Stop bickering with the supernaturalists.

It gets us no where and just gets their defenses up. Instead agree to disagree and work on dialogues about real world problems and fixes. I know there will be times when they will say something foolish like. “Jesus is coming back in 2012 anyway, so who cares about the pacific garbage patch?” just reply “Maybe if we fixed that problem he wouldn’t have to come back.”

Yes! Play in to their superstitions. But only as an intelligent person who realizes that your interpretations of reality may be just as out of sync with the true reality that we were indeed sneezed from the great giant turtle anyway, ‘achoo’ and also with you.

Jokes, not the profane and blasphemous, but the ridiculous and good natured, also work well when dealing with adults who still haven’t grasped the concept that people have been lying to each other since we evolved as a species... oh yeah they still have trouble with that one too... damn those people do suck...

But tough it out. These are regular folks with the similar characteristics to yourself, they are not stupid (not true for some cases), just foolish about certain things, work around that deficit, try to hide it from the dialogue. Instead focus on your own secular world view and force him to do the same by just ignoring that “god” comment, or explaining what my mother used to tell me “god helps those who help themselves.”, and moving on with solution based thinking.

Again playing into their superstitions is an effective way to show you actually do have the upper hand on the issue.

And lastly, don’t be a hater. These are people. They are fathers and mothers with daughters and sons, they have the right to their culture and opinion. Thats not to say we should stand by and do nothing when a barbaric cultural hangover threatens the life of an “innocent”. Just do not automatically reach for that anger over every little thing they say. I don’t hate the teenage girls who talk about vampires incessantly, though grown adults droning on about the rapture does get rather tiresome.

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Comment by Greta K. on July 11, 2010 at 7:26pm
This sounds like the old and tired complaint that big bad atheists are mean to the poor christians who are just like us, only trying to take away my right to choose, squelch science, demonize gay people, and prevent progress that would actually ease human sufferingl. Keeping quiet around stupidity and intolerance does nothing to advance reason.

I like Sam Harris's idea of "conversational intolerance". Maybe if we compared their religious rantings to believing that Elvis is still alive to their face, they would at least shut up about it so much.
Comment by Earther on July 9, 2010 at 11:15am
Have you ever watched the episode of Atheist/Christian 30 Days? The atheist mom stayed with a christian family for 30 days. She went to their church and commented that the church was huge and that there was a lot of money invested in it. Know your battles. If you are discussion is with a single person it may be impolite to be heavy in your belief. If you are taking on a giant be sure to know the what you are doing.
Comment by Jason Spicer on July 8, 2010 at 10:33pm
Fair enough, Ryan, although it's been my experience that people have little sense of humor about their sacred cows. I agree that ridiculous ideas deserve ridicule, but that's usually interpreted as scorn. Often rightfully so.
Comment by R. Ryan Nelson on July 8, 2010 at 7:26pm
@Jason- You mistake me, because I was not clear, I'm not very articulate. Never concede the fact that we are right and theism is wrong. Make fun of, hopefully without insulting, a person if he brings up the 'god' concept. Make everyone around them, and them too hopefully, laugh about the ridiculous nature of their world view.

Eventually theism will die out, never entirely but enough that we can stop bringing it up in social settings. Not because we sit there and yell at them and express are anger over their "stupidity", but because it doesn't work and never has. Its a con game thats embraced insanity and the insane, and its been going for a long time, perpetrated by the assholes that benefit from it. But when dealing with the less than enlightened regular folks, just ignore most of their shit and get on with reality based relationships and conversations
Comment by Jason Spicer on July 8, 2010 at 2:50pm
Ryan, I think Dave's got it right. Ignoring things never works. It's a kindergarten "solution" that just doesn't work in the real world. People take silence as assent. We have to stand up for our rights, we have to stand up for science. Without evidence and reason as a foundation, "real world solutions" are pretty much impossible. Puncturing the madness by pointing out the genetic impossibility of a single mated pair of initial humans, that Mary is the only knocked-up teen in history who got away with the virgin birth dodge, or that the Dalai Lama is primarily engaged in hand-waving, is crucial. It provides the rational underpinnings for ridiculing the crazy and dangerous medeival belief systems that threaten our survival. We can't really afford to be shrinking violets anymore. There's too much at stake.
Comment by R. Ryan Nelson on July 8, 2010 at 2:28pm
You are right Jason, we do need to confront these people on their ridiculous opinions. I just think the best way to do is to not stand around bickering. I believe in the lead by example method, and since we are right on the issue, 99% sure, (1% sure we were sneezed from a turtle) We as non-theists need to justify ourselves by working toward real world solutions to real problems... debating adam and eve, or virgin birth, or the ghostly nature of the Dali Lama, or any number of contradictions that are inherent in all religions, is counter productive. When those debates start up around you. LAUGH! Its funny. Ridicule them for holding their beliefs by insisting on ignoring their opinions.
Comment by Jason L Franklin on July 8, 2010 at 7:55am
Excuse me but I respectfully call B.S., I must argue with deists as a moral imperitive. They must be made to admit their religion (notice I do not say God) is resposible for the near eradication of my culture and I say they can have their pretty little rose colored glasses only as long as it takes me and my ilk to knock them off their faces and hopefully break a few noses on some of the more backwards believers. How is their "feelings" about their culture more important then the actual existance of mine? I will ALWAYS be in their faces holding up a mirror to their hypocracy and hopefully someday as it has occured a few times in the past they learn to live without an invisable friend long enough to address the issue with someone else afflicted with the "god" virus, perhaps then there can be a cure.
Comment by Earther on July 7, 2010 at 4:15pm
I like your thoughts and agree with you. I think, in comparison to your blog, siblings have similar tiresome arguements that are subject to competitiveness. We people get competitive to be heard and to survive. It helps to notice ourselves when we are getting too competitive and see that our arguements are making progress or not. There are many issues I find worth arguing and I must give credit to those who spend there lives trying to preserve the rights of human life, enviornment, and wildlife. Do no harm is the hypocratic oath doctors take and we must as well. As children we can seek advice from parents and adults for help in bothersome situations but as adults we need to do our own search for solutions.

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