Ex-atheists, Help

I know a young kid, 21 who rejects God. I need your help because real soon this debate is going to come up.

Help me to get him thinking, help me to help him understand why God does exist, or in his case could.

Please only sincere help here. Thanks

I need to find a way to get him to investigate why God could exist, to lead him to the Holy Spirit.

I know I have no power to change him, and only God can. But if there is anyway I can help lead him and God chooses to use me, help me be ready, and not make things worse.

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give this young man guidance & direction back to the Church.

Greetings in the faith of our lord Jesus Christ.

I will tell you what I think is one of the most compelling proofs of our own belief in God even in the face of an inability to recognize such belief. When the terror comes; when life and death come together to meet us in the heart and we are struck with unquenchable fear, to where do we turn? We cry out to the god of our understanding. Our soul screams to some unknown (known for those of faith) creator in a primal hope that we might be saved. I cannot speak for all men but I believe this is a universal reaction. It’s just a matter of how deep we have to be touched by “the fear of God” in order to cry out. Challenge your friend to think back as to whether he has ever experienced this scenario. If he has he will say something about how it didn’t work so God doesn’t exist but if it did work then it wasn’t God. Then challenge him in his double mindedness. Even if God didn’t “work” as he may put it it still testifies to his inner belief. Then tell him this is the lowest common denominator, when all our human understanding is stripped away and like little children we cry out to our father. I hope this helps. And remember, the example of our life speaks volumes more than our words. “…let your good works shine before men…”

May the peace of Our Lord be with you always.

Zac

Speaking as someone who once rejected the notion of there being a God, I might be able to offer some insight. My biggest hurdle in coming to understand there was a God was the notion of such evil in this world. Most people that reject there being a God have the same problem, I believe. We see (or in my case saw) it as impossible to believe in a loving God that allowed evil to happen in this world.

The way I would approach that particular subject is this way. We need to get those people to first understand that we all have free will. The most loving thing God has given us is the ability to accept or reject all that we are given as gifts from Him. I don’t think I fully understood that until my kids got to an age where they had to start making some really tough choices on their own. I knew what I wanted for them, but I had to sit back and watch them make their own choices, whether I agreed with them or not. Whatever choice they made, however, didn’t affect my love for them one bit.

Secondly, we must get those people to consider the possibility of there being a Heaven. They don’t have to fully believe at first-they need only to consider it. Once we allow ourselves to consider an eternity with our Lord, it makes the concept of evil in this world make more sense. Atheists are still longing for Heaven-they just don’t see it. They can’t get past the thought that it isn’t in this world. But when those that don’t believe express their desire to not have evil in this world, what are they really expressing other than the notion that they too want a Heavenly reward? They want what we want, only they want it in this life. Getting them to see it is possible, but we must work and prepare our souls for it to come later is the challenge we face.

Lastly, on the issue, we need to get those that do not believe to see the role they can play in not allowing evil to take over. Jesus Christ came and taught us how to love one another, just as He loved us. We need only follow His lead, and love each other just the same. We are sinners, and fall far short too often. But we must keep striving for what Jesus taught. Atheists, on that point, need to see that we are all on the same team. We want the same things. Non-believers see Christians as standing in the way of the utopia they envision. Really we all want a better world then we currently find ourselves in. Jesus is exactly what He says He is: the way, the truth, and the life. Have your friend read His sermon on the mount and see if there is a moral argument against it. Some of us already know there isn’t one. No one has a “Jesus problem”-Jesus hasn’t changed in 2000 years.

That’s an absolute. One step ahead of you on that one!:smiley: I have been praying every single day. :wink:

As someone who was once an atheist, I feel that these were some of most important reasons for there being a God:

  1. That anything is even here. Attempting to comprehend the nature of nothingness, and the universe and the laws/forces that regulate it somehow emerging from that.
  2. That humans have a spiritual inclination at all. It serves no adaptive purpose, yet is universal to all peoples throughout history.
  3. Our innate sense of right and wrong. That we have a concept of justice, and feel guilt when we have done wrong. This also includes into our enormous capacity for empathy and charity, which we even extend beyond our own species.
  4. For Christianity in particular I think one of the best proofs is the fast, widespread, and sustained belief that emerged from the highly dishonorable death of one of several unknown messianic figures from an overlooked provincial backwater. I think it would be impossible to start a similar movement of that nature if the central figure did not truly rise from the dead.

How about that movie “God is not Dead”. It was about a student that stood up to his hostile atheist professor.

I don’t know if I would recommend that movie as it presents an implausible scenario, and depicts atheists uncharitably.

