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parker
Nov 17th 2008, 03:15 PM
1. Ask them to describe to you the god "they don't believe in."
2. Listen.
3. Ask them how they first got acquainted with "this god."
4. Listen.
5. Ask them anything else about their life journey.
6. Listen.
7. Mention that you'd like to share your own experiences with God and
your own life.
8. Find areas of agreement and dialog about them.
9. If you get to see them again, keep an open heart, and

10. Never give up on them!

Just_Another_Guy
Nov 17th 2008, 03:53 PM
1. Ask them to describe to you the god "they don't believe in."
2. Listen.
3. Ask them how they first got acquainted with "this god."
4. Listen.
5. Ask them anything else about their life journey.
6. Listen.
7. Mention that you'd like to share your own experiences with God and
your own life.
8. Find areas of agreement and dialog about them.
9. If you get to see them again, keep an open heart, and

10. Never give up on them!

Good stuff. Here's a couple of more.

11. God Loves you, and hopes that you will someday acknowledge him. He sent his son to die as an atonement sacrafice on the cross in order for you to extend salvation to you and me.
12. I am not any better than you...as I am just a unworthy recepient of God's grace/mercy like yourself.

Matthew

crawfish
Nov 17th 2008, 06:39 PM
Good post. If anything can work, humility, respect and understanding are the key. Once you bring a person's defenses up it's hard to reach them.

JesusReignsForever
Nov 18th 2008, 02:53 AM
Nice Post Thanks! Really good info to remeber.

Biastai
Nov 18th 2008, 05:10 AM
Nice post. Finding common ground is obviously the key instead of shoving Christ down their throat right away. Even an athiest will have a hard time denying the "fixed order of the heavens and the earth" described by Jeremiah. What we labelled "laws of physics," "laws of economy," or the periodic table of elements are all collectively one ruling force at work. Our inherent limits in language and comprehension have caused us to name these things separately in order to be able to organize and study them. It begins with the Lord and the Lord is one.

Thomas Aquinas' definition of God as the first efficient cause may be a helpful point of departure.

cindylou
Nov 18th 2008, 05:38 PM
good thread - need more tips

thats what they seek is proof

shawn_2828
Feb 16th 2009, 10:02 PM
Nice post. I have found out some interesting information from Atheist when they open up their mouth and start talking. I found out that some use to believe in God, but they never experienced Him or Heard His voice. That is why many have turned away from Him.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 17th 2009, 02:15 AM
1. Ask them to describe to you the god "they don't believe in."
2. Listen.
3. Ask them how they first got acquainted with "this god."
4. Listen.
5. Ask them anything else about their life journey.
6. Listen.
7. Mention that you'd like to share your own experiences with God and
your own life.
8. Find areas of agreement and dialog about them.
9. If you get to see them again, keep an open heart, and
10. Never give up on them!

I'm all for common ground. Keep working until you find some and then work from there. Couldn't agree more.

But I'm confused by the first couple of questions. How can an atheist describe something that they don't believe in?

If someone doesn't believe in God, or any god for that matter, then he has nothing to describe. He may well try to describe what he thinks you might believe. Is that what you're after?

You could be jumping to a conclusion here and think that atheists don't believe in just the Christian God. The ones that I've spoken to don't believe in any god, that's the definition of 'atheist', so the answer I'd get from this...

'So, this god you don't believe in. What's he look like, eh?'

...would be, at best, a puzzled look.

Dani H
Feb 17th 2009, 03:28 AM
I'm all for common ground. Keep working until you find some and then work from there. Couldn't agree more.

But I'm confused by the first couple of questions. How can an atheist describe something that they don't believe in?

If someone doesn't believe in God, or any god for that matter, then he has nothing to describe. He may well try to describe what he thinks you might believe. Is that what you're after?

You could be jumping to a conclusion here and think that atheists don't believe in just the Christian God. The ones that I've spoken to don't believe in any god, that's the definition of 'atheist', so the answer I'd get from this...

