A Different Kind of Challenge

DerKlempner's picture
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A Different Kind of Challenge

How can I convince "armchair theists" that their majority of beliefs in science completely contradict their long-held beliefs in a god?

My parents are theists -- Roman Catholics, to be precise.  They are not of the fundie variety, nor are they regularly-practicing theists.  They hold many opinions based on the Catholic religion (i.e., abortion = bad!), yet they do not adhere to the concepts of a 6000-year-old Earth or a divinely-created universe as stated by the bible.  They are very practical people who hold high regard for much scientific evidence, such as a 13.7-billion-year-old universe, a 4.5-billion-year-old Earth, evolution, etc.  Yet they still hold onto their belief of the existence of a god and eternal salvation based on their beliefs.

I'd like nothing more than to look them directly in the eyes and explain to them that their beliefs in scientific fact completely contradict their theistic beliefs, but I feel as if I'm not well-enough versed to change their minds concerning the fallacy of theism.  What arguments can I use to show them that they should look deeper into science for an understanding of the universe and to reject their theist-centric viewpoints because it goes against everything else they hold to be true?

Thanks in advance for your insights.  I look forward to having a deep and meaningful conversation with them to make an attempt to open their eyes to the truth.

If "God" created man in his image, then why aren't YOU omniscient and omnipresent?

Sci-Fi Bible: Replace the words "Jesus" and "God" with "alien" and "spaceship", respectively. Isaac Asimov couldn't write a better story.

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Exactly the same here. I showed my parents that science says that Genesis is false (and the genealogies in the Bible too), I even showed the the contradictions and told them how people proved that the predictions 'fulfilled' in the NT were just copied from the septuagint. They said that the facts didn't matter, but the essence (whatever the hell that is supposed to be) is still true.
Obviously they have been believing for 45 years straight, so it's understandable that they won't be convinced overnight, and they even said that to me.

Another very annoying thing everybody tells me is that they know somebody very rational who believes, and therefore rationality isn't an excuse not to believe, and all logic proofs god, else this extremely rational person wouldn't believe.

Ask them what they based their belief on, and destroy that argument. They will say that they have personal evidence, and know that that won't convince you because you're scientific, but it did convince them.

The one thing I haven't tried yet is asking them why they don't believe any other religion, and then compare their religion to the others, and show there's no difference.