The question is often asked in circles of believers about how to “deal” with atheism. The experience of the Fathers, as well as modern experience, showed that atheism cannot be “dealt with” with a systematic and perfectly organized theological monologue or even a dialogue. The theological reason is no longer able to convince someone, especially when the reasons for his distance from God have to do with the hypocritical attitude. The double morality (one morality for us and another for others) and the scandals of the so-called Christians. This also explains the increased anger of the atheists against the Church.
Atheism is also not “countered” with logical and other scientific arguments, nor with emotional pressures, but with holiness. The case of Saint Paisios of Agios is typical, who did not send the atheist youth who approached him to a great theologian, but to an illiterate but experienced ascetic.
In the saint, the atheist meets all the arguments to seriously reflect, to become a believer, sometimes even a saint. The first thing he finds is that holiness is not something abstract, elusive and hypocritical, but absolutely real and immediately accessible. The saint is by himself the strongest proof that God exists! The proof is not based on wise and exciting words, but on personal fellowship with Him. This makes it an epistle and fragrance of Christ, ready to be read by all atheists at all times and in all circumstances.
In the saint, the atheist meets – as Saint Paisios also said – four important persuasions of holiness and at the same time antidotes to his atheism, love, humility, simplicity and discernment. The saint does not rationalize, does not claim his right, recognizes his mistakes, finds mitigations for the mistakes of others, artfully hides his virtues. Without being sinless, he thus becomes the best agent of divine Grace and the best advertiser of the personal God.
In the face of the saint, the atheist meets the totality of orthodox spirituality that captivates and rests people’s souls, imperceptibly altering their atheistic attitude and silently establishing redemptive grace.
Atheism is “countered” with holiness.