I haven’t seen it yet but did want to. From the clips I’ve seen, I was thinking about the reasoning the student was using against the professor. My nephew has seen it and highly liked it. Maybe that is the angle I was thinking about. CAF does have a couple of books about how to discuss faith with atheists. I don’t want to use argument because I don’t think that any is convinced by arguments. I think Op should angle at trying to plant seeds of reasoning.

Ah, I see what you mean. My knowledge of the movie is based off of several reviews I read, including from Christian sources, which weren’t very positive of it. I’m probably going to skip it.

I wasn’t aware of any negative reviews. I work with a Lutheran Pastor’s wife and we discussed the movie and I know she has heard some good things about it, I think one of her kids went to it. I know (many many moons ago 1980). I did have an openly hostile professor like what I’ve seen in this movie clips. He taught zoology in a large lecture hall. So to me, this isn’t so far fetched. In getting back to the thread topic, I think when we are dealing with people that state they are atheists, I think the usual knee jerk reaction is to degenerate into arguments with them. I think to focus is to plant seeds in them either by simple reasoning or demonstrations of genuine friendship and caring. I think that is how JR Tolkin reached out to CS Lewis who was an atheist for many years before converting to Christianity. Now maybe the movie might degenerate into stereotypes and platitudes with the Duck Guys making a cameo appearance but it is an attempt to open up the discussion which I think is always a good thing.

I can pretty much guarantee you his new wife will take him to see that. :thumbsup:

no problem! :thumbsup:

Keep praying for him including Mary’s Rosary for him.

Also, get a Green Scapular for him and if he refuses to have it secretly put it somewhere in his room and still keep praying for him :slight_smile:

Through Our Lady’s Green Scapular people have been healed philically and others spiritually by conversion. One sick man was an enemy of all religion and was anoid by the sight of a priest, he accepted a green scapular and eleven days later he fell on his knees and kissed it bathing his tears and promised Our Lady he’d go to confession.

At Constantinople a Greek schicamatic was converted and cured of Leprocy through Marys Green Scapular :slight_smile:

:wink:

there is only one way to convert an atheist. if it fails nothing else will. it is PRAYERS. st Monica drenched the floor with her tears for many years for the conversion of Augustine. when the seed of faith was finally planted it bloomed so much that Augustine became a saint too.

ok. now let’s be more practical. st john vianney had a village that was not interested in God. yes he prayed endlessly. but there were more things. he preached by the way he lived his life. if an atheist is more virtuous than a Christian do you think that Christian can ever convince him of God?
pray and preach with your life. you might not succeed in changing that one particular atheist but you will DEFINITELY change many more who were headed for doom .

Find out why he thinks there is no God and go from there. Don’t assume anything.

I think you really need to find out *why *he doesn’t believe a God exists before you try to convince him otherwise.
Because a lot of the reasons why Atheists believe what they believe involve arguments that probably won’t be changed by some of the advice here.
Talking about heaven and evil and inner morality and prayer…I don’t think so.
If he’s an Atheist who doesn’t believe in God because of facts he’s examined and lack of proof he cannot find…then the only way to convince him, IMO, is with better facts and proof, not philosophical arguments.

.

But that’s precisely the thing – at first glance, it may seem to this person doesn’t see any explicit proofs or evidence. As believers, we see creation, which was done ex nihilo, as “evidence”, but if he has a staunchly naturalistic view of things, that isn’t going to convince him.

As far as philosophical arguments are concerned, I’ve always liked St. Thomas Aquinas’ proofs, as they’re detailed in ST. However, these are fairly deep, philosophical arguments that require lots and lots of thought, and the person may not have the willingness to follow through the proofs from start to finish.

Outside of this, as others have said, all we can do is pray for them.

I just wanted to point out, that for a non-believer, especially one who has a naturalistic bent, proofs and facts from the natural world aren’t going to convince them – but if he has patience, going through philosophical proofs and arguments may work.

There was on article on catholic.com a while ago; it said that while most scientists did not believe in God, most philosophers apparently do. I think there’s a reason for that.

You have already gotten so many good responses in this thread, and because such unbelief is very personal, there is little we can say with real effectiveness. But as others have already alluded; a person’s first principles are the starting point. We all have them, and they are assumed AND unprovable. Therefore it helps to begin there.

Secondly, you mention he is a young kid of 21. That can be a very immature age. An age of rebellion and infidelity. He is statistically typical. Fr. Andrew Greeley did studies, and found that even many young Catholics fall away from the Church in there 20’s and return once they are married and starting families. This fellow believes he knows all the answers and is immortal. It’s pretty hard to reason with someone like that. :wink:

But your prayers will definitely help him.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.