The following is an excerpt from a delightfully insightful article posted by DagoodS at his blog, “Thoughts from a Sandwich.” The article is entitled “So Your Friend Is Deconverting…”, and gives advice to Christians how to interact with and converse with friends who are leaving Christianity.
How much water can you fit in a one-gallon bucket? No matter how much you pour and pour, the most you can fit is one gallon. After that, all the pouring in the world makes no difference—no more water is going to fit.
After interacting with theists on-line, your friend the deconvert has certain buckets that are full. You saying it again will make no difference. The following buckets are full:
“You really know there is a God.”
“You hate answering to authority, so you hate God.”
“You want to be God.”
“The wisdom of the world is foolishness.”
“You were never saved in the first place.”
Frankly, deconverts have heard those phrases time and time (and time) again. He knows you think it. He knows that it these are truths that are so grounded in your being they make “2 + 2 = 4” possibly more inaccurate. But he doesn’t need to hear it again.
Interestingly, you can still get the point across, but in the form of a question, rather than an accusation. Instead of saying, “You really know there is a God” you could say, “When you were a Christian, you thought Romans 1 was divinely inspired. As you know, it indicates that all humans know there is a God. How did you deal with that?”
You may not like the answer. But it comes across so much nicer in question form, rather than indictment form.
He knows you cannot fathom the concept that another person can believe, to the very core of their being, there is no God. He knows that you must question his sincerity in saying that. But rather than blurt it out, keep it to yourself. If he calls himself a former Christian, there is not a single ounce of harm to agree.
Yes, you have a duty to speak truth. Yes, you will choke on the words that state he was a Christian. But do you really want to argue “truth” with someone that you are convinced is lying to themselves? What is the gain? Let it go.
Stow the assertions; ask questions instead.