Christian Questionnaire 1.0
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30-09-2014, 04:19 PM
Christian Questionnaire 1.0
In my limited experience debating and discussing religion, I have noticed that it can be very easy to make assumptions about religious people. A belief system is very different from thinking independently on every subject, even though it is still possible to do so in a limited way within one. Belief systems prohibit certain beliefs/ideas while making others mandatory. I, and others like me, read all about one particular faith, say Christianity, and we think we know what Christians believe. The problem is, we are usually wrong.

In practice, believers hardly fall into such rigid categories. They can dabble in free thought, or even turn out to be a freethinker in disguise. I have attacked enough straw men in the past that I want to know a little more about the actual position whoever I am talking to. In order to attempt this in a simple and direct way, I have written the following questionnaire. No doubt I have missed something, so I will be revising it as I go along.

Feel free to poke holes in these at will. I want to make them really good. Feel free to send me suggestions and criticisms. There are probably some great questions I haven't thought to ask yet, that someone on TTA has thought of.

Creationism
1. Do you believe literally the creation account as written in Genesis?
2. Do you believe the earth is only a few thousand years old?

Science
1. Are you a science literate person?
2. Have you studied and do you understand the theory of evolution?
3. Have you studied and do you understand the big bang theory?
4. Do you accept evolution and the big bang as the best explanations of the origins of the cosmos and life on Earth?
5. Do you consider a belief in a god, or a religion, to be compatible with the theories of evolution and the big bang?

Religion
1. Do you belong to a specific sect of Christianity?
2. Do you attend church, if so, what kind?
3. Do you consider one particular form of Christianity to be true, while all others are false?
4. Do you consider non-Christian religions to be false?
5. Do you have any theological or spiritual beliefs that contradict or otherwise differ from your particular belief system?
6. Do you consider anything outside of religion to be a source for truth?
7. Are you educated/informed when it comes to the beliefs of other major and/or minor religions?
8. What is your opinion of the faith claims of other religious people?

The Bible
1. Have you read the bible, if so, how much of it?
2. Do you believe the bible to be revelation from god?
3. Do you believe the bible was written by human authors?
4. Do you believe the bible is infallible?
5. Do you believe the bible is a good moral reference?
6. Do you believe the bible is historically accurate?
7. Do you take the bible literally?

Miracles
1. How do you define a miracle?
2. Do you believe miracles take place?
3. Do you believe the miracles mentioned in the bible actually took place?
4. Do you believe miracles still take place in modern times?
5. Do you consider natural disasters to be the deliberate work of god?
6. Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
7. Have you every heard about a miracle that you did not witness yourself, but that you were convinced of its truth?
8. Do you consider miracles performed by a specific person to be evidence of that person's divinity?

Spirituality and Personal Experience
1. Do you experience a private relationship or connection with a god?
2. Has a god made his/her self known to you so that you are certain whom you are experiencing revelation from?
3. Have you experienced direct contact with anything supernatural besides god?
4. Have you ever had any doubts about your faith, and if so, how serious were they?

Prayer
1. Do you pray, if so, how and to whom?
2. Do you believe that your prayers are answered?
3. How do you experience answers to prayer?

Faith
1. Is your belief in god and/or religion based on faith, evidence, or both?
2. Do you consider faith a good method for learning truth?
3. Do you consider faith a virtue?
4. Is faith good for people?

The Big Questions
1. What is your purpose in life?
2. Why do you exist?
3. What is the meaning of your life?
4. Do you believe your meaning/purpose in life is universal, or only applicable to you?
5. What role, if any, does humanity have here on Earth?
6. Do you believe in an afterlife?
7. Do you believe you were alive in any sense before you were born?
8. Do you believe in heaven and hell, or something similar? If so, where are people of different faiths, or the lack thereof, headed?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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30-09-2014, 04:47 PM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
The beliefs in the creation myth will certainly clarify what a person believes pretty quickly. As a believer, I believed in old earth creationism, I just couldn't swallow the full YEC myth.

The clarification of beliefs will usually start there. It's odd how I never connected how the Jesus myth depends on the creation myth, I just never thought about it, but that was the only reason I remained a Christian for years, you do not think about it!

