Responding to an Angry Atheist

Mark Spence is a pastor who works with Living Waters Ministry in Bellflower, CA. A few years ago he received the following email from an angry atheist.

“You're a real [expletive], you degenerate scum, so don't you ever tell me anything. You're probably a child molester you worthless coward. Don't give me your lies about best intentions you guys are just too self-centered to do anything and that is the fact. I never hear anything Biblical come out of your filthy mouth you brainwashed Nazi.”

Instead of deleting the email, Mark responded kindly, and found that the man was upset because he was in pain and couldn’t afford medical treatment. The man’s dilemma was mentioned in the ministry’s monthly newsletter. A number of readers responded to the appeal, and last month Spence received this email from the formerly “angry atheist.”

“What I wanted to tell you was, thank you very much for doing what you did in spite of my insulting behavior. One very kind man paid for my MRI and a few doctor visits to get the reports done. Also, another one of your readers made some donations for my medical bills which was very Christian of him, so thanks very much. You have made a difference in my life and so have those others who helped out a complete stranger. It's unfortunate that only a small percentage of people who call themselves Christians actually act like it and have the actions to back up their words. Thanks and take care.”

Friends, there are many atheists, agnostics, and other folks out there who are angry with Christianity and Christians. Most of their accusations are unfair and their arguments against the Christian faith tend to be very shallow. It is tempting to simply ignore what these people say. It can be somewhat satisfying to point out how ridiculous their charges against us are and how shallow their logic and thinking really is. Yet, Mark Spence and supporters of Living Waters demonstrate that there is a better way to respond.

Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ need to remember that His command to “love your neighbor as yourself” includes “angry atheists” or anyone else who doesn’t treat us nicely or with respect. We always need to keep in mind that even when we were not nice and respectful toward God, He treated us with grace. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Because the Lord has responded to our sin and rebellion with this magnificent, overwhelming grace, those of us who have experienced it should show grace to people around us, even to those who may not deserve it. As 1 John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Posted in

Dan Erickson