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While Paul was waiting for them [Silas and Timothy] in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.  Acts 17:16-17

Read: Acts 17:16-34

Listen: Acts 17


Western contact with other religions used to mean overseas travel. We would travel to them (not too different from what the apostle Paul did). Now we’re coming face-to-face with the world’s major religions in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. More than ever, it is important to understand both what they believe and what we believe.

There are typically two reasons why people avoid religion today. One reason is pluralism. Pluralism looks at the world’s religions and says, “All religions teach essentially the same thing.” Pluralism believes that religions substantially agree with each other. The other reason is atheism. It looks at the religions and says, “Religion exists because it meets a psychological need,” or “Religion exists because society needs to justify morality.”

This week, we look at these two common responses to religion. As we do, we need to move from considering these intellectually to living out what we hear. There are people in our lives who need to hear why Jesus is different and about the hope he brings.


Welcome your Heavenly Father into your week and day. Then, identify the person (or persons) you know well who follows another religion or no religion at all. Pray specifically for your relationship with them. Pray for wisdom and understanding to approach them in a grace-filled way. Pray for courage and an open heart to engage them at just the right time. Then trust God for the results.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.