It’s the fastest growing ‘religious’ group in America– it’s the “NONEs,” or the non-religious individuals. In 2012, almost 20% of Americans identified themselves as having no religious interest or affiliation. With millennials, those born after 1980, you’ll find that percentage increases to around 30-40%. That’s a very large group of people in America alone – much larger when thinking globally. So how do we initiate faith conversations with this particular group?
Start with a simple question: Tell me about the God you don’t believe in – I may not believe in him either.
What do I mean? Well, when you sit down and actually discuss God with many non-religious people, you’ll discover that their view of God is completely contrary to what the Scriptures actually teach. Very often I agree with the skeptic, the agnostic, even the atheist, because the God they don’t believe exists, I don’t believe in either. Often, their view of God has become so distorted that the God they describe is nowhere close to the God that Christians have come to know through the person of Jesus Christ. And that right there is a starting point – it’s the beginnings of a spiritual discussion.
No matter who we are talking to: Muslim, Buddhist, or Atheist, all spiritual conversations begin with accepting people where they are – even if their values, beliefs, or lifestyles vary significantly from our own. That’s Paul’s whole point. He’s saying, “I don’t ignore the law of Christ. I don’t compromise the Gospel or my moral values, but I AM seeking to find a common interest (my paraphrase).” Eventually, when questions come up about why we live the way we do, we can point to Jesus.
After all, Jesus put aside the comforts of Heaven to live among us and to die for us so that we might be saved. Certainly we can put aside our interests for the sake of pointing a “NONE” to Christ. Will you?