I was going to add “contrarian” to that title, but the contrarian does understand science and is only interesting in creating confusion and doubt - so that requires a whole different approach from Denialism which is rooted in limited understanding, under-exposure and under-educated.
… I find myself unsure of how to navigate such situations without causing offense or escalating tensions. How can I continue engaging in discussions, especially about science, with very religious individuals in a way that fosters understanding and respect, even when faced with a statement like, “I don’t believe in science”?
. . . You mention that religious people “seemingly” try to shut down conversations by denying science. How sure are you of that word “seemingly”? Is it possible that you are so taken aback by their rebuttal that you don’t know how to continue engaging, and it’s that uncertainty that is ending discussion? As someone who seems to be interested in the perspectives of religious people, you should try to press on. “If you don’t believe in science, what does your religion say about [the topic of discussion]?” “Are there areas where you do believe in science? What makes [this topic] different?”
Your commitment to engaging with people from all faiths is admirable. Apply that same open mindedness to this problem.
— Peter Bjork, Web Content Manager
Interesting topic and Bjork makes a lot of sense, not surprisingly since it aligns with my sentiments.
“I don’t believe in science.” We can ask questions.
‘Why don’t you believe in science?’
Explore with questions and listening.
Try to understand what’s going on inside of that person.
Much easier said than done - still, seems to me, if we aren’t changing minds we are losing, so might as well try.
Okay, since we can’t change minds, seems the next best thing is to offer thoughtful defense and rational arguments along with facts, mixed with respect for humanity,
wrapped in a story you can tell,
because it’s coming from your heart.
Also be ready with an easy answer for, what science is, and be able to explore the differences between faith based belief systems and science’s observation & fact based method for understanding the physical reality we are embedded within.
Science is fundamentally studying and learning about the natural world, following a set of rules that removes human ego & bias as much as possible. Objective, repeatable, honest. Faith is about the inside of our heart and mind and our human struggles, the domain of our “mindscape” as opposed to the physical reality that created our biological bodies, that produce our minds.