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Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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30-09-2014, 04:54 PM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2014 01:52 AM by Mr Woof.)
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
(30-09-2014 04:19 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  In my limited experience debating and discussing religion, I have noticed that it can be very easy to make assumptions about religious people. A belief system is very different from thinking independently on every subject, even though it is still possible to do so in a limited way within one. Belief systems prohibit certain beliefs/ideas while making others mandatory. I, and others like me, read all about one particular faith, say Christianity, and we think we know what Christians believe. The problem is, we are usually wrong.

In practice, believers hardly fall into such rigid categories. They can dabble in free thought, or even turn out to be a freethinker in disguise. I have attacked enough straw men in the past that I want to know a little more about the actual position whoever I am talking to. In order to attempt this in a simple and direct way, I have written the following questionnaire. No doubt I have missed something, so I will be revising it as I go along.

Feel free to poke holes in these at will. I want to make them really good. Feel free to send me suggestions and criticisms. There are probably some great questions I haven't thought to ask yet, that someone on TTA has thought of.

Creationism
1. Do you believe literally the creation account as written in Genesis?
2. Do you believe the earth is only a few thousand years old?

Science
1. Are you a science literate person?
2. Have you studied and do you understand the theory of evolution?
3. Have you studied and do you understand the big bang theory?
4. Do you accept evolution and the big bang as the best explanations of the origins of the cosmos and life on Earth?
5. Do you consider a belief in a god, or a religion, to be compatible with the theories of evolution and the big bang?

Religion
1. Do you belong to a specific sect of Christianity?
2. Do you attend church, if so, what kind?
3. Do you consider one particular form of Christianity to be true, while all others are false?
4. Do you consider non-Christian religions to be false?
5. Do you have any theological or spiritual beliefs that contradict or otherwise differ from your particular belief system?
6. Do you consider anything outside of religion to be a source for truth?
7. Are you educated/informed when it comes to the beliefs of other major and/or minor religions?
8. What is your opinion of the faith claims of other religious people?

The Bible
1. Have you read the bible, if so, how much of it?
2. Do you believe the bible to be revelation from god?
3. Do you believe the bible was written by human authors?
4. Do you believe the bible is infallible?
5. Do you believe the bible is a good moral reference?
6. Do you believe the bible is historically accurate?
7. Do you take the bible literally?

Miracles
1. How do you define a miracle?
2. Do you believe miracles take place?
3. Do you believe the miracles mentioned in the bible actually took place?
4. Do you believe miracles still take place in modern times?
5. Do you consider natural disasters to be the deliberate work of god?
6. Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
7. Have you every heard about a miracle that you did not witness yourself, but that you were convinced of its truth?
8. Do you consider miracles performed by a specific person to be evidence of that person's divinity?

Spirituality and Personal Experience
1. Do you experience a private relationship or connection with a god?
2. Has a god made his/her self known to you so that you are certain whom you are experiencing revelation from?
3. Have you experienced direct contact with anything supernatural besides god?
4. Have you ever had any doubts about your faith, and if so, how serious were they?

Prayer
1. Do you pray, if so, how and to whom?
2. Do you believe that your prayers are answered?
3. How do you experience answers to prayer?

Faith
1. Is your belief in god and/or religion based on faith, evidence, or both?
2. Do you consider faith a good method for learning truth?
3. Do you consider faith a virtue?
4. Is faith good for people?

The Big Questions
1. What is your purpose in life?
2. Why do you exist?
3. What is the meaning of your life?
4. Do you believe your meaning/purpose in life is universal, or only applicable to you?
5. What role, if any, does humanity have here on Earth?
6. Do you believe in an afterlife?
7. Do you believe you were alive in any sense before you were born?
8. Do you believe in heaven and hell, or something similar? If so, where are people of different faiths, or the lack thereof, headed?

Thanks for some good questions,
Bit rushed so won't elaborate.
A no no
B not a scientist,not existentially convinced,not deeply,reasonable theory,not mutually exclusive.
C no,varied,no,no,yes,yes,yes, open minded.
D enough,partially dependent on how god is defined,yes,no,limited parts,no,no!
E------------TO BE CONTINUED>Angel
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01-10-2014, 05:06 PM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2014 05:09 PM by Hoops.)
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
I have debated MANY theistic friends and acquaintances on the topic of religion, so if you don't mind, I will have a go at "poking holes" in your arguments. My responses will be embedded in your quote, in red.

