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Evangelism from an Atheist Perspective

I tend to talk a great deal about how we should approach those of other faiths. It’s something that interests me a great deal. Going way back to the early days of this blog, I find the post Witnessing without being a Pest.

Let me note here, however, that I’m not calling on any of us, of any faith or none, to homogenize or compromise what we believe. I think it’s important to express one’s actual beliefs honestly and clearly. The trouble is, it’s often the behavior of the messenger much more than the honesty of the beliefs that often offends other people.

Of course what I write is from a Christian perspective, and one may question whether I have a good idea how non-Christians may feel. Thus I think that three recent blog posts on the blog Caraleisa are quite useful. She has encountered Christians whose obvious goal is to convert her, and to do it as quickly as possible.

The posts are:

Check it out!

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  1. So to sum up… it’s not worth approaching atheists who aren’t interested in discussion (like Caraleisa) because it’ll just irritate them. And it’s not worth approaching atheists who are interested in discussion (like me) because they probably know the arguments better than you.

    So are there any situations where conventional evangelism is effective against declared atheists, or are we back to the old theme of “preach at all times; where necessary use words”?

    From my perspective, the only thing that could convince me about God would be a new line of evidence or logic that I couldn’t find any serious flaws in. I suspect I’m typical of the skeptical community. (Atheists who disbelieve on other grounds may be more vulnerable to conversion.)

    If not atheists, who does evangelism work on, and how? The basic model of evangelism seems to be:

    1) I explain my theories about life, the universe and everything to a suitable evangelee.
    2) Evangelee is wowed by my brilliance.
    3) Evangelee converts on the spot and joins my church.

    While this probably happens occasionally, I have trouble believing it’s a common result. Anyone got a better explanation for how evangelism is supposed to work?

  2. Well, I have an alternative plan:

    Build relationships with a variety of people, because it’s generally fun and productive
    Discuss your faith with those who are interested
    Some people will think it’s helpful and will want to join your community
    Some won’t
    That’s not your problem

    No pressure, just relationships.

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