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How to Keep the Conversation Going When Friends Say "I believe in Science"

This is the second in a series of posts called Coaching Conversations. Learn to ask questions that keep the conversation going.

“Why does Christianity still exist in the 21st century? Bit backwards to be believing in the supernatural.”

People are their boldest when they are hiding behind their computer screens, so we have encountered this type of question on our social media platforms. In reality, not many of your friends and family may be bold enough to ask you this question to your face, but we all may wonder if this is what they are thinking.

When science is pitted against Christianity, how can we answer objections in a way that keeps the conversation going and may even stimulate some curiosity?

Often when you get into conversations about God or faith people will immediately tell you, “I don’t believe in God because of science.” Sometimes people have a well-formed worldview that science can explain everything (spoiler alert, it can’t). But most people we encounter have a unformed belief in naturalism - that everything in the universe is here because of natural causes, therefore supernatural causes can be discounted, and it’s corollary materialism - that the only thing that is real is physical matter.

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Is it possible to stir curiosity in these situations rather than hit a dead end or feel like you have to debate the existence of God or show that science and faith are not at odds? Here’s how one recent conversation went:

“I don’t believe humans are spiritual beings. I think that our thoughts and feelings are just the chemicals in our body. It’s a higher form of evolution,” said a young person as we put away chairs after youth club.

"That might be,” I said, “but do you believe there is anything about us as humans that is REAL, but not physical? Maybe our love for another person, which is a feeling, or our memories or even our decisions?”

This question can open the conversation back up. It helps reveal the fact that as humans we all do experience things that are real but not physical. We want love and beauty and our choices to be real and not dictated by chance or hardwired into us for the purpose of survival. We want to know our lives mean something, that they have a purpose. These longings come from the soul and are a clue that there is something, or maybe even Someone who is greater than ourselves that our souls long for.

Tips for Learning to Stir

  • TAKE THE POSTURE of a learner
  • STIR CURIOSITY about our longings that science cannot adequately account for
  • POINT TO CREDIBLE AUTHORITIES in the culture who talk about their faith in God
  • INTERPRET people’s longings as coming from the soul
  • PRAY for people and with people
  • View evangelism as a PROCESS
  • Sign up here and we'll send the Beginners Guide to Stirring Souls right into your inbox.

Darin Stevens

Darin (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England. With over twenty years experience in leading youth ministry and training youth workers, as well as developing and delivering degree-level modules in Theology, Mission and Youth Ministry, he now oversees Start to Stir.