I will let you know what responses and rebuttals I have had during my personal debates. Your mileage may vary.
Smile


In my limited experience debating and discussing religion, I have noticed that it can be very easy to make assumptions about religious people. A belief system is very different from thinking independently on every subject, even though it is still possible to do so in a limited way within one. Belief systems prohibit certain beliefs/ideas while making others mandatory. I, and others like me, read all about one particular faith, say Christianity, and we think we know what Christians believe. The problem is, we are usually wrong.

In practice, believers hardly fall into such rigid categories. They can dabble in free thought, or even turn out to be a freethinker in disguise. I have attacked enough straw men in the past that I want to know a little more about the actual position whoever I am talking to. In order to attempt this in a simple and direct way, I have written the following questionnaire. No doubt I have missed something, so I will be revising it as I go along.

Feel free to poke holes in these at will. I want to make them really good. Feel free to send me suggestions and criticisms. There are probably some great questions I haven't thought to ask yet, that someone on TTA has thought of.

Creationism
1. Do you believe literally the creation account as written in Genesis?
2. Do you believe the earth is only a few thousand years old?

I have found that if you are debating a "dyed in the wool" fundamentalist believer, the answer will be "yes". Plain and simple. This is rare, and usually the questions like these will be danced around, and answered vaguely with responses such as "I believe the bible is the word of God" or something along those lines, and you WILL NOT get a simple yes/no answer.

Science
1. Are you a science literate person?
2. Have you studied and do you understand the theory of evolution?
3. Have you studied and do you understand the big bang theory?
4. Do you accept evolution and the big bang as the best explanations of the origins of the cosmos and life on Earth?
5. Do you consider a belief in a god, or a religion, to be compatible with the theories of evolution and the big bang?

I find that with this line of questioning, I usually receive sincere answers, but most PEOPLE, not just theists, misunderstand both the Theory of Evolution AND the Big Bang Theory. I find that once we clear up the Theory of Evolution and how it works, it is cast aside as "only a theory". I have never had a debate opponent attempt to SERIOUSLY square-up Evolution with the Bible. The Big Bang theory is a bit different, and can get a bit dicey, but I HAVE found some believers who seem able to reconcile, in their mind, the Big Bang with the Bible.

Religion
1. Do you belong to a specific sect of Christianity?
2. Do you attend church, if so, what kind?
3. Do you consider one particular form of Christianity to be true, while all others are false?
4. Do you consider non-Christian religions to be false?
5. Do you have any theological or spiritual beliefs that contradict or otherwise differ from your particular belief system?
6. Do you consider anything outside of religion to be a source for truth?
7. Are you educated/informed when it comes to the beliefs of other major and/or minor religions?
8. What is your opinion of the faith claims of other religious people?

This is an interesting, and in my opinion, a great line of questioning. It calls into question the beliefs of your debate opponent, but usually they are unwilling to even entertain the fact that they MIGHT be wrong, and some other religion might be right. I think that is what this line of questioning is intended to do. Am I right? If your debate opponent catches on to your motive here, the answers will be very vague once again. You will not pin them down with a yes/no answer no matter how hard you try.

The Bible
1. Have you read the bible, if so, how much of it?
2. Do you believe the bible to be revelation from god?
3. Do you believe the bible was written by human authors?
4. Do you believe the bible is infallible?
5. Do you believe the bible is a good moral reference?
6. Do you believe the bible is historically accurate?
7. Do you take the bible literally?

Usually the answers to all of these questions are "yes" with numbers "3" and "7" being the exception. For my less-fundamentalist debate opponents the answer to 3 is usually, "yes, but with divine inspiration" or something like that. And, for 7 it is usually "of course not". If I get the "of course not" or "no" answer to question 7, I usually follow up with a few more questions, they are as follows:

1. Which parts of the bible are to be taken literally and which ones are not?
2. Who decided which ones should be taken literally and which ones are metaphorical?

I have not yet received an answer to either of those questions. EVERY TIME, the opponent changes the subject and simply will not answer, but it does, in my opinion, lead the conversation in an interesting direction.


