How Do You Address Atheist Opposition?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by LysanderShapiro, May 30, 2014.

  1. When I ask, I don't just mean in what tone do you do it. I mean where do you usually begin. What arguments do you use as a foundation for the existence of God?

    There's no wrong answer of course -- I am only asking how you address Atheism.
  2. If a certain paradigm is true, then there are a large set of conditions that the paradigm is based upon that must also be true.

    So, along that line of thinking, if there is no God and the reality that we exist in is a purely physical one then there are a host of characteristics that this reality must have to be consistent.

    There can be no spiritual phenomena of any kind. No ghosts, demons, poltergeists, or any such other weird things.
    There can be no prophecy, intuition, second sight, or any other senses that are based in knowing what cannot be known through physical means.
    All phenomena must obey the laws of physics at all times, no exceptions.
    No person can be extraorinary in any way or do things outside of their obvious physical or mental abilities.
    Evil cannot exist, and conversely neither can true virtue.
    All illnesses must have a biological cause.

    The question is, is this the world we live in?
  3. With prayer. It's difficult to argue when the other party doesn't accept the spiritual as even existing.
  4. I don't quite mean in responding only to militant Atheist opposition. I guess I meant if someone were to even play devil's advocate in wanting reasonable arguments for the existence of God, how would you respond to it?

    Though I'm not disqualifying prayer of course. Nor is any answer wrong -- I should put it in ways of playing devil's advocate.
  5. My experience has been that by their definition of 'reasonable evidence', it can only come from the 'scientific' realm. They do not accept the evidence we would offer which comes from the spiritual.
  6. Refusal to converse, but happy to pray for them.
  7. Agreed. Those who are believers (talking from a biblical and spiritual level) are talking to someone with science as their religion; two different plains, basically oil and water. This is especially true for those who haven't even read the Bible. My friend who is an atheist ask me "how can you be so intelligent yet believe such nonsense". I was just getting my feet wet (so to speak) in God's word and got flustered and couldn't really give him a good answer at that point. But after some tremendous growth and new revelation, I have a few choice answers for him now ;).
  8. Fascinating stuff.
    In your experience, do the Atheists you talk to acknowledge philosophy aside from science?
  9. The only 2 I've really talked in depth with is my wife (can neither confirm nor deny a 'God') and my friend who is a staunch atheist. My wife normally doesn't make it past "the Bible is just a book written years ago by a bunch of random men" without getting fired up (she doesn't really like talking about religion or God). My atheist friend however doesn't really have a sound philosophical foundation to speak from so he speaks mainly from a scientific perspective. He's read at least one book (maybe more) from Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion). Both my wife and him are well on their way to obtaining their doctoral degrees in clinical psychology if that gives you added perspective.
  10. How do they often respond to Theists who hold no arguments against science? Science can't be omnipotent if not everything can be measured by science, like philosophy, math, beauty, or even science itself, right?
  11. My atheist friend truly believes that everything has a scientific explanation, we just haven't found it yet.
  12. How do you usually respond to that?
  13. I mentioned in another post back in January I was working on putting together a personal apologetic. I'm still working on it, although writing has slowed down due to general busyness. What I have written so far is available here.

    Being somewhat intellectual myself, I'm purposely trying to limit my arguments to things that can be personally investigated or tested by the skeptic. So far I have two arguments based on consciousness and two on morality. My next section will be on modern fulfilled prophecy, with a look at prophetic details on the return of Israel as a nation. All the arguments are my own, although I suppose I'm not the first to have come up with them.
    LysanderShapiro likes this.
  14. #14 God is Love, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
    I'm not an apologetic, I only became a Christian about 3 months ago. If an atheist went up to me and told me to "prove my faith" I guess I would say I use to be like them but that I specifically did research on all the questions I had (literally hundreds) instead of choosing to be ignorant. I'd then tell them how every question of doubt was answered fully until the point that it became undeniable that God the father and Jesus Christ exist. If they still were giving me a hard time I would probably just ask them how they know their isn't a God, the reverse of the question they gave me (only fair). After that I would ask them if they believed in the big bang theory. If they said yes, I would then ask them what caused the big bang from an empty universe. When they didn't have an answer I would then tell them to come back to me when they figured it out.
  15. I think its cool you're making a personal apologetic, I might try it someday myself. It is a lot different to use your own ideas and thoughts than to just read other people's answers. I wouldn't be surprised if your faith becomes even stronger. I definitely believe you are making yourself a much more powerful advocate for God.
  16. Obviously most atheist have never read the Bible so casting your pearls before them will avail little. But you can make them read the Bible by living the truth before them.

