Engaging Unbelievers Philosophically

by Mark Bird

I’ve discovered that it is often useful to prepare people for the gospel by asking them some key philosophical questions. One reason I do this is to help people recognize that truth is exclusive. In our postmodern culture, people think that we all create our own truth, so why would it matter what religion we believe? Universities claim to teach young people to think, but most teach relativism and thus undermine even the most basic distinction between truth and falsehood. Therefore, I frequently help an unbeliever understand the concepts of truth, knowledge, and the law of noncontradiction. Sometimes I’ll begin a discussion by asking a person how he would answer the “three great philosophical questions of life,” which deal with origin, purpose, and destiny.

To be honest, starting with philosophical questions is a lot of fun, too. I enjoy helping people think through these issues, and this approach acts as a great launching pad into discussions about Christ and Christianity.

The Great Questions of Life

Recently, I walked into a frozen yogurt shop and ordered a bowl of delicious black raspberry Yagööt. While waiting for the order, I asked Tatyanna, the server, if she’d ever taken a philosophy course in college. She said she enrolled but then withdrew because she couldn’t understand it, though she was interested in the subject. I told her that I taught philosophy and wondered how she would answer the three great philosophical questions of life…

Engaging Unbelievers Philosophically