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How to Witness to Atheists Part 2: Resources
By Maggie Peil
First Peter 3:15 says, "… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…" Last time we looked at the gentleness and respect we should have when witnessing to atheists. This time, we'll look at some tools that will help explain the reason for our hope.
1. RELAX. God will guide you and He is the one who converts people. Your listeners will never really understand until they turn to God, so there is no pressure on you to be profound or perfect. Show love in your words and manner—they will probably remember that more than anything you actually say.
2. TAKE HEART. My latest perusal of the cutting edge debates in philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge show that they are still arguing whether anything is real or not. No one has been able to prove that absolutely yet. "I think therefore I am" just led to a slew of skepticism. If the smartest people can't prove we exist, then the rest of us can't prove anything. (Well, except math, but that is another thing entirely.) You might mention this issue to the person you are talking to.
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3. ASK. Try starting with the question "How do you decide what is true?" This will give you insight into the position they are starting from. It is good to know what they consider 'evidence'. If they aren't used to critical thinking, they may believe anything they hear, watch, or read.
4. USE LOGIC. Firm up your understanding of reasoning. Be aware of informal logical fallacies, so you can try to avoid them and recognize when others make them. I suggest a small book: The Ideas of the Great Philosophers by William S. and Mabel L. Sahakian (under $4, used on Amazon). "Part One—Epistemology [theory of knowledge] and Logic" covers material fallacies of reasoning and is very helpful. "Part Four—The Philosophy of Religion" is also helpful. Your attackers may ask you to prove things while not providing evidence themselves. Don't get sucked into that. You might politely ask what evidence they have to support their opinions. Then be ready to put forth your evidence for your opinions.
5. KNOW YOUR STUFF. Find out how the Bible came together and why you can trust it…