Arguing with Athiests – My New Ministry

I joined a web publishing/ writers’ community about two years ago. This community has a very active, unmoderated forum; which is infamous for the uncensored, disgusting, anything-goes topics and conversations. The language used on this forum would make a sailor blush, and one of the favourite activities is Christian bashing. I spend at least an hour every day in this forum.

You may ask why I would subject myself to this environment. Go ahead and ask. It’s a good question, one that I ask myself frequently. Derek asks me even more often. It is either some masochistic force that drags me in, or a mission field to which God has sent me.

Most of the “forum dwellers” are atheists. A few are Wiccan, and others have self-made belief systems drawn from various sources. Almost all of them hate Christians, especially Christians who believe in a literal heaven and hell, and insist that Jesus is the only ticket into heaven. The Christians who draw the most wrath are those who dare to proselytize in the forum.

I had never really spent much time with atheists before. It took awhile to get accepted into their community, and there are still quite a few members who intensely dislike me and my God. My first few forays into this environment left me feeling emotionally and spiritually wounded. One of my first conversations was with three Wiccans who accused me of insulting their gods, and I was told that I should watch out, because the spirits on their side have ways of dealing with people like me. That scared me. I called the church prayer chain, and emailed many Christian friends to bathe me in prayer. Then I felt ready to go back in.

Why would I go back in? I have been called the vilest names imaginable. Fortunately I don’t know what some of them mean. But I do feel that God has uniquely prepared me for this mission. I grew up with an alcoholic father who called me vicious names, and I think that I have somewhat thicker skin than I would have had. Also, I have gained a sense of perspective about pain. I know that the worst that anyone could do to me from cyberspace is to throw words at me.

In addition to my thick skin, I am also insanely stubborn. That is similar to the godly character of perseverance. I am working on changing my stubborn behavior into perseverance. I also have a quick wit, self-deprecating humour, and a rather twisted sense of humour. I  have a bachelor degree from Providence College (back when it was called Winnipeg Bible College). I have a personal library of resource material, plus access to more online resources than I know what to do with. The benefit of communicating on a forum is that I have time to look stuff up before I answer. I am sure that I have learned more about God and the Bible during these two years of presenting and defending the faith through online witnessing than I could ever have learned if I was still healthy and still working.

I am not the only Christian in this forum. We back each other up, and we also encourage each other through personal messages. I have made some great friends. There are also many Christian writers at Triond who stay out of the forums, and we have established a unique fellowship, with Christians of many denominations from all over the world.

I have had the privilege of counseling people who are suicidal, some who have lost loved ones, and several who thought they had committed the unpardonable sin. So far, I have not led anyone to a decision to accept Christ, but there are many who grew up in the church who have been discussing their questions and the reasons that they left the church. There are also curious people who are confused between catholic traditions and Christian beliefs.

I have made friends among the atheists as well. The conversations are not always about faith. My warped sense of humour has been an asset in making friends. A few days ago, I got a personal message from an atheist who said that I was his favourite Bible basher. I’ll take that as a sign that I am where I God can use me.

  1. Leslie
    June 6, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Wow Karen…you go girl! My brother, Brad, was a practising believer years ago and was very instrumental in leading me to Christ. He is now a clinical pyscholigist, and has lost all faith in God and what He stands for. He has also been very instrumental in leading his 5 children away from the God of their youth. Noone goes to church in that family any longer. He was a youth pastor and a vital part of a praise & worship team at the Steinbach Southland Church. This decision of his has broken my parents heart, almost more than they can bear. He has left his wife now and lives with his girlfriend in the city. I tend to shy away from discussions with him, he goes so deep that he loses me every time. Trying to convince a pychologist of something they no longer believe in is almost impossible. Any advice? thanks

  2. June 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Hi Leslie, Sorry I didn’t notice your comment until now. I agree that trying to convince any atheist, never mind a psychologist, and especially one who already knows all the Christian answers to every question is almost impossible. But fortunately, we have a God who specializes in doing the impossible. I never thought that either of my parents would ever come to Christ, but my mom came back to Christ before she died, and since her death my dad has come back to faith. Don’t ever doubt the power of prayer.
    Shying away from discussions with him is probably a good thing. He knows all about God, he needs a relationship with God. You and your parents need to keep showing love to Brad and let him see that your relationship with God is real.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: