How Can Christians Witness to Atheists? One Pastor Thinks He Knows

In his “Ask a Pastor” column, Pastor R.A. MacDonald answered this question from a reader: “How can I witness to an atheist?”

I understand why someone would want to ask that question, but MacDonald didn’t give him a well-thought-out answer. Instead, he tossed out a series of straw men and stereotypes.

Like when he explained what atheists believe:

An atheist is someone who denies the existence of God. However, before one can be an atheist and positively assert “there is no God,” (which most of us don’t) he must presumptuously assume for himself the wisdom and omnipresence of God (We don’t. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to detect religious bullshit). He must essentially be everywhere and know everything to have any confidence in his theory (Again, no). You might say that, in order to prove there is no God, you would have to be God (Nope… Does MacDonald get paid by the word?). Therefore, even the atheist believes what he believes by faith. (It takes no faith to point out what’s right in front of you: Nothing) And so the bottom line is actually, whom are you going to believe: man’s reasoning or God’s Word? (Or: Common sense or a book written by men thousands of years ago?)

The fun didn’t end there:

The Word of God makes no effort to prove God’s existence; that fact is taken for granted. The very first verse of the Bible refutes atheism

That’s circular reason used to perfection: The Bible is true because the Bible says its true.

Finally, MacDonald gets to the question at hand. How can Christians proselytize to us?

So in order to witness to an atheist, you must use the Bible. He may not want to read it, but you can slip it in from time to time in your conversation. As is said of the beautiful, “It may be shown but not proved,” so we say of the existence of God.

That’s just bad advice.

If you’re trying to convince someone who doesn’t think the Bible is the Word of God that the Bible is the Word of God, quoting the Bible isn’t going to do the trick. Damn near every atheist can laugh off your cherry-picked verses and respond right back with others that are far more despicable, disturbing, and damning.

My experience has been that most people who claim to be atheists do so for the shock value.

And my experience has been that most pastors who claim to “know” about atheists have never spoken to any who are open about it. Because if they did, they wouldn’t have to make up reasons for why we’re atheists.

Finally, MacDonald plays his trump card:

You might use some logic.

The logic he’s referring to includes everything he learned in Apologetics 101. Like the Cosmological argument, easily refutable and very unconvincing.

I guess we should be happy that MacDonald knows of no decent way to witness to atheists because the methods he has in his toolbox are worthless.

He would have saved himself a lot of time and embarrassment if he had just responded, “Don’t bother. It won’t work.”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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