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Looking to have meaningful conversations about faith? Discover the 10 most effective questions a Christian can ask a non-believer. These carefully crafted questions promote empathy, challenge thinking, and pave the way for respectful and insightful dialogue. Read the article to learn the significance of these questions and how they can be applied in real-life interactions.
Engaging in a thoughtful conversation with a non-believer requires respect, empathy, and an understanding of where they are coming from. Here are some effective questions to ask, paired with the reasons why they can foster a meaningful dialogue:
“What do you believe about God or a higher power?”
- Why: This opens the conversation, allowing you to understand their beliefs or lack thereof. It encourages the non-believer to express their views without feeling defensive.
“Have you ever explored the Bible or any other religious texts? What were your thoughts?”
- Why: This question helps you gauge their familiarity with Scripture and offers an opportunity to discuss the Bible’s teachings in a non-confrontational way.
“What do you think is the meaning or purpose of life?”
- Why: By discussing existential topics, you can guide the conversation toward the Christian understanding of purpose and fulfillment in Christ.
“What are your thoughts on Jesus Christ and his teachings?”
- Why: This directly introduces the core of the Christian faith and allows you to understand their perceptions of Jesus, whether accurate or not.
“Have you ever had any spiritual experiences or feelings that you couldn’t explain?”
- Why: Some non-believers may have had experiences they don’t understand. Discussing these can pave the way for conversation about the spiritual realm.
“What are your biggest objections or questions about the Christian faith?”
- Why: This invites them to share their doubts or objections, which you can thoughtfully address, dispelling misunderstandings or offering biblical responses.
“If Christianity were true, would you want to know?”
- Why: This question challenges them to consider their openness to truth and their willingness to pursue it, regardless of their current beliefs.
“How do you determine what is right and wrong?”
- Why: Discussing morality can lead to a conversation about the objective moral standard found in God’s nature and revealed in the Scriptures.
“Do you think there is hope, peace, or fulfillment outside of what this world offers?”
- Why: This allows you to present the hope, peace, and fulfillment that believers find in Christ, contrasting it with the fleeting satisfaction of worldly pursuits.
“Would you be open to exploring the Bible or other resources with me?”
- Why: If the conversation has been positive and respectful, this question invites further exploration, possibly leading to ongoing dialogue or study together.
These questions can foster a respectful and thoughtful conversation, focusing not on winning an argument but on understanding and addressing the person’s beliefs and concerns. The aim should be to present the truth of the Gospel lovingly and compellingly, guided by the Spirit-inspired Word of God.
Below is a hypothetical dialogue between a believer (B) and an unbeliever (U), where the believer attempts to engage thoughtfully and persuasively on a biblical subject.
B: “I’m really enjoying our conversation about life’s big questions. Can I ask you something a bit personal? How do you usually cope with challenges and suffering in life?”
U: “Well, I guess I try to stay positive and lean on friends and family. But honestly, sometimes it’s really tough, and I’m not sure what the point of all the suffering is. How about you?”
B: “I’ve found comfort and purpose in my faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that suffering is a result of the brokenness in the world, but God offers hope and strength through it. Have you ever considered what the Bible says about suffering and God’s purpose in it?”
U: “I haven’t really looked into the Bible. It seems like a lot of religious people suffer, too. What does the Bible actually say about suffering?”
B: “That’s a thoughtful observation. The Bible doesn’t deny the reality of suffering; even Jesus suffered. But it teaches that God can use suffering for growth, to build character, and to draw us closer to Him. In Romans 5:3-4, Paul writes, ‘we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.’ It’s not that suffering is good, but God can work through it for our good.”
U: “That’s an interesting way to see it, but how can you believe in a good God when there’s so much pain in the world?”
B: “That’s a question many people wrestle with. I believe that God is not distant from our pain. In fact, He entered into our suffering through Jesus, who died on the cross and rose again to offer hope and redemption. God allows suffering, but He also promises to be with us in it, offering comfort and strength. Would you be open to exploring some passages from the Bible together that speak to these issues?”
U: “I’m not sure if I’m convinced, but I’m willing to hear what it says. Your perspective is definitely different from what I’ve thought about religion before.”
B: “I appreciate your openness! Let’s take some time to explore these truths together. Even if we don’t agree on everything, I value our conversation and your insights.”
This dialogue aims to balance the persuasive proclamation of biblical truth with a genuine interest in the unbeliever’s thoughts and concerns. By connecting a relevant life issue (suffering) with biblical teaching, the believer provides a meaningful context for discussing spiritual matters, demonstrating empathy, and inviting further exploration of the Scriptures.
