What We Can Learn from an Atheist 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 6, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. I read an article in Answers magazine (July–September 2010, pages 26–28), 
    1. in which the writer gleaned lessons from
    2. Penn Jillette, a world-famous magician.
  2. Mr. Jillette is also a bold atheist, 
    1. who uses his bombastic nature and
    2. fearlessness before the public
      1. to argue against belief in God.
      2. He does not go easy on anyone.
    3. While he is liberal,
      1. he does not hesitate to blast liberals when he disagrees with them.
      2. He does the same to us.
  3. However, the article referenced a short video that Penn Jillette made 
    1. that might surprise you, and
    2. show us somethings that we need to consider as Christians
      1. in dealing with atheists and those like them.
      2. We have to avoid getting frustrated with them and
        1. remember how the Lord dealt with us, and
        2. remember His teachings on how to deal with people.


  1. Go Back 
    1. Did you miss an opportunity?
      1. Did you say something that you should not have said?
      2. Did you make a mistake?
    2. Once when my dermatologist cut something off my chest, and then
      1. cauterized it, although lying on my back
      2. the “aroma” came up into my nose.
        1. I said that it was interesting to smell my own flesh burning.
        2. He then said that I could tell my congregation as I preach
          1. that is what it would be like in hell, that is,
          2. you will be able to smell your own flesh burning.
            1. For some reason, I said, “That is what I preach.”
            2. Why did I make such a statement?
              1. Is that what I preach?
              2. I talked to his nurse at the next visit,
                1. explaining myself further,
                2. telling her what I do preach.
                  1. I tried to make a connection with him and worship.
                  2. He said he prays direct.
  2. Compliment 
    1. Why is it important to compliment people?
      1. It breaks down their defenses.
      2. It softens them up.
    2. Did the Lord ever compliment?
  3. Be Patient and Respectful 
    1. What does impatience and disrespect do?
    2. How do you want people to be with you?
  4. Be Bold 
    1. If you go to them with doubts,
      1. they will walk all over you, and
      2. they will not listen to you.
        1. Why should they listen to you,
        2. if you are not even sure yourself?
  5. Be Sincere and Show You Care 
    1. Is not the message of the Bible,
      1. which should also be our message,
      2. that God loves the world, and
        1. offered His Son Jesus Christ
        2. for everyone’s salvation?
    2. Let that come through your speech and actions.
  6. Do Not Attack 
    1. When someone attacks you,
      1. what do you do?
      2. You defend yourself.
    2. What will someone do whom you attack?
      1. He will defend himself.
      2. What then have we accomplished?
  7. Look Them in the Eyes 
    1. What does looking a person in the eye convey?
    2. Make note of Mark’s comment
      1. as he prefaced what Jesus said to the rich young ruler,

        21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him… (Mark 10.21).
      2. Looking at someone as you talk confirms what?
  8. Talk to Them 
    1. Engage in conversation.
    2. We believe we have the superior knowledge, because
      1. we believe in God, but
      2. does that mean the atheist has nothing to offer?
  9. Be Christ-Like 
    1. Did Jesus interrupt?
    2. How did Jesus conduct conversations?
  10. Let Your Light Shine 
    1. No, you probably will not convert them on the spot.
    2. Perhaps you prepared the soil.
      1. You might have even gone further and
      2. planted a seed.
        1. Still someone else might have planted the seed, and
        2. now you are watering it.


  1. Perhaps we can sum it up, saying, 
    1. what kind of person would get your attention, and
    2. make you want to consider Christianity?
  2. Then put into place the Golden Rule,

    31 “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6.31).
  3. Also, we should not assume 
    1. that people have no interest,
    2. unless they have already said so.