This former atheist offers 7 tips on sharing the Gospel with those who say there is no God
by Christine Leow // March 23, 2023, 3:03 pm
At the peak of his music career in 2007, Levan Wee (pictured performing at the National Stadium) left his band Ronin. "What's the point of recognition when I feel miserable?” he asked. All photos courtesy of Levan Wee and Ronin.
To say that Levan Wee is enthusiastic about sharing his faith is no exaggeration.
Since the managing editor of Stories of Hope, a sister website of Salt&Light, became a Christian in August 2020, he reckons that he has shared the Gospel with over 1,000 people. From one-on-one conversations with friends to encounters with strangers – Grab drivers, coffeeshop assistants – and speaking engagements at churches, youth groups and schools, Levan does not miss any opportunity to talk about God.
“I wasn’t angry with God per se. I just couldn’t believe that He exists.”
But he has not always been this way.
For nearly three decades, he lived as though there were no God. A self-confessed atheist and sometimes “hardcore agnostic”, he nurtured a deep anger particularly towards Christians.
“I felt there was a lot of guilt-tripping and emotional manipulation. It didn’t help that I went to school with Christians who behaved just like the rest of us, not that well-behaved. I thought, ‘They get to go to heaven and I don’t?'”
Born with albinism, Levan, 41, also felt there was a disconnect between his life situation and the Christian catchphrases that were told to him about God’s plan and goodness.
“I wasn’t angry with God per se. I just couldn’t believe that He exists, given the unfairness I felt about my own life.”
Then in 2020, Levan had several supernatural encounters that suddenly convinced him that, not only is God real, He also cares about him. Seemingly overnight, Levan became a Christian.
While now a believer in Christ, Levan, based on his past experiences, retains an understanding of how many atheists think.
He shares with Salt&Light some tips on how to present the Christian faith to those who say there is no God.
1. Be willing to investigate your own faith
When Levan became a Christian, the philosophical questions he used to ask as a pre-believer did not miraculously disappear. So he set about finding the answers.
“I read a lot of Christian apologetics, watched a lot of videos. I wanted to deepen my understanding.
“I think, as a Christian, it’s good to investigate your faith on a deeper level. God is not afraid of your questions.”
“Then I invite the atheist I’m speaking to to explore the Bible for themselves.”
In fact, the Bible is full of examples of people who had deep questions for God.
Habakkuk asked about injustice (Habakkuk 1:3), Job asked about the reason for his suffering (Job13:22-23). Mary asked about the mechanics of the virgin birth (Luke 1:34).
In Levan’s case, the answers he found helped him to articulate the details and nature of his faith more competently when he talks to atheists, without having to appeal to simplistic platitudes like “I just believe”.
“For example, when they say that Jesus is just a historical figure, I tell them about the history of how the Bible was put together, what makes Jesus different, and how there’s a coherent narrative that actually runs throughout the Old and New Testaments, including fulfilled prophecies.
“Then I invite the atheist I’m speaking to to explore the Bible for themselves, investigate to see if it makes sense to them. There’s no need to coerce. Just appeal to their natural intellect and curiosity for truth. Help them see that nothing beats first-hand exploration rather than cultural hearsay or reductive Christian cliches.”
2. Give them room to talk and ask
Prior to believing, Levan had encountered many Christians eager to spread the Word. However, they often did most of the talking and he the listening.
“No one person is able to understand God in His entirety.”
He advises Christians to not shy away from giving atheists the space to talk and ask hard questions, allowing them to articulate their views instead of simply “preaching” at them.
“We as believers don’t have to be afraid of tough questions about God. Atheists are often drawn to rationality, which requires intellectual honesty.
“So it is good for us as Christians to show atheists that faith and reason are not at all opposed to each other. It’s a false dichotomy.
“Let atheists ask hard questions and try to answer them as reasonably as possible based on the Bible. Don’t hide away. While the atheist may not believe in God on the spot, they will at least appreciate that you’ve given them room to talk freely without being preachy, defensive or agenda-driven.
“For certain questions which we don’t have a clear answer on, just be honest to say you don’t have the full answer. Anyway, no one person is able to understand God in His infinite entirety.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
3. Present the logic of God
“When talking to atheists, try to express what you know in a vocabulary they can understand. Don’t throw cliched ‘Christianese’, Christian buzzwords, at them blindly,” said Levan.
“Instead, meet them where they are (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Be coherent and relatable.”
There are some ways this can be done:
Share why you believe
“Many atheists are curious about why you believe in God. They want to know how you’re able to believe so fully in something that they struggle to see.
“For example, you can simply explain that you believe in God because of a specific incident, life-changing experience, sudden realisation and so on.
“Atheists may dismiss or not fully believe your reasons are valid. That’s okay, given their perspective.
“But, at the very least, you’ve shown them that your faith wasn’t a light, spur-of-the-moment decision. It’s one that you thought deeply about in relation to your life.”