How Might a Christian Might Respond to Ten Potential Conversation Stoppers to Keep the Conversation Going?
Engaging with conversation-stoppers requires wisdom, respect, and gentleness. Here are some potential responses to ten common objections:
“I’m not interested.”
- Response: “That’s okay, and I respect your feelings. If you ever have questions or want to chat about anything else, I’m here.”
“I’m not interested in Christianity.”
- Response: “I understand that not everyone shares my beliefs, and that’s fine. If you ever do have questions or want to know why it’s important to me, I’m open to discussing it.”
“Christianity has a terrible history.”
- Response: “It’s true that some individuals and institutions associated with Christianity have done wrong. However, those actions often don’t reflect the teachings of Jesus. I’d love to share what Christianity means to me if you’re interested.”
“All religions are the same.”
- Response: “It’s common to see similarities among religions, but there are also significant differences. If you ever want to explore what sets Christianity apart, I’d be happy to discuss it with you.”
“I’m happy with my own beliefs.”
- Response: “I respect your beliefs and your right to hold them. If you ever want to share what you believe or learn about mine, I’m available.”
“The Bible is just a myth.”
- Response: “I understand that some people see it that way. If you’re interested, I can share why I believe the Bible is a reliable and historical document. But I respect your opinion, and we can talk about something else if you prefer.”
“Science has disproven God.”
- Response: “Many scientists actually see their discoveries as evidence of a Creator. If you’d like, we can explore some of those ideas together. If not, that’s okay too.”
“Christians are all hypocrites.”
- Response: “Unfortunately, some people do act hypocritically, and I’m sorry if you’ve had that experience. I strive to live according to my beliefs and am always here if you have any questions about what I believe.”
“I’ve had bad experiences with Christians.”
- Response: “I’m truly sorry to hear that, and I can understand why that might affect your view. Please know that not all Christians are the same, and I hope our interactions can be positive, whether we discuss faith or not.”
“I don’t need religion to be moral.”
- Response: “Many people find ways to live morally outside of religion, and I respect that. I find that my faith enhances my understanding of morality. If you ever want to know more about that perspective, I’m here.”
In all of these responses, the aim is to acknowledge the other person’s feelings and objections without becoming defensive or argumentative. Offering to discuss further without pressure and maintaining a respectful and open attitude can leave the door open for future conversations, even if the initial response is negative or dismissive.
Here’s how a Christian might respond to these specific statements, maintaining a respectful and thoughtful approach:
If Someone Says—
‘I don’t believe in the Bible’
- Response: “I understand that not everyone shares the same beliefs about the Bible. If you have any specific questions or concerns about why I believe in it, I’m open to discussing them, but I also respect your viewpoint.”
‘The Bible contradicts itself’
- Response: “Some passages can appear contradictory at first glance. If there are specific examples you have in mind, I’d be willing to explore them with you and explain how I understand them in their historical and literary context.”
‘Men wrote the Bible’
- Response: “Yes, human authors wrote the Bible, but Christians believe that they were inspired by God’s Spirit. This means that while their personalities and writing styles are evident, the message is consistent with God’s truth.”
‘Everyone has his own interpretation of the Bible’
- Response: “Interpretation can be complex, but there are consistent methods for understanding the Bible’s original meaning. I rely on the Historical-Grammatical method, which seeks to understand the text as the original audience would have. I’d be happy to discuss this approach if you’re interested.”
‘It is not practical for our day’
- Response: “I’ve found that many of the Bible’s principles are timeless and apply to our lives today. If you’re curious about how, I can share some examples that might be relevant to modern life.”
‘The Bible is a good book, but there is no such thing as absolute truth’
- Response: “I respect that perspective, but I believe that the Bible is more than just a good book; it’s a revelation of absolute truth from God. I understand that this belief may not be shared by everyone, but I’m open to discussing why I hold this view.”
‘I believe only the King James Version’
- Response: “The King James Version has had a significant impact, and many people appreciate its language. I often refer to theUASV, but I believe that various translations can faithfully convey the original message. If you have specific concerns about translations, I’m willing to explore them with you.”
‘There are a hundred different Bibles’
- Response: “There are indeed many translations of the Bible, each attempting to convey the original languages into modern speech. This doesn’t change the core message of the Bible, though. If you’re interested, I can explain how translations are made and why I use the UASV.”
In each response, the goal is to acknowledge the concern, provide insight into the Christian understanding of the issue, and offer to engage further if the person is interested, all while maintaining respect for their position.