I was talking this morning with a friend who went to a wedding over the weekend. He said, “Would you believe my relatives and the people we sat with at the reception were all atheists? It was so hard to try to relate to them and look for an opportunity to share Christ. One of the men there was someone I’d shared with before but he just blew it off. Is there any way you know to share my faith with them?”
With no brilliant answers to his question, all I could say was, “Yes, that is hard. I guess we can just love them and be available.”
But then I began thinking more deeply and I replied, “Another option is to ask questions instead of trying to tell them theology or try to convince them.”
My friend looked interested and I explained what I meant. Maybe we could ask questions like,
- Tell me more about how you came to the conclusion that there is no God. Tweet that!
- Did something happen in your past that convinced you that there is no God?
- If there were a God, what do you think he would be like?
- What kind of God do you feel like you wouldn’t want to believe in?
- Did your idea of God, or there being no God, solidify based on some disappointment?
- What prompted you to reject the idea of God’s existence?
- What was your childhood like in relation to believing in God?
- Did your parents believe in God? How did they model God or not model God?
The more I thought about this idea of asking questions, the more I could see value to it. It would hopefully show respect for their opinions. It would hopefully be perceived as a loving response by showing interest in their lives. Plus, we aren’t trying to do what so many unbelievers accuse us of: “Christians just try to ram religion down my throat.”
Such questions invite dialogue; thus hopefully opening the door to further witnessing. Tweet that!
Jesus was the master “asker.” He knew a person’s heart, yet He asked them questions. Remember what He said to the paralyzed man by the pool? “Do you wish to get well?” (John 5:5-7). His questions helped people get to their hearts’ motives. Maybe questions such as those questions above will help people get in touch with why they believe what they believe.
What questions can you think of that would be appropriate talking to someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus or is uncertain?
Have you had any experience of asking these kinds of questions? What happened?