Sean McDowell | July 8, 2024

What are the Best Questions for Meaningful Spiritual Conversations?

10 Good Questions for Meaningful Spiritual Conversations

I love having conversations with people who see the world differently than me. If we treat people with kindness, charity, and show a genuine interest in how they see the world, most people are open to discussing religious matters. In fact, in my experience, many people are eager for such conversations.

And this is true for young people too. The key is to ask authentic questions and be willing to listen. Authentic questions are different than leading questions. Leading questions aim to get a preset answer and to direct the conversation to a particular end. Authentic questions are meant to elicit genuine dialogue. And they only work if we are truly interested in hearing how others see the world.

Here are 10 questions you might find helpful to advance genuine spiritual conversations with those who do not share your worldview.

I offer these as the kinds of questions that have been helpful to me. I would encourage you to think of your own. If you come up with some good ones, please share them with me:

  • Do you have a background in religion? If so, what is it?
  • Was there ever a time you believed in God? If so, why did you think it changed?
  • How important is spirituality to your life now? Has this changed over time? If so, why?
  • In terms of religion, who has had the biggest influence on your life?
  • Who do you think Jesus was, and why?
  • Are there any features of the world that give you pause and make you think there might be a God?
  • Are there any things that attract you to religion in general or Christianity in particular? And are there any things that turn you away?
  • What experiences have most shaped your spiritual life?
  • If you were to breakdown the key reasons you don't believe into intellectual, emotional, personal or other factors, how would you rate them?
  • What might convince you to believe in God?

The good news for these kinds of conversations is that you don’t have to have all the answers. That’s right. You don’t have to be an expert! You just need to be bold enough to ask the questions and care enough to listen. If you do, you might be amazed at the depth of conversation you can have with people who hold radically different views than your own.

Many people have never been asked these questions before. Simply raising these questions, and giving people genuine space to wrestle with them, can sometimes be transformative. So what are you waiting for?

If you are looking for a more in-depth game plan for how to have meaningful conversations, please check out my latest book: End the Stalemate: Move Past Cancel Culture to Meaningful Conversations


Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: