Explaining your atheism
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04-06-2014, 05:20 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014 05:30 PM by TheSkeptic.)
Explaining your atheism
First, some background (skip to bottom for the topic):

I'm a closet atheist, I've never told anyone. Not because I'm ashamed, but because of the simple rational reason that it won't benefit my situation in the judgmental, conservative Christian society (I don't know any real atheists, only people who are angry with God or simply doesn't care) I find myself in, but of course everybody wants to talk about their feelings and thoughts, and I would like to share my viewpoint in life.

Now, I have a good Christian friend who always asks me about the Bible (yes, I know more about the Bible than most Christians). I can pick up he has his doubts and wants to discuss it regularly with me, but I'm always evading conservations on religion. Although I'm the person responsible that he accepted the evolution theory.

I'm thinking of telling him that I'm an atheist, but this will be a first for me and for him too. The first question I guess he'll ask me, is why am I an atheist and why don't I believe in God.

I think most people that went through the deconversion process, will admit that it's not something that you just decide overnight. Like I was learned as a child that in the night you sleep and the day you're awake, so I learned God is good and the Devil is bad. Period. You're not one moment a praying Christian and the next moment you're a gnostic atheist, despite any overwhelming evidence. For me, it was almost a 4 year process of investigation and "mental discovery".

Anyways, if I'm "confessing" my atheism to someone else, I don't plan to convert them instantly, I just want to give them something that will make them think and open their minds.

I believe that self-discovery and personal research is what led most people to atheism. And exactly the opposite is what led people to religion.

What's the first/best point to make in explaining your atheism?

Strategy 1: Using the Bible
Christianity is the most beautiful of all religions, it has a loving God, it's based on history and the reports of eye-witnesses, there is a life after death, it's based on forgiveness and excellent moral values, it has an assisting Holy Ghost. (Or so it is believed)

It's a difficult task to "attack" this religion from the perspective of a Christian. Therefore I think it's better at first to skip the evolution theory, philosophical arguments and the historicity of the Bible when you're explaining your atheism for the first time to someone.. Thus, I would "attack" on enemy turf and use their own weapon, The Word of God. The great aspect of using the Bible is that most Christians know only the idyllic verses used in church.

The NIV will be used.

2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,"

If you're a Christian, you'll believe this verse and therefore should believe the rest of the Bible.

Malachi 3:6: "I the LORD do not change"

God is unchanging.

1 John 4:16b: "God is love"
Romans 5:8: "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,"

He is a God of love.

Ephesians 2:4-:5 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us"

He is God of mercy.

Psalm 25:8-14: "God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction."

God is fair.

Now this is what Christians wants to hear, they believe in a unchanging, loving, fair, merciful God.

However:

Romans 9:13: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

God doesn't only loves, he hates.

Exodus 9:12: "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses."

He uses people like puppets, to fit his "master plan".

Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things."

He doesn't only create good, but disaster. (This is actually another argument, in the KJV the word evil was used instead of disaster. This is a clear adjustment in favor of Christian propaganda. In the Hebrew Bible the word "rah" was used. The same "rah" in the sense of the tree of good and "rah".)

2 Kings 2:23-24: From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys

Where is God's mercy? Why does he sometime forgives and sometime not?

You can continue and use the well known verses of old laws of rape and slavery, Lot letting the men rape his daughter and then be called righteous etc.

But this is just a starting point to show Christians that their Yahweh isn't necessary as moral, unchanging and loving as they always believed. This may just trigger some inner thought which would provoke an investigation in their religion, and hopefully one day they can make their OWN rational and informed people on religion.

So, what is the best argument you can make towards a Christian? Looking forward to hear your thoughts!
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04-06-2014, 05:55 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014 05:59 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  First, some background (skip to bottom for the topic):

I'm a closet atheist, I've never told anyone. Not because I'm ashamed, but because of the simple rational reason that it won't benefit my situation in the judgmental, conservative Christian society (I don't know any real atheists, only people who are angry with God or simply doesn't care) I find myself in, but of course everybody wants to talk about their feelings and thoughts, and I would like to share my viewpoint in life.