Miracles
1. How do you define a miracle?
2. Do you believe miracles take place?
3. Do you believe the miracles mentioned in the bible actually took place?
4. Do you believe miracles still take place in modern times?
5. Do you consider natural disasters to be the deliberate work of god?
6. Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
7. Have you every heard about a miracle that you did not witness yourself, but that you were convinced of its truth?
8. Do you consider miracles performed by a specific person to be evidence of that person's divinity?

I like this line of questioning, especially number 8. I think I know what you are after with question 8. If your debate opponent knows what you are after with that question, you will get into and endless loop with them, until they change the subject. The problem I encounter with this line of questioning, is that with a "miracle", anything, and I mean ANYTHING is reconcilable with the opponent.

This doesn't square up with facts? - MIRACLE!
Bible doesn't add up with the science here? - MIRACLE!
Unexplainable anecdotal stories? - MIRACLE!

I was even told once that, the simple fact that I was alive, was proof of a miracle. EVERY birth, in this particular man's opinion, was a miracle. I would tend to shy away from the topic of miracles, because then, your opponent will have you right where they want to. You are then talking about an event that they DO NOT have to justify(in their mind). They may even then turn back to your earlier questions and explain them away with miracles. I once had a debate opponent, who was a pastor, try to reconcile Evolution with the Bible, by asserting that Evolution DID happen, but it was simply one of God's Miracles.

If you can, steer clear of....MIRACLES!
Laughat

Spirituality and Personal Experience
1. Do you experience a private relationship or connection with a god?
2. Has a god made his/her self known to you so that you are certain whom you are experiencing revelation from?
3. Have you experienced direct contact with anything supernatural besides god?
4. Have you ever had any doubts about your faith, and if so, how serious were they?

I am not sure of these questions here. I don't think they would help you in a debate. #1 will give your opponent a chance to explain how they are not RELIGIOUS, but that they have a personal relationship with God blah blah blah, if that happens to be their M.O.

#2 - I had a debate opponent once(another pastor) who told me that he had FIVE revelations come to him directly from God back when he "used to be an atheist". Three of which included him seeing a "blood moon", himself becoming a pastor and preaching while wearing a pinstriped suit, and....him seeing a second "blood moon". It is hard to say how questions 1-3 will go for you. If you get a chance to ask them, let us know.

Question 4 has been answered to me in both the affirmative and in the negative, and I feel like usually they are genuine answers, but in one or two instances, I have my doubts about their sincerity.


Prayer
1. Do you pray, if so, how and to whom?
2. Do you believe that your prayers are answered?
3. How do you experience answers to prayer?

I feel like with these questions, you will get something along the lines of this: http://epistle.us/inspiration/godwillsaveme.html So, just be ready to rebut the assertion that "God works in mysterious ways" or that God "constantly answers his/her prayers, and YOU just don't see it.

Faith
1. Is your belief in god and/or religion based on faith, evidence, or both?
2. Do you consider faith a good method for learning truth?
3. Do you consider faith a virtue?
4. Is faith good for people?

I think these are good, but of course you already know what answers you will get from them. Just have good examples on hand of how faith can be bad. DEFINITELY give specific and well known examples if you want a good comeback from the answers you will likely get.

The Big Questions
1. What is your purpose in life?
2. Why do you exist?
3. What is the meaning of your life?
4. Do you believe your meaning/purpose in life is universal, or only applicable to you?
5. What role, if any, does humanity have here on Earth?
6. Do you believe in an afterlife?
7. Do you believe you were alive in any sense before you were born?
8. Do you believe in heaven and hell, or something similar? If so, where are people of different faiths, or the lack thereof, headed?


You are likely to get all manner of answers here, with questions 1, 2, AND 3 all probably earning an answer along the lines of "to do Gods work/will" or that "Everything I do is for Jesus" or some such nonsense. These are a few of the answers I have received from these questions.

I don't know about #4, I am interested to see what sort of answers you get from that one.

The answer to #5 will be the same as 1,2, and 3. Questions 6&8 will probably get you pretty predictable answers, I was even told once after asking a question like number 8 that "that's why I talk to you about the scriptures, I don't want to see anything bad happen to you..." I'm not sure what kind of response you will get to number 7. Let us know.



