I had this posed to my by a woman who claims she use to be an Atheist until about 5 months ago. She said how could I raise my children the way I am when I could possibly be hurting them because millions of Christians could be right?

I corrected her that it isn't millions of Christians who think they are right but billions, and that there are also billions and millions in other religions that think they too are right *but just like Christanity their claims have no weight*.

 

I always have a problem with "ex-atheist" because if you really didn't believe, really looked into the claims then how can you turn off logic?  And if they are just falling in line out of fear then how does that make their beliefs real? Then I found myself feeling bad for this lady *she too has children* and the fact that her first way of trying to reach me was by invoking my children made me realize that someone did the same thing to her.

 

Why do religious people go there? I know one of the reasons is because it has obviously worked in the past, but it is just so underhanded. Like parents don't have enough to worry about then someone comes along and tries to act like we are potentially hurting our children because we expect them to be free-thinkers! It just boggles my mind, I think pushing dogma on them is far more harmful. In fact I know it is.

 

How do you all handle the "they might be right" crowd?

 

 

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Religious people go there because it works. Parents are afraid to wrong their children and consider themselves responsible for the happiness of their offspring. Fear is a powerful motivator.

How do you all handle the "they might be right" crowd?

It's not an argument at all, it's an appeal to majority. Yes, they might be right, but without a reason why they might be right it really does not add anything new to the discussion. There are so many religions to choose from that are almost all mutually exclusive, that it raises the question which one of the many religions might be true and, more importantly, why it is true.
If a billion people believe a stupid thing it's still a stupid thing.
I don't have any children, so I've never run into this. But this is just the Pascal's Wager argument, applied to your children instead of yourself.

I was an "ex-atheist" myself in my '20's, having become an atheist at 17 because I had found the books of Ayn Rand and become a fanatic Objectivist. Rand said all rational people were atheists, so I became an atheist. But I didn't have any personal reasons for being atheist (i.e. no bad personal experiences with religion) and had only a shallow understanding of atheism (and of Rand). Objectivists are atheists sort of in passing, they don't really care about it that much. In college I learned much and went on a philosophical journey that left me thoroughly confused and off-track, I got into Eastern religion and followed a Guru for some years, then became disillusioned and recovered my atheism at age 30. So I don't find it hard to understand "ex-atheists".

IMHO you have handled it exactly right; as a parent you try to give your children your own best understanding of the world they are growing up in, teach them the knowledge and skills they are going to need to deal with the world we have, which world includes lots of mind viruses, and professional swindlers with baited hooks.
Yeah, I started saying I was an atheist at 18, I had an understanding of some of the reasoning but basically I was mad at the world. Soon after I started my wiccan experiment--even though it was with a "prove it!" attitude I stayed in that for much too long. So yeah I can see how someone could be an ex-atheist. People do a lot of things to their brains. It could also be that a person has some experience that they interpret as spiritual, or a sign, or whatever, and that convinces them.
Richard Dawkins answered this question by posing another - could they be right about Zeus, about Venus, about all the hundreds of gods no longer worshiped by anyone? What about all of these? Why isn't your friend worried about these??

She would probably answer "Because they're false." And so is her god.
If someone comes at you with the argument that "They might be right" just ask them if they (the person talking with you) really does believe or if they are just pretending to believe because "They might be right"? Follow it up by asking if this god rewards people for merely pretending to believe? And if they consider such pretence to be moral. After all, does not this god look down upon bearing false witness?

Believing because "They might be right" is no belief at all: it is merely aping belief, going through the motions to make it appear as though one does believe. And according to Scripture, Jesus calls this behaviour hypocrisy. Indeed, Jesus condemns such hypocrisy, as may be read in Matthew 23:27-29 and Luke 18:9-14. For them to honesty suggest that you should believe because "They might be right" is to not only attempt to make a hypocrite out of you, but it makes a hypocrite of them.
Pascal's Wager, fun. Explain to them that there are thousands of religions that exist. Any of them could be right. And, you have to give equal weight to the religions that DON'T exist. You essentially have an infinite number of religions that have equal chance to be right. Once you have them explain why Zeus, Odin, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster aren't real gods, have them go over the infinite amount of unthought of gods. That should shut 'em up.
A further note on Pascal's Wager which I've made elsewhere: would believing to cover your tuchus be acceptible to an omniscient god? Is it possible to put one over on such a deity? IF the christers' deity is everything they say he is (a rather gargantuan "if"), as Sherlock Holmes would say, "Professor Moriarty is not fooled," and Pascal's Wager is a waste of time an an insult to the intelligence of all involved.
Just let them know they might be wrong and most gods have a problem with worshiping other gods way more than just logically not believing.
The only arguments that are even partway logical that creationists have are "what if you're wrong?" "how could millions of Christians be wrong?" "What do you have to lose if you just believe?"
When you think about them like creationists don't then you will realize they are complete bullshit.
And don't know any good responses to the "what if you're wrong question" but if someone poses the "how could millions of Christians be wrong" then you smack them back in the face by saying something like just because a lot of people believe something doesn't mean it's true, then go on about Greek religions or you could ask "How can thousands of Scientists be wrong when they have physical evidence and check their work with the Scientific method and work to improve their theories?"
If they say "What do you have to lose?" then tell them you lose the ability to think for yourself, you lose your Sundays for things that could be a lot more productive, and you can go on.
Ask them how do they handle the chance that atheists might be right?
They just come back with Pascal's reasoning: if atheists are right, they've lost nothing. Of course, they have lost something; they're just blind to what they've lost.

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