Planets And Pinheads

What do you say to someone you meet who claims God doesn’t exist?

Do you quote Genesis or Revelation? Or John 3:16? Do you rattle off a bunch of reasons why they should believe in God? Do you share your testimony? Do you smack them over the head with your Bible?

The folks I have met who claim God doesn’t exist are either methodical thinkers or they’re not. Most seem well-educated and well read. But they read folks like Isaac Asimov or Graham Green or Karl Marx or Frederick Nietzsche or Arthur Miller or Kurt Vonnegut or Carl Sagan or H,G. Wells, Some even read the Bible. But they’re looking for loopholes to support their atheistic views.

Someone showed me a diagram that introduces logic and questioning into the discussion. I don’t know if any of the folks I’ve shown it to thought any more about their salvation, but it all sounds good to me. I know if I were an atheist and someone showed me this, it would encourage me to think.

Maybe you can think of some ways to use this. I’ll show you the diagram at the end of this message, but I want to illustrate it with pictures to begin.
“Let’s say this picture of the universe represents all the knowledge that exists in the entire universe. Everything to know about any subject, any science, any history, any mathematics, any anthropology, any language et. al.

“Let’s say the dot at the end of the arrow in the picture represents all the knowledge I possess. It represents everything I know in or about the entire universe and body of knowledge in the universe. Do you see that speck at the end of the arrow?

“All the knowledge I know about everything there is to know in the universe could fit . . .
. . .on the head of a pin.

At this point I give my atheist friend the opportunity to draw a circle on the picture of the universe that represents all the knowledge they know to be true. Usually their circle is larger than mine (which you can’t even see).

Then I ask a few questions like:

  1. “The circle you drew represents all the knowledge you know to be true beyond a doubt, correct?”
  2. “By looking at this entire body of knowledge in the universe, we can both admit that there’s plenty of things out there we don’t know. Can’t know. Would you agree?”
  3. “With all the knowledge neither of us knows for sure, could it be even remotely probably that somewhere out there in the cosmos and the stars and space, all of which we can not know, that there may be a God out there?”
      1. If they say “yes,” then you have a basis for beginning discussions to find some common ground, some area of common interest or belief that could be the catalyst for further discussions on the topic.
      2. If they say “no”, then you might say . . .
  4. “So now, just for the sake of discussion, let me see if I understand what you believe. You believe there is no God. You believe that we both admit there’s boatloads of knowledge out there and on earth we both agree we do not know.  You believe there’s no heaven, No he__. You believe the Bible is a myth. You believe Jesus was just a man or a good teacher. When it’s over, it’s over. All our bodies go back in the ground and become worm food. There’s no consciousness, no thought. Nothing. We just lay in that hole in the ground and rot. Done. Am I right. (Always ask them if you understand them. And BY ALL MEANS NEVER criticize them for their beliefs, or their non-beliefs).
  5. Then say, “I believe there IS a God who sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for my sins and that when I die physically my spirit will live with God forever in heaven for eternity. I also believe that those who don’t claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity totally separated from God and live in eternal torment, where there will be continual sorrow, weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“You may be right.”

“If you are, what have I lost?”

“But what if you’re wrong? What have YOU lost?”

The first principle of logic is the law of non-contradiction. The foundational first principle of logic states that opposite claims cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense.

Here’s the diagram you can draw on a piece of scrap paper, a napkin, a paper towel, any writing surface will do.

I hope you can use this sometime. You may not bring someone into the Kingdom of God with this illustration, but you may get a non-believer or two to think a little differently.

8 thoughts on “Planets And Pinheads

  1. Great illustration Steve! I definitely agree that putting them down is not the answer. My brother is an atheist. He is by far smarter than me in book knowledge. When he confuses me with his debates, I just say “Try it. “Pray and ask God to show Himself to you as you read the Bible. He will show you He’s real.” I know God is true because I see Him working in my life. There’s no doubt He’s real when you experience the working of His Holy Spirit. Seek Him and you will find Him.


  2. This is wonderful! And just what I needed to day. I have a friend who “believes” in a form of God, but he has polluted his belief with reincarnation and a whole bunch of other stuff. Using your approach, perhaps I will be able to draw his attention away from the chaos and focus on the simple. Thank you! God bless you – keep up the good work.


      1. Steven,
        God bless you! I will let you know. If the weather is okay on Monday, I will fix a nice lunch and we will have a conversation. However, the forecast is for snow, so we will see. I trust in God, so when He thinks the time is right – it will be. I will e-mail you and let you know.


  3. I agree, great way to put it and I describe it the same way. Worse case scenario you have something Greater to believe in, but there will always be cynics and people who don’t want to change their ways and want to continue living lives that only help themselves and sometimes even lives that harm them and others. But this is a great illustration, thank you for sharing!!


    1. Thank you, Jenn, for your encouragement. I have used this illustration before on folks who respond with pat atheistic or secular humanism responses, they read in a book. I want people to discuss what they really believe, rather than what they’ve read in some book and memorized. And they go on living just the way they want to, with little regard for their eternal life. Best case scenario, at least, after seeing this illustration, they might be inclined to at least think about the possibility. God only knows. Thanks again for your comment.


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