Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“The Faithless' Faith”

Categories: ATHEISM, EVIDENCES, FRIENDS, RELATIONSHIPS, RELIGIONS
I work with a co-worker who claims to be an atheist.  There are a myriad of apologetic books that speak to these types of people and their claims.  However, I would like to seek your insights on how to best reason with this person.  In the process of talking with him, he has actually asked me to share Scriptures of encouragement that he could share with his girlfriend.  I have bought him his first Bible, Bible Dictionary, and a pamphlet on how to study the Bible, which he was moved by and gladly received.  I also offered to study with him, but he has not yet accepted my offer.  Still, he needs to be convinced that God is real and that we did not get here by accident.  Is there a simple format or practical approach I can use?

Sincerely,
Theist

Dear Theist,

Ironically, one of the best places to start with an atheist is to discuss their faith.  The relationship you mentioned sounds like it is a “talk when we can” sort of situation, and so it can be hard to cover anything in a systematic, step-by-step way.  Lord willing, you will eventually be able to have a sit-down class with this individual, but until then, you are really just trying to get him thinking about how important this issue is.

In the past, we have talked with our atheist friends about their faith, and it can really jar their eyes open.  Most atheists believe they don’t have faith, but this simply isn’t true.  An atheist cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God any more than you or I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is.  At some point, both the atheist and the theist have faith.  Faith is an inevitable element of life.  Anytime you trust something you can’t see, it is an act of faith (Heb 11:1).  When we take an aspirin, we have faith that it isn’t laced with arsenic.  When we drive, we have faith that the traffic light is telling the other lanes to stop when it tells us to go.  We visit restaurants because we have faith in the recommendation our friend gave us, and we buy houses based on our faith in the home inspector’s report.  Everyone lives by faith – this is an important aspect of life.  If your atheist friend had no faith, he couldn’t function in life.

This is a great place to start because when an atheist realizes that they already live by faith, you can begin to discuss the fact that faith is based off of evidence.  We believe in God because we have been given enough evidence that we can reasonably believe in His existence.  Read “Is God Real?” for a basic list of evidences.  When an atheist begins to view their life as a life of faith, it changes the discussion from “science vs. religion” to “which faith do I choose?”.  In our humble opinion, this is a good, practical place to start.