What NOT to Say to an Atheist

Does God Really ExistDo you ever have a hard time explaining your faith?  Feel like you just never have the right words to say?  Do you feel inadequate, like what you say is never good enough?  Me too!  At least, that is how I used to be, and it would frustrate me to no end.

In my old days as I was learning to explain my Catholic beliefs, I had atheists who made me laugh because their arguments were so ridiculous, and I’ve had atheists who have made me cry because I didn’t know how to respond.  I have been the one stumped and the one on top.  However,  but as I was starting out, it was usually the one who didn’t have the right answers.  It went something like this.

A Mock Conversation Between a Struggling Christian and an Atheist

Atheist:  Prove to me God exists!

Christian:  Well, we are here on earth aren’t we?  So, there must be a God.  I mean, how else could we have got here?

Atheist:  Well, let’s see.  just off the top of my head:  The Big Bang, the God Particle, String theory, a bouncing Universe, or the multi-verse.  There are many possibilities of how we could exist and all without your imaginary God.

Christian:  I don’t really know about any of those except the Big Bang but there must be a God.

Atheist:  That is because you follow faith and your holy books while I follow science which offers actual facts.  Your faith tells you God made the world in 7 days while science tells us it was made over 13.7 billion years through the Big Bang.

Christian:  Well, umm… Christians except the Big Bang too.  But God made it.  Yeah. So,  where did the Big Bang come from?

Atheist:  Where did your God come from?  Everyone down through the ages has believed in different gods.  I mean, we used to think Zeus was real, but the more we discover about science and how things work, the easier it is to prove that no God is real or possible.

Christian: ……………

What NOT to say to an Atheist

People who attack our faith can often be aggressive and accusatory.  This even happens within our families and circles of friends.  We feel uncomfortable and don’t always know what to say.  We wish we had better answers.  So, sometimes we just throw anything out there the best we can.  So, while we all do our best do explain our faith, and it’s always good to try, there are certain things that you just never want to say to an atheist.  It will turn them off, reduce your credibility, or just make you look bad.  Here are a few:

  • “It’s in the Bible.” (Atheists don’t accept the Bible, so who cares.  Besides, they may retort, “How do you know that the Bible is true?  It’s been changed and watered down countless times.” — Enter another topic to deal with).
  • “Sometimes you just have to believe.”  (What that really means is I can’t explain my beliefs to you and have no good answers left.  Or… I’m impatient and won’t wait until you fully understand it).
  • “It has to be God, what else would it be?”  (It might be better to say: “I’m curious, how do you think we got here, and where do you think everything came from in the first place if not God?” – This will help you understand where they are coming from and address their concerns from there.)
  • “There is no proof for God.  I admit it.  It’s just something you have to believe.”  (There is also no proof for a Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, Zeus or Aphrodite.  Why don’t we believe in any of those too?  If there is no proof for something, including God, you should not accept it.  Plain and simple.  Blindly believing something without any evidence at all isn’t really faith).

Thankfully, there is good evidence for the existence of God.  We don’t just have to blindly believe!  Here is a better question to ask non-believers based off the conversation above. For example; one might ask:

Christian:  Well, who invented the theory of the Big Bang?

Atheist:  Oh, I’m not really sure, actually.  [Side Note: I’ve never had any atheist or skeptic know the answer to this question.  Maybe once].

Christian.  It was a Catholic priest.  His name was Father George Lamaitre.  He was a Belgian physicist, and he was the first one to outline the theory of the Big Bang.  He didn’t see a contradiction between science and religion and neither did any of the countless religious scientists like him down through the ages.  The Big Bang does not disprove God.

Atheist:  Oh, I didn’t know it was a Catholic priest.  That is interesting.

Notice the difference in the conversation?  One little question turned the entire conversation.  That is what learning and equipping ourselves with the truth will allow us to do, and my new book: Why Do You Believe in God? teaches you to do exactly that.  It is filled with real life conversations that I’ve had with Atheists and skeptics.  It gives their reasons and objections for not believing and then shows you can effectively and articulately answer them in charity.

I guarantee you that this book will inspire you, strengthen your faith, and teach you so much about your own faith so you can understand it better and explain it more.  It’s a win, win!  Check it out HERE!

If you have any thoughts, questions, or other things someone shouldn’t say, feel free to write them in the comments below. . .

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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2 Responses to What NOT to Say to an Atheist

  1. L. TRUMBLY says:

    WHY ARE YOU STILL A CATHOLIC, KNOW WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT CHRISTIANITY?

  2. I love being Catholic, that’s why. 😉 I follow Jesus, and since Jesus started the Catholic Church, that’s the Church I want to be part of.

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