The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
I Just Can’t Believe In Jesus

Anonymous asked:
I believe and trust in God but I cannot seem to believe in Jesus. I try repeatedly to read the Bible and accept Jesus as my savior but I just can’t seem to get it. I can’t believe the stories that are told in there. Also, I don’t agree with the whole homosexuality is a sin thing. I believe that God loves all of his children and should be accepted. Will God not love me because I can’t find belief in Jesus?

Jed Brewer replied:

I dig your honesty, and you’ve got a good heart.  And I can relate.

Look, let’s speak plainly for a second: there are an enormous number of people who call themselves Christians and act like complete idiots.

Growing up, “Christians” made my life miserable.  They told me I was evil to be into what I was into.  They told me God was ashamed of me.  They told me I didn’t belong. 

And I believed them.  For a long time, I believed them.

And, of course, they used Jesus to make me afraid.  His words were the proof of how bad I sucked, how terribly I didn’t measure up.

Until, one day, I realized that Jesus was talking about them.  Here are some examples:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  (Matthew 18:6)

“Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.’” (Luke 11:46)

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

Anon, to boil it down, here’s what Jesus is saying, “Holy cow do a lot of you religious people suck!”

And here’s the thing: you agree.  And so do I.

When you start a relationship with somebody, you don’t need to be on the same page about everything.  You actually can’t be – that’s not how relationships work.  You start out with some point in common, and you go from there.

You think a lot of religious people suck.  So does Jesus.  You think religious people treat folks in the LGBTQ community shamefully.  So does Jesus.  You think love, mercy, and acceptance are beautiful.  And so does Jesus.

So, if you’re wanting to develop a relationship with Jesus, start there.  Guaranteed: you will reach points where the two of you don’t agree.  Jesus has that effect on all of us.  But don’t worry about that.  Start where you agree.  Start reading what Jesus said to the fancy religious people of his day, and see how much that resonates with your own feelings.  Start reading what Jesus said about justice and mercy and compassion, and see if you don’t feel the same way. 

He’s not scared of your doubts, and he’s impressed with your heart and your honesty.  And I think the two of you would love hanging out together.

Is God To Blame When Bad Things Happen?

jasminelovesjesus asked you:
When things go wrong in life, like when we face problems, is God to blame for? Is God the cause for the bad situations that happens? I always thought that God isn’t to blame for the death of a family member or the loss of a job and etc. but He does intervene and uses our tribulation for our good and pushes us into a new good direction.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Jasmine,

You know, usually, when folks are asking if God’s to blame for problems, that question has come up because they’re dealing with some really tough stuff in their lives.  And, if that’s true for you, I’m sorry for it.  Let me know how my wife and I can be praying for you.

You asked if God is to blame when bad things happen.  Well, I suppose that really depends on your definition of “blame”.  The fact is that God could have stopped whatever the thing was, and He didn’t. 

Some people would look at that and say that God is to blame, that his decision to be inactive makes him guilty.  Others would say that God didn’t owe intervention to anyone involved, so, we get what we get, and we have no right to complain.

Both of those views, though, miss the point.  And the point is that, in everything, there is more going on than what we can see, and more than we can fully comprehend.

When I was about five years old, my Mom took my to get my vaccines so I could start school.  And getting a great big needle jabbed in my arm hurt like all get out.  It’s funny to say it, but I can still remember the shock of that moment - that this was a pain unlike anything I had ever experienced. 

Now, you and I can say two things about that situation.  First, my Mom had me get my shots because she loved me.  It needed to happen, and was for my good.  Second, that is slim comfort to a little child who’s mother just allowed a stranger to stab him.

It’s slim comfort because, (a) my arm still hurts, regardless of the reasons, and (b) the idea that there are these tiny creatures so small I can’t even see them and that I have to be protected from them lest I die, and that this terrible man in a white coat is a Doctor who is specially trained in keeping the nasty creatures at bay is beyond the scope of what a 5 year old child really understands.  You might as well have told me, “Mom moves in mysterious ways.”

The thing about suffering is that it only finds its meaning in what comes out of it.  If my shots hadn’t kept me from tetanus and the measles, then that would have been an unbelievably cruel experience.  But, of course, I have lived a measle-free existence, and I am very grateful.

