Practicing Discernment Discussion: Question for Christians? What Would You Say to this Atheist if Given the Chance?

A quick discussion post as a result of something I saw at yesterday’s Reason Rally. For those Christians and others who read, my question to you is the following.  What would you say to the guy in the picture if you had a chance?

“Despite everything I believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

1 Peter 3:15 NLT



In light of the Reason Rally and the events atheists are having today in the Washington, D.C. area. (They are having an atheist summit, but I didn’t have $150.00 to shell out, attend so I can write about it.) So with that I have been spending time reflecting on all I witnessed and saw yesterday afternoon. That will be in Wednesday’s post. There is one thing that has been stuck in my mind and I wanted to throw it up here for discussion. Atheists and skeptics are a different beast in so many ways. They think differently, they process information differently, and many are committed to truth, science and philosophy. They also analyze things differently. I wanted to throw up this picture because this refers to several different things:

  1. It refers to man’s sin, or original sin.
  2. It refers to the trinity.
  3. It references Jesus’s death at Calvary.
  4. It references the issue of hell.
  5. For someone into reformed theology it also references predestination.
  6. Finally it references forgiveness of sins.

When I was in my faith crisis one of the things I thought of is the issue of Jesus’ death at Calvary. In the context of the trinity could it be said that God committed suicide? So when I see situations like this I understand deeply, because I thought like this as well for a chunk of my life. So I wanted to throw up this quick post and ask you this question. How would you engage? What would you say? How would you respond? Would you? If you had an opportunity to answer the questions raised in this post what would you say? I am going to let you guys discuss and hear your thoughts on this one. Take care guys as always I love you!


11 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment Discussion: Question for Christians? What Would You Say to this Atheist if Given the Chance?

  1. It is hard to get someone else to understand something I don’t have a clear picture of. I would first try to figure out if the guy was wanting to engage and jointly understand or just wanting to score debating points.
    If the latter then I would not connect on his subject but ask questions about his beliefs and how he came to them. The rest would be dependent how it develops.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That sort of message is a conversational short cut actually. I would imagine that those who wrote that statement and who really relate to it are former Christians. Like you identified it Eagle, it’s several counter-apologetic arguments summed up in one statement. Why it’s a shortcut is that sort of statement is often used in comment sections, message boards, social media, etc… to get armchair apolgists and drive by evangelists to move past the usual pablum answers or gotcha questions and move on to engaging either with evidence or in a more conversational mode. Bill, you got it. That sort of sign is more an invitation to probably engage in a discussion about beliefs or perspectives on the big questions, and your approach would probably lead to a positive interaction for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I would imagine that those who wrote that statement and who really relate to it are former Christians.”
      A good and likely insight. I concur on pablum, it gets too much value in some circles. As I have get older my BS-O-Meter gets more sensitive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It wasn’t until a few years after I left Christianity and had returned to give it a good chance to present it’s evidence, when I realized that apologetics aren’t for outsiders, they’re for Christians. That’s probably why they seem to trend towards pablum.


      • Eep, hit post early and cut off the second half.

        The interesting stuff tends to come more from where people of differing faiths or lack there of can discuss the issues that matter to the universality of us all. How can we be “good”, how do we deal with pain, the why’s of life. I think that may be some of the appeal of C.S. Lewis.


      • “I realized that apologetics aren’t for outsiders, they’re for Christians.”
        Thanks for another concept, I had not made that connection. In the general sense propaganda is not to convince the opponent but to keep the supporter within the party. I can recall a discussion with a colleague, I won’t give the specifics, suffice it to say I provided information that didn’t fit his worldview.

        At first he said he didn’t care, an oft used but weak discussion ploy, but he later searched the internet and found an explanation that he brought back to me. That it was entirely implausible and stretched credulity past the breaking point was unimportant, he had an explanation. Voilà – the power of propaganda. I didn’t find it productive to disabuse him of it further.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The arm chair apologists are very insecure and do what they do to keep themselves in the system they are in Blue. They need to justify themselves in the end. This guy I would guess is also a former Christian as his sign indicates that he knows basic Christian theology. More so than others he knows the basic frame work well.


  3. Love your thinking Blue. Apologetics at events like this are more for propaganda ploys and tactics. These types of events are going to attract interesting people with interesting motives. Also the other problem I would suggest is that many people are not going to understand these issues until it hits, and fries them.

    For example I needed to have my ass kicked by the problem of evil for half my thirties in order to see how serious an issue is. Others are going to be hunky dory until they are diagnosed with cancer, or something else that challenges what they believe. For those who have not experienced this their time is coming.


  4. This strikes me as a caricature of Christian belief. There is some truth in it, but essentially it is distorted. It has taken me a long time to realise that unbelief is chosen, and the placard seems to me to indicate this. Distort Christian belief and then claim it is unreasonable to believe it.

    It a bit like atheists who can dismiss the whole Judeo-Christian tradition by quoting Ps 137 : 9 Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! on the basis of what appalling ethics religious morons and bigots have. Inexcusable ignorance. There is a reason why atheism and foolishness are linked together in both the OT and NT.

    It always bothers me when the gospel is seen in terms of saving us from hell. Surely we need saving from sin, our own sin for which we have real guilt and need forgiveness; hell is simply where sin will eventually take you, and is just, it is what is deserved neither more nor less.

    In all the ‘gospel’ presentations in Acts, hell is never mentioned, nor is the love of God. I wonder whether your placard holder has been subject to a distorted gospel. Perhaps the emphasis was more ‘would you like to go to heaven rather than hell when you die’ rather than ‘do you want to change your current way of life and make it right with God – as the good news is this is now possible’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see where you are coming from Ken. But this person also indicates some knowledge of Christian doctrine and faith. He’s challenging what he has been taught as well.


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