'So, this god you don't believe in. What's he look like, eh?'

...would be, at best, a puzzled look.

Because many "atheists," aren't.

Many are simply disenchanted believers who couldn't find their way in whatever Christianity they were introduced to, and are now stumbling around claiming "God doesn't exist" because He didn't respond to them how they thought He would. What they are, are people with some sort of personal offense and anger with a God they claim they don't believe in. Others yet are those raised in church who at one point had an idea of God, and were pulled away from Him when their faith was challenged.

This is why it's so important to not let anybody else's self-labelings throw you off. Find out where they really stand. And that requires listening as much as talking. And showing them love and grace. It is the goodness of God that brings people to repentance. :)

Denny606
Feb 17th 2009, 05:33 AM
Because many "atheists," aren't.

Many are simply disenchanted believers who couldn't find their way in whatever Christianity they were introduced to, and are now stumbling around claiming "God doesn't exist" because He didn't respond to them how they thought He would. What they are, are people with some sort of personal offense and anger with a God they claim they don't believe in. Others yet are those raised in church who at one point had an idea of God, and were pulled away from Him when their faith was challenged.

This is why it's so important to not let anybody else's self-labelings throw you off. Find out where they really stand. And that requires listening as much as talking. And showing them love and grace. It is the goodness of God that brings people to repentance. :)

I tend to agree with Dani,If they truly don't believe in God why would they being so hard to prove there isn't One.Also if they say science won't back up what we believe,There would already have been some kind of scientific Law rather than theories to explain their position.I am not as well educated as some on here but I do know that after a theory is proven it is considered scientific law and it is very hard to disprove or prove anything you can't naturally see or touch.My response to the old question of "what are you going to do when you die and find out There is no God?" I ask them what are you going to do if you find out there Is? I'm not mean about it,I just ask.They usually will have more questions later and I have another chance to tell them about Jesus.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 17th 2009, 06:54 AM
I tend to agree with Dani

I see that you and Denny are from the South, so maybe the atheists that you know down that part of the world fit the profile that you gave. In that light, I can understand the question.

Hardly any of the guys that I know over here who class themselves as atheists come from a religious background, so the question would sound a little weird.

Does anyone have any figures on how many people who now class themselves as atheists were once believers?

Denny606
Feb 17th 2009, 02:40 PM
Being from the "Bible Belt" Does tend to make me see things a little differently than others I guess.But I would be surprised if no one else had been asked the same question.As for the figures I saw on a tv news poll awhile back(and I find this a little hard to believe) that 80 percent of Americans claim to be Christians,when judging by the way our country is declining morally I find more than just a little curious. I know it is a pretty big leap from there to the figure that you are asking for.It could be part of the explanation,But your point is well taken .I am looking from a narrow perspective ,but this doesn't bother me.

jonahthebold
Feb 18th 2009, 11:27 AM
I was an atheist. Most of my friends are atheists. I live in a very strongly atheist/agnostic region. Whenever people find out that I am a person of faith, they tend to react with confusion. "but, but... but you're not a backwards hick! You're a rational person! A scientist! How can you base your life on something so superstitious and irrational?"
Then they tend to asume that I'm talking about God in a kind of vague, new-age, spirtitual-nature-energy type way. I respond by saying, "nope, I mean God with a capital G. Yes, I am a rational person, to a fault. Yes I demand proof and reason and logic in almost everything I do. And yes, I have absolute faith in God."

The best way I've found to communicate any sort of understanding about my faith to atheists is this:

Me: "so you're saying that my faith is completely irrational and lacks evidence and worst of all is not disprovable?"

Atheist: "Well yeah!"