The promise we have as Christians is that God will bring something amazing out of every hard thing we experience.  I bet you know this verse:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

When I was five and got my shots, I cried my eyes out, and I told my Mom that it hurt really bad.  And that is the exact right response.  If you’re going through a rough time, be honest with God.  Cry your eyes out, and tell him that it really hurts.  Don’t hold back on this – let it all out.

And when you’re all cried out, remember that God is with you, that he loves you, and that even this terrible thing is being woven in the tapestry of your good.  And, of course, that knowledge doesn’t make it “all better.”  The pain is still painful.  But it does mean that the pain doesn’t have the last word.  It means that there will come a point – which may be way, way down the road - where we can agree with the Apostle Paul that our troubles were “light and momentary” compared to the amazing good that God has brought out of them.  (2 Cor 4:17)

Stand strong, sis.  The best is yet to come.

My Friend Doesn’t Believe The Bible - What Do I Do?

indaigle asked you:
I have a really good friend who believes in Jesus, but when it comes to the Bible, he doesn’t listen because to him, it was written by humans and since humans aren’t God, it can’t be fully correct. I have no idea how to respond to this, and the conversation ends. How can I answer him?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Indy,

This is a great question.  And part of the reason it’s a great question is it gets right to the heart of what ministry is, and isn’t.

For a lot of folks, they would see your friend’s concern as a chance to bust out their advanced knowledge of Bible history.  They would talk about the consistency of the message across thousands of years of authorship.  They would bring up the Dead Sea Scrolls.  They would describe the process of medieval monastic transcription and how vigilant it was.

And all of that would completely miss the point. 

No, ministry asks this: what’s the question behind the question?  In other words, why are we stuck on this particular issue?

The odds are nearly certain that your friend’s concern has nothing to do with the reliability of Greek translation or the canonization process.  No, the great likelihood is that your friend has been hurt.

A good hint to that end is the fact that your friend’s concern is not internally consistent.  Everything he knows about Jesus was written down by a human being.  So, if we’re disregarding things because people wrote them, then we’d kind of have to disregard Jesus, too.

What all that means is that you don’t want to worry about trying to answer to the logic of what he’s saying, or the surface-level-concern of what he’s saying.  In other words, this ain’t about the Bible.  Someone who says they believe in Jesus but not the Bible because the Bible was written by people is broadcasting concerns about trust, betrayal, and hypocrisy.

I would strongly guess, Indy, that your friend has felt rejected, betrayed, and let down by religious people.  He’s known people that talked a big game about God, but didn’t live it out.  And isn’t the Bible a place where people are, again, talking a big game about God?

A related possibility is that your friend has suffered in regards to a specific issue that the Bible touches on.  Maybe he grew up in an abusive home where his mom wouldn’t leave because “divorce is a sin.”  Maybe he has a cousin who is gay, and he’s had enough of “Christians” hating somebody he loves and quoting the Bible to justify it.  Maybe the Bible was just used to make him guilty, and he’s had enough.

Regardless of the specifics, the answer is the same: don’t worry about trying to defend the Bible to your friend.  Instead, show love to your friend, earn his trust, and communicate that you are a safe place to share hard things.  And then invite him to do just that.  Like this.

“Hey bro, I’m just saying, sometimes I get the sense that people in Church have been total jerks to you.  For what it’s worth, I’m really sorry, and, if you ever want to talk about that, and just get it off your chest, I’d love to just listen.”

Your friend is lucky to have you, Indy.  I’m praying for you – let me know how it goes.

The people who persecute homosexuals?  They don’t speak for me.

The folks that fear and hate Muslims?  They don’t speak for me.

The voices that accuse the poor and downtrodden of laziness?  They don’t speak for me.

No.

No, the one who said, “Judge not” – he’s the one that speaks for me.

The one who said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” – he’s the one that speaks for me.

The one who said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you did for me” – he’s the one that speaks for me.

Don’t get it twisted.  Jesus said, “By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”  And he’s the one that speaks for me.

How Do I Stand Up For My Christian Beliefs?

This question was posed to me recently – how do I stand up for my Christian beliefs?  It’s a great question, and a pertinent question, and an easy one to get wrong.

