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De-Converting Strategies 101

Last week, I was visited by two Jehovah’s Witnesses and I actually ended up having a nice long conversation with them (usually they try to run away). In any case, they tried to use all the standard arguments and I was able to easily refute them. But that wasn’t my goal.

One of the guys was an older man and the other was a younger guy. It is unlikely that the older “Witness” would de-convert. He grew up in a Baptist Church and converted to the JW later in life. He actually told me that he has “all the answers.” But the younger “Witness” grew up in the JW and he has never known anything else. He was my focus.

I also know that I was not going to de-convert anyone on the spot. This is true with almost any topic (not just religion) with almost anyone. It almost never happens that someone makes an argument and the other person goes, “Oh, that’s a great point. I’m sold.” The most you can expect is for someone to say, “Oh, that’s a great point. I’ll think about it.” So my goal was to give him something to think about and to direct him to sources that would help him with his thinking.

I asked them if they ever use YouTube. Some religious believers rightfully fear the internet, so I wasn’t actually sure if these two Jehovah’s Witnesses were internet savvy or not. They were which is great for me.

So when the old First Cause Argument came up, I told them about Dr. Lawrence Krauss’s book, The Universe From Nothing, and told them that he actually has about an hour long presentation on YouTube. I admit that I had to struggle to remember the name of the book, but I think that will help the younger guy remember the name.

It isn’t enough to just tell these believers where to find the information though, I have to encourage them to actually go to these places and look for themselves. I encourage them to have an open mind, just as my mind is open to their message. I make sure to let them know that I am willing to believe God exists. All they have to do is provide some valid evidence for their claims. I tell them that I hope they will provide me the same courtesy and be open to new evidence. This is where things got interesting. I’ll talk about this part of the conversation more tomorrow.

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