I hope I didn't ramble too much. I really am NOT trying to lump all believers together in one pile. The info I gave here is what I PERSONALLY have come across when debating theistic believers. I hope this response is something like you were looking for. If not, Sorry.
Smile Blush


Oh yeah...and if you start to lose the debate badly, just scream out "MIRACLE!!!" and run away.

"You're very clever, young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
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01-10-2014, 05:24 PM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
In what context would you present this questionnaire? It's far too long to use as a preface to conversation, even an on-line conversation. It's long enough that it may be misconstrued as patronizing, and certainly long enough that I could see many people refusing to bother. Unless the context makes this appropriate, which is why I asked.

I see many questions which strike me as redundant, or parsing dependent ideas such that the answer to one always produces predictable answers to some others. I would work hard to make this questionnaire shorter, not longer, so that significant differences in ideology emerge and lay out a readable map of ideological spectrum.

But even were this questionnaire distilled down to ten penetrating questions, I believe there's a greater problem. I rarely encounter anyone seriously religious who is receptive to being questioned - that is, questioned in a manner meant to elicit thought, not parroting. Every time I have gotten into a dialogue with someone significantly religious, my questions get met with resentment, even as I bend backward to phrase my questions as non-confrontational as I can make them. So I see a questionnaire like this being well received by inquisitive minds, but rejected by the very minds you most want to plumb. So, again, what's the context?
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01-10-2014, 05:29 PM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
(01-10-2014 05:24 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  In what context would you present this questionnaire? It's far too long to use as a preface to conversation, even an on-line conversation. It's long enough that it may be misconstrued as patronizing, and certainly long enough that I could see many people refusing to bother. Unless the context makes this appropriate, which is why I asked.

I see many questions which strike me as redundant, or parsing dependent ideas such that the answer to one always produces predictable answers to some others. I would work hard to make this questionnaire shorter, not longer, so that significant differences in ideology emerge and lay out a readable map of ideological spectrum.

But even were this questionnaire distilled down to ten penetrating questions, I believe there's a greater problem. I rarely encounter anyone seriously religious who is receptive to being questioned - that is, questioned in a manner meant to elicit thought, not parroting. Every time I have gotten into a dialogue with someone significantly religious, my questions get met with resentment, even as I bend backward to phrase my questions as non-confrontational as I can make them. So I see a questionnaire like this being well received by inquisitive minds, but rejected by the very minds you most want to plumb. So, again, what's the context?

I am not sure, maybe I misunderstood the O.P. but I thought it was perhaps a taste of questions the OP might ask during a debate/discussion, broken down by category. I didn't think the OP was going to hand it out like an official questionnaire. Huh

"You're very clever, young man, very clever, but it's turtles all the way down!"
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02-10-2014, 07:47 AM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
(30-09-2014 04:19 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  1. Do you belong to a specific sect of Christianity?

If your goal is a civil conversation with a Christian, I'd avoid use of the word "sect". While it's a completely accurate label for what you're asking, to a lot of Christians, sects are what other religions have; Christianity has denominations.

Now, I have no idea why this is the case, but it is. Calling Christian denominations sects might come off as combative. That being said, I totally call them sects in certain contexts, so it just depends on your goal.


(01-10-2014 05:24 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  In what context would you present this questionnaire? It's far too long to use as a preface to conversation, even an on-line conversation. It's long enough that it may be misconstrued as patronizing, and certainly long enough that I could see many people refusing to bother. Unless the context makes this appropriate, which is why I asked.

Agreed. I'd shorten it, or at least just ask one or two pertinent questions to the topic at hand. Alternately, if you want to avoid giving people a questioner during every conversation, just take a short cut: if you make an assumption about what they believe in a response, say that, and give them a chance to correct your assumptions.


(30-09-2014 04:47 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  The clarification of beliefs will usually start there. It's odd how I never connected how the Jesus myth depends on the creation myth, I just never thought about it, but that was the only reason I remained a Christian for years, you do not think about it!

The first rule of cognitive dissonance club is you do not think about what is troubling you.

The second rule of cognitive dissonance club is you do not think about what is troubling you.

