So I just returned from a very long and eventful walk. Eventful in the sense that I spent the time thinking.

I have an idea that might work and I would like to put it through an experiment but I need your help. Read the whole hypothesis and tell me your ideas.

I think that atheists are taking the wrong approach to making theists think. Telling them they are blatantly wrong doesn't change anything and it makes them quite unresponsive even if you make a good argument.

I think we should try ignorance. When confronted about religion or asked our religion I think we should play sheer ignorant. Not knowing what religion is, or Jesus, Allah, Yaweh, etc and say that you have never heard those ideas before. Listen to what they have to say and after they finish or as they convey information you should say "really?!" or "that's crazy".

Example: If a christian is telling you about the virgin birth respond with "... but we all know that a virgin can't give birth" or even get scientific and talk about the fertilization of the egg by the gamete.

Discredit their claims with modern common-knowledge.

We must seem genuinely ignorant of all religious ideas and if asked if we are atheist must ask "what is atheist?"

I would really like to try this idea out on a larger scale than just myself.

If people are going to kick their dogma and fallacious ideas then it will ahve to be by their own accord. And this experiment may possibly give them the push to question their belief system and plant the seed of doubt.

Feedback welcome!

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Actually, it doesn't sound too bad as an idea, and I would like to try it out myself. Christians, beware! For the record, the answer on "are you an atheist?" doesn't work for me anyway, since I'm not ;)
yeah, what about acting curious about the details of heaven? Act interested, and ask if you could bring your video games. Ask them if you'd be able to talk to your favorite dead rockstars. If they say that's ridiculous, you got 'em.
Let us know how it works out for you,

Last night I participated in a debate over whether there can be moral obligation without a supernatural authority. It was in a church basement, at the meeting of a men's club devoted to Catholic apologetics, and there were 370 men in attendance. I felt that it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

I expect that the great majority of those who attended had a bad impression of atheists, considered us antisocial and hostile, and believed that we are either intellectually dishonest or have not thought through our positions. I had no expectation of converting anyone, but felt that we should utilize the opportunity to show that atheists are friendly, and of good will and well-considered philosophical and social views.

I think that, in general, honesty is the best approach.
Was the debate recorded or transcribed? I know it was a small venue, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was recorded (at least audio). I would love to get my hands on that!
It was audio recorded. They will send me a DVD, and when I get it we will put a podcast up on the Minnesota Atheists web site.
Beautiful, I get their podcast. I look forward to it!
Kudo's to you for having the motzy to dispute them in their own basement!
I like that idea. Make it seem like they're proposing the most ridiculous stuff, almost as if something a dull child might come up with. Then explain away their "miracles" and other nonsense with logic/science until they just give up.
I do agree that the most counter-productive thing is to deride their beliefs. People usually have to come to their own conclusions in their own time, so gently nudging them is better than shoving.


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