Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Top 10 Ways to Reach Atheists for Christ

All of us have "atheist" friends. Most of my atheist friends are too smart to flat out call themselves atheists (they recognize the logical fallacy) so they say they are philosophical agnostics but practicing atheists. That doesn't seem any better to me. If atheism is a logical fallacy why should living your life according to a logical fallacy be any smarter than stating the fallacy in the first place? Regardless, I have nothing but the highest respect for many of these atheist friends. There are always some that lack intellectual integrity and are belligerent in their discussion of these issues but more often than not, I find them to be fun, thought provoking and interesting people that I consider friends. One of the smartest people I've ever known, a friend who I've debated numerous times, whose intellect I respect but whose conclusions I disagree with recently posted a link on my 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.

1. Take the initiative and don't freak out!!! You're faith isn't based on a leap but rather on a confident step. There is a foundation of logic, empirical data, evidence and history that make your position the only logical position. The bottom line: if your atheist friend is objective they will have to be open to the evidence, if they are not, if they are ideologically motivated, you won't change their mind. Either way, all you need to do is confidently share the evidence, live what you preach (hypocrites turn everyone off, including atheists) and beware of smokescreens - I've often found that atheists claim to be so as a smokescreen. Just take the initiative to engage your atheist friend in discussion. Ask them out to coffee and a discussion, give them to a book reading challenge or even debate them publicly (but know your stuff first if you want to take that approach). Whatever you do, don't cower in the corner of Christian insecurity, take the initiative to discuss the issues.

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.


  1. Great post with lots of information! Guess I have some reading and studying to do :) Thanks Nate for all your encouragement!

  2. "Most of my atheist friends are too smart to flat out call themselves atheists (they recognize the logical fallacy)"

    Sorry, not believing in gods is not a fallacy. "Atheist" simply means "not a theist." There's no fallacy there.

    It's intellectually dishonest to start with a faulty definition of "atheist."

  3. Brian,

    Thanks for the comment. Atheism actually comes from the Greek "A" meaning "without" and "theos" meaning "God." It literally means "without God" or "no God." Here is a layperson description of the logical fallacy from CRI. I hope it helps:

  4. Derivation is not the same thing as definition, muchacho. Atheism is simply defined as a lack of belief in gods. It's not a logical fallacy; it's just something you don't agree with.

  5. This article was amusing. To me (an atheist), your arguments here seem silly. This phrase from your article: "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." should make you think.

    You know why you are Christian? Because you were born in America and exposed to Christianity. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Muslim. If you were born in India, you would be a Hindu. You could use the exact same arguments you have listed here to justify those religions as well.

    Once you figure out WHY you don't believe in Thor or Zeus or Shiva (or any of the thousand other man-made gods), you will discover why we atheists don't believe in yahweh. Good luck.

  6. An alien intelligence (that cannot ever be contacted again) showed me in a dream how, the universe has always existed and was not created by any sort of god.

    See how I just got around.

    The knowledge was given to me. I do not claim to be omniscient but, can also claim to be an Atheist.

  7. Timc is right. That very same alien appeared to me. Certainly we can't both be wrong.

  8. I'm Sorry but as an American I was born with more choices to any Religion including Atheism.
    Some how you have the Idea that exposure to Christianity only happens in America. Someone must have forgotten to tell of a place called the Vadican in Rome or its close sister The Russian Orthodox church.They dont call it that cause its based in NewJersey. Many People around the world are killed because of their conversion to christianity or tossed from countrys For preaching it than any other Religion.
    With many Forgieners comming to America their biggest surprise often is the growing influx of Athiesm here. It's America your allowed to beleive what you wish and your still allowed to be wrong.
    Oh timc, Science proved the big bag which would conclude something began meaning a begining. Unfortunatly even they say they will never know what was before the "Begining" of it. It could have been a giant Alien with 10,000 legs who called himself Bob for all we know but we dont.
    Once again undisputable facts end in dispute through modern science that will end up yesterdays science.