If you want to stand up for your Christian beliefs, start by sitting down.

If you want to be a great lion of the faith, start by sitting down with a hurting person and asking, “Tell me your story.”

If you want to be a celebrated defender of God’s truth, start by sitting down with a hungry person over a generous meal that you have paid for.

If you want to be a champion for orthodoxy, start with orthopraxy.  Sit down with a woman in a nursing home, a man at a homeless shelter, or a young person at the juvenile lockup.  Sit down with them and love on them.  Make sacrifices to live that love out.

And why should you do that?  Why does standing up for faith start by sitting down?  Because the world is watching.

We have all, I suspect, heard stories about a Christian who’s life was on the line, and their aggressor demanded: “Do you believe in God?”  What few of us contemplate is that the world at large is constantly demanding that same question of you and I. 

Every day when you wake up, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and classmates are looking at you and asking, “Do you believe in God?”  Your life is the answer that question.  Your words don’t actually get a say.

We live in a world of professional pundits and talking points.  Whether your political persuasion is left, right, or center, when you turn on your news channel of choice, you hear commentators saying things that we all know they don’t mean.  The words they say have ceased to count for anything.

But action matters.  Your actions matter.  This world – our world – is not looking for and does not need another great talking head.  But we do need men and women of action, men and women who will sacrifice and put it all on the line in order to love people the way Jesus did.

A number of years ago now, when President Clinton was still in office here in the U.S., Mother Teresa was invited to give a speech for a religious gathering in Washington D.C.  She used the opportunity to deliver a scathing rebuke about abortion, and a particularly stern reprimand to the policies of Bill Clinton, who was sitting in the audience.

After the program, a reporter asked President Clinton what he had thought of Mother Teresa’s address.

His reply?  “It is very hard to argue with a life so well lived.”

See, before Mother Teresa had tried to stand up for her faith, she’d started by sitting down, for decades, with the lepers and outcasts of Calcutta.  And her sacrifice and service were her credibility.

So it is with us.  We are called to always be prepared to give a defense for the hope that we have – to be able to stand up for our faith (1 Peter 3:15).  And the start of that preparation, the beginning of that standing up, is as simple as sitting down.

How Do I Talk To People Who Are Angry At The Church?

funjer asked you:
What would be your advice for talking to friends/family about Christianity who seem to have staunch, anti-christian views. Is there a question or statement you find helps to open a conversation with them?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey my friend,

Well, I think the thing to look at is that, for many people who hold, as you put it, “staunch, anti-christian views”, they’ve been hurt terribly by religious institutions and the people in them.  And until we give them a safe place to begin to express some of that hurt, we’re not likely to get very far.

This means that, if we have a friend who’s angry at church/God/Christianity, the wise move is to approach that issue as a part of a broader relationship, instead of trying to have a series of interactions that consist of me trying to talk you out of disliking Christians.

We build relationships by demonstrating love and earning trust.  We, through our attitudes, words, and actions, show that we genuinely care about this other person, and we give them space and time to begin to trust us.  Patience is necessary here, because we’re dealing with a person who’s been burned, and badly.  A real man or woman of God plays for time.

When we’ve earned that trust and demonstrated that love – and not before – we give that person a safe place to express themselves.  I highlight that to note that we don’t start by trying to talk people out of something.  They can’t move past their hurt until they’ve expressed it, and if we’re trying to “Yeah, but!” them, it won’t work.

That said, when you have a friend with whom you’ve earned trust, you simply say, “Bro, I know you aren’t down with the whole Christian thing.  And here’s what I’m saying…I’ve got a guess that you’ve known some so-called Christians who acted like enormous tools.  And, whenever’s cool, but I want to hear about it.”

You need to be prepared to hear some horror stories.  The bulk of my job is discipleship – helping people grow in their relationship with Christ.  And the truth is that I have to do far more work on repairing damage done by religious people than just about anything else.  It’s scandalous just how terribly folks in religious institutions – and I’m talking about people in leadership – can behave.

