Ask Your Preacher
Hey, it's me again. So there is this extremely weird guy on my bus, and he is an atheist. How do I lead him to Christ? God is not dead.
Trying To Teach
Dear Trying To Teach,
Ironically, the Bible doesn’t say much to those who believe that we are all a cosmic accident. The only verse in the Bible that specifically deals with atheism is Ps 53:1 which says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” From God’s perspective, there is so much abundant evidence of a Creator that an honest heart will admit it. Statistically, this is also true – even with the rampant spread of evolutionary teachings, only a miniscule percentage (1.6%) of the American population consider themselves atheists. Rom 1:20 states that God built the universe, so it might stand as ever-sufficient evidence of His existence.
Studying Creation evidence is an enjoyable and wonderful thing. We here at AYP have an entire section devoted to Bible Evidences, but ultimately, if someone has totally disregarded the existence of God… Psalm 53:1 says they will be a very hard nut to crack. If he is honestly willing to look at the evidence though, we have found some luck in referring atheists to the books Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel and Has God Spoken? by A.O. Schnabel. Both books are well worth the read, and well worth sharing.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with my faith. I am eighteen years old. I was wondering... why does it feel like the entire world is becoming atheist or agnostic? Whenever I go on the internet, it seems like there's always some argument about why believing in God is stupid. People bash the Bible all the time at school. I am afraid to go to college now because I feel like I will lose my faith all together. I find it really hard to believe. My brother even told me today that he is "agnostic". I feel very lost right now.
The U.S. is struggling with losing its biblical ties, but it isn’t as bad as we perceive it to be. Statistically, only about 4% of Americans categorize themselves as atheistic or agnostic. That means that the vast majority of the United States believes in God. Sadly, the voices most often heard in media and culture make it sound like only a fool would believe in God.
Ironically, the Bible says the opposite (Ps 53:1). The responsibility that Christians have is to make the evidence of God’s existence clear in a culture that is opposed to God. The evidence of God’s existence is staggering. We recommend you read our articles “Does God Exist?” and “Who Wrote The Bible?” because both of those articles cover some of the evidence that will help you stand firm by your convictions – you might even share some of it with your brother.
Hang in there. It sounds like you could use a faithful congregation, so you don’t feel so alone. The Bible says that is one of the purposes of the church (Heb 10:24-25). Not all churches do this, but we would be happy to help you find a congregation near you that is faithful, gives Bible answers, and will help you to stand strong. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a Christian, and I have an old friend who is an atheist. My friend has been married for seventeen years and last summer came close to a divorce after his wife discovered that he was having an affair. They have since reconciled but have sought no counseling. I have even suggested they begin this new chapter in their lives by joining a church. This suggestion was laughed off. He and his wife along with my wife and me are going on vacation together in three weeks. We live 900 miles apart from one another.
Now that you have the background, here's the question. Yesterday, he asked me to renew his wife's and his vows on the beach! My knee-jerk response was, "No, I can't do that. You need a preacher!" He responded by saying that he doesn't need a preacher, and he just needs someone to do the vows, and who better than his old best friend? Something is nagging at me. First of all, I don't think they have taken the right steps to ensure a solid marriage going forward, but there seems to be more bothering me. Is there something wrong with a Christian renewing the vows of a couple who are not Christians? Is there something wrong with someone other than a preacher renewing a married couple’s vows? Thank you.
An Old Friend
Dear An Old Friend,
No, there isn't anything wrong with you helping them renew their vows – after all, they aren't officially getting married; they did that seventeen years ago. This is just a couple trying to reconcile and re-embrace a healthy marriage. God says that marriage is to be held in honor by all (Heb 13:4). It isn't a sin for you to help any married couple try and renew a sense of honor in their marriage.
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?
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.
I was talking to an atheist the other day, and a question that we both share is the defining question of him being an atheist. And it is: God sent Jesus to Earth to die for our sins; well, since the universe is so big, and there is most likely some other place in the universe with life, then did God send another savior to there? Or are we the only planet out of the nearly infinite universe with life? I'm currently going through a point in my faith where I'm questioning a lot, and I just wanted to know why are we here.
Dear Intelligent Lifeform,
The Scriptures don’t say anything directly about aliens (which is really what we are talking about when we discuss other sentient beings in this universe), but they do say several things that make sentient life on other planets highly unlikely.
- God made mankind in His image (Gen 1:26). That is where we get our free will, reason, emotion, conscience, etc. The whole point of alien life is that there is a species of life among the stars that is equal to mankind. God says that man has no equal.
- In the creation story found in Genesis chapter one, Earth seems to be the central focus of the story. The stars, heavenly bodies, etc. are given only a brisk overview. The implication is that Earth is the center of all organic life; it is the central purpose of the creation. It would be odd for God to leave out the part where He made other life-sustaining planets with other sentient beings.
- Jesus came to die for mankind (1 Cor 15:3) and the people of this world (Jhn 3:16). If there were aliens that had intelligence, souls, and freewill like humanity, wouldn’t God care equally for their souls? If aliens do exist… it seems that they have been left out of the blessing of forgiveness in Christ.
None of these reasons explicitly deny the existence of alien life; they just make the chances very, very improbable. Perhaps someday we will find some plants, fungus, or bacteria on another planet, but I doubt we will ever find E.T. Which also answers the second part of your question. We are here because God made us in His image and has given us the free will to choose our own destiny. His desire is that we, the only sentient creatures created, will choose eternity with Him in heaven (2 Pet 3:9). If you would like further information on how to choose God, we recommend reading “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”.