Why try to turn people toward atheism? Because most of us would agree
that our country and our world would be better off without religion. We're
not going to see it go away come completely in our lifetime but we can
reduce it's influence. The more atheists and less Christians, the better.
For starters, it should go without saying that not everyone is a good
candidate for deconversion. Some people will come right out and admit
that they would not behave morally were it not for their religious beliefs.
Leave these people be! Others are too weak to deal with life without their
religious crutch. These should be left alone too. The ideal candidate would
be someone who was indoctrinated with Christianity and follows it more
out of fear than devotion. These people would be much happier as atheists.
They would also be the most likely to become foes of religion.
Generally, the most effective way to turn someone away from Christianity
(or any other religion) is to get them to think. The best way to do that
is to ask questions under the guise of being a fellow
believer, perhaps one who is struggling with his faith. This removes
any element of confrontation. If you talk to them as an atheist, you get
absolutely nowhere. They think you are a mouthpiece of Satan, or used
by God to test their faith, or you are so blinded by your sins that you
don't know anything. Speaking to them as one of their own creates a relaxed,
non-confrontational setting in which they will be more ought to open their
minds to serious discourse. Needless to say, this method is not suitable
for people who know you well. It's great for on-line religious discussions.
If you really want to get ambitious, go to churches and meet Christians
Once you have a non-confrontational dialog established, it's time to
get your subject thinking. Remember: You can't actually deconvert anyone;
they have to do it themselves. Maneuver them into questioning things they
wouldn't otherwise have questioned. Some suggested topics:
- Origin of Faith: Why do people believe
as they do? When it comes to matters of faith, people mostly believe
what they were raised to believe. What they were raised to believe
was probably a determined by where they were born. How does geography
determine truth? This takes faith out of the equation. What makes faith in
one religion any more valid then faith in another - when geography
determined what they had faith in? Now
they are forced to consider their religion on it's merit.
- Ambiguity of the Bible: No two
Christians can agree on interpreting the Bible. This is true at
the highest levels of church leadership, not just amongst the flock.
Paul said, "God is not the author of confusion." Yet people are
confused. It does no good to claim that people are too flawed to
interpret God's word because that's the same as saying the Bible
is useless to us.
- Bible Problems: Discuss the myriad
problems of the Bible. If you need to brush up on the "good book", check
out the excellent
Skeptic's Annotated Guide to the Bible.
- Pagan Origins of Christianity:
If you have well researched, well documented facts, this one can
be pretty shocking. The fact is, we know the history of Christianity
and it's based on earlier pagan religions. Check out some of the
Origin and History links listed on Web of Reason.
It's best to take it slow, one thing at a time. If you've made progress in
a particular area, try to nudge them toward the next logical step. Suppose you got
them to accept that Genesis cannot be taken literally. You might want to explore
the implications for original sin next. Just don't push them too far, too fast
or you'll lose them. Be patient. If you can just keep them thinking and questioning
and reading the Bible, they'll stand a good chance of deconverting themselves.