When talking to people about our faith and their belief or belief in God, we must regularly ask: In which God do you believe? Alternatively, in which God do you not believe? We must never assume that when people say they believe in God or don’t believe in God, they speak of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must invite them to articulate their understanding of the God in which they believe or don’t believe. To assume that we are referring to the same God is futile.
My experience is that many people who say that they believe in God or don’t believe in God have at the very best a Sunday school understanding of God, or one picked up from the media or movies, and so forth. Such people have never really thought through or seriously considered the God they say that they believe or don’t believe. Thus, by getting them to articulate their understanding of God, we can clarify that it is not the same God in whom we believe. We are then able to elucidate what we mean when we use the term God.
Some people have seriously thought about God and rejected God and don’t want or need God to be part of their lives. Well, at least they have made their determination based on understanding. Then there are the New Atheists who continually pit the best of atheism against the worst of Christianity. We must counter their arguments for the sake of those who buy into them. However, ultimately, we can never argue people into the kingdom of God. All we can do is to help remove some of the obstacles and live faithfully, trusting in the Spirit to work mysteriously in changing their hearts and minds.