The difference between an atheist and an agnostic is subtle and sometimes difficult for Christians to understand. Agnostics believe that any ultimate reality (like God) is unknown and unknowable. This means that agnostics believe that we can’t know for certain whether or not God exists, and even if He does exist, we can’t know Him personally. Agnostics are unwilling to commit to an opinion about God.
Agnostics, however, are often more open than atheists to discussions about Christian beliefs. The foundation of an agnostic life is twofold: “In case there is a God, I’m going to try and be a good person, but I’m still going to live life the way I want to because if God doesn’t exist, I don’t want to miss anything.” Agnosticism has always seemed to me like a confusing belief to hold.
It’s also the belief my youngest sister holds.
Agnostics like to ask questions. They’re philosophical in their beliefs, so be prepared to answer many questions. Here are some common agnostic questions…and how you can answer them when you’re sharing the Gospel!
1. How can you know for sure that God really exists?
Just look at the universe. Girls, did you know that if the universe were one part in 1059 larger, the universe would have collapsed in on itself before life ever began (godandscience.org)? How about the fact that on this single planet, there’s the right balance of food, air, water, etc., for every species? That’s not the Bible talking, that’s science!
2. Why would a loving God send people to Hell?
First, God doesn’t “send people to Hell.” God gives us the freedom to choose, and some people would rather choose Hell than submit to God’s sovereign authority. Next, does love mean that you let those you love do whatever they want? Do your parents do that? Of course not! Love gives boundaries. Love without boundaries produces spoiled, selfish people incapable of loving others.
3. If God created everything, doesn’t that mean that He also created evil?
The Bible contrasts opposites a lot to prove certain points; check out Isaiah 45:7. In the KJV, the word usually translated as “calamity” or “woe” is translated as “evil.” God is not the author of evil, but He does reward and punish people (punishment is not necessarily evil) and He will bring judgment and calamity in the end. God tried to keep evil out of the world by telling Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
4. If Christianity is supposed to be about God’s love, why are Christians so intolerant?
Intolerant means being “unable or unwilling to endure” or “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters” (merriam-webster.com). Many claim that Christians are intolerant and should keep their beliefs to themselves, but that’s the exact definition of intolerance! Tolerance isn’t about accepting everyone’s beliefs; it’s about being willing to listen to the beliefs of others. Tolerance doesn’t mean accepting everyone’s beliefs as equally true.
And here are three questions you can ask your agnostic friends!
- Do you believe that we can’t know anything for sure, or do you believe that we could know for sure if we had enough evidence?
- If you believe that we can’t know anything for sure, then how can you be sure that we can’t know anything for sure?
- Is it possible that we could know for sure that God exists if we had enough evidence?
Has this helped you feel more confident about sharing the Gospel with your agnostic friends?
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. —1 Peter 3:15
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