Questions of the Week

Question: I’ve got a friend who is a pretty strong atheist. I started witnessing to him a few months ago and I finally got him to go to church and at least think about God, but I’m not sure if it’s helping at all. He seems to think it’s all a big joke. I have a hard time witnessing to him because he doesn’t believe that the Bible is true; he thinks a bunch of bored people just sat down and wrote it to see how many people would believe it. So i can’t really show him Scripture about Jesus and how he gave his life for us because he laughs. I don’t know how else to witness to him except through the Bible. What should I do?

Answer: You know, it’s quite fashionable for people to say they are atheists these days. What’s interesting is that very few people who claim to be atheists have really taken the time to do some serious study in this area or to give it any serious thought.

It sounds to us like your friend just finds it convenient to deny that God exists. It gets him off the hook. Think about it. If he admits there is a God, that means he is responsible to God. His life is not his own. People don’t like that. They want to live they way they want to live. As the Bible says, they love darkness rather than light.

Here’s the bottom line (in our opinion). That fact that your friend derides God and laughs at the Bible means he hasn’t really thought it through, and he probably doesn’t want the truth at this point in his life. Until he’s ready to really think through his belief, you probably aren’t going to get through to him. In fact, it isn’t up to you anyway. What we suggest is that you continue to pray for him. And don’t worry about trying to witness to him through the Bible. Your best witness is you. Until he’s ready to hear what the Bible has to say, let your life be the word of God to him.

Ask him good questions. Ask him to define his beliefs. Ask why he doesn’t believe there is a God. How did he arrive at that conclusion? Pay attention to his answers (if he has any), but don’t argue with him. Just keep affirming the truth about God and the Bible. Most importantly, tell him you are praying for him because you really care about him! He may brush you off, but don’t worry about it. God is going to use your prayers to soften his heart.

Don’t take on the responsibility all yourself. Let God do what God does. In God’s time, He will work in your friend’s life through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Until that happens, all you can do is listen to God yourself, stay in the Bible, and pray.

May the Lord bless your efforts on behalf of your friend. He’s lucky to have you in his life.

3 Responses to “How to Witness to an Atheist”  

  1. 1 Dixie Mello

    You can only plant the seed, which it seems you have done…then pray and ask God to take it from there. Be there for this friend…you never know when this person may be convicted unto salvation, and he will remember you…seek you out for answers and support. Sometimes we never know if our witnessing “took” or not….I know many who were saved later in life, accepted the Lord because of something someone in their past said or did to lead them there. It “stuck” and just took time to be put into action.

    Just keep, keepin’ on!! God will bless you for it!


  2. 2 Jack Wilbanks

    I came across this Atheist discussion board. I joined. All AtheisT. It’s a small board and as I can see I’m the only Christian. Is this wise? Do you have anything that will help me witness. I use scripture but they don’t believe the Word of God so it is difficult but I still post vereses.


  3. 3 Stan Jantz

    You definitely are on the “firing line.” You have experienced what is very true in our culture today: people no longer accept the Bible as true, or even as a credible voice of reason. Even people who would not claim to be atheists discount the Bible.

    Still, the Word of God has power, even to an atheist. As the Scriptures say:

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

    Consequently, posting verses will have some effect, even if you are ridiculed for doing so. You never know who is coming to those sites. Very often it isn’t the hard core atheist, but the person who is looking for truth.

    People are so confused and so lost. The current trend of atheism (popularized by such writers as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins) is attractive to people for the simple reason that it sounds so reasonable, when in fact the idea that God doesn’t exist runs contrary to reason.

    We think the bottom line for atheism is that by taking God out of the equation, it removes the responsibility of being accountable to the Creator of the universe. People would rather remain in their darkness and sin than admit their guilt to almighty God. As Paul writes to the Roman church:

    “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

    So, be encouraged, but be realistic. Your job is simply to proclaim the truth, not win arguments. If God is calling you to be a light in the darkness, then you need to respond. But you also need to pray and ask God to give you encouragement, strength, and wisdom.

    Also, you probably should do some study in this area so you will be better equipped to answer questions that come your way. (A word of advice. Respond to honest questions, but don’t respond to ridicule.)

    A couple of books we would recommend are:

    –A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel
    –The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath
    –Evidence for Faith 101 by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz (that’s us), coming in September

    May the Lord bless you!