Talking to aggressive atheists can be enjoyable and fulfilling if you have an intelligent and creative spiel.
I was talking to an atheist builder who had a pop at me for being a Christian. He declared boldly: "I'm on the side of science and not religion."
I was straight in there. "Does that mean you agree with Eric Harris then?
The builder was puzzled and asked me: "Who is Eric Harris?"
I smiled inwardly and launched into my bespoke evangelism patter.
"Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School, Colorado, USA in 1999. Eric wrote in his diary:
“just because your mommy and daddy tell you blood and violence is bad, you think it’s a f—g law of nature? wrong, only science and math are true, everything else, and I mean every f—g thing else is man made.”
Eric also wrote: "It's all just nature, chemistry and math, deal with it.”
I paused for breath and asked him again - "Is this how you look at the world? Eric was on the side of science! Is he right or wrong?
The geyser was taken aback at this and said he didn't know what to say. Then he opined:
"But surely religion is responsible for all the wars in the world today. Just look at what's happening in Syria today. It's truly terrible!
I continued my patter thus: "If I agreed with you and Eric Harris I would be truly miserable about all the horrors of war. If snipers, bombers and torturers are 'just machines' then there is no hope at all. What we call 'evil' is simply the laws of physics at work. Do you agree with that?
The builder was surprised that I didn't 'defend religion' but instead attacked his scientism. He was softened and admitted that he had never thought about the dark side of scientism.
In conclusion I delivered this spiel: "If I believed that torturers and bombers were 'just machines', I would top myself right now but I have a hope in the resurrection body and Jesus Christ. One day the middle east will be filled with love and mercy. No more bombers and torturers when Christ returns to bring His kingdom in its fullness.
"Wow" he said. "Never thought about that!"
He certainly didn't agree with me but he left with some glimmers of understanding and perhaps some hope.