Is it worth it?

crushingstep7
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Is it worth it?

Today I went to my school's Bible Club (called the Truth Seekers) b/c in the morning announcments it was said that multiple religions and beliefs were being discussed, and all points of view were welcome. So naturally, I felt a need to represent Atheism as I am one of the few in my school who can actually argue:]

 

So I went there and it was me versus 20 other hard core Christians and Catholics. Oh well lol. No problem. We started by introducing ourselves, and explaining why we believe in what we do. I was the last one to explain, so when I mentioned that I was Atheist and that I found Theism to be illogical, etc I got that deadly pause in the middle of it all. It was kinda funny.

 

So they of course asked me to explain, which I did.  I slowly eased into the argument of Free Will and Pre-Determined Destinies. I presented it well and didn't really leave any holes. They kept telling me that God knew what I was gonna do, but it's my choice either way, blah, blah, blah. They just couldn't grasp the concept of how it was complete BS. I literally spent an hour and a half pretty much repeating myself.....

 

They kept saying that they believe in Christianity over other religions b/c they had faith, even after I had explained there was no more reason to have faith in Christianity than anything else.  They were quoting the Bible and the whole nine yards. Now these people weren't stupid [well some were] but they just couldn't grasp it. I clearly shot down everything they threw at me, but they didn't get it.

 

And I'm just wondering, after figuring out how hard it is to convert a person, is it workable? I mean people are going to believe what they want, and I guess I just can't figure out how to get them to want to side with Atheism.  It's so hard for most to step out of that box they're in. And I just don't know if I really make it work.

 

Oh, and I was given the book "Evolution Exposed". I haven't read it yet, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about it.  And yes, I got it from the Truth Seekers lol. After all, I'm searching for what's truth, and it never hurts to understand the other side  a little better. 


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I certainly hope so. If it

I certainly hope so. If it isn't worth it, then I'm going to go nuts and start killing people one day. Bad bad thing.

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crushingstep7
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That's some funny shit

That's some funny shit though..... lmao


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I would be more than happy

I would be more than happy to read their book as long as they agreed to read a book that I provided for them like "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins.  I would also try and do a presentation afterwords talking about each point the book makes and why it is wrong.

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


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crushingstep7 wrote: And

crushingstep7 wrote:
And I'm just wondering, after figuring out how hard it is to convert a person, is it workable? I mean people are going to believe what they want, and I guess I just can't figure out how to get them to want to side with Atheism.  It's so hard for most to step out of that box they're in. And I just don't know if I really make it work.

Personally, I consider the purpose of an appearance in person by an atheist at any religious event to be a PR act. It's a terrible place to argue, because nothing is written down. People get caught up in their passions, and egos, and in a group mentality, and it's difficult to impossible to go back and review later what was said and reevaluate an an individual basis. With written discussions, there is more chance to be thoughtful, and more possibility for honest personal reevaluation of beliefs.

That's not to say it isn't worth going to these events. Some people will never be reached any other way. However, it's largely just to say "We're here".

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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The sad fact is that there

The sad fact is that there are a massive number of people that simply do not want to be reached. As you said, it IS difficult to get them to side with Atheism, primarily because they've grown up considering many truths to be too hard to swallow. The thought of this life being it is horrible to them because it is so "short" (I've never understood that. Yes, a human lifetime at its longest doesn't even deserve to be called a fraction of geological time-but it's the longest thing anyone ever experiences, so how can it be called short?), and that along with other comfort mechanisms, more so for some than fear of hell, keeps them from entertaining doubts too much.

It IS worth it, though. If we don't keep trying to educate and make people just THINK about the things that they do without thinking for once, we will reach people. Not everyone at once-I believe the thought of religion dying out in my lifetime to be highly improbable-but some people will go home that night and reconsider where they stand. Most won't budge, that's the sad fact. Especially not at a gathering like you're talking about, but a couple might-or at least take a baby step in the right direction.

On the subject of that book-as much of a fallacy as I'm sure it is, I'd be more than willing to read it (eventually, I'm a painfully slow reader and I've got a stack to work through before I add more). It'd be worth a read if only to refute it, which I'm almost certain it can be.

I wish there was something like that where I'm at-my school is probably 98% Christian, if not 99%, and I really don't think that's an exaggeration, and the very thought of discussing another belief structure makes them squirm. If it's a bible club, chances are they aren't really interested in hearing an atheist viewpoint-but it's good to take them up on their offer anyway, and give them some surprises.

Humanity needs compassion and knowledge-an end to bigotry and undue ignorance. Religion stands in the way of these and my other ideals so strongly that I can't think of a stance apart from atheism that will allow me to feel like a decent human being.


