Well, after hearing Jerry Coyne's "Atheist call to Arms" on Youtube, I suppose it's because they just don't have the time nor the motivation to think hard about their religion. You'd have to improve the standard of living in America by improving health care, raise educational funding, etc. so people will cling less to the illusory promises of religion. Well, that's on a national level.
But, how to de-convert people conversationally, I don't know, since I never tried to before.
The case to be made with most delusional people is to counter either their strict upbringing in "faith", or traumas that enforced the same. You are swimming against the tide, in that religion hooks in to very basic needs, that they do not overtly state - mainly sexual.
Women will often be the hardest to convert due to their upbringing with motherhood ideas intertwined with religious ideals. In other words, "the one" will just present himself at the right time; marriage and the perfect family life will follow, if you believe.
Men slightly easer - once you get them past the matriarchal influences of the religious "good son", and just the fact that some atheist weirdo will scare off the chicks. Meaning no pussy, no wife, until they find the needle in the haystack that has come to rationailty...
It will be an uphill battle either way. Sorry about the language.
I suspect you are preparing for an unwinnable war. Changing someone who doesn't want to change isn't possible, unless you have good drugs, a dark room, and lots of time. Focus on those who haven't yet been indoctrinated and on making it so that delusional people have limited ability to influence legislation for a much higher return on your time investment.
My ex and his wife are super delusional! I wish I knew of a way to help them. I was called a "devil worshiper" by the wife because I collect dragons. My ex thinks, or in his mind "knows" that he is the next "Christ" and that he can save all those who believe in him in 2012!
My poor daughter has to suffer the most in all this. They are extra hard on her because of me being an Atheist. If her dad has such a problem with it now, he should have never been with me, because I was very open in the beginning about my Atheism. Their delusions in Faith have become wreckless, dangerous, and honestly, I dont know if they can think for themselfs anymore. The step mom is starting to slam me on social web sites like Facebook. I think theyre going to end up forming a group related to the Repent Amarillo group.
So yea, if there is a cure for this Delusion, pass it on to me!!
Back him in a corner of words a bit... So when 2013 finally rolls around, you can get a good laugh. Or if he thinks he really is the messiah reborn, I am sure there are more than a few judges especially in Texas that would not take kindly to hearing such blasphemy against their religion from a at best, troubled and at worst, delusional man... Would be a great way to get your daughter back...
Yes. Many times, and the subject is a *very* touchy one.
Basically, her belief is based on "personal" experiences with God. Something I wouldn't understand. At least that's what I am told. Here are a couple of her experiences that act as proof there is a God:
1. While she was in college, her grandfather was getting really sick. He spent all of his life smoking and drinking. He had a couple strokes, and was getting worse. Then a couple days before he passed, she had a dream that he was going to die. Proof positive!
2. I had a cat that was with me since college, and a couple years ago (the cat, kitty tiger, was 21 years old) she lost use of her hind legs. We nursed her for a few months, but her condition kept getting worse -- no exercise for a few months has its tolls. Anyway, one night I was with 'tiger' and she really looked bad, laboring to breath. I was heading to the gym and told my wife and daughter that they might want to say their goodbyes to kitty tiger because I didn't think she would make it through the night. After I left they wrapped her in a blanket and sat on the couch and petted her. My wife prayed to God that he take her so she wouldn't suffer anymore. A few minutes later, she took her last breath and passed. Proof Positive!
3. She has her photo album cycle through all her pictures as a desktop screen saver. On at least one occasion someone's picture popped up and the phone rings a few minutes later. It's the person who's picture was just showing. Proof Positive!
There are many others, but I won't bore anyone with them. They all pretty much follow the same logic, or lack thereof.
You could reverse tactics and conduct an experiment with her. The experiment should demonstrate to her that her prayers are no more effective than your prayers to something she would see as absurd.
For example, tell her you have a rock which, as part of the universe/gaia/whatever, answers your prayers. Suggest that the rate and quality of prayers answered by your rock is at least as high as those submitted to her God. Then proceed to pray for things were are certain to happen, just like she does. She will, of course, argue that it isn't the rock but her god which is answering your prayers so you will have to come up with a very good prayer which will convince her that your prayers are directed to the rock/whatever and that they should be ignored by anything else.
This is all just so silly. You seem to care about these people far more than they seem to deserve. You seem far more ethical but I can't imagine martyring myself as you seem willing to. I guess that's love though.
From what I have learned about manipulating people, the only way to alter someone who isn't a critical thinker into being a critical thinker is to repeatedly have them lied to. At first it has to be an easily detected lie. Then slightly harder to detect as you go.
All lies have to be somewhat related to the subject you want them to think critically about... but cannot be directly the subject itself.
Through the constant bombardment of false information, the subject's mind is eventually forced to use critical thinking in order to categorize information as it receives it. Without critical thinking, the subject will be unable to make sense of anything related to the subject material.
Unfortunately, you tend to become the "enemy" with this methodology.
Given that she's your wife, I cannot see any way you can do this without ruining the marriage.
A possible alternative would be to merely wait for some people within her religion to "backstab" her. (Interpersonal relations within a large group almost always results in some form of betrayal).
Then relate this subtly with religion itself, without going right out and saying it directly.
Basically, the categories betrayal and religion will have to overlap within her mind.
Oh... and... clear your cache and cookies / temporary Internet files.