Conversation with an Atheist

I am super psyched about my new book that was just published!!  Therefore, I wanted to share a chapter with you free of charge.  : )  The section of Chapter 5 will give you a feel for my book and how to talk to skeptics and non-believers, and those who have questions about God.  I hope it inspires you!  In this chapter, I speak with a very aggressive atheist about the existence of Jesus, miracles, and other topics.

PASSIONATE ATHEIST: Well Bryan, you mentioned miracles. I do not believe in miracles.  [In an exaggerated mocking tone] “Oh, my arm hurts from a soccer game, but then I prayed and now it feels better.”  That’s not miraculous!  Heck, we don’t even know that Jesus really existed much less believing in some sort of secret magic!

ME:  How could you not believe Jesus existed?  Everyone believes that. It’s a historical fact. Only people on the extreme fringe don’t accept this fact.

Him:  Is there any proof for Jesus outside of the Bible?  Any whatsoever?

Me:  Absolutely!  Virtually every encyclopedia, history book, and historian in existence are all in agreement that Jesus existed. But if you are talking about source material from the time of the Bible, that is available too.  There were Roman and Jewish historians in the first century who wrote about Jesus and confirm Biblical details.  Josephus, for example, was a Jewish historian who wrote about Jesus, and Tacitus was a Roman historian who did too.  Pliny the Younger was an author, a lawyer, and a magistrate in the Roman Empire who also mentions Jesus.  Even the Jewish Talmud talks about the existence of Jesus, His disciples, and how the disciples worked miracles in His name, etc.

Him:  Well OK, fine.  But, even if there was evidence for Jesus, that’s a far cry from being able to work miracles.  His disciples probably just made that up.  Miracles don’t happen.  They can’t happen!

Me:  Yes, they certainly do happen even today.

Him:  [Getting passionate] No, they don’t!  It’s impossible for miracles to occur. There is a natural explanation for everything.  People just make up miracles because they need to believe in some superior force for which they have no proof.

Me:  Actually, there is a lot of proof.  And, how do you know for certain that miracles cannot happen and are not possible, even in rare circumstances?  You are coming to the table with pre-formed conclusions and without looking at the evidence.  That is not very scientific you know.

Him:  I know the evidence!  People claim that everything is a miracle.  [In a mocking tone again] “My Grandmother did not die in a car crash, it’s a miracle.” Or, “I fell off my bike and nothing happened, it’s a miracle.”

Me: Yes, that’s partly true. Some people do throw the word miracle around, but those aren’t true miracles or the proper definitions of one. They’re just nice sayings.  A real miracle is the suspension of the laws of nature.  Take for example; a blind person being prayed over who suddenly receives his sight back at the name of Jesus. This is far more miraculous; wouldn’t you agree?  Or, take a person who has an incurable disease which immediately vanishes when they are prayed over in the name of Jesus.  These are miraculous in nature.

Him:  These things don’t actually happen though.

Me:  They totally do!  You just choose not to believe them.

Him:  Even if they did, there could be natural explanations for them, and those are far more likely.

Me:  Certainly.  It is possible there could be some natural explanation, and the Catholic Church is open to that, but…

Him:  So why do you believe that miracles are definitely God then?

Me:  There are other proofs for God I haven’t mentioned yet that prove his existence much more solidly.  Miracles are a bit different though.  So, I’m not saying the evidence of miracles is 100% conclusive like 2+2=4.  What I’m saying is that God seems to be the best explanation of these occurrences.  You don’t have mass amounts of atheists being healed from some of the most incurable diseases known to mankind.  Yet, isn’t it odd that people are continually healed in the name of Jesus when Christians pray over them. People are even healed from things like tuberculosis or from being paralyzed.  Those aren’t small.

Girl #3: [Who has been listening to the whole conversation] There is obviously a God, so you should just believe.

Him:  [He instantly flashes to anger – his face almost red.] You want me to believe blindly like all you other lemmings?  [To the girl] OK, go ahead!  Give me some proof that God exists.

Me:  [Speaking very calmly to him so as to bring him back to a rational discussion] Can we just ignore that and get back to what we were discussing?

Him:  OK.  Here’s my problem.  I go by science.  Science is fact.  If science can’t prove miracles or demonstrate their reality, then I’m not going to believe them.

