Should Christians try to evangelize atheists?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iDisk, May 13, 2011.

  1. iDisk, May 13, 2011
    Last edited: May 13, 2011

    iDisk macrumors 6502a

    iDisk

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    #1
    As a follower of Christ who knows the love of God and have the assurance of eternity in heaven, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to be an atheist. But when we realize the sin nature and its strong influence on the mind and the heart, we begin to understand where the atheist is coming from. Biblically speaking, there is no such thing as an atheist. Psalm 19:1-2 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. We see His creative power in all that He has made. Romans 1:19-20 follows up on this idea, telling us that what may be known about God has been made plain to us through the creation, and anyone who denies this is “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18). Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 declare that those who deny the existence of God are fools. So the atheist is either lying or he is a fool or both. So what is it that causes someone to deny God?

    The main goal of those under the influence of the sin nature is to make himself a god, to have complete control over his life, or so he thinks. Then religion comes along with obligations, judgments, and restrictions, while atheists presume to define their own meaning and morality. They do not want to submit to God because their hearts are at “enmity against God,” and they have no desire to be subject to His Law. In fact they are incapable of doing so because their sin has blinded them to truth (Romans 8:6-7). This is why atheists spend most of their time complaining and arguing not about the scriptural proof texts, but the “dos and don’ts.” Their natural rebelliousness detests the commandments of God. They simply hate the idea that anything—or any One—should have control over them. What they do not realize is that Satan himself is controlling them, blinding them, and preparing their souls for hell.

    In terms of evangelizing atheists, we should not hold back the gospel from someone just because he or she claims to be an atheist. Do not forget that an atheist is just as lost as a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist. God certainly wants us to spread the gospel (Matthew 28:19) and to defend the truths of His word (Romans 1:16). On the other hand, we are not obligated to waste our time trying to convince the unwilling. In fact, we are warned not to expend excessive effort on those who are clearly disinterested in any honest discussions (Matthew 7:6). Jesus told the apostles to go and preach the Word, but He did not expect them to stay anywhere until every single last person had been converted (Matthew 10:14).

    Perhaps the best tactic is to give each person the benefit of the doubt, at least at first. Every question, honestly and truthfully answered, gives that person a chance to hear the gospel. But if that person is just arguing, being hostile, or otherwise not open, it’s probably time to move along. Some people are totally, completely, and absolutely hardened to the gospel (Proverbs 29:1). They may be rational, or irrational, but there are scriptural reasons to believe that some people are willingly immune to the influence of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 6:3). When we have made a good-faith effort to talk to someone, and he or she is unreachable, then we are commanded to “shake the dust off” of our shoes (Luke 9:5) and spend our time talking to those who are more spiritually open. As in all things, the wisdom of God is crucial. God has promised that wisdom to us if we ask (James 1:5), and we should pray for it and trust God’s prompting to know how and when to break off the dialog with a hostile atheist.

    *** Source Gotquestions.org
     
  2. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #2
    Before everyone else comes in to flame you, I'd like to just post this advice. I'm a Christian and think that it's a good thing to try to tell anyone about God, you should try doing it with people you know personally and not on an internet forum. When you post on the internet, you may be well intentioned, but it seems as if posts like this turn people off to God, instead of making them rethink things. So please do try to evangelize people, but do it by being friends with them in person, and showing them that not all christians are on the crazy right wing fringe.
     
  3. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #3
    No. Personally I'd quite like to be spared the patronizing BS. I did not become an atheist from lack of knowledge. Quite the contrary. The more I learned the more I found it all blatantly implausible. So kindly believe what you like and I'll do the same.

    The religious people that I know and get along with leave this topic out of our conversations and it works out fine.
     
  4. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #4
    I'm an atheist simply because I do not believe there is a God. I don't 'want to be an atheist', it's just way I am.

    Quoting your ancient scriptures at me isn't going to change my mind so why bother?
     
  5. iDisk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iDisk

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    #5
    If you read the entire post, then you noticed that I didn't say anything untruthful did I? Nor was I trying to "convert" or "evangelize" anybody. I was actually doing the opposite

    I do evangelize in person, with people who are friends and aren't "friends". If the enemy can use the internet to deceive people, why can't children of God, use the internet to tell the truth?

    We fight not against flesh and blood my friend, God allowed the internet and as Children of God we are to spread the Good news, by all means. I think you missed what my post was saying. which was basically, don't try to convert anybody, let God do that through His son Jesus, just share the good news of the Lords word, with those willing to listen, and don't waste time arguing with people who's eyes haven't been open.
     
  6. iDisk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iDisk

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    #6
    Brother, I don't want to change your mind :)... Thats not my Job to do so. I leave that to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
     
  7. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    #7
    If there's one thing guaranteed to make me go completely postal it's some fool who is arrogant enough to think that his is the only true way.

    I'll happily discuss religious beliefs with friends and acquaintances, but anybody who tries to 'evangelise' me is going to find me pissing on their shoes pretty damned quickly.

