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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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theophilus

Evangelizing atheists

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I have spent a lot of time on internet forums debating atheists and trying to convince them that God exists and the Bible is true. I usually tried to show them that the existence of God is the only logical explanation for the existence of the universe and I pointed out scientific evidence that shows that the theory of evolution can’t be true. However I have come to believe that I was going about this in the wrong way. This conclusion is based on hearing two former atheists tell how they became Christians.

 

The first is someone I know personally. He had a long conversation with a pastor which ended with the pastor explaining to him how to be saved. He said he was an atheist and didn’t believe in God, and that ended the conversation.

 

Over the next few days thoughts about God kept entering his mind and he came to the conclusion that there really was a God. Since the pastor had told him how to become a Christian he knew what he needed to do and so was saved.

 

Later I read an online account by a former atheist who told how she became a Christian.

Two weeks ago I was visiting with one of my clients (I work in disability support) and her Pastor stopped by. We got talking about this and that and I was suddenly moved to tears and felt like I was literally being tapped on the shoulder and asked to follow Jesus. I went home and began to read a pamphlet the Pastor gave me that explained why there was good and evil in the world. Then I started to read the New Testament because I felt like Jesus was reaching out to me and I wanted to know his story and teachings.

 

I have never felt such serenity and optimism in my life as in this last week or so. I have laid down my burden of sin and accepted a new loving presence into my body. I look to Christ for the example of how to live my life and interact with my fellow man. If I always ask myself “what would He do?” I have my answer for every situation that can cross my path. What a blessing in this crazy modern world!

Neither of these people was convinced of the existence of God because of a logical argument. In both cases someone simply explained the gospel to them and they came to believe it.

 

There is one more factor that isn’t mentioned. I personally knew the pastor involved in the first case and I am certain that after his conversation he spent time praying about it. I don’t know any of the people involved in the second case but I think it is very likely that the pastor involved prayed too.

 

Most of the time I have spent debating atheists has been wasted because I failed to take one fact into consideration.

If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV

Those who reject the truth do so because Satan, the god of this world, has blinded them. You can’t give sight to a blind person by reasoning with him or debating him. Only God can enable such a person to see the truth. Here is how the Bible says we should approach such people.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV

I was relying on my own knowledge and wisdom to try to convince atheists of the truth but it is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can convert people. The first step to converting an atheist or any other unbeliever is to give him all the information that he needs. Sometimes this includes pointing out the scientific evidence that supports the Bible but we only need to give him the information and not get into a debate about whether or not it is true. After that we should pray that God will open his eyes so he will believe the truth.

 

There is a saying: “When all else fails go back and read the instructions.” This is very good advice, especially when the instructions are found in the Bible.

 

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I was relying on my own knowledge and wisdom to try to convince atheists of the truth but it is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can convert people. The first step to converting an atheist or any other unbeliever is to give him all the information that he needs. Sometimes this includes pointing out the scientific evidence that supports the Bible but we only need to give him the information and not get into a debate about whether or not it is true. After that we should pray that God will open his eyes so he will believe the truth.

 

Amen, Theo!

 

God bless,

William

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Hi Theo, I completely concur, we are called to be faithful witnesses about the truth of the Gospel, and about the love of God that we are blessed enough to know personally. Few come to Christ based upon "logical" arguments, because we're not the ones who change hearts and by doing so, cause the blind to see, He is.

 

Here's a letter from a hardened "former" atheist and why he finally chose to become a Christian. Once again, for our part anyway, his conversion was due to faithful Christians choosing to act like Christians, not because anyone was able to out-think him and offer him reasonable arguments that he could not deny. Reasonable arguments cannot work apart from Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14)!

 

This letter also offers interesting insights into how some atheists think, and why some of them chose to post regularly on forums like this one (this letter is, in fact, from another forum that I post on).

 

Here you go:

 

A year ago, I was a minor "internet celebrity."

 

I had about 50,000 fans on a website called Wattpad, I was a smug, extremely-far left liberal, and I had dedicated my entire life to my writing. I also came here frequently and trolled Christians but that's another thing entirely.

 

Essentially, I used my power to harm Christians.
As a militant atheist, I had dedicated myself to attacking Christians, tearing their faith away, filling people with doubt, and leading them directly into sin.

 

I became more and more conflicted as I did this. My forum history on here shows that well enough, often switching back and forth between seeker and militant atheist/troll.

 

But something happened to me along the way. One day, two far-left feminists made lies about me: complete, utter lies. Theatheists/feminists/trolls I sided with stabbed me in the back and got me banned from my platform, completely cutting me off from my fanbase and having 3.5 years of my work destroyed in an instant from my banishment.

 

Who took my side? All the Christians i had disrespected, insulted, mocked, and ridiculed. They were the only ones who spoke the truth
.
They said, "He didn't do what you're accusing him of."

 

There's no real way I can apologize to the Christians on here that I attempted to lead into sin, nor is there a way I can ever even begin to make amends for a single shred of the times I debased and humiliated Christians.