That said, you need to be prepared for some heinous crap to come out.  And, under no circumstances are you to defend the people that did the wrong.  Do not attempt to explain their actions, apologize for them, excuse them, or defend them.  Wrong is wrong.  If a friend was mugged (as I have been), you wouldn’t think of listening to them talk about their experience and jump in with, “Well, probably the mugger is a nice guy once you get to know him!”  Don’t be that guy.

Instead of all that, your job in that moment is to listen, to be present, and to grieve with them.  The Bible tells us to “mourn with those who mourn.”  (Romans 12:15)  When they tell you that the kids at the wealthy church made fun of their clothes and the Sunday school teacher didn’t do anything about it, your one and only response should be, “Bro, I’m so sorry.”  When they tell you that their little brother was molested by the choir director, your one and only response should be, “Bro, I’m so sorry.”  When they tell you that the youth leader told them that they asked too many questions and they shouldn’t come any more, your one and only response should be, “Bro, I’m so sorry.”

And, then, at long last, you mention this.  “Bro, just so you know, I’ve read that Bible.  And, for what it’s worth, you aren’t alone in being mad at these people.  As your friend, I’m mad, too.  But we aren’t the only ones.  The truth is that God is furious with them and the way they treated you.  It takes every ounce of strength he’s got not to smite the holy hell out of them right this second.  Jesus said that if you messed with a little kid trying to get close to him, he was coming after you.  If I could add just one idea to what you’re saying, it would be that God saw how they treated you, and that He. Is. Pissed.”

Your friend is likely to nod and not be quite sure what to say to that.  But it doesn’t matter, because the seed has been planted.  At that point, you say, “Dude, it’s ice-cream o’clock, and I’m buying.”  And we go have some fun, knowing that we will need to revisit this topic, and point out God’s view of it, many more times before we can move past it.

How Do I Know Christianity Is True?

sailingstarss asked you:
Hey jed I’ve been having some questions. Now i’m not shaking in my faith or anything, i believe 120% but i talking with my friend whose a nonbeliever and he was saying how there’s so many animals with different personalities and so there could be a high equality of there being reincarnation (which i truly don’t believe) but it got me to thinking how do we know there’s no reincarnation, and that christianity is truly the right er.. not religion, but the right God to be having a relationship with?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Julianne,

I’m really glad you asked.  And you don’t need to be shaking in your faith to ask questions.  Asking questions is a big part of how we learn and grow.  In fact, I’m far more concerned about a person who doesn’t ask any questions than I am about a person who does!

As Christians, we don’t have to be afraid of asking questions.  Questions are ultimately answered with something true, and, as a smart man once said, all truth is God’s truth.  (He made it, after all.)

So, you brought up reincarnation.  Today, the most common religions / philosophies that teach reincarnation are, of course, Hinduism and Buddhism.  

I’m no scholar of comparative religions, and, so, my Hindu and Buddhist friends will have to forgive my base approximation here, but, in very simple terms, the idea behind reincarnation in both Hinduism and Buddhism is that you, as a spiritual being, kind of suck.  You’re hung up on the things of this world, which are illusory.  And you’re trying to be satisfied with them, which can’t work.  When you die, in essence, the cosmos gives you another try at sucking less, in another physical form.  We keep going round and round on this – trying not to suck, sucking, dying, trying not to suck, etc – for as long as it takes until, finally, you don’t really suck at all, and you achieve Nirvana, liberation, or eternity in a heavenly spiritual realm.

I can tell you why, respectfully, I don’t believe that – and I will – but that’s a different reason from why I do believe in Jesus.

 As a Christian, I look to the Bible, and it says, really clearly, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)  That means, of course, no reincarnation.  But, let’s pretend, just for a moment, that the Bible didn’t say that, and that there could be reincarnation.

My problem with reincarnation, in that case, would be that, I know myself.  And, apart from Jesus, I really, really suck.  I suck so bad that, if you gave me a hundred million lifetimes, I still wouldn’t get this thing right.  You could bring me back as a badger, and ask me to just be a good and selfless badger, and I would still make a mess.  I’d be stealing the other badger’s food, hitting on their badger girlfriends, and, probably, going to badger parties and smoking tiny little bags of badger weed.  (I assume they have that.  I am not a biologist.)

My point here is that what keeps me from enlightenment, so to speak, is not a lack of opportunities to get it right.  It is a terminal brokenness, nestled dead center in the core of my being.

