Re: [asa] Responding to Atheists, Agnostics & Apatheists

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Wed Oct 29 2008 - 12:26:09 EDT

On 10/28/08, Schwarzwald <> wrote:

"* How would you approach an atheist, agnostic, or apatheist about
christianity? Would the approach differ from how you would approach
someone of another faith, or a lapsed member of your own faith?"

This is always a good question. My own approach is to listen a lot to
what the other person has to say, and respond about Xtianity ONLY when
the opportunity appears. I have one person in mind right now -- a
professed atheist, although she probably has never thought things
through very much. She is the owner/editor of a publication I write
for -- always open to my writing on Xtian issues as they pertain to
the subject -- and was quick to offer my wife, pastor of the local
church, a half page to write whatever she wanted to. I keep tossing
this good lady "teasers," so far (3 + years) she has not (yet) pursued
any of them. Maybe she never will (with me). But I try to "plant

I have another person in mind -- a long time (60+ years) friend, who
WAS a frervent Xtian when I was not anything, witnessed to us while we
were in high school, etc. At college he totally lost his faith and
embraced atheism. To this day he simply avoids the subject. With him,
I try to be a little more forceful, but so far no success at all. He
has decided that Xtianity is simply not credible, and that's that.

I have a few others -- each one, as I think of it, a different
situation. There is no "silver bullet." So I try to listen a lot,
speak less, for I'm not likely to be heard if I start preaching! <G>

* Do you see science, or an understanding of science, as having a role
to play in such a conversation?"

If that's of interest to the other person, yes. Generally, it is not.

* What common misconceptions or misunderstandings do you think exist
among AAAs about Christianity?"

They see the Ken Hams, the Hagees, the sorry excuses for Xtianity
represented by many televangelists, and think they represent Xtianity.
Maybe they try a church -- a dull of sloppy sermon turns them away.
Friend wife and I went to a different church a month or so ago -- the
minister mumbled and it was next to impossible to understand him. We
left early and that place will not see us again.

* Have you seen any effective targetting of AAAs by any particular
person, ministry, or even faith?"

I wish the answer could be "yes." The ASA is the best around; we are
not doing a good job. But we try, and, I think, have some influence
in the science community.

Welcome to the list.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Oct 29 12:27:00 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Oct 29 2008 - 12:27:01 EDT