I've spent plenty of hours debating religion with christians. It seems to me that when someone is indoctrinated in such a way as to be self convinced that evidence and rational argument should be rejected in favour of stories from there bible group how can they ever be educated outside of that system?
Information such as "the God delusion" (Dawkins) is dismissed because there religion tells them to dismiss it, not because they have actually read and understood it.
So my discussion topic is, how do you educate the closed minded? Some practical ideas could help us free the world of pointless dogma, oppression, genocide and all the other atrocities that can be directly attributed to religion.
I agree. I have an xtain friend..We get into interesti9ng religious conversations but both of us leave the conversation unchanged.
I agree with Travis. People learn what they want or need to learn, so if they don't want to learn it then the only other thing that will work is for them to reach a point where they need to. Unfortunately, that need is sometimes hidden behind a brick wall.
As Todd Rundgren said in "All the Children Sing:" A bell in your head will ring. That's about the only chance there is.
Atheism is a conclusion, arrived at consciously, from the realization that between the real world and what religion is selling, there persists a disconnect, that there's too much illogic, too much that simply doesn't add up. When the doubt comes into their minds and they're actually willing to examine that doubt rather than dismiss it, then the process of recognition can start. THEN their ears and their minds are open, and then dialogue can happen.
Until then, the useless debates and polemical arguments will continue.
'Les peuples passent, les trônes s'écroulent, l'église demeure' Napoleon Bonaparte
I think two of the points you bring up could certainly be the most important considerations in changing attitudes. Firstly, Critical thinking, i note that when I was at school critical thinking was barely required at all, and certainly not studied in and of itself. Even science lessons rarely expected you to question anything, in fact teachers normally got pissed at you if you started questioning them or the textbooks.
In a system where children are told to sit down and accept the teachers points without question, even science starts to be taught more like religion is! I appreciate that teachers avoid being questioned because they have limited time and questions disrupt the class somewhat, but maybe encouraging critical thinking rather than suppressing it to save time would actually be of more benefit than cramming in extra facts. Once you question and debate something you often remember the topic better than if you sit still being fed endless facts.
If I hadn't gone to University I think I would have been a long way behind in critical thinking. the first semester course I did on the subject is something i would wish could be taught in schools to 7th graders (if not younger!), it was not a hard course, but it was something that we just weren't familiar with given its absence in the regular school system.
"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits." - Dan Barker
Thousands of years of teaching that Faith is a reasonable way to confirm beliefs is a disgrace. this all comes down to education again though, and critical thinking taught from a young age might help people to understand why faith is not evidence.
Although the school system is largely to blame (They still teach religion in most schools as compulsory, I know I was taught it, and in a secular society - I was in the UK - that is a disgrace), but attitudes of the parents are the most dangerous things, and changing them may be a lot harder than alterations to the syllabus.