Me: "I agree. It is completely irrational. But saying that faith and religion and God are irrational is a rather meaningless statement. Stating that faith is irrational is like pointing at a deer in the woods and shouting: 'you're not any good at handling money! Fat chance I'd ever give a loan to you!'. It's like going to the beach and then expressing immense confusion about the fact that there's no bison wandering around. It's a meaningless statement because the presence or abscence of rationality, financial skills, or bison tells you nothing about faith, deer, or beaches.

Soupy
Feb 19th 2009, 03:41 PM
What to say to an atheist eh ?

You gonna burn in hell sucker ! .... turn or burn, that's my motto !
:o
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I am only joking of course :D

I've always found listening and well constructed debate helpful.

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tt1106
Feb 19th 2009, 04:07 PM
I was an atheist. Most of my friends are atheists. I live in a very strongly atheist/agnostic region. Whenever people find out that I am a person of faith, they tend to react with confusion. "but, but... but you're not a backwards hick! You're a rational person! A scientist! How can you base your life on something so superstitious and irrational?"
Then they tend to asume that I'm talking about God in a kind of vague, new-age, spirtitual-nature-energy type way. I respond by saying, "nope, I mean God with a capital G. Yes, I am a rational person, to a fault. Yes I demand proof and reason and logic in almost everything I do. And yes, I have absolute faith in God."

The best way I've found to communicate any sort of understanding about my faith to atheists is this:

Me: "so you're saying that my faith is completely irrational and lacks evidence and worst of all is not disprovable?"

Atheist: "Well yeah!"

Me: "I agree. It is completely irrational. But saying that faith and religion and God are irrational is a rather meaningless statement. Stating that faith is irrational is like pointing at a deer in the woods and shouting: 'you're not any good at handling money! Fat chance I'd ever give a loan to you!'. It's like going to the beach and then expressing immense confusion about the fact that there's no bison wandering around. It's a meaningless statement because the presence or abscence of rationality, financial skills, or bison tells you nothing about faith, deer, or beaches.

I like it.
I would also say that knowledge of the Bible is critical. Many Christians make arguments based upon feelings instead of underlying truth.
God has changed my life, will not hold up well with Atheists, especially learned ones. But what may sway them is the argument that there is just as much "proof", proving the Bible as any other event in history.
Therefore, if you accept one event as true, based upon historical proof, you have to accept the Bible as truth, based upon the same proofs.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 20th 2009, 12:25 PM
I've always found listening and well constructed debate helpful

It is. you should try it.

Soupy
Feb 20th 2009, 02:40 PM
It is. you should try it.

I will, are you an atheist ?

Advocatus Dei
Feb 21st 2009, 04:12 AM
I will, are you an atheist ?

Let me see. I believe in God, so I guess that would be a 'No'.

Athanasius
Feb 21st 2009, 05:24 AM
It is. you should try it.

Why is this comment necessary?

Soupy
Feb 21st 2009, 09:37 AM
Let me see. I believe in God, so I guess that would be a 'No'.

Well thanks for clearing that up AD, I wasn't to sure after you posted the following to me...


You may have heard this before (maybe not), but quoting scripture to prove scripture wastes your time in typing it and my time in reading it.

I found this a strange thing for a Christian to say, using scripture to validate scripture is definitely not a waste of time, especially when you consider that's the method God has used to reveal His truths to us.

.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 21st 2009, 10:02 AM
I found this a strange thing for a Christian to say, using scripture to validate scripture is definitely not a waste of time, especially when you consider that's the method God has used to reveal His truths to us

You must be familiar with the term 'circular argument'? I don't believe in the inerrancy of the bible, so to use biblical quotes to prove, for example, that we had an Adam and Eve etc (it must be true because it says so in the bible and 'that's the method God has used to reveal His truths to us') is a waste the debater's time in typing and my time in reading.

You may want to use scripture as an end in itself, but you cannot use it to validate itself.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 21st 2009, 10:11 AM
Why is this comment necessary?

Because I find that Soupy doesn't really enjoy well constructed debates. He'd rather not debate at all. I thought the whole raison d'etre of a forum was to debate.