  9. Atheism is also a man made Relgion and is always in dispute with its own undisputable facts. It Also holds the same tax exemptions as any other religion. Its just the most popular religion Because you can get a Gov. grant to study its many undisputable facts and keep them constantly in dispute. Which means more grants for more study that some day a council much like the one at Micia will trim down into a book and call it the BiBle 2.

  10. Thanks for the comments guys. For the atheists that thought I posted this because I grew in America... actually, 13 of my first 18 years were spent outside this country and I have spent time in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and other countries. By the way, you fell into the trap - I knew some people would use the trusted and true ad hominem. Also, I would strongly encourage the 2 of you that saw the alien to quit being so naive! Ha Ha Ha. Please guys, talk about the evidence - you don't do yourselves any favors with those remarks.

  11. I love this! you're encouraging more people to read and comprehend the bible. That's just about the quickest path to Atheism that I know of. It certainly was for me.

  12. * Atheism is not a "logical fallacy". First, there's nothing wrong with a universal negative: e.g., there's nothing wrong with thinking there are no vampires or unicorns or leprechauns. Second, a logical fallacy is a faulty inference from one proposition to another, or from several propositions to another, which means you can't call a single proposition like "there is no God" a logical fallacy. Atheism may have all sorts of problems, but it's not a logical fallacy.

    * Even if morality is objective, it doesn't follow that God exists. Most philosophers who accept moral objectivity are nonbelievers, and most philosophical defenses of moral objectivity have nothing to do with God. So even if you can show that morality is objective, you still have a lot of work left to do before you have an argument for God's existence.

  13. Proselytizing isn't cool, it's a form of condemnation.

    Luke 6:37 -- "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

    The more you study religion, the more you will regard it as mythology. Also, I agree with Addy up above. "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." -- Isaac Asimov

  14. Okay, first I will need you to explain how being an atheist is a logical fallacy.

    You obviously know about the Ad Hominem fallacy, which you point out in your point 5. But do you know about the Ad Populum falacy? Because you are guilty of using it in point 3.

    In point 1, you say "You're faith isn't based on a leap but rather on a confident step. There is a foundation of logic, empirical data, evidence and history that make your position the only logical position."

    Now, I will agree with you that the Bible is a relatively accurate document from a historical sense only. It does create an accurate timeline, as to be expected because it was in face written by men during that time. No arguments there. But I want you to give me the logic behind believing in a talking lizard and magical tree. You talk about empirical evidence and logic, give me one piece of empirical evidence that proves the existence of god.

    In point 5 you say "The big bang is proof that the Universe began and proof that a supernatural explanation for the Universe is necessary." I agree it's proof that the universe began, but you can almost apply the Ad Absurdium fallacy to the statement following that. The Big Bang in no way proves a supernatural explanation. Hawking and Mlodinow have recently put out a book called "The Grand Design" and you would do well to read it. If you truly are a student of science you will want to know how the current physics in Quantum Mechanics tells us that in fact "God" is completely unnecessary for the "creation" of our universe and that, in fact, 'nothing' is so unstable that 'something' is the natural state.

    I will be completely honest with you, I found this blog entirely on accident and will probably forget it when I leave. If you want to discuss this email me at unrighteousfury at gmail dot com. Yes this is my email, not it's not my main one.

  15. I'd like you to consider for a moment that when you refer to your particular interpretation of the word "atheist," you're committing a ... wait for it ...

    Logical Fallacy.

    You're *assuming* that the person using the word intends the word to be used exactly as you conceive it. In keeping with your point 9, I'd suggest that you ask us atheists what the word means.

    Let's start from the beginning: I am a horpschgog.

    Are you happy that you understand what I am? I would guess not. You could ask me what the word means... I'll assume that's what you're doing.

    A horpschgog is a person who has been introduced to a particular concept and then found no evidence to support the concept, and as a result, does not accept the concept as true.

    The word "horpschgog" needs a referent, though. We're all horpschgogs with regard to something, since we've all said at least once in our lives, "Nope. I don't believe it."

    So... I am a God-horpschgog. I have been thoroughly introduced to the concept of god, and having seen no evidence that such a thing exists, I have said, "Nope. I don't believe it."

