Recently I came across an article called, 15 Steps for Persuading Christians to Become Atheists
(www.wikihow.com/Persuade-a-Christian-to Become-Atheist). This was on a wiki website, which means that the public is allowed to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others. So, someone wrote the original article, then others came in and edited it in some way. In the case of this article, there are already over 50 contributors.
If you talk to most Atheists, they will assert, many strongly, that they are not religious. If that is the case, why are they so adamant that Christians give up their faith and join the Atheist faith? Interestingly, most of them truly believe that Atheism is built on science, not on faith. What they think they are doing is trying to convince you to give up superstitious religious beliefs and accept the reality of life based on a scientific foundation. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Atheism is established firmly on a faith foundation. There is, literally, NOTHING about Atheism which can be demonstrated by science.
When it comes to religious belief, everyone believes that their faith represents the truth. If they did not they would believe something else. That being the case, everyone speaks to others as if their belief is true and will try to convince nonbelievers to change their belief. Because of that, it is not in the least bit surprising that Atheists have taken to developing evangelistic techniques to try and convince Christians to change their religion to Atheism. Below are the 15 steps which are given in this wiki article to help Atheists in their evangelism efforts.
1. Think about your friendship.
2. Educate yourself.
3. Learn common arguments.
4. Examine myths, urban legends and superstitions and learn why people believe stories backed by little evidence.
5. Read and understand their holy book cover to cover.
6. Study basic physics and biology.
7. Start off casual.
8. Get them in the habit of questioning their own faith.
9. Let them try to convert you.
10. Give your friend practical advice for their problems from respected books from respected experts in various fields.
11. Avoid logical fallacies and point out those used by your friend.
12. Socialize them.
13. Don’t try to change them too drastically.
14. Know when to back away.
15. Be open-minded by listening and understanding their point of view.
It is amazing how close these steps are to the way Christians approach evangelism. In fact, they are almost identical to a list we, as Christians, might make when trying to share our faith with an Atheist. You will notice that these “steps” fall into three basic categories.
1. Relationship – Rules 1, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15 all deal with hints for interacting with people in a way which maintains a friendship while you share your point of view. Without maintaining the relationship, the opportunity to share your point of view does not exist.
2. Knowledge – Rules 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 11 deal with the information a person needs to master in order to intelligently share their perspective and break down an opponents arguments.
3. Persuasion – Rules 8 and 9 pertain to techniques designed to actually get the person to question their own faith and change their mind about what they believe.
In the process of sharing one’s faith, all three of these matters – relationship, knowledge, and persuasion – must be engaged. It corresponds with the way human beings learn, perceive and accept beliefs.
There is one important point, though, that must be grasped in the process of sharing a witness. It is not the steps which make the ultimate difference. The steps themselves are merely the mechanics of the process of sharing. What is actually being dealt with is a process for getting at truth. That is, what way of believing actually corresponds with what is real? Does God truly exist and, if so, can he actually be known in a personal relationship? It is reality we are trying to comprehend, not merely some possible point of view.
The fact is, the Christian faith is truth. Atheism is a false religion built on naturalistic presuppositions. This belief system (or any belief system, for that matter) cannot be demonstrated using an empirical methodology. Interestingly, evangelistic Atheists honestly believe that their belief can be proven by science (as illustrated by steps 2, 4 and 6). To overcome this it will be necessary to help them understand the faith nature of their Atheism.
The Christian faith, on the other hand, is built on objective reality. We must be aware, though, that objective reality does not require empirical verification. The spiritual realm is objectively real, but cannot be measured or verified using scientific enquiry. Empirical methodology certainly can be a supporting element, but the ultimate verification is based on how the teachings of the Bible square with the way human beings experience reality, and on the personal relationship we establish with God himself. This knowledge can, indeed, be effectively shared with non-believers, but Christians are going to have to get serious about how to pull it off if they want to be effective in doing so.
In big picture terms, there is not a lot of difference between the steps these Atheists propose to convert Christians and the steps Christians must go through to share Christ with Atheists – just a few tweaks of the particular material that must be known and shared. What makes the difference is the ability to grasp reality and express truth.
As Christians, we need to learn the steps. We also need to study the materials the Atheists study and lean how to demonstrate to them the faith nature of their beliefs. Only believers who are serious about being effective witnesses will have the fortitude to put in the effort that this will require. Anyone can do it, but only a limited number will. It is a propositional argument which is the instrument God uses to connect with people. In biblical terms, we call this preaching. But no matter what we call it, we have to equip ourselves to be his instruments. Only then will we not only be in a position to stand strong in the face of the arguments used by Atheists, but will be able to effectively share with them the real truth.
© 2014 Freddy Davis