    2Co 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
    2Co 3:2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.
    2Co 3:3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
    God is Love likes this.
  17. I'm enjoying reading all these answers. It really shows how God speaks to each of us so differently and perhaps even how we've come to know Him more and more.

    My approach is I begin with the arguments of people we might have mutual respect for--Aristotle and Plato. Both had different philosophies but each came to the conclusion that there is a God.

    I then jump to Darwin who wrote in his biography that based on evidence, he must be called a theist and why.

    I then reference St. Thomas Acquinas's Quinqe Viae (five proofs).

    Between each of these, I ask a lot of questions; what was the first cause? Is science omnipotent, and if so can science measure science or math or morality etc? And of course why are you and atheist?

    My experience is they don't necisarily come to the conclusion that God exists (and I wouldn't expect them to right away), but they seem to respect the cases in favor of belief in God. Of course in talking about those who are sincere in their arguments.
  18. You can start by giving the evidence for your beliefs.
    Since non-believers are unlikely to be swayed by quoting Scripture, this would be the best course of action.
  19. Hi Lysander

    I find that many younger agnostics and atheists today have a proclivity to be competitive, now using the advanced rigors of assertoric and a_priori deductive reasoning with increasing and accelerated skill. I also find this good news because instead of arbitrary remarks manifesting from frustration or disparity, competition for the truth springs from honest motivation.

    However is it not our challenge to envelop Paul's strategy to be many things in order to reach some for the sake of our Lord's eternal offering?

    In order to reach the atheist it is my first opinion that prayer and non-judgmental-love surround the possible conversation prior to the actual exchange, for ultimately it is the goodness of God that brings man to repentance, though we carry the message of of His eternal truth secured in our personal unseen objective relationships.

    When dealing with the intelligent atheist, shall the Christian be challenged to use also a_priori knowledge and deduction in the beginning to first defend that God is not disprovable before offering inductive reasoning or relationship experience. For in the same way the Christian cannot “prove God” is real with a_priori axiomatic truth, the atheist also cannot “disprove God” with the same set of rules. Can the exchange upon this mutual premise be done with gentle integrity, always being an ambassador of Christ and His eternal love? Thus in the confines of friendship is it possible to be used as a productive vessel, never supporting judgmental punitive laws of evil men, nor tossing about hostile marginalization to those who don't see what moves the corporeal?

    Can friendship be used as an invisible adherent to manufacture approachable unhindered exchanges?

    Once a man who fished the sea his whole life, who never left his wholesome sea-side village, was then approached by a stranger. The stranger tried to sell him a fancy house, and a new life in a distant mountain range far away, for which the fisherman had never seen or considered. Can it be agreed upon that the stranger’s words will fall to deaf ears practically every time, since the strangers offer is foreign to the fisherman? I should think the stranger is perceived always as “a stranger with a strange offer”. However what if after much time of fellowship, the stranger visits with genuine care many times, and the stranger was no longer considered a stranger but a friend? Could not the man as a friend possibly then be able to finance a small trip for a trusting fisherman to at least see his first mountain?

    Yet we sell no high house on a mountain but instead the everlasting truth even though it’s subjective with many who can’t receive, because they do not intellectually leverage objective personal experience for a resolve, and shall conversion primarily be possible in the confines of friendship where levels of trust manifest with prayer.
  20. I change my answer. If an atheist asks me about my faith I will simply spread the Gospel like the bible says. Why should I stress myself out? Seriously think about it, if they want to know about God then they will find him, God doesn't hide his presence. God doesn't even really need us to spread the Gospel when you think about it, he could do so much more than any of us could do to try to convert someone. I think that spreading the Gospel is for our benefit now that I have re-evaluated. Just like prayer for example. I mean sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but God knows everything, your prayers aren't going to control what God does next, sure i'm not saying that praying won't cause something to happen, but that isn't because of you, that's because of God. Prayer imho is for our benefit, not God's, though i'm sure he likes it that we are praying :) Might be confusing to some what I just said, hopefully someone understands though.

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