Now, I have a good Christian friend who always asks me about the Bible (yes, I know more about the Bible than most Christians). I can pick up he has his doubts and wants to discuss it regularly with me, but I'm always evading conservations on religion. Although I'm the person responsible that he accepted the evolution theory.

I'm thinking of telling him that I'm an atheist, but this will be a first for me and for him too. The first question I guess he'll ask me, is why am I an atheist and why don't I believe in God.

I think most people that went through the deconversion process, will admit that it's not something that you just decide overnight. Like I was learned as a child that in the night you sleep and the day you're awake, so I learned God is good and the Devil is bad. Period. You're not one moment a praying Christian and the next moment you're a gnostic atheist, despite any overwhelming evidence. For me, it was almost a 4 year process of investigation and "mental discovery".

Anyways, if I'm "confessing" my atheism to someone else, I don't plan to convert them instantly, I just want to give them something that will make them think and open their minds.

I believe that self-discovery and personal research is what led most people to atheism. And exactly the opposite is what led people to religion.

What's the first/best point to make in explaining your atheism?

Strategy 1: Using the Bible
Christianity is the most beautiful of all religions, it has a loving God, it's based on history and the reports of eye-witnesses, there is a life after death, it's based on forgiveness and excellent moral values, it has an assisting Holy Ghost. (Or so it is believed)

It's a difficult task to "attack" this religion from the perspective of a Christian. Therefore I think it's better at first to skip the evolution theory, philosophical arguments and the historicity of the Bible when you're explaining your atheism for the first time to someone.. Thus, I would "attack" on enemy turf and use their own weapon, The Word of God. The great aspect of using the Bible is that most Christians know only the idyllic verses used in church.

The NIV will be used.

2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,"

If you're a Christian, you'll believe this verse and therefore should believe the rest of the Bible.

Malachi 3:6: "I the LORD do not change"

God is unchanging.

1 John 4:16b: "God is love"
Romans 5:8: "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,"

He is a God of love.

Ephesians 2:4-:5 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us"

He is God of mercy.

Psalm 25:8-14: "God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction."

God is fair.

Now this is what Christians wants to hear, they believe in a unchanging, loving, fair, merciful God.

However:

Romans 9:13: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

God doesn't only loves, he hates.

Exodus 9:12: "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses."

He uses people like puppets, to fit his "master plan".

Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things."

He doesn't only create good, but disaster. (This is actually another argument, in the KJV the word evil was used instead of disaster. This is a clear adjustment in favor of Christian propaganda. In the Hebrew Bible the word "rah" was used. The same "rah" in the sense of the tree of good and "rah".)

2 Kings 2:23-24: From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys

Where is God's mercy? Why does he sometime forgives and sometime not?

You can continue and use the well known verses of old laws of rape and slavery, Lot letting the men rape his daughter and then be called righteous etc.

But this is just a starting point to show Christians that their Yahweh isn't necessary as moral, unchanging and loving as they always believed. This may just trigger some inner thought which would provoke an investigation in their religion, and hopefully one day they can make their OWN rational and informed people on religion.

So, what is the best argument you can make towards a Christian? Looking forward to hear your thoughts!

Welcome,

there are many angles...I use the why do you have faith question...that leads you into follow on questions where you can plant seeds so that the other person does his own thinking and reaches the realization that faith is a failed method of epistemology on his own accord.

You telling him for example that there is zero evidence that any person who wrote of jesus never met jesus won't change his view in most cases. You pointing out the fact that the matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not authored by who he thinks they were, nor even in the same century as jesus may not open any doors to introspective analysis of faith....Or you explaining how the books of the bible were put togther, why and what group of people wrote the pseudepigarapha may lead you into a long winded point and counter point funfest, but ultimately a huge time suck. Dismantling the bible as it is the foundation of christian belief is easy, but the believer clings to it and will convince themselves you are twisting the truth. etc etc...it depends on the person you are talking to, I have used many different methods, some gentle, some not, some worked, some did not.

seek knowledge on the subject, read...a lot, watch debate videos on youtube, read A manual for creating atheists by Boghossian, beating them over the head with facts rarely works, it takes finesse...faith is a big piece of their lives, giving it up isn't easy. The asking of open ended questions or leading them down the path with specific loaded questions that create thought are more successful. Goodluck.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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04-06-2014, 06:10 PM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:55 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  Welcome,

there are many angles...I use the why do you have faith question...that leads you into follow on questions where you can plant seeds so that the other person does his own thinking and reaches the realization that faith is a failed method of epistemology on his own accord.

