Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
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06-01-2015, 08:14 AM
RE: Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
You can't change someone's entire take on the world with one conversation. It's a matter of dropping a seed and waiting.

I have a very religious friend. She knows I am atheist. We don't talk about it. But - lately she has been voicing doubts, such as "how come we have to die if Jesus died on the cross for our sins and death was a punishment for our sins?"

So, it does work with some or even many people, but not in any one conversation. Plant a little seed here and there, and see if it grows.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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06-01-2015, 03:34 PM
RE: Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
Even though I don't think I'm ever going to change anybody's mind, I like coming to this site because I find it reassuring that atheism is probably growing. The large number of bright people gives me the sense that there really is some hope for the survival of the world.
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06-01-2015, 11:17 PM
RE: Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
Most of the wise people don't associate with the "brights". They're a joke really.
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07-01-2015, 01:01 AM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2015 01:05 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
In my experience, it's best to state your position briefly if/when it is relevant in conversation, and not push harder. Then, if the person later comes to you with questions, they are much more likely to be receptive. I have changed the minds of several people this way, not on religion, but other subjects. (It's not like I laid out a plan and a trap for them, it's just me being me.)

I've found from watching others that going on the offensive rarely works with deeply held beliefs. I haven't had much contact with theists offline, but I feel the same strategy would be good.

The great thing about online debates and call in shows like the atheist experience is that loads of other people will be reading and watching, and it's those people you are more likely to get through to, even if the person you're debating won't ever move an inch.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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07-01-2015, 07:53 AM
RE: Changing minds, or an exercise in futility?
(05-01-2015 08:19 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Has anyone seen a person that they have had these sorts of conversations with become less and less religious and/or atheist?

No, but I have gotten a few people to see my point of view and at least see it as reasonable or rational.

I have also been that person. I wasn't deconverted by any one conversation, but things I talked about with an atheist roommate in college did get the ball rolling. It took about five years, but I did start to question things, myself. During that time, I'd read things atheists were saying that weren't directed at me, but I was reading them nonetheless. It took time, but it was eye opening.

You know how sometimes people say "I'm not trying to convince the guy with whom I'm debating; I want this for others to read."? I think that can have a very real and useful effect. It's just that you don't necessarily get to see the fruits of your labor if some lurker reads what you wrote six months later.


(05-01-2015 08:53 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  I sometimes try to correct their view.....

But people I know have this way of saying stuff, adding they don't want debate about it (adding then they don't understand why atheists are obsessed with god or whatever else).

Agreed. I post in an apologetics group on Facebook mainly to correct misconceptions, and I don't go out of my way to disprove God, or anything.

And yeah, that level of passive aggressiveness is annoying. It's possible they don't realize they're doing it, but I hate when someone says something to the effect of "No offense, but I'm going to say something super offensive. You can't say anything about it because I said 'no offense'.".
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