|   Log In

Christian Life

Sharing the Gospel: Answering Questions from Atheists

Hi girls! In this final article in our “Sharing the Gospel” series, I’m going to address how to answer four common questions atheists ask about Christianity.

Debating an atheist is probably one of the hardest things a Christian can attempt. Some atheists can be condescending in their approach to Christians…their arguments can display an argumentative or mocking tone, and this can cause Christians to respond in unloving ways.

Understand that allowing an atheist to anger you and cause you to respond in anger will end the conversation because you’ve responded in an “un-Jesus-like” manner. For some atheists, provoking a Christian into a hypocritical (un-Jesus-like) response constitutes a “win.” If you’re going to talk about God, atheists expect you to live what you talk about. In short, atheists expect us to act like Jesus when we interact with them and with others.

Many atheists have read the Bible, and some have read more of the Bible than many Christians! Don’t assume you know the Bible better than they do. Now, on to the questions!

1. If God created everything, who created God?

No one. We can’t place God on the same level as humanity. God exists outside of time and space—that’s a fundamental belief of every Christian denomination. God exists in eternity, not in our historical timeline. Because He exists outside time and space as we know them, God has no need to have been “created,” and He wasn’t.

2. Doesn’t the doctrine of original sin (Adam, Eve and the tree of knowledge) show that Christians think knowledge is bad? Why would God want His people to be stupid?

Imagine a life where all you had ever known was goodness and innocence. God commanded Adam and Eve to learn everything about the world He’d given them. The command not to eat that specific fruit was God trying to protect their innocence while also giving them freedom to choose.

3. “Thou shall not kill”—does God violate His own commandment?

This translation is from the KJV. The Bible says that God ordered the killing of thousands of people by destroying various cities or helping Israel defeat/conquer other people; we can’t dispute that. Many modern translations use “murder” in place of “kill” because that is closer to the intent of the Hebrew word ratsach (raw-tsakh). Murder is killing without cause (not talking about motive). If you killed someone who was attacking you, then you’ve killed with cause. If you kill someone because you’re jealous of them, that’s killing without cause, or murder.

4. If God is omnipotent (all-powerful), why doesn’t He just eliminate all evil and suffering?

If God were to do this (and yes, He could), He would first have to take away our free will. You can’t have free will and have someone force their will upon you at the same time.

Questions you can ask your atheist friends:

  • Are you 100 percent certain that there’s no God? If not, are you willing to look at the evidence objectively?
  • Would you agree that just because we can’t see something with our eyes (gravity, magnetism, etc.) doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist?
  • How can we know right from wrong unless there’s a moral law? Doesn’t every law need a lawgiver?

Girls, if you have other questions, you can always leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to help you with an answer!

Has this helped you feel more confident about sharing the Gospel with your atheist friends?

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. —2 Timothy 4:2

More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

Sunday School: Answering Questions from Agnostics
Bible Study: How Do YOU Recognize Jesus?
Sunday School: “How Do I Start a Conversation About God?”

Image: iStockphoto | ThinkStock

POST A COMMENT

You must be logged in to post a comment.

16 Comments

  1. rainbowuni

    Posted by rainbowuni on July 30, 2015 at 19:37

    I know this article is old, but I just found it and want to respond…
    So, I’m an atheist, and I feel like I could answer these questions, and perhaps provide a few of my own.

    1. Are you 100 percent certain that there’s no God? If not, are you willing to look at the evidence objectively?
    Am I 100% that no gods exist? No. I can be pretty sure that the Christian God does not exist, simply because of his supposed nature that appears to be very contradictory, but I can’t be certain that no god exists at all. Am I willing to look at the evidence objectively? Of course! But so far, I haven’t seen any such evidence for a god at all, let alone the Christian one. If you have some, I’d love to see it.

    2. Would you agree that just because we can’t see something with our eyes (gravity, magnetism, etc.) doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist?
    Of course. Plenty of things exist that we can’t see ourselves. Atoms exist. Cells exist. The Eiffel Tower exists. I’ve never seen any of these things with my own eyes, but I’m pretty sure they all exist. Gravity, magnetism, electricity, etc. also exist, and I actually have seen them in effect. Just like air: you can’t see it directly, but you can measure it, and it is consistently proven to exist.