Hi AD, if you have the faith to believe evolution is the answer ... go ahead, enjoy yourself, I have no desire to debate the issue with you, my faith takes me in a different direction.

Soupy
Feb 21st 2009, 01:31 PM
If I remember correctly the topic I did not wish to debate with you was 'evolution' , evolution threads sail very close to the wind regarding the rules on these forums so I rarely enter that arena.

You also made it very clear that you do not consider it worthy to include or consider to the idea of 'miraculous events' at Creation, this is also reason enough for me not to want to enter a debate with you.


Now unless I've read your last postings incorrectly you would seem to be only interested in the scientific approach, data gathered and leave any 'miraculous' events during Creation at the door, would that be right or have I miss-read parts of your post ?


No, you haven't misconstrued anything. Yes, that is my position.

I think it would be sensible to let this go, lest the topic gets derailed further.

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Athanasius
Feb 21st 2009, 04:00 PM
Because I find that Soupy doesn't really enjoy well constructed debates. He'd rather not debate at all. I thought the whole raison d'etre of a forum was to debate.

The whole 'raison d'etre' of this forum is edification, not debate. Regardless, why are you talking things that were said in regards to evolution and now applying them to something else? All I'm seeing is a blatant disconnect and a massive attitude problem, *cough.

By the way, I wouldn't consider a Christian 'debate' over evolution without consideration of the miraculous to be "well constructed" - but rather the lame child of 60's liberal theology.

SweetEnigma
Feb 21st 2009, 04:44 PM
I highly recommend any of Lee Stroble's books for Atheists as well. I was an atheist, and they opened my mind a lot.

Advocatus Dei
Feb 22nd 2009, 12:50 AM
By the way, I wouldn't consider a Christian 'debate' over evolution without consideration of the miraculous to be "well constructed" - but rather the lame child of 60's liberal theology.

You can class me a 'liberal Christian' if you like. I've got no problem with that. But calling an argument for evolution that accepts the scientific discoveries of the last 100 years 'lame' is not something that I'm gong to agree on. And slapping a sixties label on 'liberalism' seems to me that you think that it's outdated. Again, I disagree. But I'm causing the thread to be derailed...

And to be honest, I've re-read my earlier posts and I will admit that the first post to Soupy was a cheap shot and I should have apologised for it then and not tried to further justify it. So Soupy, my apologies. I post on a few forums and some are more 'robust' than others - I need to make sure I change gear a little more smoothly when moving from one to another.

Revinius
Feb 27th 2009, 05:05 PM
I see that you and Denny are from the South, so maybe the atheists that you know down that part of the world fit the profile that you gave. In that light, I can understand the question.

Hardly any of the guys that I know over here who class themselves as atheists come from a religious background, so the question would sound a little weird.

Does anyone have any figures on how many people who now class themselves as atheists were once believers?


Everyone worships something (be it God or something created), it's not hard to find out what with a few probing questions.

Athanasius
Feb 28th 2009, 05:16 AM
You can class me a 'liberal Christian' if you like. I've got no problem with that. But calling an argument for evolution that accepts the scientific discoveries of the last 100 years 'lame' is not something that I'm gong to agree on.

And slapping a sixties label on 'liberalism' seems to me that you think that it's outdated. Again, I disagree. But I'm causing the thread to be derailed...

That's fine, that's not what I said.

1. I did not call you a liberal Christian
2. I did not call your argument for evolution lame
3. I did not state liberalism was a product of the '60's and outdated

apothanein kerdos
Feb 28th 2009, 05:33 AM
You must be familiar with the term 'circular argument'? I don't believe in the inerrancy of the bible, so to use biblical quotes to prove, for example, that we had an Adam and Eve etc (it must be true because it says so in the bible and 'that's the method God has used to reveal His truths to us') is a waste the debater's time in typing and my time in reading.

