I have spent a lot of time on internet forums debating atheists and trying to convince them that God exists and the Bible is true. I usually tried to show them that the existence of God is the only logical explanation for the existence of the universe and I pointed out scientific evidence that shows that the theory of evolution can’t be true. However I have come to believe that I was going about this in the wrong way. This conclusion is based on hearing two former atheists tell how they became Christians.
The first is someone I know personally. He had a long conversation with a pastor which ended with the pastor explaining to him how to be saved. He said he was an atheist and didn’t believe in God, and that ended the conversation.
Over the next few days thoughts about God kept entering his mind and he came to the conclusion that there really was a God. Since the pastor had told him how to become a Christian he knew what he needed to do and so was saved.
Later I read an online account by a former atheist who told how she became a Christian.
Two weeks ago I was visiting with one of my clients (I work in disability support) and her Pastor stopped by. We got talking about this and that and I was suddenly moved to tears and felt like I was literally being tapped on the shoulder and asked to follow Jesus. I went home and began to read a pamphlet the Pastor gave me that explained why there was good and evil in the world. Then I started to read the New Testament because I felt like Jesus was reaching out to me and I wanted to know his story and teachings.
I have never felt such serenity and optimism in my life as in this last week or so. I have laid down my burden of sin and accepted a new loving presence into my body. I look to Christ for the example of how to live my life and interact with my fellow man. If I always ask myself “what would He do?” I have my answer for every situation that can cross my path. What a blessing in this crazy modern world!
Neither of these people was convinced of the existence of God because of a logical argument. In both cases someone simply explained the gospel to them and they came to believe it.
There is one more factor that isn’t mentioned. I personally knew the pastor involved in the first case and I am certain that after his conversation he spent time praying about it. I don’t know any of the people involved in the second case but I think it is very likely that the pastor involved prayed too.
Most of the time I have spent debating atheists has been wasted because I failed to take one fact into consideration.
If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Those who reject the truth do so because Satan, the god of this world, has blinded them. You can’t give sight to a blind person by reasoning with him or debating him. Only God can enable such a person to see the truth. Here is how the Bible says we should approach such people.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
I was relying on my own knowledge and wisdom to try to convince atheists of the truth but it is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can convert people. The first step to converting an atheist or any other unbeliever is to give him all the information that he needs. Sometimes this includes pointing out the scientific evidence that supports the Bible but we only need to give him the information and not get into a debate about whether or not it is true. After that we should pray that God will open his eyes so he will believe the truth.
There is a saying: “When all else fails go back and read the instructions.” This is very good advice, especially when the instructions are found in the Bible.
Posted on September 3, 2016, in evangelism, practical lessons, salvation and tagged atheism, Bible, Christianity, conversion, evangelism, Holy Spirit, power of God, prayer, salvation, spiritual blindness, wisdom of men. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.