How would you approach an atheist to talk about God?
The goal is to help them find faith.
Hmmm... As an atheist, I find the notion of helping an atheist find faith a bit offensive. If the question was reversed (How would you approach a theist to talk about the lack of God?), I would respect the theist's beliefs and leave him or her alone. I'd be more than happy to discuss and share opinions, but I'm not the religious police when we have religious freedom in the U.S., so I would never have a goal of helping them change their beliefs/faith.
First, avoid using the word faith. Faith is the same thing that let's Muslims believe in Allah, ancient Greeks believe in Zeus and children believe in Santa, in other words its not a good foundation upon which to build beliefs and atheists such as myself reject that kind of faith outright.
So if you're going to attempt to convert an atheist I'd recommend formulating your best logical argument for God's existence OR presenting some evidence for God's existence. Try to think of the reasons why YOU believe and see if they make sense when put down in text. If you have extra time research these reasons and see if there are any counter-arguments that the atheist might use ahead of time, refine your arguments accordingly.
Also go into the discussion ready to think carefully rather than just REACT quickly. I see knee jerk reactions and emotional pleas on both sides and it can often bring a discussion to a halt.
And most importantly, DON'T expect success. Getting people to change their beliefs on any subject, even simple ones like what movies or music a person likes, can be extremely difficult and going in with an expectation of changing their minds on the first exchange is unrealistic.
You cannot drag someone kicking and screaming to faith or belief. The best thing one can do is to live your life as you believe it should be lived - lead by example. If God wants them he will call them and you may be the catalyst--but you cannot force someone and the more you try - the further they are driven away.
I am always happy and eager to share what I believe with someone who wants to hear, but I will not hold them down and pour it down their throat. I don't want to face God one day and tell him how many I chased away from him by being overbearing. He is in charge, we must remember that.
You can talk to me about God, all you want. However, I reserve the right to cover my ears and start singing..... "ooh a-ooh, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy.... Tommy can you hear me????? can you feel me near you??? Tommy can you touch me?????...... "
That's about all you're going to get out of me as far as listening to your proselytizing bull-s*it.......
Going into the situation with the intent to convert the atheist isn't the right approach. Instead, bring up the topic as a discussion. One of the most common problems is that, in an argument, someone is being talked at, rather than listened to. Don't just jump into all your reasons about why there is a god. Ask them some questions. Find out how they came to their beliefs. Ask them why they think there isn't a god and what the most convincing argument about it is. You can bring up counter points, but they shouldn't be attacks. It should come off like "What is your opinion on miracles?" rather than something like "But what about Miracles? You can't deny those!" In the end, you still probably won't succeed at changing the atheists belief, any more than they would yours, but I do think that such a civil discussion would give you mutual respect and a stronger bond.
This is a bit of a different question. First of all, it's worth noting that religion and politics are the two conversational topic that will almost inevitably lead to an argument. It's extremely difficult to debate these topics, because each person feels so strongly about their view being the correct one. So, I guess my first tip would be, don't. Rather than debating who is right and who is wrong, talk about your own beliefs, why you believe that, how it makes you feel, or your own experiences. In other words, talk about your own beliefs, not another person's.
My second tip would be, don't enter a conversation with the goal of converting someone to your own point of view unless that person has asked you to do so. Many atheists, and even some theists, are ready and willing to listen to different points of view regarding God (which God you are referring to is unclear). If you want to explain your point of view, or your interpretation of God, I think most people are happy to listen. It's only when you preach, or try to influence another person's view of God (or lake there-of) that you will run into retaliation or being tuned out.
Thirdly, if you are going to enter a conversation, and talk to a non-believer about God, it's important to listen, as well. A conversation involves two people, and both people must be involved in dialogue. One person yelling at the top of his or her lungs about any topic, drowning out the other person, is not a conversation. If this is what you find yourself doing when you approach the topic, then you are not being polite or considerate to the other person, and they are much less likely to give you a chance.
Also, it's important to actively listen to your discussion partner. It's not the same to just be thinking of your next retort when the other person is talking. If you're not hearing what is being said, then it is just as bad as if you were yelling non-stop. It's certainly not productive or respectful.
Lastly, understand that the world is made up of billions of people, and every person is unique. We don't all believe the same things, speak the same language, think the same, or have the same likes and dislikes. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Some people might not even listen to you because they haven't learned how to have a conversation yet. Others, especially of a minority religion or non-belief system, may feel like you are trying to lecture or demean them, which is not a pleasant feeling.
In my opinion, many atheists, including myself, have done their homework. We've learned about religion (usually a lot of them, not just the Christian one) and we've come to the conclusion that religion is not for us. I love religious discussions, but I do not appreciate someone thinking that they need to change me. It implies that I am broken, or there is something wrong with me that causes me to believe what I do. This is incorrect. By the same token, although I know that many theists as well as non-theists will do this, I will not attempt to force my opinions, views or beliefs on anyone else.
I will also say that, although I've known theists who have become anti-theists, I've never known an atheist who then became a believer.
an atheist has faith. that's the point we are trying to make to believers. our faith is in each other and in ourselves, a believers faith is in something they can't see , hear, touch, smell or anything else. if god was real, every person would know it and they would decide whether to worship him or not.my question is why would anyone believe in a god and then after seeing all the bad , horrible things here, still worship him. fear perhaps.
If a person is an atheist and they are happy with being an atheist I would not approach them to try to convert them or make them believe anything. I would do my best to understand them and treat them with respect love and compassion beacuse they are a lvining entity. I would encourage them just to love life and try to have an open mind to exploring different ideas. I would encourage them to keep doing what ever good they are doing and appreciate them as they are at that point in time.
When they are ready to talk about God or spiritual topic in a peaceful way, then I will happily share my experiences with them so that we could improve our friendship. I would do my best to avoid over preaching. I would reccomend different things they could try to see if they like any spiritual path that is available.
Most importantly I would always wish them well. If they believe or not is their choice. I would always love them as they are I think once they know that they may at least start to respect the idea of there being a God more.
I would be prepared to answer the question "What do I believe, and why do I believe it?" I would be prepared to support my answer with evidence and rationality. I would be prepared to clearly define my concept of god. There are many different concepts of god, and until you define yours, it is hard for anyone to know what you are talking about.
If you just believe in some general "the universe is one" god, then the atheist might on some level agree with you. If you believe in a big daddy that lives up in the sky somewhere and really hates it when we eat shrimp, you have a different kind of discussion on your hands.
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