    So I'm sorry, I'm not committing a logical fallacy simply by using a word that YOU define differently than me. When I refer to myself as an atheist, I know perfectly well what the word means, and -- this is very important -- EVEN IF I'm wrong about the original meaning of the word. What's important is what I MEAN when I use the word. It's not your place to create my meaning by imposing a definition on a word I've used.

    Now, I may or may not be correct about the existence of god. And that's irrelevant. What I'm talking about here is your misuse of language to try to "wordplay" your way into defeating atheists straight out of the gate. Please don't insult our intelligence by making the absurd suggestion that all of us have screwed up our entire worldview because we failed first semester philosophy of language.

  16. I would Think it a Fallacy to ever logically think anything an Absolute. There still isnt a book of Absolute science of Electronics its still called the Theory of electronics for a reason.No man despite his best layed plans can for certain know he will wake up tomorrow to his usual routines. Much of science has been a hit and miss with theory that later had another theory disprove it. The older you get the more you see that very little is absolute and Hawkings has provin that universal negative disapear in black holes and go into another dimension. We dont know what else may be in the other 10 known dimensions just that somethings go there. Poof Gone never to return. At least until we find out from where they may return from there. Should we just stick with the idea that it couldnt happen because we havent seen it yet.Almost sounds like that chaseing GOD thing.
    Unfortunatly we cannt give up because there is still no absolute.
    Much of our labels do not always follow myth. The facts are Vampires do exist and people often get arrested for it.Just because it doesnt follow the myth doesnt mean some fool wont drain your blood and try to drinkit thinking he is a vampire. I see Leperchaunson TV danceing at Madigass parades all the time. Modern times forces them to go back to work on monday and act like normal people. Oddly myth is much a matter of perception or lack of seeing others perceptions which is easy to do when simplicity becomes to easy an explanation.

    I'm not sure why the need for Luke 6:37 or what it has to do with the topic But I forgive you because you know not what you do. Jesus probably will also but dont worry with out him God certainly has not. And even stuggles with the idea of it.
    Its not a secret that Isimov fumbled through the Bible. The logical way to read any book PROPERLY is from cover to cover like any other book.
    The fact that he came up with answers and not questions really shows his lack of ability to get through the book any more than any other man.
    The first question most men have before they get 1/2 way through the Bible is Why is so much missing? With out what is missing you fell of the road and made an opinion about things you know nothing about. Which is a poor choice when you form an opinion at the same time they are digging up the MYTHICAL city of Troy. ya know that place that was a myth for centuries. I'm sure He would be agast to find the archeologist and Darwinist have dropped their shovels and went racing off after the Enoch guy barely mentioned in the Bible to try and find the missing links and not kept playing in the dirt with monkey bones. Unfortunatly ancient monkey bones dont give up much DNA to prove any theorys. Especially when for so many decades science insisted that neaderthal DNA isnt in the human Gene ohm to find out once again...oops yes it is. And not where they expected it should be.
    So comes the famous and most logical fallacy of Atheism. So many self proclaimed Atheist go to college ans spend massive amounts of money to school themselfs with Idea's they beleive are absolutes even those who go to theological colleges beleiving the bible to be absolute. when neither is true. the facts are always changeing many times in the favor of neither.
    Most of what is taught in school are out dated before one gets a diploma let alone a college degree. To say one has an absolute answer to anything is the biggest fallacy of all.

