Discussion with a Christian
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14-10-2016, 01:18 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 01:14 PM)goldenarm Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 06:30 AM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  I don't know if you have been around long enough to have read any of the post by theBorg but the safest thing you can do is ignore him. He is an idiot and a troll.
A good example is when you ask for advice on talking to a preacher as an atheist the morons advice is " convince him to be a different Christian"

To the surprise of no one.

Thanks for telling me because his post made no sense lol!

Making no sense does not mean to be a nonsense. Thumbsup
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14-10-2016, 01:18 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 07:42 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 07:30 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  He has no useful thing to say, I'm just going to report his post, it's simply a trolling derail. Hopefully the mods will concur eventually that this tool serves no use on this forum. There is no dialog with this person, all he does is regurgitate his weird cultish branch of religion.

I already reported it.

If I didn’t think goldenarm was young I wouldn’t care, but I think he/she is and this Forum should be a refuge for youngsters looking for genuine help.

Thanks for the support! For a little background information I'm an 18 year old male, but I'm a Senior in high school.

" That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
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14-10-2016, 01:29 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 01:18 PM)goldenarm Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 07:42 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I already reported it.

If I didn’t think goldenarm was young I wouldn’t care, but I think he/she is and this Forum should be a refuge for youngsters looking for genuine help.

Thanks for the support! For a little background information I'm an 18 year old male, but I'm a Senior in high school.

You are at a great stage to be asking questions and coming to grips on who you are.

As you have already seen many of us here will seriously try and help you if we can, there is a lot of experience and kindness on this Forum so use it to your advantage. You can alway PM people or start a thread in the Personal Issues and Support to get away from the nonsense.

BTW I thought Reltzik’s idea of a notebook was brilliant!

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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14-10-2016, 01:30 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(13-10-2016 07:50 PM)goldenarm Wrote:  I've told my parents that I would talk to a Christian about my lack of belief as long as they understood their bible better than the average Christian. Pretty soon I will be meeting with a guy who used to be my parent's Pastor. He is intelligent and will prob be on a mission to convert me. He's not on a William Lane Craig level, but he's up there in terms of his bible knowledge so our discussion should be interesting.

I plan on approaching with, " What do you believe and why?. Why should I believe it?" Finally, I have some good arguments too incase they're needed. I will of course be open minded, but I don't want to get tricked either. Any advice?

Chances are he will have his own interpretation of the Bible, you should learn all you can about his specific denomination and figure out why it's different than all the others and ask him why the Bible should be interpreted the way he thinks it should be. Why is it more correct and how does he know the Bible should be taken as the word of God or as fact.

Make sure you appeal to his intellect and not his emotions, when he says he feels something is true in his heart or similar ask him why that feeling is more correct than your feelings. That's all I got, as long as you have done your research you should do well, good luck.

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14-10-2016, 01:45 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 09:54 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  A lot of advice to give. You're of course free to ignore it or not as you choose.

First, to quickly get it out of the way, bear in mind that Borgy is very much a Christian of the "attempt to persuade people to Christ" variety. (And failing miserably.) His advice is not an attempt to help you. It's an attempt to get his religion's hooks back into you. (Though he might think that counts as helping you.) We have some Christians here who will actually help you in YOUR goals. Borg is not one of them.

Moving on...

My top piece of advice is going into both this conversation, and subsequent conversations with your family, with a clear set of your goals... and those goals should be minimal. Your purpose, in these conversations, should be to create a bit of space and freedom for yourself, to come away with what you need to survive as a human being and as a free thinker. Stick to those minimal goals for at least six months. Don't get overambitious and try to branch out into deconverting anyone, or you run the risk of losing on those basics.

What do you need to survive as a human being? Shelter, food, clothing, medical care, etc, which in today's society mostly boils down to money. But the ability to get a good job also depends on college nowadays (or at least a trade school) and that's something worth defending too. How dependent are you on your parents? Are they paying for your college? Are you living in their home and eating at their table? Do you already have your own job? If they cut you off and kicked you out on the street today -- not necessarily likely, but it does happen -- how would you survive? Would it be easy or would it be a challenge?

