IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Renee K., a lady worried about her sister.
Renee wins a free book for asking this question. But I think a book would be a sorry excuse for what she really wants.
Here’s her question.
Why do atheist people really think there’s no God? My sister says she doesn’t believe [in God]. I think she got lost through her surroundings, but we both grew up as Baptists in a small Mississippi town. Please give me some tips on how I should approach her situation.
Where to start.
How about what not to do?
Don’t debate her. She’s not a competitor to defeat. She’s a sister to love.
Don’t pressure her. You’re not a door-to-door solicitor. You’re family.
Don’t shame her. You’re not the critic throwing the first stone. You are the arms of Jesus giving the first hug.
I have family and close friends who say they don’t believe there is a God or a life after death.
I know what it is to worry about them.
I worry about them not only for the hereafter but for the here-and-now. It seems to me that apart from God it is all too easy to make bad choices and to warm up to sour souls who will do us more harm than good.
I don’t want that for my family and friends.
My pastor has recently taken to quoting Albert Einstein, though I have never heard him attribute the quote to Einstein. Here’s the quote, which I mentioned in a blog post last week:
Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.
- You can talk at your sister.
- You can talk over your sister.
- You can talk in the general vicinity of your sister.
But if you’re not talking with your sister, you’re talking too much.
When the Spirit is willing – hers and yours – feel free to ask her questions about what she believes and what she doesn’t believe.
And if she’s open to it, gently tell her what you believe and why you believe it. But give some thought first to why you believe it.
If you see her getting defensive, relocate the topic or your person.
I’m not saying you should skip the Great Commission:
When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses.
Instead, I’m saying that it is the Spirit who sets the timing of the talk. It’s the Spirit who gives you the power to speak the words. And it’s the Spirit who will make your sister receptive not only to what you are saying but to what you have been living.
It’s not your job to convince your sister.
It’s your job to follow the lead of God’s Spirit and to let the Spirit convince your sister.
In the meantime, love God and love your sister as you love yourself.
It’s a good way to teach.
As to your question about why atheists don’t believe there is a God, beats me.
I can’t even imagine how my Dell computer could’ve snapped itself together. No way can I imagine how something as unimaginably more sophisticated as the universe could have popped up out of the Big Bang with no one calling the shot.