Q&A: Can an atheist give a testimony?

Anonymous asks: Can an atheist give a testimony?

The short answer is: yes.

The long answer is:

“Testimony” has a wide semantic range.  For instance, you could be asking, “Can an atheist give a true account of something, such as in court?”  The answer is, of course: yes.  You could also be asking “Can an atheist give an account of some significant event, moment, or transition in their life?”  And again, of course, the answer is yes.

Christians often use “testimony” to mean something like “the account of how God has worked in my life, particularly towards my coming to faith.”  This is similar to, but more subjective than,  the Biblical sense of being a “witness” (being able to “testify”, having a “testimony”) of the objective truth of Christ’s resurrection.

In this particular sense, of course, an “atheist testimony” would be oxymoronic: an account of the work of someone they do not accept as reality.

Thanks for the question.

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