What do you need to survive as a free thinker? You need the ability to speak your mind, the ability to have conversations with people on these topics without fear of retribution, the ability to explore subjects through books and contact with people without having these things restricted, and a bit of space to be alone with your thoughts and process without being subject to constant propaganda from a single side.

What's the best, easiest, and most likely way of achieving these things? I'd say that it's to establish a degree of respect for what you're doing, and that requires establishing what it is you're doing as something respectable. They might disagree with your beliefs (or absence thereof), they might think you're in dangerous territory spiritually, but at least they can admire your virtues. If you can get that far, that should be enough to maintain many of your friendships and your family relationships, as well as demand your intellectual freedom.

So, you're on a search for truth. That's something that demands respect in its own right. You're shining a very careful, very investigative light on things and trying to evaluate them in a way that most people don't. No, you don't need me to tell you this, but you need to tell EVERYONE this... and show it in everything you do. Force every conversation about religion back to this, your agenda, and reframe it in the light of evaluating its truth. If it comes to arguments about morality, clad yourself in the armor of honesty and integrity and cast off anything approaching a lie or even apathy towards the truth. Claim that high ground for yourself... but only in defense. If they suggest you pretend to get along with people, ask how living a lie is honest.... but don't accuse them of dishonesty. If they employ one of the spurious "believe it's true because you would want it to be true" types of arguments, point out that they don't address the question of whether it's true or not and thus doesn't satisfy your quest... but don't accuse them of not caring whether it's true. Putting them down won't give you your space. It will just get them to counterattack in ways you might not be equipped to defend against.

This is also your best defense against the common accusations that you're just rebelling, or just going through a phase. Is seeking the truth a bad phase to go through? Isn't that a good thing to do, regardless of whether it counts as rebellion? Keep the focus on WHAT you're doing, and its merits, rather than why you're doing it. Act as if the quest for truth is its own justification, reason enough in itself for itself.

You asked for advice specifically about this conversation with your pastor, and that's a good time to start establishing this. Your goal shouldn't be to make a good argument for atheism or against the Bible, not with your words. Your goal should be simply establishing that you're doing what you're doing for good reasons... and you should do that through your actions, as well as explicit words.

So, bring a notebook. Take careful notes. Ask the pastor to slow down and carefully repeat things so you can get them down accurately. GET a dedicated notebook just for this task. Pay attention to what's said, and when he makes a point, good or bad, tell him to give you a minute or two to process it. Think it through carefully before replying. You might have an easy, off-the-cuff answer ready, but still take a minute to think it through. Maybe you'll catch one of your own errors, but either way you'll be signalling that you're taking this SERIOUSLY. If after a minute or two you haven't got an answer, or are doubtful about the answer, or are still not sure you understand the point, either ask a clarifying question to keep that thread of the conversation going, or say that you're making a note to think on that, a lot, over the next few days or weeks. (And do so.)

(This is a good tactic for when others in your circle want to push conversations about faith on you. If they throw a one-off barb your way, respond with, "hold on, let me get my notebook" and turn it into a much bigger, much more serious conversation than they were prepared for. If you're in a time and place where that's not convenient, make a strong effort to schedule time for an in-depth conversation with them. Respond to all of these things in a manner that shows you take it very seriously, and which invites and challenges them to take it as seriously as you do.)

Try to keep the focus on HOW things are known, and whether these methods of knowing things are reliable paths to truth. This is called epistemology. It is both Christianity's greatest weakness, and also your greatest strength in establishing yourself as a truth-seeker.

Questions are your biggest friend here. The help establish you as someone who's seeking truth (rather than convinced that you've already found it). But more than that, questions are less confrontational than hard declarations. They invite conversation rather than conflict and burrow down into issues better. They put the burden on other people to answer your question than on yourself to back up a point... and when you're on the defensive, that's a good thing. If you're looking for book recommendations, I'd point you towards anything related to Socrates just for that questioning technique alone.