I know myself. And I need a savior, not another chance to fix it on my own.

But, as I said, that’s different from why I do believe in Jesus.  I believe in Jesus because I know him.  I believe he’s the “right God to have a relationship with” (as you put it), precisely because I do have a relationship with him.

I believe in Jesus because I have seen him take the mess-that-is-me, and make something beautiful out of it.  I have watched him make me into someone I could never be – in a million lifetimes – on my own.  And I’ve watched him do it in the unlikeliest of settings, in the span of a few short years, so I could know for sure that it was Him doing it, and not my good intentions.

And I’ve watched Jesus do that same work of transformation in the lives of others.

I’ve watched Jesus transform destitute crack addicts into good pastors, good fathers, and good men.  I’ve watched Jesus turn ruthless murderers into kind and compassionate servants, and close friends.  I’ve watched Jesus take women who’ve prostituted themselves in order to get high over a period of decades and turn them into the kind of sweet and lovely people I only wish I had had as a grandma.

In other words, I have seen with my own two eyes that Jesus is the Christ.  He is the Son of the Living God.  And He is very much in charge.

The more that you get to know Jesus, the more you’ll see and experience and know the same thing.  And that’s the way Jesus has always worked. He says, “follow me”, and, along the journey of following him, we find our questions answered and our doubts allayed.  You are no fool to trust him.

How Do I Stand Up For My Faith?

drowninginhisgrace asked you:
I have this Jesus sweatshirt, and I love it. The only problem is my dad is Atheist and has lectured me for wearing it because he feels as though it’s pushing my beliefs. I’d love to wear it school, but I don’t want to start drama with my dad. I’m just unaware if a sweatshirt is actually worth the drama. But, if I don’t wear the sweatshirt, is that not taking a stand for my beliefs? Thank you so much! :)

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Laura,

I hear your concern here. 

Well, let’s talk about taking a stand for your beliefs.  One of the things that circulates a lot in Christian culture – and particularly with young people – is the meme of, “If someone stuck a gun in your face and asked if you believed in God, what would you say?  WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?!!!” 

Let’s be very clear here – Over 2000 years of Church history, there are folks where the Lord has asked them to literally lay down their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  These folks are called “martyrs”, and they deserve the utmost respect.  But their martyrdom grew out of following Jesus.  In other words, Jesus said, “Love these people over here.  Tell them about me.  Do something about their suffering.”  And these folks said, “Ok.”

And when you follow Jesus and work to love the people he points you to, there are people who will persecute you.  This is not a possibility; it’s a guarantee.  From time to time, these situations get so extreme that that follower of Jesus is asked to lay down their life.  And we, today, are cheered on by this great cloud of witnesses.

But a life of following Jesus that results in persecution is very, very different from bullheadedly picking fights with unbelievers and refusing to back down in the name of taking a stand for Christ.  If you turn on a news show on any of the big 24-hour cables news channels, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

The Apostle Paul, throughout the New Testament, repeatedly exhorts Christians to do everything they can to have a good reputation with outsiders.  Here’s a good example:

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6)

Unfortunately, most of the time, when Christians get into taking-a-stand mode, they are neither wise nor graceful.  And that’s no good.

Let’s look at an example.  Say you’re hanging out with a group of people.  And Jimmy decides to toy with you, and he says, “So, Laura, I’m an atheist.  I guess that means you think I’m going to hell.”

OK, well, look, the Bible is clear about the fact that salvation is in Christ alone.  And there are people who – out of sense of feeling like they need to stand up for their faith – would feel obligated to say, “Well, yes, Jimmy, when you die, if you have not turned to Christ as savior, you will go to hell.”

But that’s not the wise or graceful response.  The wise and graceful response is, “Jimbo, I think it ain’t my job to judge anybody – you included.  The thing I can tell you is that God loves you, even if you aren’t sure what you think of him.  And I love you, even though you ask me smart aleck questions to try and put me on the spot.  So live with that!”

Boom!  Wise.  Graceful.  And ministerial.  In that moment, Jimmy knows that, when he’s ready to figure out what’s up with him and God – and that day will come – that you’re the first person on his list to talk to.

