My supervisor at the hospital, Bob the Baptist–who has been serving in various forms of hospital ministry for about a hunnerd years–spent several of those years counseling addicts in the hospital’s drug and alcohol rehab unit.
One day in his counseling he introduced himself as a counselor and chaplain to a young man of bitter and menacing appearance, who by way of introducing his own self said gleefully to Bob the Baptist: “I’m not a Christian–I’m a devil worshipper!”
Bob just casually crossed his arms and retorted: “Really? How’s that workin’ for you?”
Occasionally we Christians all encounter the hostile atheist or agnostic who is not content to just be a good atheist or agnostic. This obnoxious atheist or agnostic is just as obnoxious as the Happy but overzealous Christian who knows every word of the Bible but has never been transformed much by it, if at all. This is the Happy Christian who will get hooked into another silly argument with the nonbeliever and neither one really wins anything, even though the grace of God gets diminished and-or averted once again as the nonbeliever breathlessly tells his peers in non-belief how he socked it to that Happy Christian. And the Happy Christian goes away smiling as he believes he just struck another valiant blow for God in God’s battlefied.
Onward Christian soldier.
Maybe the best response to the hostile nonbeliever who wants to taunt you or hook you into a spitting contest over your belief and his belief–which is no belief in God–is to say something like, “Look, my loving trust in God’s love and grace is working for me and a lot of other people who believe and trust in that love and grace, and that’s all I have to say about that, OK?”
Witness to God’s love and grace doesn’t have to contain argumentative words in defense of God, and certainly not words in some battle-like offensive on behalf of God. That kind of battlefield mentality is of the sort that turned off the famous writer Anne Rice and turned her away from church. And it’s the sort of spiritual mentality that turns off and averts more people from church or Christian faith every day.
Witness to God’s love and grace is mainly about just having love and grace in your heart. If your Christian faith is in fact working out for you, just let it be, and let God be God.