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An Independent Baptist Woman Asks, How Do You “Minister” to Atheists?

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I found the following dated discussion on a public forum called the Online [Independent] Baptist Community. I have excerpted the relevant comments from the thread. Enjoy! 🙂

Madeline stopped commenting on this site twelve years ago. One can only hope that she found the light of reason, skepticism, and common sense.

Madeline asks:

How do you minister to atheist?

Most atheists I minister to don’t care what I have to say. The Gospel bounces off of them like bullets to Superman. If I tell them that God loves them and sent his only Son to die for them, they respond by saying, ‘I don’t care, I don’t believe that!’. Or if I were to ask them if they believe that they will go to heaven when they die, they respond by saying, ‘I don’t believe in God or Heaven’ What am I suppose to do? And I don’t want to go force the Gospel on them, they get upset sometimes and this scares me!!!

Anon:

Try asking an atheist why we have seven days in the week and why we have Saturday and Sunday off.

Samer:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

And so it is that the Bible doesn’t need to prove God–it’s evident by nature–and it simply begins “In the beginning God…”!

We know that people who reject this are hardheaded and willfully ignorant (Psalm 14:1, 2 Peter 3:5). Thus, they usually aren’t responsive to logic.

Atheism, to say there is no God, is silly. To say there is no God is akin to saying there is no gold in China. Such a statement requires absolute knowledge of everything, which none of us has but God.

If I told you to look at any building, and asked you to prove to me that there is a builder, you would probably say “That’s easy! The building is proof that there was a builder.” You don’t just lay down cement and lights and bricks and glass, and turn around and after a million years, a building will be there. And so creation is proof of a Creator.

It’s the same with a painting, like the Mona Lisa. Prove to me a painting has a painter, and you will say the painting itself is proof. Nobody in their right mind would think the Mona Lisa (or something much more complex) appeared by chance, yet the earth and heavens are filled with beauty and art. Art implies an Artist.

….

Countless statistics can be used–the anthropic principle is amazing–but in the end, they’re just willingly ignorant, as Peter says.

….

And remember! God has given us ALL a conscience inside of us. Every time we sin, we do it with knowledge that it is against God’s law. Use this fact!!

Itl:

I’ve got some more suggestions as well.

1) The last thing to do is to get into an intellectual debate. Try not to quote from stuff (like from secular historians) outside the Bible to help your witnessing, and STAY AWAY from philosophical stuff. Many of them are well-skilled in philosophy and such stuff, they will defeat you easily if you do not rely on God’s Word alone.

2) 1 point you can tell them: Man, by nature, is a religious being. Even the most remotest tribe will at least worship something, or will be interested in spiritual fulfillment. If it is not religion (very true for the atheist) that they seek, they will seek other things, like philosophy, arts, history and so on. I have never, in my life, heard of a person who has absolutely no interest in any spiritual things. Does that not tell us Man retains in his heart, a knowledge (albeit corrupted) that there a God exists? Tell them then, this God is the Biblical God, the Lord God Almighty.

3) What about life after death? Many atheists will tell you after death, they just go out of existence. But I doubt any of them will feel comfortable about it. Aha! The conscience. The fear, that judgment shall come for them after death. Another evidence of God’s existence. Focus on this part, the conscience (as the other brethren here have mentioned). If God does not exist, then morality does not need to exist as well, because human beings will have no one to be responsible to, but themselves. This is why many unsaved people who go on to a life of decadence and evil first reject God.

5) Btw, I find it contradictive they can get upset after hearing the gospel of Christ preached. If they do not believe (and reject) in God or the gospel, they wouldn’t feel offended in the first place (because they think it’s nonsense). Perhaps it’s their conscience being pricked? Hmmm…

And, if they threaten to get violent or blackmail you, back away. [it’s good if you can find a fellow brethren to help you] You preached the gospel to them: it is now their responsibility to accept or reject it. But at least you have sown seeds of God’s Word in them, which, hopefully… will grow and bear fruit aplenty.

May God’s blessings and protection be with you, as you preach His news to the lost!

LettheRedeemedSaySo:

When ministering to an athiest I would address the issue of What is Truth?

Madeline:

I’m actually using some of the pointers here on this thread on an atheist forum and see if I can get some ministerial experience. Well at least they can’t chase me!

