Hey, I was wondering, how do you debate with atheists about Scripture? I have been doing it and they always come back with some kind of nonsense. I can show them facts and they’ll just “blah blah blah.”
Thank you for your question! The answer is not easy, but I do know, first-hand, the difficulties of trying to reach the “atheist” mind and it can become quite tiresome to be laughed at incessantly. When holding a discussion with an atheist, it is essential to start with certain things being realized (you may already know some of this and how it applies):
1) There are essentially two types of atheists:
a. The introverted atheist: these essentially say, “I do not believe in God.” They make no proclamation of assault, but instead they simply turn away.
b. The proselytizing atheist: this type of atheist proclaims that “there is no God.” They do not simply turn from God, but they wage a war against the very notion of a Higher Authority to which they are to be held accountable. The proselytizing atheist commits a great fault in logic and rationality (quite humorously, for they claim a monopoly on rational thought). I can go further into this if you would like – I would not be put out in the least, but the general fault itself is what I will call the “fault of the Universal Negative,” which is a fallacy and quite a massive one, at that.
2) The atheist can also be labeled a “naturalist,” for this is all that is and ever will be in their perspective. What this means is that the atheist will claim justification for their lack of belief on a lack of evidence for the existence of God (they will use words like “empirical”), which is to say that they deny on the basis of no physical evidence; this is just silly, though, for they demand physical evidence of a supernatural Being (God).
The aforementioned argument is similar in heart to “argumentum ad ignorantiam.”
3) Christianity is not, “Salvation by belief through reason,” but is, instead, “Salvation by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8). What this means is that the unbeliever cannot be beaten into faith through logic, fact, or reason. This is relevant only because they will attempt to draw out proof against God on the basis of science and philosophy – falsely, might I add – and will say that their belief or lack thereof is for the sole reason that they have not the evidence to substantiate a reasonable belief, but if this is not possible for the very reason above, then it leads to the next point.
4) Most of the time, the one who is impacted the most is the one who is watching the debate/discussion on the matter of faith in God. Most proselytizing atheists will fight for the sake of fighting and will argue on the sole basis of the fact that they are the opposition, yet those watching from afar – those observers – are those who are weighing the statements and the intent of the adherents.
5) Some people refuse to believe – just because.
That is quite a lot of information and I pray that it is retained well, but the matter is not complete. If you wish to effectively use scripture against an atheist, read it avidly: start with the beginning of the New Testament through Revelation and then through the Old Testament. If you have done so, already, then continue to read through it in either its complete text or in varying sections, but never stop. Next, pray for an effective witness to those who have established themselves against God. To go further, remember Paul’s words to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 1:18-25),
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Our faith is frustrating to them for they seek wisdom and evidence; we are foolish to them for this very reason and, as hard as it can be to accept, some, it could be, were just not meant to believe. Paul discusses this, in a way, I suspect, in Romans 9:22-24,
“What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”
Finally, approach the matter with love. If the individual battle cannot be won with love, patience, and humility, then it is not being battled appropriately. Atheists, i.e., those who establish themselves against God, can only effectively be won over through the fullness of love. Do not repay their evil with your wrath and remember that the persecution you will face is supposed to happen…
If you need anything else, please let me know.
With great love and peace in the risen Lord Jesus,
If you have any theological questions for me, you may contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Ministering in love Facebook page and Twitter links on the left-hand side of this page.