How to talk to someone about God who doesn’t believe

Feb 4, 2020 | Encouragement, Questions/Searching, Relevant Life

These days, many polls show a decline in the population that professes membership of a certain church or way of faith and an increase of people who identify as “none.” The “nones,” as they’re referred to, are those who do not practice any form of religion, either an atheist, an agnostic or perhaps a person who believes in a higher power but doesn’t prescribe to any specific faith denomination. 

As Christians, one of our greatest responsibilities is to share the good news of Jesus with everyone else:

“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

  • Matthew 28:19-20 (MSG)

Before we explore any further what it means to share your faith, we want to acknowledge that there are different ways of doing this. There is no formula or recipe that is clear for all to follow. Some believe in standing on street corners and talking to strangers. Some believe in ambushing people and asking them hard questions like “Have you ever lied? If so, then did you know you’ll go to hell?” Others believe in building relationships with others to bridge a connection.

We’re not here to say one way is right or wrong ⁠— although if your means of “going out and training everyone” is forceful or harmful in any way, we’d probably condemn it⁠ — but we’re here to share what we have found to be the most helpful for us. Hopefully, it’s helpful for you too.

1. Appeal to logic

Let’s clear something up real quick before getting into this first point. It’s OK to appeal to emotion. It’s good to appeal to emotion. Our emotions are often a strong connecting point to making decisions and understanding the world around us. However, we also have logic, which is something Christians tend to shy away from when discussing the points of belief with others.

Yes, it’s good to talk about how God has made you feel comforted and share how He can comfort them as well, but they might need some more concrete or scholarly reasons of why they should believe in or follow God as well. 

When talking to someone about Jesus, make sure to appeal to both emotion and logic, not one or the other. Listen to the person you are talking to and identify what they’re concerned with the most. Don’t make up any answers or anything like that, but walk with them through what they want to know and let the Holy Spirit work with you to appeal to what they need. 

2. Make room for hard questions

Speaking of questions, don’t shy away from the hard ones. This is one of the most common reasons people leave churches, let alone never enter one or become a follower of Jesus. Life poses a lot of difficult decisions that beget difficult questions. The Bible isn’t always clear on many points. 

Anyone who is serious about the decisions they make in life will ask hard questions before making a decision to follow the Lord. Don’t be afraid to wrestle through these questions with them (emphasis on with, not against. This isn’t a debate but is more of a team effort). Don’t make up answers, but strive to find the truth with them.

3. Let your actions speak louder

This is a tough one for many people, especially in the Western world. Westerners love telling others they should follow Jesus, but many don’t really live a life that exemplifies this. Many Westerners use Jesus for political gains, personal power and control, moral guilt-tripping and, shockingly, as a means to condemn others.

If you’re trying to convince someone that following Jesus is the right choice, your own life should be reflective of living by what Jesus taught: loving God, loving others, loving yourself, helping those in need, forgiving those who do wrong against us and turning the other cheek.

If the person you’re talking to sees your life as a reflection of what you’re trying to share about Jesus, they’ll be more inclined to trust you and give God a shot.

If you are wondering what it means to authentically follow Jesus, join us on Unfiltered Radio as we investigate who He claimed to be and how He taught us to interact with one another.