My neighbor told me yesterday that he does not know if there is a God. Ever heard something like that before? He started to talk about the folly and hypocrisy of all organized religion, the scientific evidence that the earth is far older than the Bible says, the fact that men, not God, wrote the Bible, etc.
How should we respond to such a person? We could argue all day long with them about many things. We probably would not get anywhere fast. So I have come to think that it is best to take a different approach. In dealing with such a person, I find that I often turn to the question, “To whom do you give thanks?” I ask them about where their life came from, who keeps it continuing each day, where the sun and rain come from that causes their food to grow, and things like that. Some people are pretty stubborn, I know, but deep down, we all know that we have received many blessings that we cannot claim any credit for. And most people will admit that, I think. I find that if I can bring people to recognize the fact that they owe a lot to someone else, whoever that might be, it will be a very important step in the hope of bringing about a change of heart and attitude. If a man will begin to accept truth that runs contrary to his pride, there is hope for him. We all have to give thanks to someone for the blessings we have. It is at the heart of all morality and religion and truth that we should be grateful and thankful to whomever provides these basic needs and wants to us. The pursuit of that person to whom thanks is due is a starting point of religion and righteousness.
This is supported very much by a statement in the first chapter of the book of Romans in the Bible: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21). One of the basic starting points for sin is the refusal to give thanks for all that God has given us. We are all so dependent upon Him for life and all good things. We receive so much from His hand. It is great evil not to be grateful to Him, worshiping Him and giving Him thanks.
Perhaps we would be wise to bring this foundational point before men more often as a starting point for evangelism with men who say they do not believe in God.