for himself/herself & sus
ceptibility to delusion) . Be well folks

August 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm
(7) Jeanne says:

Esbee: You are typical of people who make assumptions about atheist rather than have an honest discussion with one.

The reason many people do not believe in any gods is simply the absence of any rational reason for doing so. So far, there has been no evidence presented to prove that gods exist or are even necessary.

I deny the existence of fairies, unicorns and leprechauns for the same reason, no evidence.

September 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm
(8) Francine says:

100 years from now, when you are long gone, will you still have had an existence? Someone could say, that’s not true, he/she (whatever your name is)never existed! Prove it. Now lets say, any pictures, records, etc have been destroyed of the past “you” and no matter how much convincing someone tries to do, as far as the other party is concerned, you never had an existence,but is that true? Of course not! Cause you’re reading this. I’m here and so are you. The Bible is a very informative history book full of past present and future events. If you decide to put up a stone wall before giving study to the Bible, your doing yourself a great disservice because the Word is deep. If you allow someone who studies often and has a decent character to cop a squat with you and shed some enlightenment regarding Scripture. I guarantee you, by the time it was over, you would be like “wow”! That is amazing! I never knew that was in there!!! Awesome!!! Until you read for yourself, don’t make accusations that you are not 100% about. And PLEASE!!! don’t judge God or Christianity by the catholics standards. i grew up a catholic. They are the biggest idol worshippers that ever lived. They worship the queen of heaven, not God. They are peadophiles and homosexuals, the majority of them. What happens when you find out in the end that God and Jesus do exist? Right now you might say “oh well, I guess I’m going to hell”. You say that NOW, Oh! But you will be singing another tune when you here the screams of the other non believers that are being cast in the lake of fire and don’t have visions of Dante’s Inferno. We can’t have Gods imagination. I usually don’t respond to “comments” but tonight someone reading this needs it! Go on and get your salvation and your reward. He’s knocking. Answer. Love you!!! : )

September 21, 2013 at 6:26 am
(9) Grandpa In The East says:

Some very, very beautiful words (better than any holy book has to offer):

“Religion is harmful because it claims knowledge of an absolute truth about what it is to be human. By definition such a claim is dangerous. It leads to immoral decision-making and excludes new insights into what it is to be human.

Religion blocks the development of rationalism as the guiding principle of human development.”

There’s more: http://www.eclipse.co.uk/thoughts/power.htm

Grandpa

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.