Psalm 18:28

Are you sure you want to witness an atheist forum? It is harsh and they will shred you into pieces. I know several people had a change of view of the bible after being on an atheist forum (they were a young Christian). One of them became a theist evolutionist. You have to have a thick skin, and full knowledge of the bible and bible history, and strong faith and love for Jesus that nothing can cause you to lose your faith. I survived from a atheist forum, and it left some doubts in me for awhile. What didn’t kill me made me stronger. Many people who thought they knew Jesus decided to reject him after being in a atheist forums

Madeline:

Yes yes! I want to minister on an atheist forum. Anyone who rejects Jesus after being influenced by atheists would have proven to be a false convert. Jesus said that none of his sheep can be removed from him. And I may be young, but am not a young christian. God made you stronger after debating with atheists, and I’m sure he will do the same for me. Yay!!!!

Madeline:

Uhhhhhhh! I don’t think the atheists on the forum are going to change their mind. 😥 I tried but nothing seems to convince them. It’s so sad, the devil has blinded their minds and my heart grieves for them.

Madeline:

What am I doing wrong? I tried to minister to the atheists on the forum and gave it my all, how come it has no effect? What am I doing wrong? Someone please help me!!!

Samer:

You presented the Word, but you can’t do anything more–the result are of God. If it were up to us to get people saved, nobody would ever be saved–it’s all God!

Regarding atheists, though…

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:(2 Peter 3:5)

They are willingly ignorant. They don’t want to believe. I know this, having two atheist/agnostic siblings…Just hardheaded, because if God exists, then they’re in big trouble because they love thier sin too much.

Madeline:

I posted almost 70 replies just today on the forum and nothings changed. Should I quit? and what should I say to them if I decide to quit ministering?

Madeline:

No, not really! They hurt me emotionally there and I could not take it so I left. They don’t want to learn. Some of their posts are filled with sexually explicit remarks and explitives which are too offensive to mention. But as you said, I will leave it up to God as of now since there has been no progress. Thank you!

Madeline:

It is easier said than done grace. I bombarded them with scriptures, they can’t stand it when I quote scriptures, it makes them angry. I have made almost 80 posts in less than 2 days and nothing has progressed. If you think you can give them a change of heart, be my guest.

Madeline:

One thing I have learned thus far from debating with the ‘hard core’ atheists on the forum is that they will never believe the bible unless you can bring scientific evidence of some sort to the table.

Kevin Miller:

There’s a lot of good material on Biblical science out there. Kent Hovind is one of them. It’s much easier to prove Biblical science than evolutionary. You should look into it, I’m sure you can find some good stuff on the web.

Psalm 18:28:

They will refute anything. They are blind. You have to let them know what sins is and why they need to a savior. give them the 10 commandments and ask them if they broke it. If they say no, they have not broken it, then tell them how they broke every commandments. Then tell them that it is because they are not God and need to understand that the HOLY, SINLESS God is the only who can save them. They can not enter heaven as a sinner. They have to trust Jesus to wash their sins away so they could enter heaven. I am not better at explaining but you probably could.

Itl:

Madeline, Psalms18_28 is correct – they’ll (the “hardcore” atheist) refute anything. To them, they would believe only in the things they call as “science” (which may not necessarily be genuine science, but science “falsely so called”). As I have said earlier, the last thing to do when witnessing to them is to “debate”. I would recommend you to save all these Biblical Science for the agnostics, whom I believe are more receptive to the gospel.

Psalm 18:28

you might can ask them “where did the big bang come from?” or where did everything began? Can’t be aliens (looking at some of their prospective, some believe in aliens), because even they have to come from somewhere.

It was all created from God, who has no beginning or ending. They may asked who made God, but we know that he always existed. His proof of his existence is that we are here, and that’s the reality.

They probably knew who you are by googling your screenname, especially when you link their website to us.

Twinkle:

here you are…Hi mad!

Whoa…neato! A website for baptists only! Maddy, I wouldn’t spend too much time with atheists, there are those who are lost and are willing to receive the Gospel. Do what you can and shake the dust off your feet. So what did you do today…?

See you at Bethel Sunday?

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Trenton

    Kent hovind, tax fraud extraordinaire, abuser of women, is a great source for proving biblical science. Biblical science is even less credible than cryptozoology and Hovind is nothing more than a cheat, fraud and liar. I didn’t quite read every post but someone recommending Kent hovind as a good source for science to prove the bible made me laugh.

    • Avatar
      GeoffT

      I can never take Hovind seriously with that dopey accent! I know that’s the way many people speak but it doesn’t lend itself to intellectual debate.

  2. Avatar
    Neil Rickert

    They haven’t a clue about how atheists think.

