It is amazing some of the crazy questions people will come up with about God just to avoid the obvious ones. People would rather discuss whether God is actually a woman, why he would allow evil in the world, and if Jesus had a beard, then to discuss the more important matters of the heart. Most atheists do not know exactly why they do not believe, they just don't believe. They look at the idea of God, listen to a few opinions and then decide, with no investigation of their own, that there is no God. What amazes me is how many people start believing after they do look into it for themselves.
Jesus had to face a group like this called the Sadducees. Although they had some concept of God they were very liberal in their thinking, becoming more of the world than anything else. They were very much opposite to the Pharisees who saw themselves as the guardians of the law of Moses. It was because the Sadducees were so liberal that the Romans found them to be the easiest to work with and so would choose the High Priest from among them. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, but it did not stop them from coming up with a ridiculous question to test Jesus.
Their question was based on a human concept and not the Word of God. They wanted to know if a woman married 7 brothers successively, after each died, whose wife would she be after she died. A crazy question to waste time and distract from the more important matters and Jesus dealt with it as such:
“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Matthew 22:29-30)
It is amazing how many people today have the wrong idea about the resurrection. Some believe we are all going to become angels, get little harps, wings and a fluffy cloud to sit on all day. There are those who do not understand that marriage was instituted by God for this world, not the world to come. We have crazy ideas like the Sadducees for the same reason; we "do not know the Scriptures or the power of God". But Jesus was not about to leave it there. There was a more important matter to deal with than just a silly question about marriage. He addressed one of their false beliefs:
"But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)
Notice that Jesus used the Word to bring correction to their false belief. He used the Word whenever it was a question of a person straying in their understanding. In fact, Jesus used the Word all the time, revealing the depths of its truth to a people too long in the dark. He used the Word to bring greater understanding, correction, and, in the case of Satan, rebuking. Today, the first thing an atheist will dismiss is the Word of God without even looking into it themselves. They will even challenge us to prove the existence of God without the Word. I don't know about you but if Jesus never did anything without the Word, I am certainly not about to attempt it.
The Word and power of God are vital to our growth and understanding as Christians. We cannot be defenders of the faith without a growing knowledge of the Word and we cannot have a growing knowledge of the Word without the power of God, who is the Spirit. We can read the Word with limited understanding but it is when we read the Word through the Spirit that it really takes on life for us. So how do you explain that to an atheist? You can't. You can point out some fundamental errors in their thinking and then encourage them to do their own investigation but most won't.
Like many Christians, atheists really don't want to put that much effort into it. They would rather listen to other people's opinions, watch a few videos and then settle the matter in their own thinking. Theirs is not so much a belief as it is an opinion. Unfortunately many Christians are similar. Many do not look very deep into the matter of Jesus. We don't study the Word ourselves but instead watch videos, listen to popular Christian music, and form an opinion. This opinion is often based on emotions and misconceptions. Not all teachings and Christian music are based on the truth of God's Word. Both atheists and Christians should listen to Jesus' gentle rebuke: "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
We all need to become students of the Word so that we can be part of the solution instead of the problem. False teachings and ideas are as viral as urban myths. People just can't help forwarding warnings about FaceBook starting to charge for its services, or many the other silly things that have no basis in any form of truth. The only way to deal with such things is to educate people to the truth, one at a time. It is no different in bringing the truth of God's Word to people. Our temptation is to want to do it in one big production, but something gets lost when we do it like this. Just as Jesus did, we need to deal with the truth one person at a time but we need to make sure that we know the Word and the power of God or we are just part of the problem. Know the Word and become trained in how to handle it properly and please do not get distracted by the silly questions; go for the things that matter the most.