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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Comment by TOM RHODES on May 28, 2009 at 5:26am



Comment by Daniel W on January 30, 2009 at 11:16pm
Today I was listening to a Minnesota Atheists podcast which discussed using the Socratic Method (description here) to talk to theists about religion. This is similar to what you were discussing, except done in a more 'guiding by questioning' approach. It's probably less likely to make you seem dim-witted (if they beleive your questioning) or disingenuous (which it actually is). It doesn't involve trying to fool anyone, which may just lead to annoyance or anger.

This podcast is on the MN atheist program, which you can get by searching i-tunes with key word "atheists talk" and sort by release date (1/22/09) the title is "Dialogue With A Christian Sympathizer". Alternatively you can use this link to get to their website.
Comment by Daniel W on January 17, 2009 at 11:12am
Obviously you put a lot of thought into this approach. It would be an interesting experiment.

I honestly don't interact with theists about their religion - just not social enough. As a former fundies who deconverted due to intense reading of the bible and discovering both its internal contradictions and the contradictions between what fundies preach (bible is true in its entirety and as a guide to life) and their practice (they pick and choose what they use and ignore the internal contradictions), I always felt that the best approach was holding a mirror up to them and letting them see their own delusions. However, having grown up fundy, and knowing that most are not intelligent enough or insightful enough to read their own inspired work and critically analyze it, I know that my approach wont work.

I hope that you are able to post and describe your interactions, so that we can learn from your experiences! Don't let them convert you by 'teaching' you about their religion!

Comment by zeeman barzell on January 14, 2009 at 3:17pm
Hmmm... Very subversive. I like this.
Comment by Adam Johnson on January 13, 2009 at 2:10pm
agreed on all points
Comment by Adam Johnson on January 13, 2009 at 2:01pm
Well as we all know the US on another planet from Australia, and Europe, and China, and Canada, and Mexico, and Peru... You get the idea... We could never adopt the musings of some underdeveloped, heathen, less-than-human group of 'apes'.

That was sarcasm with a tiny hint of satire for the MO-RONS out there
Comment by Adam Johnson on January 13, 2009 at 1:48pm
Well there are 2 groups of people who have profound control over the education for young children; parents and teachers. As the get older entertainment works its greasy hands in there but at the very impressionable age parents and teachers are the shepards. Well if the parents are teaching them about god then its up to the teachers. We just have to hope the teachers are teaching the kids to be freethinkers and imbuding the children with a desire to learn.
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on January 13, 2009 at 1:44pm
It might just work! It sounds similar to the "capable of answering his own question" caper run by a couple of skeptics on a recent radio show. (Can't find the link to the video. Someone on this forum posted it a few weeks back. )
Comment by River Otter on January 13, 2009 at 1:41pm
I must say Adam, you have a point. If they are gullible enough to worship their gods then it is entirely possible that our ignorance might get taken seriously. LOL. :) It could be a hoot to see what happens.
Comment by jc morrison on January 13, 2009 at 1:33pm
that's an interesting approach, and is actually what i do when confronted with a racist joke. i think there is room for a variety of responses from atheists to the religionists.

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