Bible-believing followers of Jesus look at the world around us and see countless clues that point to God’s existence – such as the order and design of the universe. We sense within us other clues such as the longing for justice and beauty. But to a self-proclaimed atheist, these clues aren’t as compelling. Conversations between the two parties are often frustrating.
How can we have meaningful conversations with someone whose beliefs are drastically different?
1. Create Humble Dialogue
If the marvels of creation that you believe were spoken into existence by the power of God’s word have had little effect on your friend’s beliefs, your well-spoken words probably aren’t going to be the convincing factor that changes those beliefs (Oh, and I did say “friend” because relationship precedes influence). God’s Spirit must intervene. So rather than burdening yourself with the need to respond to objections with slam-dunk arguments, aim to keep the conversation going by asking them to clarify or elaborate:
- “What do you mean by that?” Your friend may have rejected the idea of God based on an inaccurate perception of God.
- “How did you come to that conclusion?”
2. Cause Honest Questioning
After you have clarified your friend’s beliefs, move on to helping them evaluate the basis of their beliefs. Ask questions such as:
- “Why do you think that?”
- “Why is that idea compelling to you?”
You want to help your friend see the inconsistencies in their beliefs. If they don’t believe in God because He can’t be “proven,” ask if they can “prove” that God does not exist.
3. Aim for the Heart, Not the Head
Unbelief is a heart issue (Psalm 14:1), and each one of us has ignored God’s existence in order to live how we please. So ultimately, leading your friend to Scripture will allow God’s Spirit to personally reveal Himself.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” -Romans 10:17
-Bryan Miller (Connections and Missions Pastor)