    3. How can we know right from wrong unless there’s a moral law? Doesn’t every law need a lawgiver?
    How can we be sure morality exists at all? I’m not saying I believe there is no morality (because I don’t), but I’d like to know how one knows it exists at all—if what you’re saying is that morality absolutely exists, therefore my specific definition of a god exists because that’s the only place morality can come from. That said, no—moral laws don’t need a lawgiver. Do you believe murder would be okay if it didn’t say it was wrong in the Bible? Or is there something within you that says “hey, I wouldn’t want to be killed, therefore maybe I shouldn’t kill other people. It wouldn’t be fair to them if I did.”
    Human laws, “wear a seatbelt,” “don’t take your clothes off in public,” etc., need a lawgiver, so that might be where this confusion comes from.

    Now, a few (more) of my own questions:
    -Where is the evidence that any god exists, let alone your specific definition of one?
    –If there is no (or insufficient) evidence, you must rely on faith, correct? When is faith ever a good method of determining what is true?
    –If there is sufficient evidence, faith is not necessary, correct? What’s evidently true should be easy to believe, and easy to convince anyone else (who is reasonable, anyway) of as well, correct?
    -(In response to the first answer) If you apply this reasoning to God, you can’t ask an atheist where the universe came from—because the universe *is* space and time, therefore exists outside of space and time, correct?
    -(In response to the second answer) How could Adam and Eve have known to listen to God (who is “good”) and that the serpent was “evil,” without the knowledge of good and evil?
    -(In response to the third answer) Is making fun of a man for being bald a good reason to kill someone—even if that someone is a child? Is worshipping the wrong god sufficient reason to kill a person? Is not worshipping any god a reason to kill a person? What about for a relative’s wrongdoing—is that a good enough reason to kill a person? To me, none of these are grounds for killing anyone, but according to the Bible, God has done all of them (and it’s obviously just fine because he’s God and he can’t do wrong, right?).
    -(In response to the fourth answer) Is there free will in Heaven? If there is, but Heaven is good, this answer is false. If there’s not, but Heaven is still desirable, why is the lack of free will bad/undesirable?

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by KaylaHansa on November 4, 2013 at 19:02

    Mark 13:11
    But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

    The most important thing is that you fully trust God to speak through you through the Holy Spirit. Don’t depend on your knowledge or skills, depend of God’s help with faith.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by kleeschr on November 4, 2013 at 19:00

    Do you think you could write an article on sin and the 10 commandments? I’ve always been with a Christian family but I’m not sure I’ve ever truly believed until recently. At church they always speak of repenting for my sins, but I’m not exactly sure what my sins are! I’ve started studying the bible and I’m just interested in a guideline on sinning if that’s possible!

    • Deeblves3

      Posted by Deeblves3 on November 6, 2013 at 07:47

      I don’t think this is a bad idea at all! I’d recommend to read the bible a bit everyday. It shares a lot on what people did wrong and how God responds to it and it helps us discern what sin is and what having righteousness means. I had similar thoughts about this too.I hope this helps!

  4. X_Breaking_Beautifully_X

    Posted by X_Breaking_Beautifully_X on November 4, 2013 at 15:52

    Excellent article! So insightful. I love it!
    It made me think of the new movie coming out in Spring 2014, “God’s Not Dead,” about a Christian college student defending his faith. I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am about it. It looks incredible!

  5. peyto

    Posted by peyto on November 4, 2013 at 08:27

    Could I write these down and use these?

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by xLainx on November 3, 2013 at 18:39

    Another atheist here. Regarding the morality question – if god gives morals, doesn’t that mean they’re not intrinsic? If he said standing on your head was a mortal sin, would that make it so automatically? Or do they come from somewhere outside of god, thus making god unnecessary for moral judgements?

    Just a thought, trying to stimulate class discussion.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by abbysjin11 on November 4, 2013 at 15:34

      @Ducttaper4JC, you did a great job in explaining. I have a similar answer.
      God is a perfect Being. He is sinless. We were made in His image, and even though we sin, the real standards, not the human ones we set, still exist, just like they always have alongside Christ. Since we are made in God’s image, those standards are set for us too. But we have free will. God isn’t going to force us to anything.

