How to Turn an Atheist Into a Christian

How to Turn an Atheist Into a Christian February 28, 2013

Steve Cable of Probe Ministries has a long essay about how to convert different types of “leavers” — those who were Christian and left for various reasons. It’s all based on a book called Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith…And How to Bring Them Back by Drew Dyck. And he groups post-modernist and modernist thinkers together, with a strategy for how to convert them back to Christianity:

Postmodern and Modern Leavers

Postmodern thinking is becoming the cultural norm for young adults. The postmodern view holds that there is no objective truth applying to all, but rather each person or group of people defines their own truth. As J. P. Moreland puts it, “In a postmodernist view, there is no such thing as objective truth, reality, value, reason and so forth.”{2} Yet, many young adults still adopt modernity, the dominant view throughout the twentieth century. Those with a modern view believe linear thinking and rational thought can lead us to objective truths valid for all. In his book Generation Ex-Christian, Drew Dyck finds both of these viewpoints create stumbling blocks for belief.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true for all people in every age. This view runs counter to the “true for you but not for me” mentality of the postmodern generation. Many young adults influenced by postmodern thought have a difficult time accepting the all-encompassing, meta-narrative of the gospel. These leavers believe that Christianity is too narrow and judgmental to be a part of their own truth sphere.

Dyck points out that those with a postmodern perspective are not really interested in hearing your apologetic arguments. Even if you weave a compelling logical argument, they will nod, smile, and ignore you. They need to see the impact of the truth of Jesus lived out in your life before them. Invite them to participate with you in serving others, creating an opportunity to share your story. They are, initially, more interested in your personal story. How has Jesus Christ made a difference in your life?

Conversely, those with a modern perspective are not as interested in your personal story. With moderns, ask questions to understand how they decide if something is true. Model a concern for the truth before laying “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” on their plate. Focus on the truth of the gospel, not letting ourselves get sidetracked into other arenas. How satisfying is their alternative view, and what are the consequences if they are wrong in their perception of truth?

Many modernists report that most Christians hastened their departure from the church through trite, unhelpful answers to the questions they were asking. Be willing to do the research to answer their questions thoughtfully and with confidence. Remember, there are good cogent explanations to their questions and their objections.

No there aren’t. Who offers those cogent answers, exactly? Josh McDowell? Ray Comfort? William Lane Craig? Greg Bahnsen? Sure, Craig and Bahnsen give more sophisticated-sounding answers than McDowell or Comfort, but that doesn’t make them any less nonsensical.

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