  17. Unfortunatly the idea that ones definition should be different because he either doesnt understand the definition or likes to inscribe their own definition. doesnt hold up in courts of law.
    IE: A person says he loves children and his definition of love is different than others definitions and there for he should not hold the label of a childmolester because his idea of love for a child is different than others definitions.It just doesnt wash!
    You can say their are many types of Athiest but the fact still remains no matter how they reached their conclusion they are still Athiest. Many may like to sit on the fence as agnostics but then they would be an agnostic. The two are not the same.Many times the two become interchangable due to convienience of company they are in.Calling your self a horpschgog is only nameing the path in which you reached your conclusion. Not makeing the desicion that you dont beleive in God makes you an Agnostic.
    Its Ok to be wishy washy most Agnostics are.
    Usually they all have the same argument that there is no proof. Much like their is little proof that there isnt. If it was absolute there would be no argument at all would there.Most Proof on either side of the argument end in a tug of war of ever changeing imperical data that ends with the same answer of "We just Dont know" and "We are still haveing a problem proving it either way"Much of scince has proven to be a scene from the "life of Brian" Which God are we talking about the unseen ones that have been REDFINED as germs and diseases. or the big ones that may have been Solar flares and exploding comets. But all we have is the history we cannt tell for sure if ramdom things happening in the Bible and other Religous liturates for sure happend out of randomness or if something bigger than ourselfs was able to steer things. We often forget until we are out in the wilderness that we are not the top of the food chain and still are finding new creatures constantly. We surely cannot tell any more buy looking in the microscope that we have seen it all any more than looking through a Telescope tells us we have seen it all. One thing we always find is that we aint seen nothin yet.

  18. Others have already taken on the logical fallacy issue on. My beef is with Point 4. "Stats like those that show the impossibility of chemical evolution and the formation of the first cell out of a primordial soup." The post above seems to indicate that the auther is not a Young Earth Creationist, which means that (s)he will be willing to concede that the Earth is several billions years old out of a universe that is some 13-15+ billion years old. I'm linking to my favorite youtube video scientifically explaining what it would take for one of the current abiogenesis HYPOTHESES to be true. Even as a "layman," it makes more sense to me then any other "hypothesis" that I have seen.

    Remember kids: Hypothesis < Fact < Theory

  19. I'm not totally sure the question. Especially after listening to the presentaion on it.
    I think the Thoery that blowing up a Libray and getting the encyclopedia britanica from it still applies. Even more so, blowing it up and getting the Dictionary in an explosion on an entire different planet as seen in water from other planets means there had to be a process universally uniform that creates life everywhere in the universe.Logically if an explosion was able to cause chemical life. The chances of it happening the same way in different places would prove a creator of some sort to set up the model.
    Random accidents usually dont end in any order so for order to constantly come out of it in any form would prove some type of model for it to follow. For their to be a model their would have to be a design and a designer.
    With out it we would make beef stew on earth and get beef stew but makeing it on another planet it would come out chicken soup or break up into nothingness and eventually be totally destroyed by universal forces.

  20. "Random accidents usually dont end in any order", even if we take that statement as a guaranteed fact, it still leaves some wiggle room. Remember: BILLIONS OF YEARS. On a long enough time line, enough random chaos can become ordered. And who in hell was talking about "Library and getting the Encyclopedia Britannica from it," that is pure fantasy, unless you're talking about searching through the rubble, and finding an undamaged copy. Anonymous above me, you're making the Watch Maker Fallacy. Just because you can't imagine a logical, natural, non-divine process that would allow for the creation of life, DOESN'T MEAN ONE DOESN'T EXIST.

    youtube com /watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg (don't know if they allow links in comments as well, but you should know what a url looks like)

  21. I'm thankful for all your comments. A lot of you atheists seem a bit reactive here. This is a post about how to share with an atheist - not a post going in to detail about why atheism is wrong. For those atheists that feel a need to react to such a benign list of conversation pointers I can't help but realize you are reacting out of a the fear and conviction of your own wrong conclusions. When you say there's nothing wrong with universal negatives, attack people rather than arguments, throw out alien staw man arguments, malign the validity of the Bible (for those that think it leads people away from faith, I'll debate that any time) and constantly use youtube as your source of truth you reveal a sad level of intellectual integrity. If you want to debate these issues we can do it in a better forum (friend me on facebook - linked above - and we can chat about it). For now, I'd encourage you to spend more tie in the books than youtube and try to argue your points intellectually in a forum where people are actually arguing those points. I do really hope you find Jesus before it is too late! Thanks for interacting on this blog, it has been fun!

