How do I reach out to my atheist roommate?


Well, recently I have moved into college as a freshman. Now, the person I'm rooming with is a friend I've had through high school. He calls himself an atheist. Now, I'm not exactly sure if he is a true atheist or not. He doesn't actively protest God and go over all these debates like, is God real? or evolution real? I'm pretty sure that he thinks Christianity is a joke. I'm pretty sure one of the reasons for that is because in high school, a ton of people say they are Christians, but then act exactly like everyone else. It really frustrates me, because those people would go get drunk all the time, have sex all the time, and do drugs, and then the next day call themselves Christians. That might be why he doesn't take it seriously.

When I was in high school, I prayed that God would give me some way to reach out to this guy because I could tell that beneath all the jokes and laughter, he was hurt that not many people really liked him. I kept on praying to God and asking what could I do? Well, it turned out that both of us were going to the same college and he was actually the one who asked me if we wanted to be roommates. I knew this opportunity was definitely from God. Now he doesn't really like Christians in general. For example, the other day he said that a girl was "too Christian for him." Though it was obvious to me that the girl lives a life of sin. So I don't think he can really distinguish who is Christian and who is just professing to be one. He doesn't have a problem with me for some reason. I don't try to force my beliefs down his throat or anything, but I try to live a life that God wants me too in front of him. Whenever he asks me questions, I do the best I can to answer them. So far they have just been really small ones, not really relating to salvation.

Do you have any advice on how I can reach out to him? I know that God put us here in this specific college and dorm together for a reason. I'm just not sure about how to go about witnessing to him. He's definitely the type of person who would hate to have someone force their beliefs on him. He doesn't know it, but it hurts to watch him make bad choices. I don't support him in any of those, but I can't stop him from making his own decisions. Should I be more upfront with him? Should I try harder to find ways to talk to him about Christ? I'm just not sure where to start - remember, he thinks this is all just a big joke. Plus, he's a "hardcore" scientist so he tends to base everything off of solid mathematical equations and theories. Any and all advice would be appreciated!


It appears to me that you are doing exactly the right thing. You're setting an example and when opportunities arise using them to chip away at his unbelief. You'll have to take this as a long term project which you might not get to personally complete. "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (I Corinthians 3:5-7).

One thing that I've found works well is to not just say something is wrong, but to give a reason why it is wrong. It doesn't have to be anything earth shattering deep, just a point for him to consider. For instance, if he tells a lie point out that lying makes determining what is true and what is false harder. If you can work in a point from the Scriptures, even better. Just don't let it decay into a lecture.

It would also help if you helped him see things more clearly. If a girl is only acting like a Christian, then say, "I know she calls herself a Christian, but she gets drunk which is against Christianity, so she's only pretending." Again, nothing major, just a small point that demonstrates that a claim isn't enough to be a Christian.

He might make a joke out of what you say, but more likely if you keep it brief and factual, he'll tend to agree. It also means that your own behavior is going to make a major difference in whether he believes you or not. Your words and your actions have to be consistent.

Finally, atheists tend to fall in the class of people that the Bible refers to as scoffers or mockers. I have an assignment for you, get a concordance and look up all the passages that use those two terms and read them. Look for both the motivations that cause a person to be a scoffer and the ways they can be dealt with. Not all are going to apply to your friend, but many will.