How to Speak with an Atheist Friend or Loved One

In this post, I’m going to share with you what I believe to be the most powerful way to speak with atheists. But first…

Atheists: Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens

Atheists: Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens

Last night I had the sad experience of learning that one of my cousins is an atheist. I say sad, because all my hope in this life comes from my faith in Christ. If I did not have Christ, I don’t know what would happen to me.

I am not saying that atheists cannot be naturally happy or even naturally virtuous. However, I am a man of faith. I am a Catholic. I believe in Heaven and Hell. I want everyone I meet to go to Heaven…not Hell. With eternity on the line, we need to be intentional about what matters most. So how do we share our faith effectively?

I know many atheists. I have friends and family who are atheists. We speak openly about God, morals, and the afterlife. Regrettably, I used to be much more aggressive in my approach. I don’t think aggression or argumentation (however logical) works.

So what does work?

Let me suggest that you first pray and second remain calm. Third, ask your atheist friend this question: “Do you believe in love?”

In other words, is love real? Spend your time discussing love. Is love an instinct? Is it a passion? Is love a hormonal phenomenon? Is love a virtue? Is love a “force”? Is love a “thing”? Where does love come from?

Love is a great way to begin. Very few people will reject the existence of love. That’s a great thing! You have somewhere to start.

As much as I love Thomas Aquinas, I realize that the atheist remains unmoved by the five ways of Thomas. (By the way, I discuss this phenomenon regarding atheism and Aquinas in my new free ebook which you can get on May 31 if you sign up for it.) Most atheists don’t disbelieve because philosophical arguments from causality. Most atheists disbelieve because they have experienced sheer evil in the world.

So don’t start with causality or evil! Start with the idea of love and begin the great conversation. I think you’ll discover a strong way forward if you apply this approach with grace, love, prayer, and personal penance.

Remember. You can only rightfully share God (who is Love) if you speak and act with love. If you come off as angry or judgmental, forget it.

Question: Do you have friends or loved ones who are atheists? Would you share some tips with us? Do you have success stories? Please share!

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