So where does that leave us in regards to your sweatshirt?

First, you don’t have an obligation to wear the sweatshirt as a form of standing up for your faith.  If it’s an isolated thing that bugs your Dad…buy a different sweatshirt.

But, if this is part of a larger pattern of your Dad saying, “I don’t want you on this Jesus thing,” well, now, that’s something different.  As we said before, the real kind of standing up for your faith – the good kind – comes out of following Jesus.  And I know that’s what you’re about.  So, then, the response to that is, “Dad, I’m on this Jesus thing.  And I’m going to keep being on this Jesus thing.  And I certainly want to be respectful of you in the midst of that – you may notice the conspicuous lack of a certain sweatshirt – but, it isn’t right for you to ask me to deny the things I believe.  I’m being respectful of your beliefs, and that courtesy needs to go both ways.”

How Do I Convince People To Become Christians?

Anonymous asked:

A lot of the times when I try to minister to unbelievers, they pull out the “What proof do you have that Christianity is the right one? Every other religion in the world claims to have proof that they are correct.” I trust in God because I feel His presence daily, but people respond to this by saying, “What about people of other religions? They feel the same thing.” I just don’t know how to respond to this.

Jed Brewer replied:

Anon, do you know I don’t ever debate anyone about anything?  I don’t argue with people about Jesus or Christianity, ever. Know why?

‘Cause it doesn’t work.

In the long history of the world, I don’t know that much of anyone has ever been debated into believing in Jesus.

And while we’re spinning our wheels quoting Descartes’ Ontological Argument for the Existence of God, there are loads of people who are lost and hurting and ready to embrace the truth of Jesus Christ right now today, and they are not getting ministered to, because our time’s being wasted trying to refute Richard Dawkins.

Let’s not do that anymore.

Here is a ministry strategy that works every time, without fail.  Wherever you are – school, work, etc – find the outcasts.  Find the people who are rejected and forgotten.  Find what Jesus referred to as “the least of these.”  And then, serve them.

That kid at school that no one likes?  Go sit down by him and just talk.  You don’t even need to talk about anything spiritual.  Just get to know him.  Be a friend to him.

That guy at your job who’s going through a messy divorce and looks like he’s been run over by a truck?  Tell him it’s double-bacon-cheeseburger-o’clock, and you’re buying.  Give him a safe place to vent.  (He needs it, I promise.)

These conversations will eventually turn to something spiritual, and, when they do, you’re in the exact right place to say, “Well, bro, I don’t know much, but I do know that Jesus loves you.”  And that person will be ready to receive that from you, because you’ve earned the right to be heard in their life.  You’ve earned that right by demonstrating that you love them.

And then, two crazy things will happen.  One, you will watch peoples’ lives change, and you will realize that you love doing ministry.  It isn’t this scary, awkward, bizarre intellectual shouting match.  No, it’s seeing people who don’t know that they’re loved, and fixing that.  It’s getting to play a part in God turning a suffering human being’s whole world upside down.  It’s watching people be set free.

The second thing that will happen is that you will begin to have credibility.  If you’re making sacrifices of time, money, comfort, safety, etc to serve people who everyone else has forgotten and rejected, people notice.  And those non-Christians that you’ve been arguing with?  They will have respect for what you’re doing.  That doesn’t mean that they’ll want to stop reading Sam Harris and start going to church.  But when they look at you, they’ll see a dude who practices what he preaches, a dude who lives out what he claims to believe.  If you ask non-Christians what a Christian is supposed to be doing, they will almost universally tell you that Christians are supposed to be helping the poor and the hurting.  And they are right.

By you showing that you are, in fact, that kind of Christian, you’re earning a spot in their life.  When they’re ready to talk, for real, about this Jesus thing, they know that you are the guy they want to talk to.

And you should know that that day will come.  No one’s life is immune from sorrow.  Houses burn, markets collapse, jobs disappear, and people pass away.  When those things happen, Ayn Rand and Daniel Dennett don’t have any words of comfort.  But you do.  And, on that day, they will find you.

So, no, my friend, don’t bother with the arguments.  Instead, find the lost, hurting, rejected, poor, disenfranchised, abused, neglected, and abandoned. Serve them in love.  The rest will follow.