  22. Eternityimpact:

    I'm going to suggest an addendum to your point 9. You should rewrite it thusly:

    9. Ask questions. Then, *LISTEN ATTENTIVELY and COMPLETELY* to the answers.

    If you guys are correct, then nothing will hurt you to understand where we're coming from. But what you don't seem to understand is that your entire piece reeks of misunderstanding. When we read it, we keep thinking, "Jeez... this guy just doesn't understand us at all, and he's trying to tell people how to talk to us!"

    How about this... ASK US how to talk to us. Ask us precisely what we mean instead of PRESUMING, as you did with the word atheist, which 99 out of 100 atheists do not use in the way you've suggested.

    You said: "For those atheists that feel a need to react to such a benign list of conversation pointers I can't help but realize you are reacting out of a the fear and conviction of your own wrong conclusions."

    Ouch. Or... maybe it's because we don't like other people telling us what we really think. Maybe we're tired of people who clearly don't understand us getting on their high horse and preaching at us about how we're too stupid to work out very simple concepts.

    And how about this little gem... " For now, I'd encourage you to spend more tie in the books than youtube and try to argue your points intellectually in a forum where people are actually arguing those points."

    I'll dare you to stand up to your own challenge. I have such an intellectual forum, and I made a very thorough compendium of exactly why I think you're wrong. I'd love for you to show me the error of my ways if I'm wrong.

    You said: " I do really hope you find Jesus before it is too late!"

    How about if we start there. Here are my two pieces on heaven and hell, respectively. Why don't you take a crack at them and see if you can figure out where my logic is in error.

  23. Thanks for the challenge. I can't wait to check out your blog and discuss more. I am very busy with a family, ministry and a lot going on so please be patient. I will try to get to it though! Thanks!

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. If there really is no GOD... then when this world ended, Christians and Atheists and all other religions will just fall into nothingness at the end of this world... Yeah, floating forever.

    But what if THERE IS GOD?! Christians would go to heaven, while atheists will suffer to hell forever... That idea alone is very dreadful... Why take risks of just living your life for yourself here on earth without eternal values?

    I wouldn't. Why? Because I'M A REALLY SMART PERSON. It's just plain logic.

    How would you know if an apple tastes sweet? Of course, you have to have a bite of it...

    Have you guys ever tried Jesus?
    If you have, then you'll know what eternityimpact and I were talking about.

  26. I was born in Canada (not the USA, quite) & exported to Australia at age 2yo. I was what you might call a cultural Christian until some neighbours helping me to clean up after a serious social catastrophe invited me to a Bible study. At that point I was a "Weak Atheist," as in, I had no idea about whether God existed or not, doubted it, & didn't very much care either way.

    One evening a week for a handful of weeks, I watched things predicted in detail hundreds (or in a few cases over a thousand) years ahead of their occurrence, all parts of both sides of the story supported extensively by secular Archaeology.

    Seeing the death of a world leader predicted to the year a little more than two millennia before it transpired had a big effect upon an Atheist: it was impossible, yet it had happened.

    For the record, a Strong Atheist (call them a devout Atheist) believes that God does not exist. An extreme Atheist believes that God cannot exist. God is not bound in any way to honour their decisions.

    An Agnostic believes that one cannot know whether God exists or not. I have not found a term for "don't know, don't really care" which would describe quite a few people.

    Either way, the universe is not eternal. Oddly enough, this is proven by the observations of many staunch secularists: matter has a limited lifespan.

    How long that actually is does not make any practical difference. What it means is that the universe came to be, & until then, there was nothing. No space in which things could happen, no time for them to happen in, not matter for them to happen with, no energy to power their happening. To speak of "before this" is nonsense, as there was no time (so no time-frames) within which it could be measured. This leads to a (for a devout Atheist) unanswerable question:


    The one who decided the Why is outside time (they made time itself, too) & literally knows everything. Trying to out-guess such a being is not only a total waste of time, the constant & inevitable failure is also embarrassing.

    For the record, those who refuse what God has already completed for them do not spend eternity toasting their buns. That was imported from Paganism in about 300AD by Constantine the Great, along with a whole bunch of other junk, & represents infinite punishment for finite wrong-doing.

    They are destroyed in the lake of fire & brimstone. The fire itself cannot be quenched, which says nothing about what the fire consumes.

    End of story.