A page on Facebook posted a link to this photo today:
Naturally, a little argument ensued. People were complaining about how Jesus was shown here (obviously), and other people fired back that it was true, etc. you know the drill. Anyway, someone said they were getting tired of seeing "atheist shit" on the page, and asked what was wrong if you just believe in God, and you're not using it for money or power, or whatever. I told him and anyone else listening that since the religious get to post things about what they believe and how they think, then nonbelievers should have the right to express their thoughts as well. Another person came in and told me that this was not an opinion, this was simply trolling, and if he insulted my beliefs I'd get mad. I told him it really should not be a big deal.
I come back an hour or so later and a few more people have responded. The previous person posted as well. He said, "But it's really offensive saying that someone important to someone's faith is a myth. I hear atheists and agnostics talk about how Christians should be more tolerant of other people's beliefs, but when it comes to our beliefs, they're usually very intolerant. If I even mention how I believe homosexuality is a choice and how I believe it's wrong, they start cursing at me and calling me bigoted."
Now, I am quite through dealing with the people on that thread, as they will only drive me insane. But how could I explain? Christians hate on atheists and other beliefs quite often. They still ask that we respect them, but how? How can someone expect me to respect their disrespect?
Many Atheists who used to be religious would argue that they were never stupid or idiots. They were coerced and/or indoctrinated. When I talk to a religious person about faith, I talk about their's and mine. I humble myself and offer my sincere respect of their beliefs, but I demand their respect of my beliefs in return. That usually works and when it does, we become equals in each other's eyes. That allows a free exchange of ideas, peacefully and dignified.
The theist can be smart, clever, and driven. Where they spread certainty about their beliefs, we can spread doubt of their beliefs. That doubt may allow the theist to ask questions, and some of the time, they will decide on their own that asking questions isn't a bad thing. That may lead them to science and the atheistic way of life.
If you can sincerely respect their beliefs and in the process respect them, you can treat them as an equal. When you treat them as an equal, people often reciprocate.
I haven't had an encounter with a strong theist in decades, even though I live with a Jehovah's Witless...my sister. She knows better than to try to change my mind, and I know I will never change hers. The JWs are the only friends she has, or will ever have, and IMO it would be cruel to deprive her of the social aspect of belonging to something that I privately think is silly...if not harmful.
If I were to be perfectly honest in speaking with another True Believer, I would have to say that I always had doubts and questions about certain aspects of protestant beliefs. So I went to bible study classes, and joined an after school Christian club, prayed and prayed, and tried and tried to believe, but couldn't. Quite. Then when I was engaged to marry a Catholic, I took catechism classes at his insistence, until my doubts about that overwhelmed my desire to believe...and to marry him. (I also realized that "love" that came with conditions wasn't love.) So I quit both of them and wasted another 5 years searching for the "right" religion.
Surprise, surprise! I finally came to the conclusion that there wasn't one, and felt that a 100 lb sack of fertilizer had fallen off my shoulders. And that is why I refer to a certain book as the "buybull." I read the whole thing straight through. Twice. And I can't buy that bull.
That would be what I would have to tell a believer...To quote Gertude Stein, "There is no 'there' there."
Cane Kostovski........Would you tell me how you can have a sincere respect for a belief system that has persecuted and is at this time, people who don't believe in the living Jesus...............Today there is more religious violence it the world than at the time of the crusades.................They indoctrinate small children in a false truth, some of which never recover............Right as we speak they plot the overthrow of our government and replace it with a christian theocratic government in the name of dominion-ism.............They are the Tea Party(religious right) Republicans...........I for one have no respect for the religious, they are beneath contempt.
Religion is garbage, shit, dangerous, detrimental to human happiness, detrimental to human health, detrimental to the advancement of science.
Religious people have been lied to by the religious leaders. The religious leaders are the enemy, not the poor bastards who have been fooled by the leaders. The only way to defeat the religious leaders is to take away their "flock".
I do not respect the belief, I respect the believer.
The believer will be the one with the rope....
Of course you need to respect other peoples beliefs. These are human beings with thoughts and feelings, that as wrong as we think they are, are very real to them. Being purposfully disrespectful of them is only going to cause them to dig their heels in and gives them a reason to reject any logic.
Surely the best approach is to respectfully engage them in a logical debate, pointing out the reasons you dont believe and invite them to refute them if they can. BTW Bibile arguments a rejected by me.
This isnt a sport we we score points by being more obnoxious than our opponents. We need to set an example if we are going to challenge beliefs and attitudes that have existed for thousands of years.
I tell them to read the entire buybull, just the way they would read any other book...starting on page 1, and reading to the end. That was what killed my own "faith" once and for all. It's all totally preposterous; why did ghod need to use a man's rib to make a woman when he made the whole universe out of nothing? Or why did he make the man out of dirt? Not very ennobling, is it?
I'd rather share my DNA with an ape-like creature.
Have you read the Chumash or the Torah? According my Chumash, Adam and Eve were joined at the back and G'd took an ax and split them in half.
MB....your point is well taken...However you will never engage a religious person in a respectful debate on their beliefs.