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7 Tips on Engaging Skeptics Like Paul Did in Athens [Part 2]
by Mikel Del Rosario
Today, we’re moving on in my new series of posts called, “7 Tips on Engaging Skeptics Like Paul Did in Athens.” In part one, we took a brief look at some historical background and focused on two simple lessons from Paul’s encounter in Acts 17:
In this article, I’ll share 3 more cultural engagement tips we can learn from Acts 17.
The Apostle Paul in Athens – Lessons
Here are 3 more life lessons from Paul’s time in Athens.
3. Find a Point of Contact
Paul kept his eyes open for a point of contact with the culture. He knew people in Athens worried about accidentally disrespecting some god they didn’t know about—a god who might bring some bad stuff down on their city. I really like how he started off with a tactful observation that was generally positive and inviting:
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“Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects” (22).
This probably surprised a few people who knew where he was coming from. But Instead of shutting down potential dialogue by saying their deeply held religious beliefs were all wrong right off the bat, he started off with their interest in gods and ideas:
“As I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: To an unknown god” (23).
Here’s the point: Be observant. Some of your friends just like to talk—even if it’s just about whatever you’re interested in. You know who they are! But other people like talking about interesting ideas, kind of like the people in Athens. If that’s where they’re at, look for ways to connect with ideas that are interesting to them…
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