Hello @Lizibeth. I’d like to suggest a different approach…
Understanding that relationship are complicated, and there’s lots of detail we can’t get, I can see two things in your description:
- This man appears trapped in his own thinking. His current behavior is not helpful to himself (no good fruit), and he is unaware of that.
- There are legitimate core needs (e.g. being seen, heard, understood, loved, validated, etc. - knowledge is not one of them) that this man is trying to get fulfilled (though his searching). None of us escapes this, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to get these needs meet. I’m making a big guess here, but what could be fueling his continued searching is a sense (perhaps unconsciously) that he can get these needs fulfilled, if only he “understood”.
If I argue with someone that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn’t real I run the risk of validating that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is worthy of argument, and thus, at some level, real. So, I think responding with more “logic”, even scripture, will probably result in adding fuel to his fire.
Care about him, care about his needs, try to draw out what’s this legitimate core needs are. Try to get him to name them. Then invest in him in a way that focuses on those core needs instead of the tangential, unproductive and fruitless issues he is overly focused upon.
Let’s call him Bill…what if your friend set some boundaries and said something like this?
“Bill, I care about you, and I want to be your friend. But I don’t see these these issues you are investigating as helpful to you. I’m willing to hang out with you, go do fun things, hear about what’s going on in your life, deep inside, walk with you through those things, pray with you, talk about Jesus and the Bible, but I don’t want to hear about these tangental issues. I don’t think they are helping you, and I want to encourage with things that will help. Can we do that?”
If your friend chooses to set a boundary, the tough part will be keeping to it. Gently guide Bob back, when he goes out into the weeds again. “Bob, I know you think there’s a link between the Illuminati and the Corona Virus, but I don’t want to talk to you about that right now. I want to know what’s going on inside you? Are you afraid? Tell me about that…”
This is highly dynamic, as you know. And nothing in this reply really will do justice to this situation, but as I said, I wanted to offer a different approach.
Simply put, stay out of his vortex of “end times”, secret knowledge, etc. and invest in the person, long term (someone else in these replies mentioned this too).
One last analogy: If this man was an alcoholic, you probably wouldn’t want to meet him when he’s drunk, to talk about Jesus. As much as it is possible for you, help him to sober up, or point him to people who can help him. Commit to being there with him through the process as a friend. Then, as a friend and on the man’s behalf, watch for Jesus at work, and be willing to respond as the Lord guides.