Last week, I got into an interesting conversation with a fellow atheist about de-converting Christians. My new atheist friend expressed the opinion that he thought moderate Christians were easier to de-convert and I expressed the opinion that I thought fundamentalists were easier to de-convert.
I am not actually sure that either of us could prove our position, but I do think we each had some interesting arguments to draw on. His main argument was that moderates were already more reasonable people and already value reason most of the time. So it is just getting them to think reasonably about religion that is the issue. Logically, this makes perfect sense but in practice, I have to disagree.
My view is that moderates just don’t care. I think both fundamentalists and moderates use reason (although fundamentalists don’t value reason as much) so in both cases it is merely getting the Christian to apply their reasoning to religion. The thing is that fundamentalists take their religion very seriously. They are heavily invested in their particular and literal interpretation of the Bible while moderates are quick to play the “metaphor” card for every unreasonable Biblical verse that is pointed out to them.
The moderate will just brush off criticism and stick with their view that Jesus was a hippy regardless of the evidence to the contrary. Because the fundamentalist is so heavily invested, they will actually put the time and energy into trying to defend their unreasonable position. But doing so, they start the de-conversion journey of self-discovery. Their fundamental passion becomes the tool of their de-conversion… in my opinion.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t try to de-convert and educate moderates about their own religion. We should, it is just that in my view fundamentalists are easier to de-convert. This argument is actually more of an interesting academic exercise between two atheists since I really don’t think it matters whether or not I am correct or my friend is correct. What are your experiences, stories, or logical arguments on this topic?