Should I talk to Non Believers?
Are you afraid to talk to atheists, agnostics, people from other religions and nominal Christians? If there is a God and the Bible is true, then its message compels us to talk to others while living a godly life. We can avoid pitfalls in interaction through learning. This is one aspect of being a disciple of Christ’s, learning how to interact. One bad experience can cause some to give up. This is wrong, we can and should be talking and living as Christ commanded. With proper knowledge and wisdom, we can overcome four types of pitfalls.
Stay focused. 1) Some focus on wining the discussion. Maybe because of pride, lack of understanding or lack of training. Rather, present the truth for the other’s benefit, giving them something to think about with love and gentleness. 2) Getting side tracked on “rabbit trails” should be avoided. Keep returning to the central simple issue at hand. 3) Some seem to focus on peripheral Christian topics. Rather, build the foundation first and keep the “in house” topics of Christianity “in house”. Focus on the foundation such as the fundamentals of biblical teaching and core world view issues.
Not knowing what you believe and why.
Know what you believe and why. Being well read gives you the knowledge and helps you learn from other’s mistakes and knowledge. When one has the truth, one need not be ashamed. This knowledge gives you confidence and it helps you spot error. Knowing what you believe and why may take some work. This may be necessary before getting to the central issues. Having a grasp of what “non-believers” believe helps you with confidence as well.
Not knowing how to interact.
Baseless ascertains, wrong tactics and catch phrases are all dangerous. Sarcastic and antagonistic attitudes aimed to those on the other side never helps, respect does wonders. Shun Christian lingo, people need clarity, not “foreign language.” Never get angry, you are not here to win, you are here to help show the way – eventually to Christ and his kingdom. Follow the example of Christ, Paul and Apollos. Your character and behavior matters from both God’s and other’s perspective!
You will never know everything so ask questions to learn. Ask clarification questions so you don’t misrepresent another. When another makes a claim, allow the other to provide evidence for that claim by asking for it. Only after that should you give your commentary. A Knowledgeable person can many times spot weakness in reasoning when one holds to a world view other then biblical. Allow questions to point out these weakness if possible. Jesus did this. Questions are powerful.
I have noticed that some are used to making unsubstantiated assertions. When asked clarification questions or for evidence, these people may not like it because they are taken off guard. This makes them think, which is good. Also, it means that questions are a powerful tools, so be careful, they can be dangerous if not done with grace, mercy and love.