I’m not sure if this image will upload, but Patrick Baboumian is one of the strongest guys in the world. He is also vegan. I support plant based diets for MANY physical and spiritual reasons, but that’s a different topic. This link is him expounding in one of his IG posts about becoming vegan because of scientific evidence for it, just like the process he used to reject all religions. I have had my own crisis of faith many times, but this made me so sad. If you can read his answers or check out his post and let me know what you might say, I would appreciate it. I know the Holy Spirit has to open hearts, but I want to have confidence to be bold for the Gospel message.
I don’t have answers to questions just my own experiences to share.
- I know that most people who use “logic” to disprove religion do so illogically especially Christianity since it the most widely proven religion historically and logically out there.
- The only way to engage anybody against religion that I have found to work is through relationship. By having a relationship with them and living your relationship with God, the people around you will begin to see, feel and hear something different and eventually ask questions which will open the door for the Holy Spirit. That is really what Jesus gave us…not religion but a relationship with God.
There is a belief system or worldview called “Scientism” which basically says “Science tells us everything there is to know” or “all true knowledge come to us through Science”.
Many people who hold to this worldview are hostile to all religion as “mere superstition” at best, and “manipulation and deception” at worst.
People who hold to this worldview will say they make all their decisions based on “the evidence”.
But at the same time they will reject Scientific evidence from what we know from mircobiology (the study of the cell) and cosmology (the study of the universe) which point us towards God.
Some progress can sometimes be made by asking the question “Describe to me the God you don’t believe in?” and you might be able to agree and say that you don’t believe in that God too.
They might say they don’t believe in the God of the Bible, to which you might be able to ask “Describe to me this God of the Bible you don’t believe in” which most likely is not a fair representation of the actually God of the Bible.
At this point it’s always worthwhile turning the conversation back to Jesus, as the clearest and best picture we have of what God is like.
I hope this helps.
It’s really good that you want to share with people and point them to Jesus. We can just try to be sowers of the seed, and leave the results with God. I think if we can ask even just one question that causes them to pause and think, this is good, especially in an online forum. We often don’t see the results of our efforts, and probably won’t until heaven. I think the most important point is to separate and especially honor a person’s own life choices and moral values they have, from their rejection of God.
I would suggest the best way to reach anyone is to find as much common ground as possible. If you wanted to post a reply you could try this format:
paragraph 1: find common ground/compliment them on achievements in a genuine way/thank them for something that has helped you if it’s in the same field of interest.
paragraph 2: some short statements explaining where you are coming from, or to build a case for your position
short question asking them what they think about your position:
a relevant quote from someone and a link for further reading if they are interested.
Ravi Zacharius (and also covered in the Core Module course) shows there are 4 questions that make up a worldview, and we each must answer them.
How do you think the universe came into existence?
How do you think human life began?
What is the purpose of human life?
How do you determine good and bad?
What will happen at the end (at death)?
My two favourite ones are: Morality and Origins, because all man knows intrinsically that God exists, and as it states in Romans 1; man has to actively push this knowledge down and suppress the truth. Two things point to God’s existence: Our conscience, and the creation. For this reason I like trying to angle conversations back to either of those two things.
Here are some animated videos explaining the basic arguments.
So, in the post that Patrick writes, it seems to me the conversation is about Morality so far:
Part of the reason I’m vegan is because I rationally came to the conclusion that if I don’t need to eat animals, it is not right for me to do it just out of egoistic motives.
So he is saying: He has decided it is not right for him to do this, based on his logic. He is appealing to the existence of morality: the fact that right and wrong exist. An atheist, who has rejected God’s existence, then lives in a purely material word that is only matter/energy. Humans are simply accidents of chance and little blips of matter/energy. There is actually no objective morality, only opinions; Without any firm foundation, there is no way of knowing which opinion is right.
yet we all know inbuilt into all of us a sense of we ‘ought’ to live this way, and a sense of right and wrong.
On a sidenote; he’s used another moral word and identified it as a bad thing: “egotistical” which is pride.
If something is not logically justifiable, I will not do it.
He’s used two key words here, logic and justifiable. Logic involves reason. ‘Justifiable’ is a moral word again. a difference of right and wrong.
His second problem, in addition to appealing to the existence of right and wrong, is he is using his logic. The problem he has in an atheistic worldview, is his mind: the thing he is relying on to do logic and reason, is the product of mindless unguided processes. Lennox explains more here:
The same line of thinking led me to reject all kinds of religions many years before I went vegan.
My favorite author for reaching the highly logical and scientific mind is John Lennox. His recent book “Can Science Explain Everything?” is an excellent resource. Lennox also explains how you cannot get morality from science. It’s nice and compact, and has the Gospel message towards the end; and I think could be a good outreach tool if someone has a good conversation in person.
Whew! So, after that long-winded analysis of what I think of his post: If it were me, I want to try and get the conversation to the existence of God through the moral law giver argument.
I would try this:
Hi Patrick, I also agree that all vegans don’t think the same as we’re all individuals and have lots of different history and background. <additional ‘finding common ground’ here>.
You mentioned you rejected all kinds of religions, and now see value in the life of animals. How are we to know what has value? In the animal kingdom we see two things happening. Altruism, where animals such as ants work together; but also brutality, such as male lions killing cubs from another female lion in order to mate and further their own genes. How are we supposed to tell which is right and which is wrong? How you do personally tell the difference between right and wrong?
… (give him time to think and answer: if there is no answer, you’ve left him with a question to think further. don’t put words in his mouth or assume anything)
if you get further in the conversation and you both agree there is the existence of right and wrong, your next step might be try to step back into the moral law giver argument, you might just post a link to a youtube video or something simple like that. Don’t try and win the argument; that’s pointless and proves nothing, just try to leave them something to ponder in a loving way.
and most importantly, pray first before you type anything. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, and sometimes we type or say things, and we look back later and think, wow that actually made more sense that I thought it did at the time. We can also pray that as the Holy Spirit convicts another person, that He will cause the things we say/write that are not helpful to be forgotten; and the things that are useful to be remembered.
Sorry for the long post; be encouraged in your own faith also…
Thank you. Those are great questions. I’m learning