Me:  You’ll probably be surprised to learn that science has verified many miraculous occurrences even after extensive and rigorous testing. There are many examples, but here is just one: the miracle of the two atomic bombs in Japan.

During World War II, two atomic bombs were dropped on two different cities in Japan – Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  An atomic bomb, as you may know, is well over 30,000 degrees (Fahrenheit) incinerating and disintegrating everything in its path. Yet, at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two houses belonging to Catholic priests still stand today.  Both houses were in very close proximity to the blast (about 8 blocks away, I think). Yet, their houses are still intact, and the priests are still alive without any major harm done to them.

Every other house and building in all directions were completely leveled in less than a second.   Even people 100 times the distance of the bomb died from radiation, and yet, the Catholic priests at both locations were completely and amazingly untouched by radiation and their houses intact.

Him:  I don’t believe that for a second.

Me:  Come on, you’re smart!  Do some research.  Look it up for yourself.  If you don’t believe, it’s because you’re disbelieving blindly, which is ironically what you accuse religious believers of doing.

The fact is that a team of 200 scientists did experiments and tests on these priests for years and found absolutely nothing wrong with them.  Scientists have documented this, and since you said you believe things that science confirms, you should be more than inclined to believe this.  [At this point, the atheist goes completely quiet and begins to think deeply about it all. I give him some time and then continue.  Thinking back, I probably should have given him more time until he broke the silence.  Live and learn.]

That is just one example. You could also investigate the miracles at Lourdes, in France.  There have been thousands and thousands of people healed from many different ailments including some of the most incurable diseases known to mankind.

Him:  [Suddenly agitated a bit] No, no, no, no…

Me:  Hold on, can I finish please?

Him:  Sure, sorry.

Me: It’s well documented that two women came to visit Lourdes on the same day.  They were both blind.  One of the blind women was born with no pupils in her eyes.  Ironically, they were both healed.  Here’s the odd thing: the woman who had no pupils still did not have any even after she was healed.  Yet, she could see perfectly.  That really happened, and that’s just one example of many.

In fact, since you love science, you should know that sixty-seven of these miracles at Lourdes have been scientifically verified, meaning they have been studied and substantiated by scientists, some of whom were not even Christian. So, science does help verify the authenticity of some miracles.

Him:  I don’t believe that.  You have no proof.  Did she even see a doctor?

Me:  What do you think?  Of course she saw a doctor!  Her doctor was flabbergasted and had no words, no explanation of how she could see.  Yet, she can.

Him:  I don’t believe that.  Her doctor could be in on the whole thing.

Me:  Oh, come on now! Be honest.  Even if he was somehow in on it, Lourdes has a whole panel of doctors and physicians who check these people out.  It’s not like some religions that just claim miracles happen but without any witnesses.  In the Catholic faith, the Church does not hesitate to bring other people in to have the phenomena verified (or rejected).  Again, some of these people are not even believers and therefore have no bias.

Him:  They could all be in on it, how do we know?

Me:  OK!  I’m the one here giving actual evidence, and all you’re doing is deflecting the evidence with baseless conspiracy theories and blind skepticism.  You made it clear that you liked science and that you “only go by science.”   Yet, you won’t even believe science when it’s inconvenient for you to do so.  That’s dishonest.  So, tell me, what kind of a miracle would you need to see in order to believe it’s miraculous?…….

— This was a sample from my book, and I hope you enjoyed it thoroughly.  If you found it helpful and want to learn more, check out my new book.  You will love it and will not be disappointed!  Thanks for reading!

Click on the following link to purchase a copy of this inspirational and informative book at Amazon: Why Do you Believe In God?

Or visit my website page:

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About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a thirty-eight year old speaker and retreat leader. He has spoken to adults and teens for the last fifteen years on a wide variety of topics; ranging from catechetics and faith formation, to morality, spirituality, and apologetics. He has spoken at youth and adult retreats, workshops, seminars, Catholic schools, parish missions, local, regional and national conferences. He has spoken in front of crowds ranging from thirty to three-thousand and has been aired on both TV and radio in different states. Bryan also runs the R.O.C.K. (Revival Of Catholic Kids) Ministry Team that puts on all-day retreats for teens. He is going for his Masters in theology and working on writing numerous books and tracts.
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