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How can you make the religious think?

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How can you make the religious think?

Postby 3point14rat » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:15 pm

Many people have become atheists/agnostics after years of being religious, proving it is possible to get through to a religious brain.

What arguments, examples, explanations, metaphors, etc. are most successful (least unsuccessful?) in reaching through the mental fog created by religion?

Watching many debates on Youtube has proven to me that, at least in that setting, even intelligent people will ignore or actively reject any information contrary to their beliefs. But in a personal setting with no one to impress or lose face in front of, there must be some arguments, examples, explanations, metaphors, etc. that can either force the other party to think and see our side or make them think about their own reasoning (or, more to the point, lack thereof.) I know there are no slam-dunk answers, I just want to have something that has a chance of working.
“It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.” Edwin Way Teale
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Re: How can you make the religious think?

Postby Milo » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:18 pm

One approach I'd like to see tried, is to have the Christian explain in detail the things they take for granted. Ask them to tell you about God for instance- what substance is God, where does he reside, does he sit on a throne, what did God do before he created our universe, is God a male. Be interested and non confrontational. Try to go beyond the pat answers they tend to give. It's all well and good to say God is spirit, but what is spirit and how do you know? How can you live outside of time and space and still have a place in heaven? If you can get them to see Christianity with outsider eyes they can start to see how silly it all sounds.
Stop doubting and beleive Milo. Then everything will make sense.
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Re: How can you make the religious think?

Postby Stoned Immaculate » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:10 am

That's strangely a tough question. For me, the absurd nonsense found in genesis is enough to make me think the bible is a book of myths. It's so central to christianity, but such a ludicrous story at the same time. If they really want to stick with the story that people eating forbidden fruit a few thousand years ago brought death to this planet, then they're lost. If they can admit that there was clearly death before man existed, that sorta makes the jesus story questionable doesn't it? He is the savior sent to take away the sin of the world? You mean that thing that obviously existed prior to man screwing shit up? Idk, the whole idea of a creator god, like the christian god, makes a lot more sense when you consider the source of biblical writing. I understand why they would say we brought death into the world. I can't understand why a 21st century person would say something so ridiculous.
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Re: How can you make the religious think?

Postby 3point14rat » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:12 pm

Milo, your comment, "If you can get them to see Christianity with outsider eyes they can start to see how silly it all sounds" is exactly what I'm talking about. What are the things you folks say that can do this?

SI, I completely agree with "It's so central to christianity, but such a ludicrous story at the same time." But "If they really want to stick with the story that people eating forbidden fruit a few thousand years ago brought death to this planet, then they're lost" isn't true; they aren't lost, only way, way off the path of rationality and reality. Every ex-xtian is proof that change is possible.

I'm sure we all have the same issue with this- Bible stories and religion are so wrong on so many levels that it's not possible for us to fully empathize with those who believe in them. I used to believe too, but once I 'saw the light' so to speak, the wrongness became so blatant that I can't believe I ever believed it (thank you Sunday School and church camps.)

So we struggle to get across the fundamental ways xtians are wrong. Too many discussions get pulled into the minutiae of a point when the very foundation is where the problem is. Their mindless replies need to become thoughtful replies, where they put their own brain power into answering and not parrot whatever they've been spoon fed by religion.

My main tactic is to pick a disgusting Bible story and ask how they can reconcile it with the actions of a good god. (I don't know how many times I've asked the nice JW guy who comes to my door regularly how a 'good' god could kill Lot's wife for the 'crime' of looking back at the city as it was being destroyed. I can't even remember his non-answers since they were so meaningless.) Or I try the "if everything needs a creator, who or what created your god?" But again they have an answer to parrot that they probably don't even understand themselves.

Blah, blah, blah. Sorry for carrying on and boring you, but once I start thinking about this I can't let go!
“It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.” Edwin Way Teale
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Re: How can you make the religious think?

Postby Jessica » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:55 pm

I don't think it's possible to talk someone out of their belief. I should imagine it's easier if they don't have everything riding on it. All their life eggs are in one faith basket, if you like.
I can understand why some people are happier holding onto their faith, and denying the truth before their eyes, out of fear of offending the Stalin in the sky, or even, (strangely enough) routine. Praying, helping folk out, evangelising, going to church. I wasn't unhappy being a Christian. When I came out, eventually, I had to admit I had been fooling myself for almost twenty-five years and my first thought was of being badly let down, like a it was a divorce I had never asked for.
God, You let me down! If you existed, I would be vexed with You!
I always try the 'how do you know your belief is true? Yes, the Bible says that, but those chaps over there reading the same words come to a different conclusions. If the Bible is the inerrant word of God how come there are so many different denominations all claiming they have the truth and everyone else is wrong all using the same words from the same book'?
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?Then he is not omnipotent.Is he able, but not willing?Then he is malevolent.Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? (Epicurus circa:300 BC)
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Re: How can you make the religious think?

Postby 3point14rat » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:47 pm

Jessica wrote:I always try the 'how do you know your belief is true? Yes, the Bible says that, but those chaps over there reading the same words come to a different conclusions. If the Bible is the inerrant word of God how come there are so many different denominations all claiming they have the truth and everyone else is wrong all using the same words from the same book'?


Although it's a decent argument and I do bring it up regularly, it's too easy for them to wiggle out of. They simply have to say that the others are interpreting it wrong. I like to concentrate on the interpretation of the person I'm chatting with, not someone else's that they disagree with.

The JW's kindly bring a Bible and ideas (Watchtower and Awake!) I know they agree with that I try to use as examples of why I don't believe.
“It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.” Edwin Way Teale
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