 

The funny thing is that if anyone were to bring me down and make me suffer, it should have been Christians. I at least would have been getting payback. Maybe I could cope with it, because I'd know that the people harming me were only giving me what I deserved.

 

But no. It wasn't the Christians who made the last year of my life the most painful and dark of my entire existence. It wasn't the Christians who hurt me to the point I lost my way again and again and again. It was the people I associated with. It was the side I fought for.

 

And now that I'm sure Jesus Christ is the lord and savior
, I cannot even bring myself to go to him because I am so ashamed and so undeserving of being saved and because I know that the weight of my sins is so heavy it's no longer even possible for me to make amends for it.

 

I can't even remember all the names. All the people I attacked and called subhuman just for being Christian. I can say for sure it was done out of hate and malice. It's probably what drives every militant atheist, who are every bit as evangelical as evangelicals only they lie to both themselves and others.

 

I lost so much. I lost my entire platform and all that I had that made me anyone who mattered. And none of it -- not even a bit -- was done to me at the hands of the Christians whom I hurt.

 

I am sorry to every Christian I trolled, lied to, hurt, insulted, or tried to persecute because of my own hatred. I don't even know if forgiveness is possible for someone like me. Especially because my hatred of the feminists who did this to me is stronger than my desire not to burn in hell for eternity.

 

They created post after post savaging me the way I savaged Christians, letting me really know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of far-left hatred. My name (Kevin Weinberg) is so smeared and tainted by lies and people calling me a "misogynist" and a "sexist" when none of it was ever true, that I might have to change it. I know now what it feels like to be on the receiving end of what I did daily to Christians for no good reason.

 

I guess the most I can do is hope that one day I can make things right to all the Christians I attacked, even though there were so many I can't remember their names.

 

Maybe then I will be able to ask Christ for forgiveness. I certainly don't deserve any right now.

And here are a few of his replies to some questions asked of him about the letter you just read:

 

1) I know he is in some part of me. I guess what's holding me back is my hatred. I want revenge. I want revenge so, so, so bad. These feminists, they took everything from me. I grew up a loser. I had no friends. No one believed in me. Then I discovered Wattpad. I gained a huge following. Every day, people would tell me they loved me, that I was someone special: someone who mattered.

 

And just like that, after finally building myself up, I was BASHED back down. And I have so much evil hatred in me. I don't believe this website's rules permit me to even voice a fraction of the violent thoughts that I have towards the people who hurt me.

 

I tried talking to a shrink. Didn't help. Can Jesus make the hate go away? Can anyone? I've not been able to get back on my feet because I'm living every day now just for revenge.

 

2) No one deserves? But what if my sins are more than yours? Or SO MUCH more? I've cursed God's name in the worst of ways.

 

3) Thank you. I'll try. I keep messing up but I'll really try. I have just one more question. Does the bible say anything about revenge? If I accept Christ, because of "eye for an eye" am I still free to go and pursue revenge against the people who wronged me? I want to make them suffer but I don't know enough about God to say if that is okay or not.

 

4) Appreciated. Very thankful for you taking the time to write this. Takes a lot to really cope with the fact that anything can be forgiven. I've heard that before now that I think back on it (on these forums no less). There really are no words to capture just how tremendous of a thing it is to offer forgiveness for anything. Now I see why it's called a sacrifice. But it's a much bigger sacrifice than I can quantify in words alone.

 

 

Yours in Christ,

David

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we

do not grow weary. So then, awhile we have opportunity, let us

do good to all men, and especially to those who are

of the household of the faith"

Galatians 6:9-10

 

 

Edited by David Lee
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I identified as an atheist for a few years, and came back to faith last year. I don't debate atheists, I share the truths of my faith and how faith has changed my life. This is how I choose to witness. Most atheists have heard it all, and what I think it might take to present a different message to them, is to just show them the love of Christ. That is ultimately what is missing in their lives, everything else will follow if they believe that there is a better life to be had out there, and that life is in Christ. Using ''logic'' or trying to offer the Bible as proof really doesn't help discussions with atheists, to be honest.

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I identified as an atheist for a few years, and came back to faith last year. I don't debate atheists, I share the truths of my faith and how faith has changed my life. This is how I choose to witness. Most atheists have heard it all, and what I think it might take to present a different message to them, is to just show them the love of Christ. That is ultimately what is missing in their lives, everything else will follow if they believe that there is a better life to be had out there, and that life is in Christ. Using ''logic'' or trying to offer the Bible as proof really doesn't help discussions with atheists, to be honest.

 

I agree with this too (apparently, so does the Bible .. i.e. Romans 2:4).

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Discipleship should cause us to want to be fishers of men, as Jesus asked us to do. We should always remember that, too. :)

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As a former atheist myself, I can definitely testify that it wasn't any process of logic or reasoning that brought me back to Christ. One day, out of the blue, I just started having really strong feelings that God was (contrary to my prior belief) really there. So I returned to Christianity.

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The reality I see is that there is a supernatural being in control of this universe. That supernatural being is God. He created all that we see around us out of non existence. He created man and put us on Earth. We didn't just come here by chance and certainly we have a destination. It's insensitive to think there is no God

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