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How to be a witness to someone who denies a higher power. My experience :)
Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:53 PM
First off, you need to understand the difference between an atheist and an agnostic.
In my experience:
An Atheist is someone who denies the notion or possibility of any supreme being or higher power. They believe that the universe and all of its inhabitants are here for no purpose other then to live and die, and that we are here by a mere chance or even (as I have heard some refer to our exsistance) an accident. Most that I have met tend to be very science minded. They do not believe in Heaven or Hell, angels or demons, good or evil forces. They believe that mans conscious guides his actions and that you are a product of your own will, desires and actions. That man chooses his individual destiny on earth and that there is nothing beyond this life.
An Agnostic is someone who is, to some degree, open to the possibility that there may be a higher power or multiple higher powers, but they tend to believe that the possible god or gods plays no role in there life, does not have any effect in there life, is not active on earth, and while he may out there, he has no interactions with creation. He just is, and we just are. Majority are like atheists in that they believe that the universe and all of its inhabitants are here for no purpose other then to live and die, and that we are here by a mere chance or even (as I have heard some refer to our exsistance) an accident. While I have met a very few that believe in Heaven and Hell, most do not. Those that do, believe that we choose our fate by our actions. Man is still the supreme authority and right and wrong is still judged in the eyes of the beholder.
There are people who say they are agnostic theists who recognize that the universe points to intelligent design, and tend to believe in a higher power or supernatural and unexplainable force that got creation started, but most still lean toward some type of progressive evolution started by a god or by gods who have no baring on life today.
There are other terms people will use and there beliefs get more complicated, but these are the basics. The degree of there aggressiveness or argument toward this subject with both agnostics and atheists tends to vary from person to person, altho the more educated they are, the more aggressive they tend to be in my personal experience.
Now for the witnessing:
I tend to not start the conversation unless some type of anti-God/anti-religion remark is made; because while others have a god or scripture to refer to, someone who does not believe in God does not have that to draw on. This opens up the door by allowing me to say something along the lines of "I believe in God, *very breifly states beliefs in reguards to the comment made.* If you dont mind me asking, why do you not believe in God/a God?"
This remark is usually met in one of two ways:
Some meet it with a brief "I don't want to discuss this now/at all." and a subject change or a complete avoidance of you. If this happens, while you still need to bring up Jesus in there presence, answer any questions the person has, and provide scripture when a discussion does come about; for the moment the subject needs to be left alone. The Lord doesnt want us to force our beliefs on anyone, because that only shuts people down to the gospel; with them seeing it as a hypocritical and pushy religion. Instead, flow with the subject change and wait for a time when they bring it up. If they bring up a discussion or arguement, they cant very well say that they dont want to discuss it.
That being said, MOST will state some reason or reasons for not believing in God. There are 2 categories of people with such reasons.
The first group has little or no basis to support there unbelief such as "I dont believe that a God who loves me could let my *loved person or pet* die." to "I can't make myself believe in something that I can't see." to "If God exsisted my life would be better." These and other types of remarks like this can be easily disputed with scripture about how God has a plan, God loves us but allows us to face things so that we can come to know him, and God won't be active in your life if you do not seek him. They can also be refuted wtih evidence to support God in nature, the laws of the universe, and the fact that science cannot explain several things that the Bible can. I will let you find these thru personal research and Bible study.
The second group tends to be the group that has some type of something (usually pretty solid) that they stake there unbelief on. It tends to be something having to do with science and there are numerous remarks that I have heard. You will need very SOLID physical, reputable, scientific evidence that backs up BIBLE points to refute these types of statements.
Also, do not allow people to use scripture out of context. "Jesus wept" can be taken many ways and there can be many speculations as to why Jesus wept until you take the verse in context. ALWAYS make sure that the scripture is used in context to the surrounding verses. Be careful not to make the mistake of taking one verse to witness. Instead, find several verses that back up your point. (i.e dont just use Genesis 1:1, use the first chapter of Genesis or the first 10 verses.)
Expect creation, the great flood, the inerrancy of the Bible, different denominations, and free will to be brought under fire. There are several more in depth topics that are brought up, but in my personal experience, these are the most common and almost always get brought up at some time in the conversation. Be ready to prove your point based on personal prayer, Bible study, and physical evidence that undoubtedly supports your scriptural evidence. Sometimes physical evidence is not available, because the Christian faith is not always based on particular evidence on a subject, but simply taking God at his word based on the evidence we have for other subjects. Be ready to explain that.
In the event that you do not know the answer to a question, (and that time will come for anyone who tries to witness to someone), explain that God does not provide us all the answers, for there are some things that we as humans are not able to comprehend. Explain that if the person needs answers to a question to believe in God, they may need to talk to a preacher or person in church authority that is more knowledgable in the Bible. Explain that God leaves some thing open for speculation, such as why do babies die. (Some say God is sparing them, others say God is trying to draw others to him, others say God simply has an unforseeable plan. The Bible can back all 3 claims and which one you choose is based on personal belief.) Explain that they may need to just step out on faith and accept that we cannot know it all, but God will reveal more than enough if we seek him.
Remember that not everyone will come to know Christ the first time someone witnesses to them. Don't give up tho. Most don't because adopting such a radically different belief system is not something that usually comes at the drop of a hat. But you did plant a seed because God says in the Bible that "his word will never go out void." In other words, every time you talk about God, something about God sticks in someones mind, whether it be the person you are directly speaking to, or a by-stander that overhears something. Every time you speak his name something happens to someone. You may never see that person come to Christ, even if they do. Let the Holy Ghost guide you in who you speak to. Some battles are not for your personal fighting, God will deal with them thru someone else or in another way. But continue to pray, seek God on there behalf, and be a witness when you can. Sometimes it isnt the lecture that draws a person to Christ, but just living by example (aka practice what you preach) and letting others see you walk by faith. Always preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words. Your life is a testimony, it can sometimes plant a seed deeper, water a seed more, and reap the harvest faster then a lecture for God.
I'm sorry this was so long, but I tried to cover everything. Feel free to add scripture, points, or ask questions. I hope this can answer someones questions.
Yours in Christ
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Posted 16 September 2011 - 08:36 PM
I've learned tons from watching his debates, podcasts, etc.
This is the reason I was pushing for an Apologetics section in the Suggestion Box. Usually when you remove all the intellectual obstacles someone has to God, their real reasons for not believing come out. And its usually something like "God can't exist with all this evil in the world."
1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Posted 26 September 2011 - 06:52 PM
:taz:ME TAZMANIAN DEVIL:taz:
parents:Christopherjr & Maia
grand parents: ran1078 & HaleyGirl16
aunts: Anabeth, trueimage15, zia, herbiefullyloaded
Phillippians 4:13- "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengtheneth me."
King James Version
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