3 Evangelism Tips From an Atheist
by Ryan Visconti
An atheist answers the question, “How can Christians talk to atheists without sounding like jerks or idiots?” Are you an idiot? I certainly don’t think I am, but I know I sound like one sometimes.
Many Christians first discover that they sound like an idiot when they begin talking to other people about their faith. At some point, you’ve probably uttered the words, “Somewhere in the Bible, it says … .”
Here’s the problem: There are people (who don’t believe in God) who spend much more time and effort studying their beliefs than you do. Here’s one reason: The Gospel of Jesus Christ has a remarkably simple message—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) So it’s easy to grab a hold of the simplicity of the message and let it become an excuse to neglect due diligence in our Christian studies.
Three Tips From an Atheist I asked my friend, Jesse, for some help. Jesse is an atheist. He’s very well read, he understands logic and he might make you sound like an idiot … I asked him, “How can Christians talk to atheists without sounding like jerks or idiots?” He offered the following advice to Christians: “I think the best way to ensure a Christian doesn’t come off sounding like a total jerk, ridiculous or off-putting in a debate is to understand three important things:
1. Have a solid understanding of whom you are debating. People are not evil because they are atheist. Atheists are not “lost” or confused. Atheists are staunchly protective of your personal right to freedom of religion. Atheists live happy, meaningful, productive lives without a belief in God. Atheists are seeking the truth, just like you.
2. Have a basic knowledge of how to argue correctly. Avoid errors in fact. Avoid errors in logic and common logical fallacy. Avoid arguing from emotion/develop thick skin.
3. Be familiar with your own arguments. Read your Bible. Read your Bible again. Read your Bible again. To be perfectly honest, most Christians refuse to get past the very first point; those that do almost always hang themselves up in logical fallacy.
I think about 90 percent of my debate with Christians is devoted more to correcting errors in logic than to disagreeing with the belief itself.” Obviously, Jesse and I disagree on some things in his first point. The Bible says all humans are sinners and that we can’t find real joy apart from God regardless of how happy we feel. But Jesse offers some priceless gems of truth.
Remember that God loves the unbeliever as much as He loves you. We’re not extra special apart from the fact that we decided to take God up on His offer of salvation. Understand logical arguments and logical fallacies. For example, it’s not prudent to get upset and shout, “ … oh yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad!” Read your Bible, people!
Then read it again and continue this cycle until you stop breathing. Some Christians live their entire lives as the intellectual equal of Teletubbies!!! I recommend The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. (It’s written in plain language and covers a wide range of topics. I have it on my phone in Kindle format everywhere I go!)
Remember: 1 Peter 3:15 says, “ … And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” What do you think?