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Arguing With The Religious So You Don’t Have To

I was at a presentation earlier this week and the speaker mentioned that he doesn’t like to argue with religious believers. Interestingly enough, during the question and answer part of his presentation two religious believers attempted to argue with him and one atheist questioned why we should even bother arguing with religious believers at all.

Personally, I think it is worth arguing with religious believers. While religious conversions happen rather suddenly, de-conversions to atheism tend to be a long journey. When I argue with a religious believer, they are expecting to convert me on the spot. They assume that I am arguing for the same goal, but I’m not. I would be pretty surprised if I de-converted someone on the spot. I argue to get them thinking and asking questions. I want them to start their journey or to move their journey along if their journey has already started. I am proud to say that I de-converted quite a few people, but it often took years and I don’t claim all the credit. I merely got the process started.

I understand that not everyone enjoys arguing with religious believers. Personally, I really do enjoy the arguments and discussions. Each religious believer is different and while there are often common threads and cookie cutter questions and answers, every religious believer has their own story.

Despite my enjoyment, I get it. Some atheists would rather not argue with religious believers. They may not like confrontation or see arguments in a negative light. Or perhaps they don’t see the point – thinking that it is a futile endeavor. Whatever the reason, I’ll argue with the religious so they don’t have to. Just point them my way and absolve yourselves of the situation. Don’t worry; I’ll be gentle… at first. ;-)

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  • http://twitter.com/ThundalArchsys Thundal Archsys

    I adamantly believe that the first duty of any individual is the education of the ignorant and less fortunate so that they have the facts required to make honest and rational judgements about the world we share.

    So, for me, it’s a duty thing. I cannot willingly let someone be misinformed, because I consider the spread of that misinformation a problem on a societal level, like the people who tell their kids that X% of your heat escapes from your head… no, it doesn’t, and to perpetuate that bullshit means that future generations are going to have to hear it.

    The only people I don’t like arguing with are fundamentalists, because it’s either too easy, (“These things in your bible don’t match, it cannot be perfect, shut up”) or it’s impossible (“Look, there’s this e-coli experiment… oh… you don’t think germs exist?”).

    I think the best argument involving religion is one of purpose, which is a fun one to have. I’m an intellectual hedonist, so support of society and the progression of technology so we can preserve and support the planet, as per the concept of noblesse oblige, is one of my primary motivators, and it pushes my work in cybernetics. I’ve started a lot of de-conversions by showing that my mentality/ethos is not only rational, but is directly beneficial to both society and to the individual.