Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I love atheists!

Well, maybe I should rephrase that, I love EDUCATED atheists. Okay, maybe I should rephrase THAT, I love everyone, but I have a special place in my heart for well educated atheists. I know you're probably thinking I'm nuttier than a jar of Planters but seriously, I don't know where my level of biblical knowledge would be if it weren't for atheists. I think God has a plan and purpose for everyone...yes, even those that don't choose Him. I think it's highly plausible that He uses non-believers to push and challenge us believers to be the best that we can be when it comes to serving Him. I know this has been the case for me on several occasions.

I get in online debates quite frequently with all types of people, but I have to admit that my favorite people to engage with are atheists that know their stuff. They challenge me in ways that no pastor or fellow believer ever has. I love to be challenged  especially where my faith is concerned  because it strengthens and deepens that relationship. I love to be forced to think, and support my beliefs with people that actually know the Word, heck, many Christians don't know it as well. I think it's good once in a while to have someone point out the scriptures to you and have you defend yourself, it makes you think, and challenges you to know God on a deeper level. I have never walked away from a debate with an educated atheist feeling unchallenged, or far from God, usually they end in a draw, and inspire me to delve further.

I always say that my goal is to know the Bible better than most atheists, and people generally look at me like I'm crazy. To know the Bible inside and out, to the point that every time they say "what about..." you can respond without hesitation, that's my goal. I can with the more common arguments (homosexuality, don't judge, love thy neighbor, etc.) but, I am no theologian, so I always will run into some atheists that know more about this or that topic than I do. That's okay because God isn't finished with me yet, I am still a work in progress. They challenge me and encourage me to do better in my on personal walk with Christ. Do you know how humiliating it is when you claim to LIVE it, and someone that doesn't even BELIEVE it knows it better than you?

It makes me feel like I've failed Him, and I never want to do that. Again, we are all works in progress, so I take those experiences, and pray, and just use them to further my relationship with Him. This isn't all one sided, it can't be. Every time I debate them, every time they go to the Bible to refute me they are being exposed to the Truth. It may not catch up to them on the first, second, or two hundredth time, but maybe one day it will. Maybe one day, when God has used them so much to further the walk of other believers they'll be ready to join Him as well. When that day comes, He'll reveal to them the beauty and wonder that is God, and they will no longer see the Bible as a book, and God as a god of many make believe gods, but they will see the Bible as the manual and instruction book for life, and they will see God for who He truly is, an amazing, loving Father waiting to welcome them.

So often we are quick to write off non-believers and say "oh, we'll never get to them, they know the Word, and still don't believe it" and not even try to engage them. I say, know your Bible well enough to engage with them, you both can stand to learn a lot from each other. We also have to remember that their is a huge difference in knowing something by having a deep understanding of it, and an entirely different thing to know something because you have a close personal relationship with it. What atheists lack is the personal connection, and what many Christians lack is the deep knowledge. Get to know your Bible, keep your close personal relationship with Christ, and add to it the level of scriptural knowledge that the average educated atheist has, and with God you can move mountains for His cause.

So, go forth, pour your love on all the atheists you know, engage with them, and know your Bible as well as an atheist. Continue to draw closer to God, and continue to be challenged. For all of you atheists that dig debating me, keep challenging me! I need it. Also, I should add, every time I debate anyone, I always do so with prayer, and always pray for the person afterward.

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