Just from the title of this article, I can already hear some people screaming, "IT IS NEVER OK TO AGREE WITH AN ATHEIST!"
However, when an atheist is correct AND The Bible agrees with the person, why would we as christians not agree with statements which are accurate?
Please allow me share the abridged version of something that happened to me some time ago.
A while back I was having lunch listening to a lecture from youtube a friend of mine asked me to watch to see what I thought about the topic a pastor was discussing. After a short time an acquaintance walked up. We exchanged the normal pleasantries he sat down and asked what I was listening to?
I told him, "I was listening to a religious lecture by a pastor I know nothing about to find out if he makes good points, is full of crap or somewhere in the middle. I have just started listening to him so the jury is still out. But if nothing so far he has made some interesting points worth thinking about and researching."
The person looked back at me and said, "You know, I just can't get into all that religious stuff."
I responded by saying, "Well, to be honest, such things are not for everyone. But if you do not mind my asking, what issues do you have with religion?"
He sort of paused and looked uncomfortable, then finally said, "I really don't think you will like what I have to say."
I said, "If I was not curious and really did not want to hear what you have to say I would not have asked. By now, you should know me well enough to know that."
He responded with, "Ok . . . The way religious people tend to mindlessly accept whatever they are told by."
I nodded and said, "Ok. next."
He said, "The churches are nothing but money rackets."
I nodded and said, "Yep, can't argue with that either. Some of them are. Next?"
He said, "How church leaders and some governments use religion to control people."
I looked back nodding and said, "Yes, some most definitely do. May I ask you a strange question?"
He shrugged his shoulders and raised his hand in a sure go ahead motion.
I then asked, "Have you ever read the New Testament of The Bible?"
He looked back at me with an expression of have you lost your ever loving mind? Finally saying, "Of course not. Why would I waste the time?"
I responded, "You really should download a copy and read it. Because the things you just listed, Jesus himself had the same issues with the religious groups of his day. Quiet honestly you are not against God, Jesus or Religion. You ARE against the False Christians, the False Churches, and the False Leaders, just as I am and just as Jesus was and still is."
If you have ever seen someone or have ever been totally bewildered and not sure what to say or do, you will be able to imagine the confused, "What did you just say?" Expression on this person's face.
I continued, "But will you let me prove that you and The Bible are in agreement?"
He looked back still sort of in shock and nodded.
I said, "Ok let's start with how some alleged religious people tend to accept whatever they are told. Anyone that does that has never opened or read anything in their Bible. Because from Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve, . . . Eve taking the forbidden fruit . . . ALL the way to Revelations, mindlessly doing and accepting what someone tells you is a big No-No."
Opening the bible software on my phone and showing the text to him, "For instance in Proverbs it says, A simple man believes every word he hears; a clever man understands the need for proof." ( Proverbs 14:15 New English Bible 1970 for those that are curious.)
"Then there is Jesus saying in [Luke 21:8 KJV] Take heed that ye be not deceived."
"But one that really hits home about not blindly accepting and doing research is where it talks about the Berean."
"That night the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. These people were more receptive than those in Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive the message, and every day they"
... What does this say . . . "they carefully . examined . the Scriptures . to . see . if . those . things . were . so."
"Hum . . . the people listened then double checked what Paul had said . . . not simply blindly accepting ."
I looked at the person continuing, "And that doesn't get into testing spirits or other areas of just not blindly following. Nothing personal but you are going to have a difficult time proving The Bible teaches people to follow blindly without questioning. Now granted there are groups that teach people to blindly accept what the false leaders say without question. But alas that is NOT what The Bible teaches."
At this point the poor guy was looking at me like I have never heard anyone say this.
I continued, " As for the church and other leaders that use The Bible as well as other religious books for their own agendas. Corinthians probably sums it up best."
"Such people are false apostles, dishonest workers who are masquerading as apostles of the Messiah.
And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their doom will match their deeds!"
Looking up at him as I continued, "Yea unfortunately there are a LOT of false groups out there, I would dare say there are a lot of demon possessed groups pretending to be Christian groups in the world today."
"So again, I will say you do not seem to have a problem with The Bible or Jesus or even me, you have a problem with the false groups. The groups that are not following God, Jesus or The Bible to begin with."
"But lets move on to the money thing."
His eyes perked up like you have kidding that seems to be the core of all churches.
I said, "Perhaps one of the most well know sections is in Mark."
[Mark 11:15-18/Webster] And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
I paused then said, "That seems a little out of character for The Jesus we all hear about doesn't it? As for why Jesus did that, the next verse sums it up nicely."
And he taught, saying to them,
Is it not written, My house shall be called by all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
I paused, "and what do you think was the response of the people of power?"
He responded, "They probably were not happy."
"That's an understatement. The next verse tells us."
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people were astonished at his doctrine.
I continued, "Yea the leadership of the day saw that the people listening to and believing what Jesus said about the true word of God. If the people kept doing that the powers that be would start loosing the two most important things to them. Money and Power. Which of course usually gets powerful people looking for ways destroy the 'trouble maker' even if what the person is saying is true.
So again I will say, You are not against Jesus or God what you are against are the false churches, the false teachers, and the false teachings. To be honest I suspect you are more on the same page with what Jesus actually taught than you think."
The poor person looked totally bewildered.
I continued, "The only place we potentially disagree is does God exist? Did He create everything in the universe or just guide the creation process? And another biggie was Jesus the only begotten son of God?"
The person responded, "Yea, I don't buy into any of that."
I responded, "That's ok, you have to decide all of that for yourself. However, personally, I think you should download one of the free bible programs to your phone. And look through The New Testament. I suspect you will find that Jesus had a lot of the same opinions of the false churches of his day and both of us do about the false churches of today. Believe it or not while I am sure you will not agree with everything, I have a feeling you will find a LOT more common ground in the books of The Bible than you think."
By this time we both needed to go our separate ways.
He said as he was leaving, "You know it is not often I actually enjoy listening and talking to someone about religion and I will download that Bible software you suggested."
I responded "It has been fun. We will have to do it again sometime."
Who knows what will become of our conversation. But at least the person is willing to consider the possibility that there is more to The Bible and the teachings of Jesus than he had always been told.
I personally have found that being honest about the fact that there are a lot of problems with the only thing many people have been exposed to as Christianity goes a long way in getting unbelievers to at least consider the possibility that what they have been taught to believe about Our Lord might need some rethinking and adjustments.
As with any great journey, the trip always begins with the first step.