Everyone, Atheists and Theists, ask what do you believe in. We atheists learned that from the theists. What would be more natural for an atheist would be the question: What do you know?

So, I suggest when atheists are conversing with a theist, to drive the conversation in the direction of what they actually know.

What do you know about the scientific method? What do you know about evolution? What do you know about critical thinking?

They may counter with what do you know about God? Well, I would bet that you know as much as the theist does about their god since most theists haven't read their precious books. So, you can answer honestly that and other questions about knowledge.

If they cut you off and try to direct the conversation to faith, two things have happened. One, they have been exposed to some facts about science that they never were exposed to before. Two, more importantly, they have decided that anything else you say is not worth listening to, so  if you choose, enter into their world, or change the subject, or leave.

This has been the ravings of mad lunatic, so take it as such.

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The usual response is that facts don't matter. Faith is in the heart and mind blah blah. Reasoning, factual evidence, logic fly out the window when it comes to debating with xtians. Questions don't need answers when you have god in your heart because he did everything: 'goddidit'.

What do you know about god?. What is there to know? Why does an atheist need to delve into the workings of god or the lesson of the bible. Even at an initial glance you can tell it's bullshit, in the same context if I told you about santa. What do you know about his history? does it matter - we know he doesn't exist. The more I learn about god and the bible the more I disbelieve.

Hey Sandi, Thanks for the quick reply. I have a question for you: Are you for real?

Every time I hear someone use the word "belief," particularly as it relates to religion or faith, I am instantly reminded of the quote:

I don't want to believe; I want to know. [emphasis mine]
-- Carl Sagan

I've said more than once that I would prefer to believe as little as possible. My preference is KNOWING, albeit with varying degrees of certainty and depending on the subject matter. I know as much as I can, as much as is practicable. For the rest, science provides a disciplined means to useful knowledge, one which has repeatedly proven itself reliable.

To believe without evidence is to indulge in fantasy and delusion. To insist that "the truth is within" or some such other nonsense is to rely on a field where any imagined thing is possible, but only apparent to the one imagining it. It is an area without law, discipline or rigor and no necessary consistency. If some holy book is mapped onto it and one's mental images wind up resembling those described in said holy book, who should be surprised?

I base my life on what is demonstrable and at least reasonably reliable. To do anything else is insane.

Thanks Loren,

I will ask you the same question I asked Sandi: Are you for real?

Well, I could say, "Cogito, ergo sum" but someone took that line already.

Instead I'll say this: my reality is remarkably consistent, and doesn't seem to vary much if at all based on my thought processes. It does respond to direct action, and so do I, some of it wanted, some not, so any bias in my favor seems to be at least questionable if not eliminated altogether. My wife and my cats seem to think I'm for real, and all appear to act independent of me, if that's any help.

I suppose we could arrange a meeting to further demonstrate my reality. Having the internet as a filter does sometimes give rise to questions regarding how "real" the person on the other end of the conversation is. We could sign this whole thing up to "The Matrix," but that's like signing it up to some deity and running headlong into the whole "Okay, if he created everything, then who created HIM?" et cetera, et cetera. Occam's Razor cuts that one to shreds in little time.

So yeah, I think I'm pretty real. Your mileage may vary.

"I don't think, so I am not"

Allllll right, smarty-pants ... how do you KNOW you don't think?!?

Of course, you've heard the one about Descartes and his friend going into the bar. His friend orders a beer, and when asked if Descartes will have something to drink as well, Descartes says,

I think not...

and PROMPTLY disappears!

I wonder when I will get a serious response. Debate is not a word I used. Have fun Loren, et. al.

Am I for real?

I think therefore I am is too spiritual for me. Wondering why or how I exist is not my purpose in life, actually I don't think we even have a purpose. Through luck and precision is how we got here and that is all. I do not question life but enjoy it.

It doesn't matter because all I know is, I am what I am and that is real as far as I know and probably will ever know.

A serious response may come when you end your discussion with something else other than "This has been the ravings of mad lunatic, so take it as such."

I have reasons that may debunk your skepticism regarding whether using the word know instead of belief will be successful. If anyone asks seriously, I will divulge my crazy thoughts. But I will challenge you to think of the same reasons on your own with these guiding questions:

1)What does a theist know about survival in a society, child rearing, dangers of fire, and science?

2) What have theists been told and by whom?

3) Can science be the what and an atheist be by whom in the previous question?

If you don't have a sense of humor (American Spelling), don't play.

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