My neighbor is sweet, outgoing, and very friendly. She is educated in ecology. She is also a professed atheist. We have discussed her unbelief in the past. Could you give me some thought-provoking questions to ask, and some guidance on what to say and what not to say to her? In these last days I am concerned about her unbelief and that she may never come to faith. I pray for her multiple times a day, and long to get her to think about her eternity. Any suggestions will be so very much appreciated. Thank you in advance, for any help you can offer.
It is good that you are willing to engage your friend on this critical question, @LvrofGod - and that she sounds willing to listen to you.
There are so many different ways to present the reality of God to someone - it would help to know what she bases her atheism on rather than throwing evidences at her at random without knowing how relevant they are to her.
Did she once believe in God, but then turn from Him after a personal tragedy? Was she raised by atheists to begin with and never been exposed to the truth about God? Or persuaded by the one-sided arguments of atheistic evolution? Is it the integrity of the Bible she mistrusts?
Perhaps if you tried discussing with her what God means in your life, you might draw her personal stumbling block against Him out into the open. Then we would have something specific to address.
May God give you guidance as you talk with your friend!
The most important aspect of reaching out to your friend, you are already doing - and that is you are praying for her. Ultimately it is the Lord himself who brings people to himself and we are only co-workers in this aspect.
Please continue to be a friend to her, and engage in conversations without any ‘agenda’, remembering that in the Lord’s timing she will come to Him. Here are some questions that might provoke a conversation which can cause her to start thinking. These are based on common questions that people in all cultures ask and pertain to the questions of morality, destiny, meaning and origin.
- Where do you think we are all going ultimately? Is death the end of everything? (Destiny)
- How do we make decisions on what is right or wrong? (Morality) How do we decide what is fair and just?
- Where do you thing we came from, all of life came from? (Origin)
- Is there any purpose to life ultimately or is life completely meaningless? (Meaning / purpose)
Besides these, I would also add this question -
5. Who am I? What do you think you and I are, what gives us worth - are we just molecules randomly existing or are we just animals or are we something more that this?
These are questions which are best asked as part of a continuing conversation, after much prayer. The Holy Spirit is the best guide in this aspect.
You might be familiar with these questions if you are familiar with Ravi Zacharias’ talks. I would also suggest that you do the core module of RZIM, which will help you understand these questions and how to handle these.
There are also many videos online on these questions if you wish to enquire further.
I once had a conversation with an acquaintance of mine who was very committed to ecology and conservation like your friend, and the issue of justice and how we determine what is just and fair was very important to her.
As a recent atheist, I can say that the most attractive thing to most modern atheists is Truth. We all basically want to believe only what is true.
All the moral arguments didn’t matter to me if what they were speaking from were untrue. Why listen to a Christian if their beliefs are untrue. Sure, we all know that lying, stealing & murder are wrong, but modern science as blinded us to addressing those questions first.
Jesus met me where I lived, which was in my intellect. We all know intrinsically that there is right and wrong but until the issue of Truth is first addressed, those issues to the atheist are secondary. They believe what they believe based on what they believe the evidence shows, which is an issue of truth not morality.
Lee Stroebel (Case for Christ) and J Warner Wallace (Cold Case Christianity) also demonstrate in their own testimonies that addressing Truth is paramount. The issue of Truth must be addressed first with many scientific atheists as is your ecology-loving neighbor. We all think that we are right in our own minds. Until we are shown that we are not by Truth, we won’t be open to change our minds.