    Hmm, that puts them at a disadvantage. Many atheists were, at one time, Christian. So the atheists understand Christian thought better than the Christians understand atheist thought.

  3. Avatar
    Astreja

    How do you “minister” to atheists, Madeline?

    How about not preaching to us at all, leaving our alleged salvation 100% up to your alleged god, and finding something other than religion to discuss? At least then we’d be able to determine if you were worth talking to, or just one more pious parrot with the same mouldy old Bible pages lining the bottom of the cage.

  4. Avatar
    BJW

    OMG. I remember reading this blog, and also going over to read “Friendly Atheist.” After reading at FA for awhile, and also here, I came to the conclusion that many, many atheists were truth seekers, who wanted to believe but simply could not believe nonsense, non-facts, contradictions abounding. So yes, to an atheist devoted to fact and truth, Christianity and the Bible are senseless. So in one sense these fine Christians are right, it is impossible to convince an atheist without fact.

  5. Avatar
    GeoffT

    It’s fascinating how many of these comments get near to being pertinent, but then back away down another rabbit hole. There’s the opening ‘I don’t believe in God or heaven’. That’s exactly the atheist position. It’s a lack of belief (not a positive belief), and the only way of rebutting it is by producing evidence that supports the claim that God exists, not by spouting from some book. If someone asks me about evolution I don’t refer them to Darwin and his Origin of Species (or the countless thousands of books on the subject since then), I explain the evidence and the reasoning.

    Then there’s the silly nonsense about atheism requiring absolute knowledge of the universe. No it doesn’t, because atheism isn’t an absolute claim: I’ll guess that Madeline doesn’t believe in leprechauns, and that’s exactly the same basis for non belief in god. The point was combined with the allegation of stupidity on the part of atheists in not realising that things that exist require a creator. Oh boy, this old chestnut! If I see a watch lying on the ground I know that’s designed because I know the history of watches and I can recognise man’s involvement. It goes further, of course. If I look up into a tree I might see a bird’s nest and I understand from science that there is an element of design and purpose there, which distinguishes the individual twigs used to construct the nest. On the other hand, pretty well every area of the natural world has no such appearance of design. Stones look like stones (and eventually turn to sand), trees spread their branches in seemingly random ways (though ways we now understand through science), and every event in nature, from volcanoes to hurricanes to tsunamis, have natural origins that we understand. We don’t need to invoke god.

    They even admit the weakness of their argument. They acknowledge that going to an atheist forum undermines their belief at times, and they are extremely uncomfortable when it gets to philosophical discussion. I’m not surprised. What’s happening is that the reasoning abilities that still lurk in the recesses of their minds are trying to tell them that there is merit to the arguments being advanced, but of course years of conditioning and indoctrination force those feelings back from whence they came, and they are forced into a position that they partly recognise is illogical but from which they can’t escape.

    As for morality…..oh dear, don’t go there Maddie!

  6. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I have been put of evangelicalism a LONG time because when Madeline asked how to minister to atheists, my 1st thought was that ministering meant helping with their physical needs, like hunger, illness, etc. Nope, she meant bombarding atheists with her peculiar mythology regarding her chosen deity.

    Here are my takeaways:
    1) don’t take in ideas from outside your religious bubble because those ideas may lead to doubts and challenge what you thought to be true.
    2) don’t argue with atheists regarding science, philosophy, etc, because they know way more than you do and will clobber you with their superior critical thinking skills
    3) when challenged by atheists, double down on all the Bible verses and apologetics you know.
    4) read more Bible and apologetics
    5) atheists aren’t swayed by being bombarded by Bible verses and anecdotes – they want scientific evidence
    6) agnostics may be a better target
    7) atheists swear and talk about sex
    8) why isn’t this working? Pastors say it will….

  7. Avatar
    dale m.

    I did respond to that IFB religious forum (in a very nice way. I was polite). That was yesterday. I did mention that I was an atheist. I went back to that site today. Last response …. 15 years ago. My response is nowhere to be found.

    Apparently they have a moderator that sees to it that his/ her flock does not get exposed to the outside world. I suggested that I would be willing to discuss what these IFB folk don’t understand about atheism. And I prefer a non-hostile discussion since reading their comments suggest that they don’t have a clue what humanism really is.

    So. If they choose not to try and understand us and we can’t reach them, then what’s the point of discussion for people that choose to be deaf, dumb and blind ?!? It seems that they have no real interest in anything but government organized religion …. GOP style.

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Bruce Gerencser