Speaking from experience, atheists are spiritually blind. If you show them a white piece of paper, they say it is black. If you say but look at it, you can see it is white, they will say I know it looks white to you, but is really black.
When I realized this, I stopped talking and started praying. If God removes their spiritual blinders then, someone , maybe not you, but someone can witness to them. God will chose the person or event that He wants to use to speak to a person. We have no power unless God speaks to them thru us.
I prayed for an atheist once, and she believes in God today.
The best advice I can give is to be the very best Christian you can possibly be. Pray. And wait until God gives you an opening to speak. Then you will find success in the Lord.
The “no evidence to the contrary” defense is weak. They could reply along Humean lines and cite evil as evidence to the contrary. Defenses against atheism usually fall along the intellectual or non-intellectual lines: someone might be an atheist because they are convinced that’s the truth, and they have reasons to think that. Or, alternatively, one could be an atheist because of some non-intellectual reason, like they just can’t find the will to believe.
Approaches should be tailored to the person, obviously. Intellectual atheists are more willing to engage the arguments for God, and are more willing to understand why their own reasons for atheism don’t work (or do). The latter group are more likely to be responsive toward acts of faith, such as meritorious works that count as evidence of the good things grace can bring.
Quote: “The latter group are more likely to be responsive toward acts of faith, such as meritorious works that count as evidence of the good things grace can bring.”
Some atheists are very nice people who do many “good works” themselves.
You all seem to be depending on human means of persuading atheists. Apart from God these ideas are worthless. Always start with prayer.
If God is in it, then seeing your good works may make an impression, or seeing the scientific evidence can, as well. But, God is the One who will open their minds to understanding. Start with prayer and see how and if God wants to reveal Himself thru you.
But, be ready to accept that fact that God may decide to use someone or something else.
And don’t be discouraged just because you don’t see any change. You may be very surprise when you get to heaven at all the wonderful things God has done thru you when you were totally unaware.
The argument of the Apostles Peter and Paul work best: Jesus died and rose from the grave according to the Old Testament scriptures.
The only counter-argument on the evidence is, “If I was God I would have written more, and written it sooner, and left pictures and newspaper reports, and even waited until television and radio was invented so the whole world could see. In other words, I would have done it differently.”
And that’s a poor argument so usually the atheist will add, “The reports we do have are false because either the people were not eye-witnesses or they were uneducated fools who didn’t really see what they thought they saw.”
I’d like to add one thing. It seems to me that many atheists are inherently anti-authoritarian.
They see the purpose of religion as being something to force or persuade people, and them in particular, into doing “good works” and they counter with “Yeah, but we do that even though we don’t believe in God” which of course, is totally true in many cases.
And, of course, the other purpose of religion as they see it is to keep men in power (over women), or the priest in power (over his congregation), or the superstitious ignoramus in power over the logical scientist, or the republicans in power over the democrats (well, maybe not, but I hope you get my drift). It doesn’t matter that for Christianity at least, one is to seek to be the servant not the master (and being the master actually makes it harder to get to heaven).
And once they believe this stuff, they can’t be argued with. So I guess that our prayer and example are their best hope of someday wanting to see God, and actually getting there.
You may (and I empazise may) want to go to some atheist forums to see what they are talking about, especially in regard to religious belief. The Bible contains many references to those who do not believe but I agree with the comment about prayer. Pray for those people you know who do not believe. And believe that God will move in their lives. They may come to you or someone else.
Those who do not believe live in spiritual darkness and under the influence of the devil. Everyone alive has a spirit, a soul from God. We should consider everyone a potential convert. But as Christ did not force His disciples to follow Him, we should pass along the good news of the Gospel the same way. Even if they reject the message at first, the Holy Spirit will continue His work, witnessing for Jesus Christ.
As others have pointed out on this thread already, that objection doesn’t hold water. You don’t need evidence that something doesn’t exist. What would that look like? Evidence, by definition, points to something that does exist.
There are plenty of good arguments against atheism, but this is not one of them.