When my Athiesm was young, I was very enthusiastic about discussing my ideas and persuading prople. In a religious society, it was not without a price. I bought disliking of most of society for being enemy of God. Now after 13yrs i think
1- Should people be persuaded to athieism in the first place or this should be left on progress of scientific knowledge? As myth is finding it more and more difficult to servive against increasing human knowledge of forces of nature.
2- Should only those persons be persuaded who have a thinking mind instead of wasting time on everyone.
3- What is the best way to persuade people.
(one of my old friend says its no use to logically persuade a religious person with discussion because his relationship with religon is not logical but rather emotional. so its better to raise questions than providing answers.)

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You said: I can't see how a priest or any true believer could simultaneously agree that child rape is what it is ... and also attempt to justify that abuse as moral behavior.

Exactly. At some point it cannot be justified as moral behavior. That's why I stated in my original post: "...when you get them to agree that raping children is morally wrong, you then show them where their god not only permits it, but condones it."

They eventually cannot justify child rape as moral but yet their own god condones it! (See Numbers 31:1-54)

Under God's direction, Moses' army defeats the Midianites. They kill all the adult males, but take the women and children captive. When Moses learns that they left some live, he angrily says: "Have you saved all the women alive? Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

This is after conversing with the Lord Jehovah on what to do with the captives because the Lord was upset that they spared the women and children.

Back to today's Christian. 1. get them to admit that child rape is wrong, then 2. show them that their god has condoned it.

This leaves them be to wrestle with where their morals really came from.

You can do this with any number of values, from murder to adultery, god has done it. You aren't arguing against their god, you're making them determine whether their values came from one.

They can't get them from a god who says its evil, and then turns around and does it. They are taught that god is good!

This type of dissonance goes a lot farther than denying their god. Rather, it gets them to question the validity of those beliefs. And that's what I'm after.
More than anything I think that we Atheists should make a point to live highly ethical lives and contribute to society. There is a lot of social stigma that comes with being a non-believer and there are many stereotypes portraying us as unhappy and disfunctional people. By being public in our Atheism while still leading a productive and happy life, non-zealots will be able to see that Atheism doesn't mean the end of the world.

Religion will always be with us. However, as a society, we can "water down" religions ill effects.
Much more important to me is freethinkers building community so we can have stronger friendships and stronger activism.

I came here looking for community. If enough people join the Vermont community here, and express interest in meeting, I can see facilitating a social group.
Personally, I have an issue with attempting to "convert" people to any side of a belief system.

One of my biggest pet-peeves with the religious is their incessant attempts to convert everyone to their side.
They can't seem to accept that people think differently than them.

I refuse to become that.

All we have to do is provide proper education on ALL belief systems in the curriculum.
Make them aware that ALL religions are arguing the same stance, arguing that everyone else is wrong, and that you'll go to hell for believing anyone else.

They'll either realise it's all hogwash, or they'll come away understanding not to perpetuate the continuous cycle of converting each other.

It's converting that needs to stop.
I refuse to bring myself down to their level.

Besides, those that can't think for themselves are probably better off being dictated to. If they can't think independently without a book telling them how to, I'm not sure I can trust them without it.
I'm not in favor of evangelizing atheism anymore than I am of religious evangelist
I also agree with #3 from the original post.
You can hardly convince a man of an error in a lifetime, but must content yourself with the reflection that the progress of science is slow. If he is not convinced, his grandchildren may be.- Henry David Thoreau
My last round of questioning religious teachings came at 25, but it was by no means my first. The difference was that at that time, I started to actually entertain the idea that god was imaginary. That had never even been considered for me before. I knew religions were bullshit, that they hurt people and got things wrong, and I started to accept, ahem, evolution, but I still always believed in god and miracles. (I was raised to be a faith healer, and thought I had magical powers.) At 14 I left Christianity the first time, but never questioned the existence of God. As lame as it sounds, a bunch of atheist YouTube videos deconverted me. Seriously, logic and reason were what got me to leave. I was already dissatisfied with church, religion, and the religious community. So I would say breaking those social ties first, and then you can logically persuade someone.
1. You cannot persuade people to athiesm. In fact, you can't "really" ever change another person at all. (exceptions maybe generated through forms of mind control and torture, but religion generally does not do this)

This is a human issue imo. Before attempting to change a persons mind, you firstly have to accept you cannot do so. It's a bit of a paradox. Why? The human in question has to be "willing" to listen. They have to be "willing" to think about what you've said. They have to be "able" to think critically and intellectually and not emotionally. And they have to be able to accept they can be wrong.

Soooo, considering all that "changing" a persons mind entails, do you think you have that kind of power? No.

So where do you start? Lead by example in your life firstly. And 2ndly, know why you disagree with religion. If you start up with stories of noahs ark, or the Israelites killing the cannonites you will sound like a fool. They already have answers to all these "issues".

If you really want to debate religion, start learning about philosophy and ensure that you have a valid argument for every claim.

A lot of religious people simply do not and cannot think. But there are many, that are very clever. Don't make the assumption they are all just blind fools because they are not.

2. You can only engage with those, that are thinkers. If they do not think well, then don't bother. Don't be rude, just let it go.

3. You can only begin the debate, by understanding where they come from and who they are. Get to know them. The best you can do with a non-thinker is simply show them, that you as an athiest are not a bad person. The BESt you can probably hope for, is to erode their predjudice toward them. You wont' do that, if you challenge an irrational faith that provides comfort and security against fear. I will not even challenge the truly fearful. It will bite us all in the butt.

For the thinkers, it really is a matter of getting to know them and you can only engage if they are interested. otherwise, leave it alone and again lead by example.

Any person who thinks they can change another is making a huge mistake. You simply cannot do it unless you use techniques of torture(or rely on ignorance). You cannot, make a person listen to you, think about what you say, and debate their own mindset. They can only do that through choice.

Yes, ultimately we are that powerless to change another. That is why, brutal force has been used for so long.





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