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Arguing with Atheists

A Personal Reflection

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Firstly, we must acknowledge that, whilst for some people there are profound intellectual questions, for many there is a deep-seated emotional and psychological reaction to God, perhaps caused by some form of religious abuse or maybe just good old-fashioned sin.

"What do you think of Van Tillian presuppositionalism?" asked the earnest young man in a Starbucks café situated in the Borders store in Leeds, England. Not exactly the question I was expecting at an outreach event discussing atheism. "It's okay," I replied, "as long as you don't take it too seriously." Wrong answer. The next 15 minutes were taken up with this earnest young Christian trying to explain in the most animated terms why I had just wasted my time coming to Leeds to speak in a secular bookstore to people who, in his view, could not and would not listen, because of their presuppositions. The fact that most of the questions came from non-Christians or that many people in the store that night heard the gospel, perhaps for the first time, did not move him one inch. When challenged with Acts 17, he was still unimpressed. I found the whole experience profoundly disturbing, and yet another lesson learned in a year of extensive outreach and evangelism in our predominantly secular culture.


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David A. Robertson is author of The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths (Christian Focus, 2007), editor of the Free Church Monthly Record, and minister of St. Peter's Free Church in Dundee, Scotland.

Issue: "The New Atheism" March/April 2008 Vol. 17 No. 2 Page number(s): 38-41

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