What do you do when you encounter that atheist? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
An atheist friend of Deeper Waters (Yes. There are atheists who read what I write and like it even though they disagree because of my own handling of the issues) wanted me to remind everyone that while not all Christians are alike, neither are all atheists alike. This is something I hold strongly to hence I use terms often like “internet atheists.” You can think of them as fundamentalist atheists, fundy atheists, evangelical atheists, etc. Something really amusing about these people is they spend more time talking about God than a lot of Christians do.
You know these people. These are the people that break out in hysterics when anything religious is mentioned. These are the people that show up on a YouTube video of a Christian song with a bunch of Christians minding their own business and want to argue with them. These are the people who talk about the BuyBull and constantly say Jesus never even existed and share mindless memes and emotional arguments.
These are the people who also usually think they’re the smartest ones in the room. They think they are masters of reason and that theists never have any good points and atheists always win every debate that they’re in (I can attest I have heard debates where I thought the atheist was wrong, but that he beat his Christian opponent) and that every Christian is just emotionally committed. I always say that these people honor reason with their lips, but their heads are far from it.
One test I usually give these people is to link to Andrew Loke’s book on the resurrection. This book is very scholarly, and it is also very free. It costs an atheist nothing to get it. So far however, no atheist who mouths off about how weak Christian theism is has yet to be willing to get this book and go through it. If an atheist wants to be serious about religion, they need to be willing to read something like this.
The sad reality is that so many of these people think that they are giving brilliant arguments if no one answers them. What’s sad is that no one answers them not because they are unanswerable, but because it is a waste of time. You make a serious comment and you just get the laugh response and more obnoxiousness. For me, these people are like slinkies. It can be kind of fun at first, but after awhile, you realize it’s going to be the same thing over and over. They’re really boring and they just drain your time and don’t give any intellectual stimulation back.
Another trait of these people is an absolute hatred of Christianity. They cannot think of any good thing about Christianity. Christianity is the source of all evil in the world. It is responsible for the holding back of science and for all the suffering people on the LGBTQ+ group go through. For them, Christianity must die because it is Christianity.
Fortunately, not all atheists are like that. There are some atheists who are interested in honest dialogue. They disagree intellectually with Christianity, but they know that many Christians are fine and wonderful people, granting many are jerks, and that Christianity has brought some good to the world. They realize someone can be intelligent and rational and believe in God. They present actual arguments with actual premises and read what disagrees with them and are always learning.
If only we had more like these.
Something else good is that usually, these atheists are willing to shut down their more embarrassing brothers. I also want to point out that I try to do the same with Christians who give bad arguments. These atheists and I agree that there are bad arguments for their positions and there are bad arguments for Christianity and we don’t like any of them.
When you’re online or even in person, find out what atheist it is you have met. The nature of the objections is a big clue, but how they give the objections is as well. If someone said, “Well, I’m skeptical because it looks like a lot of scholars think Jesus never even existed” and you present the data otherwise and they respond positively with something at least like, “Wow. I hadn’t heard that before. Let me think about that and study it and get back to you.”
For the other kind, I tend to just ignore them for the most part. They are just big time drainers and impervious to any reason whatsoever. For the atheist types who oppose this, please do your part also with these people and help us shut them down all the more. They do your side more damage than they do mine after all. If you are one of the negative atheists I wrote about, really consider what you’re doing. If anything, you’re giving more evidence to Christian theism just by your obnoxiousness.
And for my Christians, do what you can to be avoid being their counterpart. Study and know your side well. Also, don’t be obnoxious in presenting the gospel.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)