Friday, April 1, 2011

My Friend the Atheist

I wasn't actually going to post today.  I've got a bunch of things I need to get done today over naptime.  But, then I 'quickly' popped over to my Facebook account, saw a post by one of my Facebook friends, and now I feel compelled to write this post.

Most of my friends and family are believers.  This is a great blessing.  This can also be a detriment of sorts when I do encounter someone who isn't a believer.  I'm left floundering a bit for how I should best interact with that person.

As I mentioned above I saw a post today from a Facebook friend.  At one point in my life I knew her a little better than I do now and we hung out with a similar crowd of people (a crowd I don't hang out with anymore).  But, we've always been more of acquaintances.  

She is an atheist.  Most of her friends are atheists.

And, today she posted a quote and a link that left me disturbed to say the least.  I debated on whether or not to share them here and have decided not to.  But, basically they called into question not only our belief in a God, but this particular link even tried to decry Jesus Christ as a historical figure and to reduce Him and His story to that of myth.

I'm outraged.  I'm upset.  I'm confused about what my response should be.

I got pulled into a debate with this friend once before.  She posted a comment about how much she enjoyed the movie 'Religulous' by Bill Maher.  I commented that I found the movie offensive.  And, thus ensued a 'facebook debate' that went back and forth for a couple days.  I was the only Christian in the debate and the rest of the comments were from her and some of her other non-believer friends.

I felt beaten up and shaken after that experience and I vowed never to get involved in another religious debate on Facebook.  Since then, I have been praying for this friend and those friends of hers.  I've been praying that God would reveal Himself to them in a way that was powerful and undeniable.

So, today I was unsure what my response to her post should be.  Part of me wants to steer clear.  Another part of me feels that as a Christian I must speak up. As it is she has a ton of comments from her friends applauding her post. 

And, what are my reasons behind becoming involved in a argument discussion?  

Is it my concern for my friend's spiritual life?

Is it because I feel threatened?

Is it because I want to stand for what I know is True?

I am pretty smart I think.  But, I'm not 'smart' enough by the world's standards to enter into a highly intellectual debate.  And, the thing with Faith is, it's not merely an intellectual debate.  It is a spiritual issue - one that man's wisdom cannot accept or understand.

And, if I'm truthful, I don't want to give the enemy the opportunity to plant seeds of doubt or confusion in my mind and my heart.

But, then what do I do?  I don't want to just hide my head in the sand.

I'm really torn.  And, if any of you have words of wisdom or experience in talking to friends or family who are atheists, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

It used to be that I thought everyone believed in something and that it was just a matter of pointing them to Jesus.  In retrospect, I guess that was naive.  So what do we do about those who deny the very existance of God?


  1. This is a tough one, Karen. I find myself in the same situation when I read friends' statuses on FB sometimes. So far, I've stayed out it, but I wonder if I'm chickening out or not. When I've "watched" FB debates from the sidelines, I always have great respect for the person who puts their perspective out there in a polite and respectful way and then doesn't respond to rebuttals. They offer their opinion and then let it go- planting a seed and letting God to the rest without having to defend themselves. I think it was Beth Moore who I heard say one time that it is not OUR job to prove that God exists- the earth itself screams His existence- but it's others' jobs to prove that He doesn't. I'm not sure if this helps, but these are my thoughts. Just know you're not alone on the whole what-to-do-on-FB issue. :-)

  2. I have a few athiest friends from hs, I tend to just ignore their "religious" posts as they ignore mine. I've learned that when there is any contention, the Spirit cannot be there. And since it is the Spirit which testifies of Christ I know there is little my words can do at those times. I think FB is especially volatile.
    I hear you about feeling defensive though. It's hard to know when to be quiet and when to speak up and defend Him. I have no good advice, I like the Beth Moore quote above :)

  3. I think you would love this book, written by one of our pastors. He talks about how faith is not logical or reasonable. It wouldn't be faith if it were; if we could figure it all out like some natural law. And we know God doesn't need us to defend Him or His Word, we just need to believe whether we understand or not (that reminds me of the old song - "I don't need to understand, I just need to hold His hand")

    Just keep shining and believing...God will use you wherever He sees fit, maybe even with that unbelieving friend.

    Barb :)

  4. I can tell you what I did, although I'm not sure if it was the right thing or not...I purged my FB of 80 "friends". Basically acquaintances just like the one you wrote about. I deleted the people I wouldn't grab a coffee with...because why should I be subject to their thoughts online (which are very real) if I wasn't wanting it in person. And I love the Beth Moore quote too =) Best Wishes to you.

  5. I did the same thing as Ali with several FB friends. I found myself developing an attitude towards them, and it was not one of grace. And like she said, I don't want to spend time with them so why were we "friends"?

  6. Everyone does have to believe in something. Some people just choose nothing. I've noticed in my life that some of the most evangelical people I know are atheists.

    I try not to engage people when they get like this. They are looking for fuel for their fire. For someone to poke at and make fun of while they 'prove' to themselves and their friends that they are right. It comes from a place of insecurity. If they were secure and confident in their beliefs they wouldn't need to lash out at others. I've met some pretty cool atheists who didn't try to convert me. We had wonderful discussions and there wasn't any anger.

    Of course in the end we all want to introduce Jesus to people. It's so amazing to have faith and be given the gift of grace that you can't help but share it. Keep praying for this friend. They aren't secure in their beliefs and are desperate for something. I hope they find Jesus and the peace they so desperately need.

    God Bless and good luck in this challenging circumstance!

  7. Wow, there are some fine replies from the ladies above! I'll be taking some of their advice to heart as I battle this same issue on FB with my own brother. I, too, have purged a large portion of said "friends" that were merely acquaintances. It has become very important to me that my relationships are healthy and uplifting, especially in such a setting as Facebook. After all, these are the ones I would choose to spend time with in person. I truly believe God will work through me in these circumstances as....the battle belongs to HIM! I'll pray for discernment as you encounter this issue. Thank you for sharing, along with the others who left comments, I have been encouraged!


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