    You will note that I have not commented on my own beliefs. That is intentional as it is the principle not the belief I am addressing here.
     
  8. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #8
    evangelize, evangelise [ɪˈvændʒɪˌlaɪz]
    vb
    1. (Christianity / Protestantism) to preach the Christian gospel or a particular interpretation of it (to)
    2. (intr) to advocate a cause with the object of making converts

    :confused:
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #9
    Would you like it if people of another religion tried to convert you? No. So don't do it to us.
     
  10. IntelliUser macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I support making people smarter, not stupider, so no.
     
  11. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #11
    If the evidence suggests God exists I believe in God, if there is no such evidence then I don't. It doesn't matter how much I want to believe in God or not, it is about evidence.

    You are more than welcome to present evidence about the existence of a God. I want to know about the universe, and I want all the information available to me. So I'd greatly appreciate any real, proper data that can challenge or support my current opinion that there is almost certainly no God.

    What I don't want is some unsubstantiated rubbish about "sin" etc. Let us see if we can find enough evidence to demonstrate a God exists, then we can discuss which one it is.
     
  12. tooz macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Personally I think you should be open to the discussion with non Christians, but we shouldn't Bible-bash them. If I have a friend who's got questions I'll quite happily have a D&M discussing it all, but I don't think going into the room Telling people to believe is the right way to go!
     
  13. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #13
    No. Please don't.

    I'm a decent human being. If there is a God, it likes me. If not, who cares.
     
  14. Zaid macrumors 6502

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    #14
    The way I see it, nobody should evangelise to anyone else.

    By all means, believe what ever you want to, but if you come up to me and try and 'show me the way' I'm going to tell you to shut the **** up.

    If I were interested in your belief system I would ask you about it. If I don't ask, or if it doesn't come up naturally in a conversation, assume I'm not interested. I'm an atheist because having thought about it, having looked at a number of religions, and after much consideration and thought, I decided there is no logical argument or evidence to support the belief in the existence of a deity.

    If you want to discuss religion, or theology, by all means, I'd be happy to have a discussion. I won't suspend any standards of argument or logic though, and while I would respect you, and will respect your right to hold any belief you wish, I don't hold that I automatically have to respect your beliefs, any more than if we were discussing economics, politics, history etc. Religion doesn't get special treatment.

    When I was growing up, the imam at our mosque told us something I really wish more religious people took on board.

    He said you have to respect the right of others to believe or not believe what they want. Faith is a personal relationship between an individual and god. They have to come by it of their own will, when they're ready. Trying to shove your beliefs into others faces will only be counter productive

    He said the way to lead others to your faith is simple. Live a good life, be kind, be tolerant, be charitable, stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. Don't be judgemental.

    He said it is your behaviour that will make others want to know about your faith. And when you speak about your faith under those circumstances, the seeds you plant are more likely to grow and bear fruit.
     
  15. Zaid macrumors 6502

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    #15
    George Carlin's commandment: "Keep they religion to thyself!"

    A thought has just occurred to me. Are evangelists the conversational equivalents of spammers?
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    Exactly. Well said.
     
  17. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #17
    There's another saying I head the other day: Religion is like a penis. It's OK if you have one, it's OK if you play with it, it's OK if other consenting adults play with it, but don't whip it out in public for all to see and don't try to force it down childrens' throats.
     
  18. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #18
    This seems particularly relevant to Catholicism. :D
     
  19. Zaid macrumors 6502

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    #19
    love it :)

    Except as an adult i quite like having a penis shoved down my throat* :D, religion on the other hand :mad:

    *You know provided it's a nice penis, and the guy it's attached to is hot :)
     
  20. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #20
    Think about how ridiculous Greek mythology is to you. Now realize it was a mainstream belief not too long ago. That is what your religion looks like today.
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #21

    Oy vey.:rolleyes:
     
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Everybody is trying to win converts in PRSI, religious or non-religious alike.

    So, no. I don't care if Christians evangelize.

    As long as they're prepared to hear my rebuttal.
     
  23. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #23
    This is just plain asinine. It is exactly this kind of condescending attitude that pisses people off when it comes to religion. I know that I do not "try to make (myself) a god", and neither to a great many other people who do not accept your mythos. Look at the "earth" religions like neo-paganism, they do not teach self-deification, do they?

    Your beliefs serve primarily as a sort of drug to make you feel good about yourself. Sometimes it can really kick in and make you feel a physical euphoria, I know, been there. Evangelists are little better than pushers.
     
  24. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #24
    I do not, generally speaking, tell my friends, family, coworkers, or random other people I meet that their entire worldview--and framework for understanding the meaning of life--is wrong, sinful or will doom them to an eternity of torment...so I would hope for them to extend me the same courtesy.
     
  25. pivo6 macrumors 68000

    pivo6

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    #25
    No thank you. Here's a quote from Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche that expresses my feelings.

     

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