A Phantasy How To Insert Doubt Into Christians' Brains
There have been many threads already about how to support people to revert from religious belief towards atheism. As I have no personal mission to do this, I am usually not contributing. But today I had an idea, that triggered my phantasy. While reasoning usually fails on christian brains, maybe some form of manipulation could work better.
The Asch experiment gave me an idea, how it could be used to serve a good purpose.
Asch's conformity experiments have shown, that people change their opinion to the one of the majority, even when the majority's judgment is obviously and drasticlly so wrong, that the same mistake is not made, when alone. It appears logical to assume, that this should work even better, when the majority is right and convincing. Christians are gullible, else they would not be Christians. Therefore they can probably also easily be lured towards conformity. While they resist rationality, they may be gullible to atheism.
For the set-up to create conformity towards reason, at least three atheists are needed, more are better, but it only works on one christian target at a time. Needed also is a relaxed atmosphere, over a coffee or a glass of wine. The christian target has to be kept ignorant, that this is a set-up and that he is the only christian. The atheists are presented as sharing some hobby or interest with the target. If they are role models in this, even better. This enhances his motivation to belong to them.
The conversation has to be led to the topic of the irrationality of christianity in a way, that seems natural and accidential to the target, in a simple, friendly and rational way.
The atheists start to joke about incomprehensible, puzzling and weird beliefs, first only those of other religions, slowly bringing in also all good atheist arguments against christianity.
The psychological trick here is to make the christian feel as an insufficient outsider between a happy crowd of persons, who share something that makes them feel good. He wants to belong, but cannot due to lacking something, that the others share and that seems to be important to them. The christian starts to wonder, how he can make himself to belong to the group. If his wish to conform and belong is strong enough, he at least listens to their opinions with some interest. Instead of feeling the need to defend his belief in an outright confrontation, in which usually one atheist wastes his good reasons on a bunch of closed minded christians, the target christian is lured to compare the benefits of his beliefs with the benefits of conforming and belonging.
I am wondering, if ever anybody has attempted to reach christian brains by such methods.
I am also wondering, if anybody of those, who have left christianity behind, did this motivated by the benefits of conforming to role models of any kind, who were also atheists?
for sure - it would work - just depends how vulnerable, intelligent and time you have.
Yes, I think this would work but is it really worth the effort? I know that there are a lot of Christians that go to church but don't believe everything they hear there. But they go for other reasons. It might be good for their business or it helps their standing in the community for other reasons. Also, their church is a very satisfying social club. That's what we are really fighting sometimes. They do not want to give up the friends and activities of their social club, regardless of what their beliefs are suppose to be. It's usually easy to sit in the pew and pretend. I use to do it sometimes just to keep my parents happy.
And isn't that why we are now all gathering around the web sites for Atheists? We need a social club too, a place for all of us like minded atheists to congregate and have dialog and fun with other atheists.
I think you'd make an effort for close friends and family... or just a convenient opportunity with someone you knew.
Some Christians are like dogs that roll around in cow manure. They know it's all shit, but they just like to immerse themselves in it anyway.
Excellent thought! The thought process is not nearly as attractive to many people as is belief, but conformity with majority group thought is powerful. If this target Christian is actively supported, belonging to a congregation and comes from a Christian family, one dose of spoon-fed reality will not do it. He must be made to have a passion to want to belong to this particular rational group, the hooks involved might not be all that apparent. This individual might feel utterly brilliant in the context of his congregation, just from memorizing scripture and babbling it on cue. It is worth a try however, though I think open disrespect in the culture for the irrational is long over due.
I called it a fantasy to illustrate one point: All attempts to convince a christian of the absurdity of his belief by pointing out the contradictions of the bible, are futile, as long as he has a need to cling to his beliefs.
Independent rational thinkers become atheists by themselves, because they cannot avoid the insight. People with a need to conform, can be taken in by anything, that fulfills their needs the best, no matter, if it is christianity, buddhism, scientology or atheism.
Placing atheism in the same category as religions is folly. Even placing some forms of Buddhism in the same category as these three desert religions is again folly. What separates these desert religions is their lack of intellectual integrity, absence of rational inquiry, and perhaps a profound lack of imagination, immaturity also comes to mind.
I am looking at religion as a misguided way of fulfilling psychological needs. The content is of no importance, all the content is absurd and irrational in some form. The interesting question is, what weird content fulfills what need and what deficit.