Ray Comfort is setting out on a blog tour to support his new book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make him Think. Knowing that many of the readers of this site are admirer’s of Comfort, I decided to participate. I solicited questions from readers and here is one that Comfort was eager to respond to.
I often respond to the questions/arguments posed by atheists not so much because I think I can convince them they’re wrong, but because of the undecided people who might be the audience. If atheists claim they are well grounded in reason and logic, and no one stands to oppose them, I’m thinking huge numbers of people will assume that Christians concede the argument. I want people on the fence to know that there are well reasoned, rational arguments in favor of theology. How much time and energy do you think we should spend responding to atheistic claims?
I have preached open air (soapbox style) over 5,000 times. This is different from the doomsday street-corner folks that yell at passersby. I try and engage people in healthy discourse.
If you have ever been in a good open air meeting, you will know that at times there’s a sense of excitement, as people ask genuine questions about Christianity. In those situations you often have what is called a “heckler.” He is usually a colorful character who is upset. He is loud and somewhat aggressive. He is the one who attracts the crowd (who’s going to gather around to hear a boring preacher?). It is his presence that holds the crowd long enough for me to share the gospel. While I am directing myself at the heckler, I am also speaking to the crowd.
That’s what’s happening on my blog (“Atheist Central”) where we have more than one nasty “heckler.” They give the blog the life it needs to keep people coming back. But there’s a crowd listening (the blog gets emailed out daily). That’s why I am pleased to have atheists there. As a fisher of men, I don’t mind admitting that I bait them with some attractive morsel, and they usually bite. Most of them have said that they are closed to the gospel, but the others who are on the sidelines may have an open mind. Those are the ones to whom I am speaking–unsaved fence-sitters.
For your interest, here is an example of a colorful heckler:
However, when I witness one-to-one to a professing atheist, I am careful to take the time to patiently answer his questions, but not go down rabbit trails. I pray for God’s help daily, because I have a clear agenda–to go through the Ten Commandments to bring the knowledge of sin, then bring the remedy of the gospel and the necessity of faith and repentance. The time and energy I spend on him is dependent on whether or not I discern sincerity on his part.
You can find out more about Ray Comfort and his ministry at livingwaters.com.