In order to have a fair and unbiased conversation or debate regarding any subject, those involved must honestly evaluate, listen to, and try to gain an honest understanding of the theories available and the reasons behind them. One thing that some Christians tend to forget is that many non-believers have solid reasons for the beliefs they hold. God cannot be tested, and when dealing with atheists or non-believers, it is important to understand their point of view. The goal is not to “convert” them to your side, whatever that may be, but rather, to see if they have any understanding of the deeper concepts and meanings of life, and most importantly, any understanding of what love is. Jesus understood and immediately recognized those who were there only to test him, and those who were there for the right reasons.
We must ask ourselves, “How would Jesus approach or converse with a non-believer?” Jesus Christ studied the Hebrew Scriptures, and we are told in Luke that he asked many questions as a young child. However, once the Spirit came upon Jesus and he came out of the desert to begin his ministry, Jesus did not carry the scriptures in hand, nor did he go around quoting them to everyone he taught. The only time that Jesus quoted scriptures to anyone was when he quickly had to put them in their place because they did not understand anything that was written in them. They took it all literally, hence, the need for the veil to be torn. So to go in and attack someone with scriptures from a book that they do not believe in to begin with is usually the wrong course of action.
Listen to the words of John:
1 John 4:8
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God. 8 He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love.
- Atheist #1 – The one who loves to argue against God just for the purposes of ticking people off, because they are basically uneducated, closed minded, and they know nothing, not even themselves. This is kind of like the Christian who argues scripture, but yet, cannot demonstrate the same manner of Love and Spirit that Christ did.
- Atheist #2 – Then there is the atheist who has accepted that all they can do is be the best person they can be, which includes loving their neighbor, and trying to leave this world better than they found it when they came into it.
Now, let’s consider the first type of atheist mentioned. This type of person is one who has made herself god. They are selfish and inconsiderate of other’s opinions and feelings, and they love to stir people up, because it makes them feel like a god. They have no love within themselves, and for this reason, they certainly do not know how to show it to others.
The first type of atheist can be compared to the “Christian” who gets on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever social flavor of the month is trending, and shouts their political viewpoints, ideas on gun control, homosexuality, etc., and they do not consider that they may be offending someone else, because they do not care about anyone else, only that they be heard. Both classes of people have little or no love, yet, they both think of themselves as God. Neither of these has anything of real value to offer the other.
The second type of atheist has come to believe that this life is all there is, and they can either act like atheist number one, or, they can act like Christ (even if they do not believe in him), which involves loving their neighbor, and living peaceable lives. These types of atheists do what they do, for nothing more than the sheer value and principles and love that they carry within them. They certainly do not do it for reward! They certainly do not do it out of fear of being sent to hell by a tyrannical maniac out of control God, because they do not believe in one. So, what they do is sincere, and you can bet your life that the Father will surely grant them the kingdom before he even looks twice at atheist number one, and the self-professed Christian that acts just like him.
So What do you Say?
So, to answer the question originally asked, which was, “What do you say to an atheist?” You tell them that the law and the prophets were all needed because most men cannot understand the simple concept spoken of by Jesus Christ, which is to love the lord your God with all your mind, heart, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself (). If the atheist says, “Well, I can’t love God because I do not believe in Him,” then tell them that whatever they do to another, they are doing to God (). Tell them that Love is all that is needed, and that Love itself must be their God, and all truth will be revealed.
The most important thing that should be considered is that there are many people in this world that are angry because they feel like they have been let down by a god, the God, or some other deity who is supposed to Love them, but yet, they look around the world and they do not see it or feel it (Love). Some feel like they have been betrayed by one greater than themselves, who is supposed to be there for them, and they are lashing out in anger, but inside, it is really hurt that they are expressing.
If there is a person of understanding and Love that exists in one of these types of conversations, then it will certainly be understood that the goal is not to force the other person to believe like the other, and certainly not overnight. What matters is that a seed of Love and truth be planted, and in doing so, a friend and a brother may be gained. After all, that is all any of us should be seeking.
33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’