Have you ever noticed that atheists get highly offended by a God they claim doesn’t exist? What’s up with that? Conscience is the answer.
We were all born with a conscience, the ability to discern right from wrong. From early on we know certain things are wrong without anyone having to tell us. Studies have been done where small children are observed hitting other children. After they hit their body temperature rises, heartbeat increases, and pupils slightly dilate. They feel panic that often is arrivistes to being caught in a wrongdoing. Most begin to look around to see if they are in trouble. You don’t have to teach them that hurting someone is bad. Their conscience tells them this. You merely reinforce what they already know to be true.
What does that have to do with an atheist? Well if we are born with a conscience, defined as a law written upon hearts, then we have to ask who put it there? There cannot be a law without a law giver. C.S Lewis makes this argument for the existence of God in his book, Mere Christianity. My point is that atheists have a conscience that lets them know something greater than themselves is out there but they refuse to acknowledge it. They bow instead before science and reason. So why are atheists so offended by a God they don’t think exists? Because in their soul they know He does. His fingerprints are all over His creation (Romans 1). His law is written upon their hearts (Romans 2:15). So how do we share the gospel with an atheist?
My suggestion to Christians who are sharing the gospel with someone who is an atheist is to consider these things:
1) Dont apologize for faith . When I share the gospel and someone says the Bible is a fairy tale or God is a figment of my imagination, I don’t throw something at their head or fall on the floor and throw a tantrum. I simply tell them I believe the word and that God exists by faith. If they demand proof, I don’t panic or try and accommodate. I tell them that faith is the only way. I don’t have to try and convince them or prove it to them. If it were that easy we wouldn’t need faith. I simply just tell the truth and if they reject it then they do. I can’t talk them into salvation. I can only share the truth.
2) God doesn’t need you to defend Him. Sometimes when I witness to an atheist they get harsh against God. What kind of God would let people die they might say. When this happens I explain that this world is sinful and that evil things happen. If they go on to attack God, I do not defend Him. He doesn’t need me too. I just simply stay calm and confident in the Lord. If we get defensive for God then we might be showing our own doubt in Him. If we get anxious and argumentative we are saying that their words hit a chord with us. Maybe we don’t trust God as much as we think we do? But when we are calm and confident and we don’t let their words move us, then we communicate that we are sure of God and don’t need to try and get them to think better of Him. They don’t need to think better of God; they need to fall at His feet and worship Him.
3) There are really no such thing as atheists. Atheists say they do not put their faith in a higher power but that is simply not true. Their high power might not be God; instead it might be science, reason, math or astronomy or maybe money, power or fame. Whatever it might be they worship something. They are not an atheist in the truest sense. Doesn’t exist.
4) Always share with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared at all times to give a reason for the hope that is in us. When we share we are to do it with two approaches: gentleness and respect. No matter how angry or mean the atheist gets, we should be gentle, compassionate, patient, and kind to them. They are lost and in desperate need to hear the truth we have to share. We don’t need our attitude, or temper, or pride to get in the way of that.
5) Your only authority is the word of God. You can’t reason an atheist into heaven. You can’t prove God’s existence with mathematical certainty. What you know to be true about God comes from His word. That is your authority. If they reject the word then they will reject the gospel. You can’t seperate the two.
I hope you will look for opportunities to share your faith. Apply the above and trust God to use your faithfulness.