You may want to use scripture as an end in itself, but you cannot use it to validate itself.

Isn't everything, at some level, a circular argument? It's like going up to King Richard and asking how he knows he's king. No matter what, the argument is eventually circular, even though it is a fact that he is king.

Thus, circular arguments that are direct circles should be avoided, but the simple truth is we cannot avoid circular arguments because almost all arguments are circular to a certain extent.

Thus, using Scripture to validate itself as authentic is reliable if we can point to why it's authentic. For instance, a fulfilled prophecy or consistency between different writers. Though circular, the circle is quite justified because it shows consistency. Likewise, there are other factors to proving inerrancy, outside of Biblical consistency or pointing to Scripture itself, thus pointing to Scripture - though circular - is quite justifiable due to outside resources.

Basic logic mate ;)

shepherdsword
Feb 28th 2009, 06:47 AM
Likewise, there are other factors to proving inerrancy, outside of Biblical consistency or pointing to Scripture itself, thus pointing to Scripture - though circular - is quite justifiable due to outside resources.
Basic logic mate ;)
And saves some of us the trouble of typing as well


I see AD you are a Christian. If you don't believe that the bible is inerrant how do you know Jesus was really virgin born,crucified,resurrected and that his blood atonement was necessary for our redemption? Could not someone body have made an error on those issues if we follow your logic?

apothanein kerdos
Feb 28th 2009, 07:16 AM
And saves some of us the trouble of typing as well


I see AD you are a Christian. If you don't believe that the bible is inerrant how do you know Jesus was really virgin born,crucified,resurrected and that his blood atonement was necessary for our redemption? Could not someone body have made an error on those issues if we follow your logic?

Where did I say I don't believe the Bible is inerrant? ;)

I said that the Bible validates itself, but there are outside sources as well (such as evidence and reason) that likewise validate the Bible.

I believe the Bible is the complete inerrant Word of God, inerrant and inspired on all that it touches in history, science, religion; all avenues of life. The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy is what I most ascribe to in my belief on inerrancy.

To answer your question - if the Bible is not inerrant, then we can know nothing of Christ. We must fall into the despair that is German Higher Criticism. We must follow Schleiermacher and search for the historical Jesus, because we can't trust the Scriptures. We must follow Bultmann and demythologize Jesus, reading moral stories into the miracles and resurrection. We must follow Barth and say that the Bible is only inspired when it speaks to us. Such is the way of despair and it of the utmost illogical silliness. Without a belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, there is no reason to claim Christianity. Why waste one's time being a Christian if one cannot possibly know what is and is not true within Christianity?

So yes, belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is the most logical belief if one believes the basic story of Christianity.

shepherdsword
Feb 28th 2009, 07:01 PM
Where did I say I don't believe the Bible is inerrant? ;)


I was responding to avocatus dei(AD).He had mentioned that he doesn't believe the bible is inerrant a few posts back.(#21) Sorry for the confusion. I have read enough of your posts to get the jist if your position on this

I said that the Bible validates itself, but there are outside sources as well (such as evidence and reason) that likewise validate the Bible.


I believe the Bible is the complete inerrant Word of God, inerrant and inspired on all that it touches in history, science, religion; all avenues of life. The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy is what I most ascribe to in my belief on inerrancy.

To answer your question - if the Bible is not inerrant, then we can know nothing of Christ. We must fall into the despair that is German Higher Criticism. We must follow Schleiermacher and search for the historical Jesus, because we can't trust the Scriptures. We must follow Bultmann and demythologize Jesus, reading moral stories into the miracles and resurrection. We must follow Barth and say that the Bible is only inspired when it speaks to us. Such is the way of despair and it of the utmost illogical silliness. Without a belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, there is no reason to claim Christianity. Why waste one's time being a Christian if one cannot possibly know what is and is not true within Christianity?

So yes, belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is the most logical belief if one believes the basic story of Christianity.:agree: