Posted on July 2, 2012
If you’ve not heard, Leah Libresco, formerly a prominent atheist, has converted to Christianity. An interview with her about her journey toward theism can be found at this link. Here’s a sample.
Q. In your interactions with Christians, what were the most productive techniques that you saw used in evangelizing for the faith? What were the least productive (or the counter-productive) techniques that you encountered?
In college, I ran into tabling Christians who had pretty much no familiarity with standard atheist objections (How are the truth claims of your sect differentiated from those of everyone else? Aren’t some of your requests (pray/read the bible until you feel God’s presence) tests that can never fail, even if your claims are false?). If they hadn’t grappled with common objections, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in their conclusions, whatever the pitch.
I was in a philosophical debating group, so the strongest pitch I saw was probably the way my Catholic friends rooted their moral, philosophical, or aesthetic arguments in their theology. We covered a huge spread of topics (R: Defeat McCain, R: All the World’s a Stage, R: Eat the Apple) so I got so see a lot of long and winding paths into the consequences of belief. I know this strategy may not be available to everyone, but all the more reason to bring back debating salon culture!
“Christians who had pretty much no familiarity with standard atheist objections.”
Shame, shame, SHAME on us for not knowing how to speak intelligently and thoughtfully to those who have genuine objections.