One example I'll give of this technique with a pastor is... how do we know the Bible is true? Why would we suspect it is? For example, let's look at Revelations. The Bible was assembled by the Council of Nicea. They brought together many existing books and gospels, including some and rejecting others. Why did they include Revelations? John the Revelator admits straight out that the whole thing was a dream. How did the Council fact-check it? How did they determine whether it was an actual vision, versus just a normal dream, or the result of having the wrong mushrooms for dinner, or for that matter an outright fabrication? For that matter how did JOHN determine it was a vision rather than just a dream? All of this reflects on the standards of truth by those who assembled the Bible, which in turn reflects on the reliability of the Bible itself. Did they just have faith in it? Why did they have faith in that book, but not the books they rejected? I'm not saying to ask this line of questions... but I'm providing it as an example of the sort of questions to ask.

Anyhow, that's my advice. In a nutshell...

tl;dr: Establish that what's going on with you is that you're engaged in truth-seeking, and try to establish some respect for that. Do not attack or get aggressive. Focus on Socratic questions rather than arguments, take things seriously, and take lots and lots of notes. Follow up on those notes.

Best answer I've gotten on this site so far! Thanks for the advice I will get a notebook and take this approach from here on out.

" That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
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14-10-2016, 01:49 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 01:29 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 01:18 PM)goldenarm Wrote:  Thanks for the support! For a little background information I'm an 18 year old male, but I'm a Senior in high school.

You are at a great stage to be asking questions and coming to grips on who you are.

As you have already seen many of us here will seriously try and help you if we can, there is a lot of experience and kindness on this Forum so use it to your advantage. You can alway PM people or start a thread in the Personal Issues and Support to get away from the nonsense.

BTW I thought Reltzik’s idea of a notebook was brilliant!
Great! I appreciate it all too! Yes that was a great idea.

" That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
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14-10-2016, 03:08 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 05:21 AM)chimp3 Wrote:  Using a bit of sarcasm and mockery is effective. The title "Pastor" means a leader of sheep . Let him know right from the start you are not a sheep.

Doesn't matter. Pastors will preach to anything. For example Walahfrid Strabo reports that St. Mammes once preached to a flock of wild sheep that wandered into his chapel.

So, I would be prepared for a lengthy sermon by this guy.

Doc
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14-10-2016, 03:29 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 03:08 PM)docskeptic Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 05:21 AM)chimp3 Wrote:  Using a bit of sarcasm and mockery is effective. The title "Pastor" means a leader of sheep . Let him know right from the start you are not a sheep.

Doesn't matter. Pastors will preach to anything. For example Walahfrid Strabo reports that St. Mammes once preached to a flock of wild sheep that wandered into his chapel.

So, I would be prepared for a lengthy sermon by this guy.

Doc

In Thomas Pynchon's novel V, there's a preacher who goes down into the New York City sewers and preaches to the rats. He decides to live down there full-time, so for subsistence, he also has to eat a rat every now and then.

Laugh out load
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14-10-2016, 05:25 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 03:29 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 03:08 PM)docskeptic Wrote:  Doesn't matter. Pastors will preach to anything. For example Walahfrid Strabo reports that St. Mammes once preached to a flock of wild sheep that wandered into his chapel.

So, I would be prepared for a lengthy sermon by this guy.

Doc

In Thomas Pynchon's novel V, there's a preacher who goes down into the New York City sewers and preaches to the rats. He decides to live down there full-time, so for subsistence, he also has to eat a rat every now and then.

Laugh out load

Just like real pastors and their congregations.

Doc
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14-10-2016, 05:38 PM
RE: Discussion with a Christian
(14-10-2016 03:08 PM)docskeptic Wrote:  
(14-10-2016 05:21 AM)chimp3 Wrote:  Using a bit of sarcasm and mockery is effective. The title "Pastor" means a leader of sheep . Let him know right from the start you are not a sheep.

Doesn't matter. Pastors will preach to anything. For example Walahfrid Strabo reports that St. Mammes once preached to a flock of wild sheep that wandered into his chapel.

So, I would be prepared for a lengthy sermon by this guy.

Doc


Exactly, pastors are accustomed to preaching to sheep. St.Mammes probably didn't, even notice. GoldenArm could level the playing field with a bit of sarcasm. Defuse that argument from authority thing.

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