    • Ducttaper4JC

      Posted by Ducttaper4JC on November 4, 2013 at 15:16

      Here’s my thoughts on the morality question. God didn’t just give morals at random, they’re based on his character. Don’t lie, because God is truth, love because God is love, etc. The only way God would say standing on your head was a mortal sin, was if it went against his character somehow. According to the Christian view of history, we were then created in the image of God. Therefore, our internal morality mirrors that of God’s, because we were created in his image, and the morals are based on his character.

  7. violinlover

    Posted by violinlover on November 3, 2013 at 17:42

    Love this article! It shows me better ways to anwser people. I get sad/mad when I hear them say all kinds of stuff. Because I really want to show them the truth, and they just won’t wait for a moment and try and think the way we do.. It bugs me that they’re constantly ignoring the evidence we have, and have the “my way or the highway” attitude.

  8. applebypie123

    Posted by applebypie123 on November 3, 2013 at 16:03

    I love this! I can see how the logic would be very helpful in debates

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by HaileyK on November 3, 2013 at 15:48

    As an atheist girl who happens to visit this website from time to time, I’d like to answer the questions this article asks at the end. Not trying to be accusatory or condescending. 🙂

    1) No, I’m not 100% certain there’s no God. No one can claim to know for sure something isn’t real unless they are somehow omniscient. However, I prefer to look at the evidence and decide the likelihood of God being real. That likelihood is pretty low, and the chance that it is the Christian God is even lower. And yes, I’m willing to look at the evidence objectively. I was a Christian who was very much into theology, and evidence is what eventually led me to choose not to believe what I had previously defended so often.
    2) I agree that just because something isn’t seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real. However, it does mean we need an overwhelming amount of evidence in its favor to be accepted. Things like gravity have been proven beyond a doubt. (Interestingly though, we still don’t understand why it exists or how it works. Christians claim to know an awful lot about God.)

    3) Even the Bible states that we have an innate moral code. Forgive me but I’ve forgotten which verse (I know it’s in a letter of Paul), but it says that people who have done the works of the law instinctively without reading the law will not be judged. The implication is that most people naturally do good to others, and so you don’t actually need the law to be moral.
    Think about it practically as well: the law doesn’t actually stop people from committing crimes. Evil people will do that no matter what. The law is there to protect the innocent by locking criminals up so they can’t hurt people again. If you took away the law, there might be more crimes, but there wouldn’t be any more criminals. Good people are good naturally. We all make mistakes, but we usually know to be kind to each other. This idea is in Aristotle’s Rhetorics as well: people have an instinctive moral code, which is why basic morals vary so little from culture to culture. If Christians didn’t have the Law, I doubt most of them would go kill or steal or rape. Sane people know right from wrong.
    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful article! 🙂

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Hailey K on December 6, 2013 at 07:52

      What led you to stop being a Christian? And really, there IS an overwhelming amount of evidence proving God’s existence!! Just look at nature, the beauty and design!! Or look at our brains!!!! How our brains have enough knowledge to fill several TONS of books!! That doesn’t happen by accident. It requires intelligence from a Higher Being than ourselves. Thanks for your question!!

    • Posted by JennArman on November 3, 2013 at 21:19

      HaileyK – Thanks for your very thoughtful response! It’s so cool to hear an atheist perspective on this. You’re semi-right with your answer to #3, Romans 2 does say that the Gentiles instinctively follow the law even though it wasn’t given directly to them. One of the points however, that Paul is trying to make in that passage is that both Jew and Gentile were created by God, therefore, the Gentiles have God’s law written within their hearts even though Moses didn’t deliver to them but to the Jews.

      I’ve read some Aristotle (as well as some of Plato and Socrates work). I enjoy philosophy. I agree most sane people know right from wrong but life isn’t only about right or wrong is it? Isn’t life about more than that? Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful and engaged response. I’m a big fan of thoughtful and respectful discussion so thank you so much 🙂

  10. abbeyg

    Posted by abbeyg on November 3, 2013 at 14:57

    This article reminds me of a movie that is coming soon called “God’s Not Dead.” It is about a college student who is a christian, and proves to his professor who is an atheist that God is real. I can’t wait to see it.

  11. Posted by Nicole on November 3, 2013 at 14:17

    This is excellent Jenn, great job! I love it. 🙂