A new approach

JamieKilstein
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A new approach

A new approach

Let me start by saying, there is a good chance that I am too new to atheism, this group, and this board to be making such a judgment call. I am willing to take any feedback or criticism on the following ideas, but I think we can make them work.

Ever since Dr. Dawkins and Sam Harris’s book have come out there has actually been some (all though a lot of negative) discussion of atheism in the press. I’ve been reading a lot of these articles, most recently the New York Times and have noticed that it is very hard for them to debate facts. Instead, they focus on the holier then though (get it?) attitude we have. How we talk down, and condescend. They don’t get into the science vs. religion because they would loose. So instead they come down on us.

Now, I know sometimes we do act like this. And that’s OK. Statistically we have 1-2 percent declared atheists on our side. At the most 15 percent. 13 who are closeted. That means we have to deal with a WHOLE lot of irrational conversations and debates with family and peers daily.

So we find support groups and lash out about the shit we have to hear everywhere we go.

But I think we need to take a break from preaching to the secular non molested choir. = )

I went with a notebook in hand to a crazy huge evangelical church this weekend with my partner. (Read about it at myspace.com/modernbeats)
They could debunk evolution, and global warming to a room full of ADULTS with ease! And they did it with charm. (Deep down its fear, but for the service it was all smiles)

I realize we shouldn’t have to charm people because we have facts on our side. But it works. So why not use their strategy against them.

I want to try to reach out to fundamentalists like they try to “save” us.
We don’t have fire and brimstone on our side but we have reason.
I want to have conversations not screaming matches with these people. And if they don’t want to be rational, then fine, but they saw that WE the evil atheists did.

I am going to start this off by emailing my beyond Christian fundamentalist sister. We never discussed religion when I called myself agnostic let alone an atheist, so it should be even harder. But I’m going to try.

Explain to them the positives of Atheism. Don’t lose your cool. Don’t name call. Talk to them one at a time. Make them feel like they are converting you, then counter them one argument by one until they have nothing left.

Talk to moderates.
In moderates eyes there is no reason to call yourself an atheist over agnostic. The only thing you gain is that your more hated. So why bother. Explain to them the joys in knowing there are explanations. The beauty in the universe. The power of finding love on your own, not with some pervert in the sky guiding you. Explain to them what religion is preventing us from doing.

If you don’t loose your cool. If you stay calm, funny, cool. They wont be able to do what the press does. They wont be able to blow off your arguments by saying “oh he’s just an asshole.” Then they will be forced to look at science vs. myth without using us against ourselves.

I’m not saying you guys don’t do this. I haven’t been around long enough to know. So if I am repeating someone else I apologize. But for now try writing one email, to a friend, moderate or religious and start by just asking them, why. Then take it from there.

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Tomcat
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You might like to read my

You might like to read my post called "The Atheist Approach" here

I whole-heartedly agree with you on this type of approach. Too often we are blown of for simply being assholes. I describe how compassion is an extremely powerful approach.

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


JamieKilstein
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Well put man. It's like what

Well put man. It's like what Jon Stewart said on crossfire before it got canned. You always can tell whos lost the debate on those awful talking head news debates by who starts screaming first. So for us, who again, HAVE the FACTS on our side. There is no reason to loose control.

I just think that there are countless ways to debunk the bible but now we should start showing people the beauty of atheisim. And if that doesnt work, we could start a crusade = )

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JamieKilstein wrote: I’ve

JamieKilstein wrote:

I’ve been reading a lot of these articles, most recently the New York Times and have noticed that it is very hard for them to debate facts. Instead, they focus on the holier then though (get it?) attitude we have. How we talk down, and condescend. They don’t get into the science vs. religion because they would loose. So instead they come down on us.

This is why I like speaking on our show, because we have the opportunity to put a friendly voice on the text. Often text can come off as harsh and abrasive simply by virtue of calling religion irrational.

Quote:
Now, I know sometimes we do act like this. And that’s OK. Statistically we have 1-2 percent declared atheists on our side. At the most 15 percent. 13 who are closeted. That means we have to deal with a WHOLE lot of irrational conversations and debates with family and peers daily.

Yeah we're all human. Any one of us can lose our cool at any time, most atheists who take time to engage in debate get fed up by the same ridiculous arguments over and over. It's up to us to keep in mind that the listener may be hearing your arguments for the first time, even it's the 1,000th time you've put them forward. Understand that your arguments may be new to a theist, and if you present them with anger you're likely to be shut out.

Quote:
So we find support groups and lash out about the shit we have to hear everywhere we go.

But I think we need to take a break from preaching to the secular non molested choir. = )

This place may have that appearance from time to time. Our site is heavily atheist, and we often commiserate on what happened elsewhere. To some degree that's important too, not just for ourselves but for theistic onlookers who read the site, and never post. We likely have as many theistic lurkers as atheistic, if not more.

Quote:
I realize we shouldn’t have to charm people because we have facts on our side. But it works. So why not use their strategy against them.

We actually created a forum on our website here called Kill em with Kindness for just that reason. Often with anonymity of online debating it's easy to slip into a world where you view the person on the other end of the computer as less than human (in any debate). We need to show them that the reason we speak about their beliefs negatively is because we care, not because we're trying to lash out at them.

Quote:
I am going to start this off by emailing my beyond Christian fundamentalist sister.... Explain to them the positives of Atheism.

Just a thought, instead of explaining the positives of (using the word) atheism, explain the positives of thinking critically. Show how God belief is no different than Fairy belief. And don't do it by positively asserting your point of view, but rather through asking poignant questions that allow your theist counterpart to come to reason all by themself. With that said, Jamie, you may be one of the best ranters in the world, and maybe your style should include some of those elements. I feel however that nothing is more powerful than the socratic method in getting someone to see your way.

Quote:
I’m not saying you guys don’t do this. I haven’t been around long enough to know. So if I am repeating someone else I apologize. But for now try writing one email, to a friend, moderate or religious and start by just asking them, why. Then take it from there.

Yup, these methods are employed by a great many on our board. The mantra I always refer back to that I know you're aware of is Harris stating "this war of beliefs will be fought on a hundred fronts at once, but we can't underestimate the power of ridicule."

I try to employ polite ridicule, if that's even possible.

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JamieKilstein
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There is no non - nerdy way

There is no non - nerdy way to say this...
I agree with everything you said = )
Jamie