(Fuck, I had a lot of experience in that one!)
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02-10-2014, 11:39 AM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
Questions 1 an 3 of the final section seems redundant. So you could cut that one out.

Overall I thought it was a good questionnaire and enjoyed answering it. I think its use would be best served as an introductory questionnaire to new forum members.

I think the ordering was good since its almost easier to figure out a persons beliefs by their approach to creationism and science than it is knowing their particular denomination.

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02-10-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
(01-10-2014 05:06 PM)Hoops Wrote:  I have found that if you are debating a "dyed in the wool" fundamentalist believer, the answer will be "yes". Plain and simple. This is rare, and usually the questions like these will be danced around, and answered vaguely with responses such as "I believe the bible is the word of God" or something along those lines, and you WILL NOT get a simple yes/no answer.

The very first thing I want to know in a conversation with a believer is whether or not they are a fundamentalist.

If the conversation is in person, I don't discuss religion in a debate format, which encourages negative or dishonest conversational behavior, such as evading easily answerable questions or changing the subject. I try very hard to create a conversational environmental where they feel safe saying whatever they believe to be true, regardless of how I might react to it.

If I succeed, it will be possible to discuss some of the more ridiculous fundamental views, without insulting someone's intelligence.

Quote:I find that with this line of questioning, I usually receive sincere answers, but most PEOPLE, not just theists, misunderstand both the Theory of Evolution AND the Big Bang Theory. I find that once we clear up the Theory of Evolution and how it works, it is cast aside as "only a theory". I have never had a debate opponent attempt to SERIOUSLY square-up Evolution with the Bible. The Big Bang theory is a bit different, and can get a bit dicey, but I HAVE found some believers who seem able to reconcile, in their mind, the Big Bang with the Bible.

Knowing someone's views on science helps me understand what kind of person they are. There is a certain degree of humility and honesty in taking evidence over one's personal desires. There is something entirely different to be said for someone who is ignorant of the method altogether, especially if they are willfully so. It isn't the content of their statements or arguments that concerns me at first, it is their character.

It also helps me know where I am weak, which is in explaining science. I am not a scientist. My gifts are to do with language and history.

Quote:This is an interesting, and in my opinion, a great line of questioning. It calls into question the beliefs of your debate opponent, but usually they are unwilling to even entertain the fact that they MIGHT be wrong, and some other religion might be right. I think that is what this line of questioning is intended to do. Am I right? If your debate opponent catches on to your motive here, the answers will be very vague once again. You will not pin them down with a yes/no answer no matter how hard you try.

It is intended for several things, one of which is to determine if they are even willing to consider the possibility of being incorrect about anything in their position. If they are, the existence and similarity of other faiths is something not only worth consideration, but necessary.

I am not concerned with vague answers. If I fail to create the appropriate environment for them to be honest, I have failed long before a specific question is answered vaguely.

If it is not to do with my behavior, I can usually coax it gently from them. Sometimes these conversations lead them to mental places where they haven't previously traveled.

Quote:Usually the answers to all of these questions are "yes" with numbers "3" and "7" being the exception. For my less-fundamentalist debate opponents the answer to 3 is usually, "yes, but with divine inspiration" or something like that. And, for 7 it is usually "of course not". If I get the "of course not" or "no" answer to question 7, I usually follow up with a few more questions, they are as follows:

1. Which parts of the bible are to be taken literally and which ones are not?
2. Who decided which ones should be taken literally and which ones are metaphorical?

I have not yet received an answer to either of those questions. EVERY TIME, the opponent changes the subject and simply will not answer, but it does, in my opinion, lead the conversation in an interesting direction.

You have mapped out the plan exactly. These questions are designed to determine how honest and consistent they are willing to be about scripture.

Quote:I like this line of questioning, especially number 8. I think I know what you are after with question 8. If your debate opponent knows what you are after with that question, you will get into and endless loop with them, until they change the subject. The problem I encounter with this line of questioning, is that with a "miracle", anything, and I mean ANYTHING is reconcilable with the opponent.

This doesn't square up with facts? - MIRACLE!
Bible doesn't add up with the science here? - MIRACLE!
Unexplainable anecdotal stories? - MIRACLE!

