When speaking in God’s behalf as Christians it’s best to remember God is only going to take someone as deeply into faith towards him as they are willing to go.1 Since God knows our ultimate choice he usually reveals himself to humans that eventually choose to follow him, and stick with him. That means as ambassadors for Christ we cannot convince another person of God’s existence. Only God can reveal himself to them.2
So, when I interact with atheists I don’t try to convince them of God’s existence. What I do is point out places in their arguments that either are not factual, not truthful, or ideas that are illogical conclusions based on the facts they present. I don’t expect to change their mind. Only God can, if he chooses to. Instead I attempt to help observers from falling prey to the atheists’ illogical conclusions, while leaving the atheists with ideas to consider.
Atheists have exactly zero evidence to prove God nonexistent. It’s impossible to prove that. But here are some arguments they’ll likely bring into a debate on the subject:
Some atheists will state the burden to proof lies with you, as in this statement below directed to me by the Awesome American Atheist:
“That isn’t how it works. The burden of proof is on those asserting a positive. Not those who don’t accept it. Plus, if you can make an assertion without evidence, I can dismiss it without”
As I stated above, I look for anything that is not factual or illogical to respond to. Both are present in those statements addressed to me. There is not a fact in the Awesome American Atheist’s response that proves the burden of proof lies with me to prove God exists. Also, I said nothing to him claiming I accept that burden or that I feel obligated for any reason to do so. His statement is illogical, especially since he acknowledges I believe God exists. It’s illogical because if God is real who decides who the burden of proof lies with to confirm his existence, this responder or God? So I answered him pointing that out.
And I added that Christians do have evidence of God’s existence through testimonials. While atheists have exactly zero proof to God’s non-existence. The fact the atheist does not believe in testimonial evidence to God’s existence does not mean that evidence does not exist. Bringing out those points, I focused the burden of proof back at him, to which he remained silent. He had no facts to back his belief, which I already knew before I began the dialogue. Below was my response:
“Your assertion only applies if you are the top man on the totem pole. Only then can you decide “how it works,” and who the burden of proof falls on. However, your response does suggests you cannot prove your point, as I stated, the nonexistence of God is impossible to prove. Now suppose you are wrong, and though you don’t believe us God does exist? In that case who decides who the burden of proof lies on, you or God? Testimonials provided by Christians today and in historical records include eyewitness evidence to the existence of godly miracles, including personal contacts by God. Through such testimonials evidence that God exists is present today. While atheists can provide nothing but conjecture to support their belief. They attempt to point to science. Yet science can only explain what God has created; it can never disprove the existence of a god. So atheists only have their belief about God that was formulated by two things: persuasions by others that are in their same position, and their own thoughts, desires, and fears.”
Another argument frequently put forth to refute God’s existence is the evolutionary theory. This is an easy one to prove illogical. What does the evolutionary theory have to do with the existence or nonexistence of God? Nothing. Those are two unrelated ideas. So I just point that out to an atheist debater, which leaves them nowhere to logically go with that idea. Often they will continue to assert that correlation between a nonexistent god and the evolutionary theory, but when I am publically debating I am offering ideas for the thinkers in the audience; and whether those observers process information at lightning speed or at a turtle’s pace, God has to reveal truth about himself to them. I only pass on parts of his message. So I don’t spend a lot of time on this point. If they raise it again, I ask them to explain how that proves God’s nonexistence.
Most Christians I’ve heard discuss this point attempt to refute the evolutionary theory by bringing up the Bible claim God created life forms according to their own kind. And some Christians add scientific evidence to back that claim. I see that as a mistake. First, the atheist doesn’t believe in the Bible. And second, most scientists support the evolutionary theory. Also, the Bible states God created life forms according to their kind; but the Bible doesn’t say how God did that, what process he used. So I see that argument as a dead-end. I just ask the atheist to prove the correlation between God’s nonexistence and the evolutionary theory. Logically it cannot be done. So they are left with an opinion. If the conversation lasts, I will probably tell them they hold nothing but an opinion that is not backed by evidence, because those claims have no correlation.
Another argument atheists present is the extreme suffering in the world. Some ex-Christians develop a hatred for God and the Bible while they claim God does not exist. Some of these ex-Christians bring up the killing done at the command of the biblical god in the Old Testament, as the reason they hate God. I’ll bring out, since they believe in God’s nonexistence, who should they hold responsible for all that killing, God or people? That’s similar to the idea an actor playing a student offered his teacher, in the movie, God’s Not Dead. His argument was, “How can you hate a God that doesn’t exist?”
I’m sharing some of the main arguments for atheism I’ve personally encountered and debated. I’ll leave you with this last argument. The atheist might say something similar to this: “How about the crazy man in (list any place), that claims to be Jesus Christ?” I remind the atheist that his world holds many people who claim to have personally experienced God in much higher esteem than his world holds him. Let’s name one of those people. How about Jesus Christ? Jesus is the most prominent character in the most widely published book in the history of the atheist’s world. And Jesus is a character whose existence is not refuted. How does the atheist’s world characterize Christ’s mark on humanity in comparison to that atheist’s mark on humanity? If he wants to imply we are all crazy, without directly saying that, I let him know that his world holds many of us in higher esteem than it does him. Fact or fiction? Fact.
#1 Isaiah 6:8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
“Whom shall I send?
Who will go for Us?”
#2 1Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.