When my Athiesm was young, I was very enthusiastic about discussing my ideas and persuading prople. In a religious society, it was not without a price. I bought disliking of most of society for being enemy of God. Now after 13yrs i think
1- Should people be persuaded to athieism in the first place or this should be left on progress of scientific knowledge? As myth is finding it more and more difficult to servive against increasing human knowledge of forces of nature.
2- Should only those persons be persuaded who have a thinking mind instead of wasting time on everyone.
3- What is the best way to persuade people.
(one of my old friend says its no use to logically persuade a religious person with discussion because his relationship with religon is not logical but rather emotional. so its better to raise questions than providing answers.)

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I agree with Sam Harris on this - people should be allowed to believe, but it should come at a social cost. Their beliefs should be ridicules, in the same way as someone who says, "I'm an Aries."

If we can get religion to the level of horoscopes then it will be job done.

The best arguments tend to be using their own 'holy book' to point out the inconsistencies and nonsensical nature of it. If the Bible, or Qu'ran, is the inalienable, unalterable, inerrant moral code from the createor of the universe how can I make it better by pointing out that slavery is wrong? Where is the part that says not to have sex with kids? If it is really true then surely you have to believe in stuff like Noah's flood, and if that isn't true then why is any of it true?
that is tough. I am forever grateful to my old college boyfriend for rescuing me from the "magical thinking" group of students I was falling in with. Through months, perhaps years, of discussion, I lost any beleif I had in the supernatural, the afterlife, and all the silliness that goes along with it. However, I do not have the mental capacity or the debating will to pursuade others, which is why I try to keep a low profile around beleivers. I do beleive, however, that we should seek each other out and form communities of like-mindedness (which is why I joined this group). For me, being an atheist has been very isolating, and I really don't want to give people reasons to dislike me before they even get to know me.
I really don't think one can persuade another into non-belief unless they are already asking their own questions. I agree with your friend that logic just isn't going to work in most cases because religion is emotional. I'm not even sure that raising questions is productive because they have so many stock answers that seem to satisfy them.

Ultimately, I'm not interested in taking someone's religion away from them, in much the same way that I'm not interested in taking my almost 6yo sons blankie away. I wish the blankie was gone but it's not about me it's about him. As long as he's not dragging it all over, in places where it doesn't belong he's free to use it as he needs. I feel exactly the same way about religion. As long as you aren't dragging your religion around to places where it doesn't belong (or hurting people) you are free to have at it.

I agree with Don though that it's important for atheists to be out as much as possible. Not confrontational way, but matter of fact. It's easy to hold a ridiculous stereotype when you think you don't know any atheists. Harder once you realize that the really nice lady down the street, the man next door, the shopkeeper at your favorite cafe, are all atheists.
Because (after indoctrination) an individual must think their way to the conclusion of atheism, I would be in favor of that kind of conversational direction when engaging a faith based person heading into the questioning phase of their consciousness about dogma they are following. Their ability to comprehend reasoning would be a factor in how to raise questions about the dogma being practiced, but it sounds like one way a potential atheist could wind up owning their own process of growth and conceptualization.
Clarence the Clear-thinker: Their ability to comprehend reasoning...

There is no greater teacher than you Clarence.
I don't think actively going out and "persuading" is helpful. You can't force people to have a "revelation" and become an atheist. It's about as helpful as people trying to force you to become theist.

An atheist is generally someone who comes to their own conclusions independently. They keep questioning until they find answers they think are valid, regardless of the source. (Atheists can get some pretty kookie ideas too).

A Theist is simply someone who questions and agrees that the answer their religious text and leaders give them is the valid answer.

The best you can do is put the information out there for others to find who aren't satisfied with the answers religious text or religious leader give.
Persuading doesn't really work unless the person is on the fence. If a person is curious about atheism, lend a hand, show them some reading/websites/other things that helped you. Unless you have unworldly charm, persuading a hardcore theist is a waste of time. You might as well be talking to an inanimate object.
An atheist stumbles into a deep well and plummets a hundred feet before grasping a spindly root, stopping his fall. His grip grows weaker and weaker, and in desperation he cries out, "Is anybody up there?"

He looks up and all he can see is a circle of sky. Suddenly the clouds part and a beam of bright light shines down on him. A deep voice thunders, "I, the Lord, am here. Let go of the root and I will save you."

The atheist thinks for a moment and then yells, "Is there anybody else up there?"
HAHAHAH!!!
No. But they should be persuaded to examine the efficacy and source of their values. For instance, when you get them to agree that raping children is morally wrong, you then show them where their god not only permits it, but condones it.

When they exhaust trying to find a way to make child rape moral, they will quietly examine their belief system on their own.
"Nonsense. No true believer is going to spend two seconds "trying to find a way to make child rape moral." Hidebound theists are nearly always dismissive of the Good Book's grotesque contradictions."

You might be right. But, over $2 Billion so far paid out by the Catholic church disagrees with that conclusion.

And, yes, I'm as sure as you are that there are those that would never give it a second thought. But there are clearly those that do.

For those that don't, sometimes their children die when the prayer doesn't work. All you can do is point out the efficacy of their moral standard. A dead child -- yours. And then leave them to figure it out.
I must have my wires crossed. I thought it was you that suggested "Hidebound theists are nearly always dismissive of the Good Book's grotesque contradictions" and that, "...No true believer is going to spend two seconds "trying to find a way to make child rape moral.""

It was you who said "Their belief system is impregnable to reason.."

So aren't you already supplying the very arguments you're asking Alex to supply?

By the way, when you said "Their belief system is impregnable to reason..."

I agree. That's why I suggested talking with them not in terms of reason, but in terms of values! It was my second sentence. Remember?

Again, maybe my wires are crossed, but I don't get where you're coming from.

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