I was even told once that, the simple fact that I was alive, was proof of a miracle. EVERY birth, in this particular man's opinion, was a miracle. I would tend to shy away from the topic of miracles, because then, your opponent will have you right where they want to. You are then talking about an event that they DO NOT have to justify(in their mind). They may even then turn back to your earlier questions and explain them away with miracles. I once had a debate opponent, who was a pastor, try to reconcile Evolution with the Bible, by asserting that Evolution DID happen, but it was simply one of God's Miracles.

If you can, steer clear of....MIRACLES!
Laughat

I disagree with you on the subject of miracles. In fact, I feel that it is on this subject that I have them entirely where I want them, even if they answer exactly as you have said. In fact, I hope they do.

The focus of our conversation would be the wild way in which they apply the word "miracle" to anything and everything they don't understand.

I hope someone does try the "god did evolution" thing with me. I think I have some really good questions for them.

Quote:I am not sure of these questions here. I don't think they would help you in a debate. #1 will give your opponent a chance to explain how they are not RELIGIOUS, but that they have a personal relationship with God blah blah blah, if that happens to be their M.O.

#2 - I had a debate opponent once(another pastor) who told me that he had FIVE revelations come to him directly from God back when he "used to be an atheist". Three of which included him seeing a "blood moon", himself becoming a pastor and preaching while wearing a pinstriped suit, and....him seeing a second "blood moon". It is hard to say how questions 1-3 will go for you. If you get a chance to ask them, let us know.

Question 4 has been answered to me in both the affirmative and in the negative, and I feel like usually they are genuine answers, but in one or two instances, I have my doubts about their sincerity.

These questions speak to what I feel are usually the true motives of honest religious people. They do not begin with the null hypothesis, like we do, and make their way to their belief. Rather, they experience the unexplained, say a mental or emotional relationship with a force they don't understand (imagined or no) and then they use religion to explain it.

I think it might only be when Atheists ask for an accounting of all this, that they research and trot out the tired "arguments for god". Those arguments where not what convinced them to believe, so I don't want to start there. I want to talk about the core of their faith, and where it comes from.

I hope that asking them these questions, and genuinely listening without insult to interruption, will encourage them to talk about themselves honestly. If nothing else, they will have a memory of a not angry atheist treating them with respect.

Quote:I hope I didn't ramble too much. I really am NOT trying to lump all believers together in one pile. The info I gave here is what I PERSONALLY have come across when debating theistic believers. I hope this response is something like you were looking for. If not, Sorry.[/b][/color] Smile Blush

You didn't ramble and it's fine. Thank you for your suggestions. This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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02-10-2014, 12:07 PM
RE: Christian Questionnaire 1.0
(01-10-2014 05:24 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  In what context would you present this questionnaire? It's far too long to use as a preface to conversation, even an on-line conversation. It's long enough that it may be misconstrued as patronizing, and certainly long enough that I could see many people refusing to bother. Unless the context makes this appropriate, which is why I asked.

I see many questions which strike me as redundant, or parsing dependent ideas such that the answer to one always produces predictable answers to some others. I would work hard to make this questionnaire shorter, not longer, so that significant differences in ideology emerge and lay out a readable map of ideological spectrum.

But even were this questionnaire distilled down to ten penetrating questions, I believe there's a greater problem. I rarely encounter anyone seriously religious who is receptive to being questioned - that is, questioned in a manner meant to elicit thought, not parroting. Every time I have gotten into a dialogue with someone significantly religious, my questions get met with resentment, even as I bend backward to phrase my questions as non-confrontational as I can make them. So I see a questionnaire like this being well received by inquisitive minds, but rejected by the very minds you most want to plumb. So, again, what's the context?

I don't think there is any context in which I would present all of these questions exactly as they are listed above. This is just how I organized it for the post. It is basically a list of questions I might ask throughout a debate in order to ensure my arguments are directed at my opponent's position and not a straw man.

Point noted about redundancy, length, and the need to highlight ideological differences. Thanks.

I suppose the context is in conversation with someone who has already agreed to discuss religion in an open way, or even in a debate format. I suppose those not wishing to be questioned at all simply wouldn't agree to such a discussion.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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