Sharing Your Faith with Atheists Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, the number of Americans who identify as atheists has nearly doubled. As atheism has expanded, we’ve seen a rise of high-profile atheists. Outspoken personalities like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens have proffered popular arguments against religion in general—and Christianity specifically.
The proliferation of atheist social-media groups has helped bolster the arguments of the average atheist, and empowered them to be more vocal about their beliefs.
While we shouldn’t be intimidated by vocal atheists, many in the church have found it difficult to defend their faith against them. They don’t feel prepared to debate an atheist, and when they try, it devolves into an argument.
The idea of talking to an atheist doesn’t have to fill you with fear. In fact, you can learn to confidently share your faith with anyone!
Think tactics, not arguments
Greg Koukl, the founder and president of Stand to Reason, has created a course for Zondervan called Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. It’s intended to help the anyone use some very specific tactics to steer a conversation in a direction that’s helpful, and give you the tools you need to share your faith.
The following interview is adapted from this course:
Discussing tactics for sharing our faith
Most people just jump into a discussion about their faith. How is using tactics different?
Koukl: No strategy, however brilliant, can win a war. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Individual soldiers must engage, deploying assets and destroying obstacles to gain an advantage, dodging bullets all the while.
Though we are following a diplomatic model and not a military one, the military metaphor is still helpful to distinguish strategy from tactics. Tactics, literally “the art of arranging,” focus on the immediate situation at hand. They involve the orderly hands-on choreography of the particulars. Often a clever commander can gain the advantage over a larger force with superior strength or numbers through deft tactical maneuvering.
I think you can see the parallel for us as Christians. We may have personal experience with how the gospel can change someone’s life, but how do we design particular responses to particular people so we can have an impact in specific situations…
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