Show the flaws of some of their reasoning
Levan also shared that atheists often hold the law of causal relationships in high regard – that is, A causes B to happen, which causes C to occur and so on.
“When talking to atheists, try to express what you know in a vocabulary they can understand.”
Levan often uses their respect for such logical reasoning to share about creation.
“I usually ask atheists, ‘If the law of causal relationships is real, what caused the Big Bang, or anything before that?’ If you don’t believe in God or an original creator, then you’re saying that the Big Bang essentially came out from nothing.
“But saying something came out of nothing breaks their own reasoning of causality. So unless they can explain why nothing can lead to something in a world of causal relationships, they can’t turn around to say that your faith in God is based on illogical, flimsy reasoning either.
“At the very least you, as a Christian, are showing that your belief in God isn’t only rooted in some touchy-feely emotion. There is a firm, logical foundation for your faith, even if experiencing Him can be highly emotional.”
4. Don’t get into heated debates or arguments
“Defend your faith without being defensive,” said Levan. (2 Peter 3:15)
“You cannot argue people into faith; you can’t strong-arm debate people into believing.
“If you’re too aggressive and just want to win an argument with an atheist, you’re going to end up pushing them further away. You’re making it more about your ego, about wanting to ‘win’, rather than trusting God’s timing in opening their hearts.
“Instead, just be confident in defending your faith when necessary. But do so in love, confidence, patience and clarity. Just focus on planting seeds with kindness. Don’t get into fruitless fights.”
5. Be the testimony
When Levan first became a Christian, some of his atheist and agnostic friends were reluctant to meet up with him. They feared that he would talk about nothing else but God.
But when they did get together, they realised that, while he had indeed been transformed, their friendship had not changed. Their love for each other remained.
“Be yourself, but let Christ’s work on your heart shine through your words and actions.”
“Atheists are often rational types who rely on evidence they can see or directly experience. And God doesn’t often choose to reveal Himself as a booming Morgan Freeman voice in the sky.
“So an atheist’s main frame of reference is simply looking at your life and seeing how it has changed since you came to faith. (Matthew 5:16)
“When you show them love even if they mock your faith, they will start to say, ‘I don’t believe what you believe, but I must admit that what you believe has caused you to change.’
“In short, just let your life be your biggest testimony. You don’t have to act holier than thou or pretend to have life all figured out. Just be yourself. But let Christ’s work on your heart shine through your words and actions towards others, including atheists.
“That’s perhaps one of the biggest things that can soften the atheist’s heart from the stereotypes they may have of Christians.”
6. Let God work
“Whenever you do get a chance to share your faith with an atheist or a questioning agnostic, always stay attuned to God throughout. Keep your heart open and let the Holy Spirit guide you in what to say or do.
“Sometimes God will ask you to back off from the conversation for a while. Other times, He may give you a rhema word of knowledge about the person. It all depends on what God wants.”
“Our job is to just to show up in love to carry out what God wants for this person.”
To illustrate, Levan shared how he was once talking about his faith with an acquaintance at a cafe. The acquaintance was curious about his sudden belief in God.
At the end of the conversation, God suddenly showed Levan a vision of the acquaintance as a child crying into his teddy bear because he had been bullied.
Levan shared the rhema word with him. This caused the acquaintance to tear up because he knew that only God could know such a personal detail. He eventually went on to find faith in Christ.
“It’s about staying attuned to and trusting in God’s greater will and timing, not ours. Forget about trying hard to ‘convert’ someone, like a flesh-driven KPI.
“Instead, it’s more helpful for us to focus on growing a close relationship with God and also the atheists we know and love.
“I find this heart posture to be the best approach when talking with atheists about our faith.
“After all, we aren’t the actual ones to open a person’s heart to faith. It’s all God’s work. So when the right time comes to share the Gospel, God will let you know because He has an infinitely bigger heart for them than any of us.
“Our job is to just to show up in love to carry out what He wants us to do for this person, staying sensitive to God’s promptings.”
Levan makes it a point to pray for both his pre-believing friends and new people he meets, hoping for each of them to know Christ.
“Keep praying, keep believing that God will turn their hearts.”
“Praying for them really helps. God wants them to know Him. Look at what He did for the hundredth sheep. (Luke 15:4)
“I know that sometimes it seems that an atheist you know will never, ever come to believe in God. It seems impossible.
“But trust me. I was a mostly lifelong atheist before suddenly finding faith in Jesus. Later, I found out that friends had secretly been praying for me to know Him. And God heard them, all without my knowing.
“So believe that God also hears your heart and your prayers for the people you love who may not yet believe. Keep praying, keep believing, that God will turn their hearts in His perfect timing.
“We, as humans, may not see it coming, but we can trust that God, as the Good Shepherd, will always chase after them with His unfailing love.”
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