Facebook wall titled The Top 10 Tips for Reaching Out to Atheists. It is a funny post and no doubt gives good perspective from that side of the spectrum. Here are a few pointers I would suggest for all of you that want to reach out to your atheist friends.
2. Know what you're talking about. As a Christian, I feel embarrassed by weak and unintelligent answers many Christians give in discussions with atheists. An example: "If evolution is true why do we still have monkeys?" Every time I hear that question thrown out I am appalled at the misunderstanding of the theory of evolution the debater exhibits. If you're going into a discussion of this type please, know what you're talking about or at least be committed to learning. A great place to start is "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist." You should also check out our apologetics page for some great links.
3. Base your argument on data and logic. Don't be afraid of science. Don't fall into the "The Bible is true because it says so" trap. That only works if they already believe the Bible and they don't so don't take that approach. Atheists have tried, without success, for hundreds of years to destroy the Christian faith. They haven't managed to. The arguments are solidly in your favor - know them! Give them reasons to believe. Get some of those reasons here or check out the MP3 below. Do your best to speak their language - evidence. Avoid "Christianese." Another quick note, if they do claim to be an atheist, make sure to inform them atheism is a logical fallacy. If they recognize that and claim, like my friends, to be a philosophical agnostic but a practicing atheist, ask them why living their life according to a logical fallacy is any smarter than stating the fallacy in the first place. Finally, make them use data and logic too. Don't tolerate the atheist's favorite trick, the Ad Hominem attack!
4. Use statistics and don't let them get out of stats. I love sharing stats when I can. Stats like those that show the impossibility of chemical evolution and the formation of the first cell out of a primordial soup. I share some of those stats in this presentation:
Anyway, whenever we'd bring up those stats in a debate the Atheists would always just say, "it could happen." That's not science.
5. Thank God for the Big Bang! Talking about the science, thank God for the Big Bang. The Big Bang is a reality! We can take pictures of it, mathematically prove it and measure its after radiation. Christian's that fight against the big bang are not being intelligent. The big bang is proof that the Universe began and proof that a supernatural explanation for the Universe is necessary. Noted Atheists are coming to that same conclusion (example: Antony Flew - but poor guy, his atheist "friends" called him crazy when he saw the light - they always like that powerful Ad Hominem attack. I'll be expecting a few of those types of genius comments at the end of this post). Stick to cosmology and don't get into a debate about the age of the earth - it will get you nowhere and it will distract from the main issue. Genesis 1 describes the astronomical reality of the universe in a way that confirms Divine Revelation.
6. Don't forget the history and archeology. There are 10 1st Century historical references to Jesus and only 9 for Tiberius Caesar. The book of Acts has 84 archeologically and historically confirmed statements. The manuscript evidence for the New Testament is mind boggling. And before you say, "Bart Ehrman," check out this post by Ben Witherington. The fact is, you have every reason to trust the historical reliability of everything you read in scripture. Share the reasons why.
7. Call them out on their autophagic statements. Here are 12 examples of statements that eat themselves up that you hear all the time. These examples are quoted from Micahel Bauman, Greg Koukl and others. "Everything is relative." If that statement is relative, everything isn’t relative. "There is no truth." If that statement is true, it's false. "There are no absolutes." Ask them if that statement is absolutely true? "There is no right or wrong." If that statement is true, it's wrong. "No one can know any truth about religion." And how, precisely, did you come to know that truth about religion? "Science is the only sure method of finding truth." Oh? What scientific experiment taught you that truth? "You can't know anything for sure." Can you know that for sure? "Talking about God is meaningless." That would include the statement itself. "All religions are true." If all religions are true, then Christianity is true. But part of the truth of Christianity is that other religions are false. Either Christianity is correct and others are false, or some other view is true and Christianity is false. Either way, all religions can't be true. "You can only know truth through experience." What experienced led you to that truth? "Don't push your values on me." Aren’t you pushing that value on me? Don’t tolerate intolerance. "Whose to say." That's an Ad-hominem attack! Whose to ask?
8. Discuss moral objectivity. They know right and wrong. Put them on the spot. Discuss the lie that Christians have caused all the world's problems. Get some great perspective on that in "What's so Great About Christianity." No matter what, make them say something stupid. In our debate, posted below, I asked one of our atheist friends if morality wasn't objective would he be OK with me shoving a long knife through his stomach. He replied that he would find it unpleasant but couldn't say it was wrong. I'm not sure if we caught that on the recording (I started it a bit late into the debate) but it was just the kind of statement you want them to make.
9. Ask lots of questions. Don't give them an intellectual free pass. Don't let them off the hook! Be nice but go after them. Ask questions that will put them on the defensive. Read Tactics for more great points on asking questions. Don't interrupt (give them enough rope to hang themselves so to say).
10. Keep the discussion going and going in the right direction. Give them good books to read (You could give them either of the 2 mentioned previously in this post or God is Good, God is Great, Evidence for God or Contending with Christianity's Critics). Don't presume to know everything. Love them. Don't be a jerk! Gregory Koukl writes in Tactics, "Jesus' teaching made some people furious. Just make sure it's your ideas that offend and not you, that your beliefs cause the dispute and not your behavior." Don't take offense at their disparaging comments about God. Pray for them. And finally, keep the discussion focused on the main issue. Jesus! He alone has the answers and He alone is working in your friend's heart (that's typically, in this case, more the issue than the head). Trust Him. Do your best to love your friend and don't back down from sharing the only Good News! Hell is real and they need THE Savior.
I wish I could have spent more time on this. I hope these ideas help. Please share any ideas you have as a comment to this post! Thanks for reading and have a blast sharing your faith, even with atheists! Finally, check out one of our debates with our atheist friends below.