"The 700 Club" host and conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson has expressed opposition to arguing with atheists on social media about the existence of God.
On the Thursday edition of "The 700 Club" program's "Bring It On" segment, Robertson got a question from a viewer named Christine regarding online debates with atheists.
"Whenever I post something on social media about my faith, many atheists comment that what I believe is wrong and try to argue about God's existence," wrote Christine. Should I argue back and try to prove His existence or should I just ignore it?"
Robertson responded that Christine was not obligated to debate with the atheist commenters about the existence of God because atheists are like "swine."
"The Bible also says you don't cast your pearls before swine because they will turn and rend you," said Robertson, adding that "a swine is hungry for nuts!"
"You talk about the social media, you've got everybody known to man out there involved. Why would you put your pearls out, and why would you argue with those people? I mean, keep your stuff to yourself."
Robertson's view on stepping away from social media debates stands in contrast to that of evangelist Ray Comfort.
Last year, Comfort felt compelled to recruit people to debate the atheists posting on his Facebook page, as some of his posts on the social media site had as many as 1,000 responses from critics and supporters.
"It suddenly dawned on me how Facebook is an incredible medium for the Gospel. One of my posts was seen by 1.2 million people – many of whom are non-Christians," said Comfort in an earlier interview with The Christian Post.
"Think of what it would cost and how much work it would take to have a Billy Graham-type crusade that reached 1.2 million people. But we can reach that many at no cost and with just a click of a keyboard button."
Comfort added some caution, however, to such engagements: "You will need a lot of patience because many show up as though they are God's intellectual gift to the world."
"My advice is to wait for a minute to calm down, and then show them love and respect. It is tempting to give a quick sarcastic reply, and that just adds fuel to their fire," said Comfort.
"It's also important to know that I deliberately create a 'buzz.' I say things like, 'Evolution stands in the way of the science of discovery, summed up in Einstein's 'I want to know how God created this world.' This brings them out in force. ..."
According to a 2013 VitalSmarts survey of about 2,600 people, 35 percent of respondents reported blocking, unsubscribing or "un-friending" someone due to an argument held on social media.