Do atheists really want to hear about Jesus?




Casey recently posted the longer version of this rant by Vegas Magician Penn Jillette at his place.. the video I posted is under a minute. I found the idea that atheists want people to witness to them about Jesus a bit disingenuous. In the bigger story Jillette tells about a guy who gave him a bible and how he was touched by the man's kindness.. but in my opinion he blew the guy's message off because of his fundamentalist leaning toward atheism.

What do you think? Are atheists really all that interested in having discussions about faith?


14 comments:

  1. Yeah, I understand the point he's making, but there's something to said about practicality. Almost every adult in America has heard "the good news" at least once in their life. I'm sure Christians are aware of this as well and know most have already made up their minds. That's why they often give attention to those who haven't really made up their minds (youth and campus ministries), and those who are more likely to change their minds (crisis and prison ministries).

    Other than that, I think the focus should be non-believing friends and family. Those are the ones you have the greatest influence on. Let's face it, the odds of converting a stranger, like the man who gave Penn the Bible, is next to zero.

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  2. I think some are and some aren't. I think what I got from what Penn said is that regardless of whether they want to hear it or not you're obligated to share.

    Leigh and I did a podcast on this very video a while back http://www.spiritualtramp.com/blog/2008/12/spiritual-stew-episode-thirteen-evangelism-2/

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  3. i think they want to believe that there is a God but they just can't

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  4. Interesting, Rygel. Do you think we want to believe in any god, say Psiodon, Shiva, or Odin? Or do you happen to think that we coincidentally want to believe in your god? What disability do you believe we posses that prevents us from being able to believe. What else do you think I want that I am completely unaware?

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  5. I think Penn makes an excellent point, one I've made to my evangelical, hell believing friends. If you believe the vast majority of humanity is headed for a fate far worse than Hitler's death camps, how can you do anything but proselytize with every ounce of your being?

    Mosts Atheist think the belief in eternal hell is about as silly as believing in the Tooth Fairy and don't want to hear us proselytize. However, this does not negate Penn's point.

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  6. I think it's easier to convert a stranger...I've seen it happen. Even Jesus said it's harder to minister to family or folks you know.
    I saw this vid a while ago...and liked that Penn was touched by the caring of the man with the bible.
    But, no...I don't think most atheists are interested in talking about faith. They are busy making bumper stickers like, "Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church" and such.

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  7. But Karen, I've been an atheist for years and love talking about faith. I invite the JWs and Mormons in for a discussion almost every time they knock on my door. Also, I've spent no time whatsoever making bumperstickers and the like. Maybe I'm just a strange atheist but I know many of them and your statements apply to hardly any of them as well. Have you ever actually spent some time with one and got to know them?

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  8. Good comments here so far.. I am enjoying listening to what you all are saying. I almost asked this question for my Christian friends in the post:

    "Do Christians really want to hear about Allah?"

    Sad to say that I don't think that I do but, on the other hand, I love to have discussions with other folks (like sid) about matters of faith.. if memory serves me, sid and I once had a great discussion on secular humanism.. I came away from that conversation feeling like I understood secular humanism a bit better and.. more importantly.. knowing sid a bit better. And my conversations with Brian about Christian Universalism have been so helpful - he may not have changed my mind but in the process we have become friends.

    So I wonder if the issue is more about proselytizing or something greater - listening and friendship. So please keep the conversation going here - I know that I will come away with a better guy.. if I listen that is :)

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  9. Sidfaiwu, yes, I've spent lots of time around atheists...I used to be one. Why do you invite JW and Mormons in for a discussion? Is it to sincerely listen?
    I don't like the JW or Mormon message, but I enjoy praying with them when they come 'round.

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  10. @Scott - I listened to your podcast. I liked what you had to say about influencing the people in our lives with genuine friendship and loving relationships. It seems to hit to the heart of what it means to be salt and light in the world.

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  11. Based solely on the Social Media (Twitter, etc.), atheists may enjoy a good argument more than they want to hear about God. Unless they are at a crossroads, they don't want to hear. They want to un-convert us (Christians) or point out how foolish we are. My brother claims no belief in God and will not let me talk about Him. I may have been too fervent the first time I tried to tell him.

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  12. Hey Bob, I recently became reacquainted with a former co-worker via FB who is an ardent atheist. He is convinced that he can argue me out of my faith. I told him that my experience with such arguments is that they are fruitless. What about the whole "pearls before swine" thing. I think the best thing we can do is pray for these people that they come to the end of themselves and are able to see the emptiness. Tom T

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  13. I find atheists enjoy talking about a faith in God or Jesus or what have you, as they find it fascinating. Perhaps fascinating that others truly believe this stuff just as we might that they truly for sure believe there is no God. So, yes, interested in talking but not converting. It goes both ways! It's healthy to understand the other side to have empathy and compassion for why someone is the way they are. I usually get why once I know their life story.

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