That title says almost it all. You know going in that the atheist is not going to be honest in their presentation and that they will not have an open mind to your point of view. Sometimes it is hard to spot where their omissions are and if you do not have the time to verify their sources or information then you can stumble or make an error. Then if you are like me, you just have too much to do and you tend to get ‘rusty’ on some of the information one has studied then you need to step lightly as the atheist will pounce and make all sorts of claims against you.
But what also makes me not want to discuss much with atheists is their attitude. They feel that they do not have to provide any real evidence to support their claims. They will make assertion after assertion yet refuse to provide one solid piece of research to back up what they have stated. Yet they have no problem with demanding that the Christian provide physical evidence for every claim or statement we make.
I have gotten to the point where I just tell them that they have made claims and they need to provide the evidence for those claims. I tell them I do not have to provide evidence as, one it has already been presented ad nauseam by many others, and two, I am just the messenger, God has made the claim already in the Bible and I am just passing on the information. Then three, what evidence can you present for supernatural acts?
I am old enough to know that even medical doctors will deny miracles even though they were the ones who treated the previously sick patient so pointing to such events is basically useless. Finally, four, I tell them that I do not go by atheist rules and demands. I go by God’s and that faith is the key. Of course, faith is the key because we cannot demonstrate any of God’s speaking and things come into existence. Nor can we demonstrate the virgin birth or heaven so faith will always be a part of the equation, an item that atheists will not accept at all.
Believers must remember that the atheist is not an authority nor are they people we need to obey or appease. We do not jump to their tune. We present the evidence that we have as God wants not as the atheist demands. This will mean ignoring their declarations that we need to present ‘peer review’ articles and other ‘scientific’ criteria, as we know that secular science censors what they will review or accept as ‘scientific’.
We stick to the truth and that means we have a responsibility to find the truth and not just blindly accept what some Christian speaker or pastor says is the truth. We need to verify their statements in order to make sure we have the truth. I say this because there are a lot of believers out there blindly repeating what they hear from famous or not so famous Christian leaders thinking they have the truth only to be embarrassed when they are shown they are in error.
This is not a real knock on the Christian leaders just a stating of a sad fact that many of our leaders are lacking the truth and may or may not have the time or desire to find it in order to make sure the people they speak to receive the right information. Also, too many Christian speakers are deceived or accept alternative ideologies or ideas so the believer in the pew, must check their words with the Bible and not assume they are getting the correct information.
Another issue that makes me hesitate to discuss with atheists is their thinking that they are experts on God’s actions and that their standards of right and wrong, morality, etc., are greater than God’s and that God must meet their subjective and all too human standards to be considered worthy of their worship. They refuse to acknowledge that God has a better standard and his own rules and place their own ideas above God’s rules demanding that God humble himself to them instead of the other way around.
These attitudes make it hard to discuss any topic with an atheist and when they support the actions of different atheist organizations you can see their hypocrisy as they allow their own people to do things they would not allow a believer or even God to do.
What the atheist also refuses to accept is the fact that believers in Jesus have a different code of ethics to follow and it does not match up with the atheist code of ethics. Believers cannot adapt the biblical code of ethics to appease the atheist, they need to abide by it or they will ruin their testimony as well as their argument. Even when the atheist hurls false accusations of lies or liar towards the believer, we cannot alter our biblical guidelines as the atheist redefines the words ‘lie’ and ‘liar’ to fit their own ideas.
That has been one of the frustrating issues in any discussion I have had with atheists or alternative believers. They will redefine words to make them say things the believer is not saying when they use the same words. You can call them on it and then they will post up dictionary definitions and say ‘see, we got it right.’ but you sit there knowing that they are omitting information on how words are used and defined because those definitions undermine their point of view. Just like cult members redefine words, so do atheists and alternative believers and it makes discussion very difficult.
One example of this is found here:
They very graciously accepted it, saying that they too had once been “obnoxious for the Lord.”
One person’s obnoxious is another’s dedication. Sure some people go too far in their pursuit of pleasing God and furthering the kingdom but not every one does. Being unbending in our beliefs is not being ‘obnoxious’; being closed-minded to alternative ideas is not being ‘obnoxious’; and this is what we have to be careful of. We do not take the other person’s word for our behavior especially when they present us with a negative label.
Yes as a young woman I was, I am afraid, obnoxious for the Lord. My fundamentalist background stressed purity and fleeing the very appearance of evil, so I felt justified in abandoning friends who I thought weren’t behaving correctly.
That quote comes from one of the people making a comment underneath that post and you can see how she does not define ‘obnoxious’ correctly. She confuses being misguided in her training to being as the word is defined at the following link:
Incorrectly defining words can get us into lots of unintended problems and we need to be careful and learn the correct definitions so that we are not caught in something that ruins what we say or causes us to doubt our faith. Our lead does not come from the atheist or the alternative believer, we need to filter their information through biblical processes, starting with the HS, in order to protect our faith and keep our arguments sound.
Atheists are closed-minded and do not accept the reality of God which makes discussion with them very difficult especially if the believer is a novice. The believer really needs to study correctly for a while before trying to discuss with those who spend their lives in denial. The atheist knows more than the believer realizes. God tells us to ‘study to show ourselves approved..’ and this is one reason why he gave that instruction. The unbeliever is far more knowledgeable than most believers and they will trip up the faiths of those who believe if the latter does not prepare correctly.