Atheists Are Not The Enemy
by Robert Driskell 10/14/2011 / Christian Living
Although, as Christians, we must refute the deceptions, untruths, and propaganda of godless men, we must also seek to be winsome in presenting the Gospel message to them. We are not merely trying to win an argument; we are trying to win a soul to Jesus.
Non-believers are not the enemy, they are the mission field. When dealing with atheists, the Christian must keep a few things in mind.
First, something that makes meaningful dialogue and discussion, between the believer and the skeptic, even more difficult in this modern day is the fact that pride causes too many people to hang on to ideas that they no longer fully believe. They cannot allow themselves to be seen as less than correct in all their beliefs. This makes them closed to the possibility of scenarios other than their own. It is difficult for most people to admit that they are wrong.
Secondly, the atheist's true problem is a rejection of God. The Bible makes it clear that everyone, at some time in their life, comes to the realization that God is real, present, and powerful (Romans 1:18-23). Atheists desperately do not want there to be a God. They do not want to answer to anyone. They want to be autonomous, running their own lives as their desires dictate. Therefore, they actively reject the God of the universe and seek to prop up their worldview as best they can.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21 ESV)
The Bible tells us that, "There was the true Light [Jesus] which, coming into the world, enlightens every man" (John 1:9 NASB). It does not say "some men" or "most men" were enlightened, but "every man". No one can legitimately say they do not know God exists.
The Bible further tells us that the Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of men and women today:
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:8-11 ESV)
The non-believer cannot say, truthfully, that no evidence for God exists. Everyone knows God exists. His existence can be denied, but that denial is an act of rebellion not ignorance.
The atheist usually won't admit that he rejects God. Rather, he will say that there is no evidence for God's existence or that he could never believe in a God who would [insert favorite biblical pet peeve here].
The Christian must seek to remove the atheist's stumbling blocks in order for him/her to be able to see the truth of the Gospel. The believer must seek to give honest answers to honest questions the skeptic presents. God loves the atheist the same as any other lost sinner (Romans 5:6-8).
The atheist should be prayed for before any discussion or debate takes placesituation permitting. No matter how good an argument for Christianity may be, it will fall on deaf ears if the heart has not been prepared by the Holy Spirit.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."