AtheistInWonderland
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It's very rare that someone

It's very rare that someone would change on the spot due to something you've said. However, you can make them think about things that they otherwise may never think about. They may realize that their rebuttals to your arguments aren't very sound and then when they talk to another atheist later on they will be hesitant to repeat the same argument that didn't satisfactorily answer your questions. If they keep thinking about it, they may realize that they can't satisfactorily answer the atheist's questions. If they are able to overcome the fear that's instilled in them then they might become atheists or at least a lot more liberal in their theology.

 

Debating in a public forum is not so much for the person whom you are addressing as it is for the audience that's listening or reading.  Also, even if no one becomes an atheist by having discussions with them, you will at least let them know that we do have good reasons for not believing. If left up to the clergy and holy books for people to get their education about what we believe then we are in for it. 

 


crushingstep7
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Yeah I can see your guys

Yeah I can see your guys points. And they were actually pretty cool about it, and they said that they were open minded [wheter true or not] and were willing to read a book on Atheism. I recommended The God Delusion in return for reading their book.  So I guess it's worth it in the end to educate people and at least push them a little bit in the right direction. I just get discouraged sometimes lol.


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AtheistInWonderland

AtheistInWonderland wrote:

It's very rare that someone would change on the spot due to something you've said. However, you can make them think about things that they otherwise may never think about. They may realize that their rebuttals to your arguments aren't very sound and then when they talk to another atheist later on they will be hesitant to repeat the same argument that didn't satisfactorily answer your questions. If they keep thinking about it, they may realize that they can't satisfactorily answer the atheist's questions. If they are able to overcome the fear that's instilled in them then they might become atheists or at least a lot more liberal in their theology.

thats pretty much how i was brought to atheism. i heard some atheist say something questioning the validity of the bible and it made me think. about two weeks later, at a church camp ironically, i realized i have no answer for this and thought about the rest of what i believed. i came to the conclusion that there is no god, christian or otherwise, and i was just another person being pulled in with the religious propaganda.

unfortunately, no matter how much i debate them, my christian friends believe the same thing. i guess it only works on the open minded.


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It was somewhat similar for

It was somewhat similar for me. It had a lot to do with hearing Richard Dawkins and finally beginning to read the God Delusion (I called myself agnostic when I picked it up and was an atheist before I made it halfway through-but it wasn't just that). In all honesty, being a bit gentle with educating people seems to work better. I'm not saying tapdance around their beliefs for respect, but getting in their face and calling them stupid doesn't usually work. The best way to bring anyone closer to atheism is to simply make them think. It sounds almost insidious, but for these purposes it isn't: seeds of doubt must be planted. With me, atheism came very gradually. It was mostly small steps with the occasional leap. It was because I had begun to entertain the idea of there being no god, or rather consider it seriously for the first time in my life, and then I became an atheist through a sort of personal realization. No grand secret was revealed to me that made me throw all my old beliefs out-I don't know a great deal of atheists who became atheists that way, at least not the ones brought up in religious families. Lots of people contributed to my eye-opening experience, and gave me the ability to complete de-conversion on my own.

I'm going a bit further here, but I'm just entertaining ideas. For some people, shredding their beliefs before their eyes makes them realize what they've been doing wrong-but for others, you simply have to inspire them to start thinking.

Humanity needs compassion and knowledge-an end to bigotry and undue ignorance. Religion stands in the way of these and my other ideals so strongly that I can't think of a stance apart from atheism that will allow me to feel like a decent human being.


crushingstep7
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Well said.  My 'Bible Club

Well said.  My 'Bible Club adventure' was the first time I had ever really sat down and debated/discussed with Christians.  Or at least not that many. I've kinda had this attitude that the idea of Theism is just fucking stupid (and still do lol) and almost looked at Theists theselves as sorta stupid in a way..... I guess I'd have to say that people who get caught up in Theism aren't stupid, but on average just not overly intelligent. And yeah, if you go up to a person trying to change their fundamental views on reality, and completely disrespect them they're not going to hear any of it. And you'll end up wasting your time.  I did my best to make friends with them, ya know get them to trust me. Nothing sneaky. You just have to get them to want to listen I guess. It's a bitch tho.


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Oh I know, and it tries

Oh I know, and it tries anyone's patience. Some of them are stupid, but most of them are just scared or brainwashed-never thinking there was any other way. I've been wanting to do something like that myself but haven't got a chance too, I just haven't been in an environment to debate physically, but I have had some internet conversations with a few. Some far more productive than others, but no de-converts yet.

Humanity needs compassion and knowledge-an end to bigotry and undue ignorance. Religion stands in the way of these and my other ideals so strongly that I can't think of a stance apart from atheism that will allow me to feel like a decent human being.