When it is loved ones who I seek respect from, remaining silent is not an option for me.
I feel the same way - I have a load of relatives that are either Southern Baptist or Italian Catholics and they all know where I am religion wise. I feel they respect me as I respect them - but not their religious beliefs.
Those that take exception to me personally for my non-belief - fuck 'em.
Once when a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses came knocking on my door, one of them a Black man, I told them (actually, speaking directly to the Black man) nonchalantly:
"The Bible promotes sexism, slavery and racism. In the original language of Genesis and the story of Noah, it specifically condemns people with 'dark skin and wooly hair.' I will not bow before a god that asks me to think of you [pointing at the man] as a second class citizen because of something as silly as the melatonin in your skin. Nor will I kneel in a church that labels such a doctrine as 'holy.'"
just because the idea makes me feel special as a human? Uh-uh.
Therein, I believe, lies the crux of faith in almighty god(s). For the same reason that children want to feel special, like Santa took time out to give them a present, so do adults want to feel special.
It's an important qualifier I think when comparing Jesus/God to Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
I agree with some here, there's no need to "defend" our skepticism generally. Most "Christians", at least in my experience, haven't read the bible and live by 20 or less sentences and phrases they have cherry picked from it. I would argue, in fact, that there isnt a follower of Christ in the strictest sense and never has been. Christ commands people to sell all they have and give it to the poor, and if any body part causes them to sin, to cut it off. Christ says "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it", which is a contradiction in terms, that is, you must deny yourself the desire to "come after him", so Christ actually makes it impossible to be a follower in that statement. These points prove two things: there is no such thing as a Christian, and Christ was a lunatic. The reason Christians become Christians is to "save themselves", but christ tells them they will die if they wish to save themselves...so you have to want to die, then you are saved? Do Christians walk around killing themselves by crucifixion? That is what Christ commands, quite unmistakeably. He doesnt add "im just speaking metaphorically here, I dont want you to literally go kill yourself by crucifixion silly"
Another favorite of mine to quote back to them, Mark 4:11-12 ...
And [Jesus] said unto [the Apostles], "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto [the rest of humanity] that are without, all these things are done in parables. Lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."
In other words, Jesus intentionally talks in parables instead of straightforward specifically to keep you from understanding and to keep you from getting into heaven.
This is my single favorite passage to prove the not-so-inerrancy of the bible. Either this passage is the truth, which means by his own admission everything else Jesus says is a lie or misdirection, or this passage is not the truth, which means the passage itself is a lie. Either way, Jesus is misleading us in one way or another.
If you really want to play into the Christian's sense of superstition and prophecy, point out that this is found in "Mark 4:11" ... 'Mark' meaning to bookmark or take special note of something and 411 being common slang for pertinent or important information.
The simplest, most direct assault on Gawd is the problem of natural evil. The Indonesian tsunami a few years back simply cannot be squared with an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god. Apologists will hit back with some really lame counterargments like Original Sin or free will or god works in mysterious ways that we simply can't comprehend or god tests our faith with calamity, but those obviously don't really address the issue. That won't stop religionists from hiding behind them, but they really fail to satisfy as arguments.
If you can get people to really be honest with themselves and look at the problem of natural evil objectively, or at least compassionately, the only reasonable conclusion is that there is no god. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy hitting close to home to get people to really pay attention, as you've found, Rayray. But not always. The Indonesian tsunami is a prime example that can drive the point home. It's just not possible that all those people deserved to die or be made homeless. It's monstrous to think that a god would test faith by slaughtering thousands. There's nothing mysterious about it if you remove god from the picture. No omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god is the simplest explanation for the suffering we see.
Exactly right. And if a God would kill thousands just as a test to see who likes him or not is a horrible way to govern the world. It makes you think that God would be the bad guy and the devil is actually the good guy misconceived as the bad guy in the Christian religion. If hypothetically we even believed any of that but it shows how backward religion really is.
I would classify the majority of christians as "just in case" christians. I know very few well informed apologists. All of the "just in case" christians I know base their entire belief system on the bible being the word of god. Yet they all seem to know very little about the bible. In the very few discussions I have had with christiians, as soon as they make reference to the word of god, I always let them know that I discovered it was man made. Then I get to make this point:
Show me one sentence, one statement, one verse anywhere in the entire bible that could only have been written by god or inspired by god. Having trouble? On the other hand I can show you verses that explain the rules of buying and selling slaves (which supposedly came directly from god), what to do if your ox gets out of his pen, how to stone a woman to death for not being a virgin on her wedding date etc. etc. These words clearly and obviously could not have come from god if god is as the bible defines him. But men could have written these verses easily, on their own. Which is more logical?
This one has done well for me too...
I hate the fact that we are sitting here debating the existence of god. Why is god so elusive to us? I mean, why not come down here, pull up a chair and end this debate. After all, the existence of god was never a question 2,000 years ago, the debate was over which god to follow and if I choose to do what he wants me to do. Why won't god make his existence obvious so I can decide to do what he wants me to do rather than sit here and wonder if the all powerful, all knowing dictator actually exists?