Hey guys. I was generating topics ideas for my blog, and one of the topics I may or may not end up doing is Strategies. To put it simply, I've seen far too much energy expended in well-reasoned arguments that nevertheless fail to really do much to turn people away from theism. So I thought it might be fruitful to take a break from arguing over whether or not any gods exist and approach the issue of religion in a more pragmatic manner.
So in this thread, let's brainstorm ideas about how to get religious people to let go of their religion. What is the best way to get someone who believes in a bunch of crazy crap to stop believing in that crap? I'm especially interested in hearing from ex-theists who have been through the process we're trying to invoke. What caused you to abandon your religion? What was difficult about the process? What could have been done to make the process easier?
I'll kick things off by highlighting what I think to be one of the biggest obstacles for your average American theist. The morality issue. There are far too many people who have a negative moral connotation attached to the term "atheist." People who begin to doubt their religion start to feel guilty about that doubt. There's a strong idea here that faith is a virtue, and so people try to cling to their faith because they don't want to lose the virtue. So we can't just go around pointing out that theists are factually incorrect. We also need to find a way to make them morally comfortable with the idea of rejecting religion. As far as potential solutions go, I think a large public presence of atheism would work best here here. Just like a large public presence of homosexuality has helped in dispelling the homosexual = evil beliefs.
Questions for Theists:
I'm a bit of a lurker. Every now and then I will come out of my cave with a flurry of activity. Then the Ph.D. program calls and I must fall back to the shadows.