I recently found a fascinating, 15-step strategy for converting Christians to atheism. The plan is an excellent way to do just the opposite, helping atheists find eternal life in Christ.
One: think about your friendship. The article asks atheists to build relationships with Christians before trying to convert them. Of course, the opposite is just as true. Jesus healed bodies in order to heal souls. We must earn the right to share his love.
Two: educate yourself. Atheists are encouraged to “read everything you can about atheism, Christian apologetics and religious history.” Believers should do exactly the same thing.
Three: learn common arguments leveled by theists and the best rebuttals. The same preparation is essential when talking with atheists. You can find help on our website and from a variety of apologetics resources.
Four: examine myths, urban legends, and superstitions and learn why people believe stories backed by little evidence. Believers can show that our faith is actually based on remarkable evidence.
Five: read and understand their holy book cover to cover. We can only hope atheists will actually do this. In turn, believers should be ready for their claim that “contradictions invalidate the Bible.”
Six: study basic physics and biology, as believers may form arguments using a flawed interpretation of physics or biology. Christians should know and use some of the outstanding evidence pointing from creation to a Creator, but avoid arguments that are illogical.
Seven: start off casual. The atheist is encouraged to “first show how atheism has impacted your own life in a positive way.” In the same way, our conversion story is our most compelling apologetic.
Eight: get them in the habit of questioning their own faith. The essay wants atheists to ask us to explain something about religion the atheist doesn’t understand. We can do the same in reverse, such as, “Why are you absolutely certain there is no God?”
Nine: let them try to convert you. This step is obviously disingenuous and manipulative. Christians, while not suggesting we can be converted, can ask atheists why we should agree with them.
Ten: give your friend practical advice for their problems from respected books from respected experts in various fields. In turn, believers can give our atheist friends practical advice from Scripture and Christian teachings.
Eleven: avoid logical fallacies and point out those used by your friend. We can and should do the same.
Twelve: socialize them. Again, we should try to bring atheists into relationships with genuine believers.
Thirteen: don’t try to change them too drastically. By contrast, the Holy Spirit can effect an immediate transformation in the life of anyone who trusts in Christ.
Fourteen: know when to back away. Excellent advice.
Fifteen: be open-minded. “Listen and understand their point of view.” Again, excellent counsel, but ask the Holy Spirit for protection.
Do you know an atheist? If so, would you pray for him or her by name now, asking God to use you in sharing his love? If not, would you ask the Lord to lead you to an atheist you can befriend this week?