You telling him for example that there is zero evidence that any person who wrote of jesus never met jesus won't change his view in most cases. You pointing out the fact that the matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not authored by who he thinks they were, nor even in the same century as jesus may not open any doors to introspective analysis of faith....Or you explaining how the books of the bible were put togther, why and what group of people wrote the pseudepigarapha may lead you into a long winded point and counter point funfest, but ultimately a huge time suck. Dismantling the bible as it is the foundation of christian belief is easy, but the believer clings to it and will convince themselves you are twisting the truth. etc etc...it depends on the person you are talking to, I have used many different methods, some gentle, some not, some worked, some did not.

seek knowledge on the subject, read...a lot, watch debate videos on youtube, read A manual for creating atheists by Boghossian, beating them over the head with facts rarely works, it takes finesse...faith is a big piece of their lives, giving it up isn't easy. The asking of open ended questions or leading them down the path with specific loaded questions that create thought are more successful. Goodluck.

Thanks for advice. I know challenging someone's faith isn't as straightforward as handing him the God Delusion to read as homework. It isn't simple.

If my goal is to deconvert someone close to me, I think the best strategy will be to hide your atheism and discovering it with him. For example, in a casual chat mention a Bible verse which doesn't fit with his theological views on the Bible or mention another non-canonical gospel which he can investigate in his own time.
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04-06-2014, 06:12 PM
RE: Explaining your atheism
K.i.s.s.


Works for most everything.

Why are you an atheist?
I haven't found any evidence for a god. Everything I have found has provided more support for there NOT being a god.


Then, just let your friend ask the questions. We must each seek out the answers, but that means asking the questions and not being spoon fed answers to things we did not ask.

This might be a conversation you have over the next few years as he thinks on your answers and comes up with more questions.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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04-06-2014, 06:17 PM
RE: Explaining your atheism
Why beat around the bush? If he's having doubts about his faith, your confession would likely serve as the impetus behind his own deconversion.

Do you have any secular friends? If not, I would separate yourself from the "Christian community" and find some. I can't imagine being bombarded by questions about faith on a regular basis.
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04-06-2014, 06:26 PM (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014 06:30 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  I think most people that went through the de-conversion process, will admit that it's not something that you just decide overnight. Like I was learned as a child that in the night you sleep and the day you're awake, so I learned God is good and the Devil is bad. Period. You're not one moment a praying Christian and the next moment you're a gnostic atheist, despite any overwhelming evidence. For me, it was almost a 4 year process of investigation and "mental discovery".

Very insightful. You KNOW you were just rebellious and wanted an excuse to sin.
Just kidding Tongue

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  What's the first/best point to make in explaining your atheism?

Take a course in Comparative Religion, or Comparative Mythology. They all claim to be true, and basically they're all the same. If you REALLY look into the origins of Christianity, it simply does not "flow" from Judaism. It retroactively re-interprets the culture it sprang from. Very very few REAL scholars are Fundamentalists, (if any).

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  Christianity is the most beautiful of all religions, it has a loving God, it's based on history and the reports of eye-witnesses, there is a life after death, it's based on forgiveness and excellent moral values, it has an assisting Holy Ghost. (Or so it is believed)

Nope. The Hebrews did not believe in immortality the way it's preached today. Neither did the early Christians. Christianity was "cooked up" Read the proceedings of the Councils. It's amazing anyone believed after being involved in arguing and voting on what was to be "truth". Sheol was neither heaven nor hell.
Psalm 39 :
"Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart, and am no more"
Psalm 115 :
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any that go down into silence".

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  It's a difficult task to "attack" this religion from the perspective of a Christian. Therefore I think it's better at first to skip the evolution theory, philosophical arguments and the historicity of the Bible when you're explaining your atheism for the first time to someone.. Thus, I would "attack" on enemy turf and use their own weapon, The Word of God. The great aspect of using the Bible is that most Christians know only the idyllic verses used in church.

ONLY the most ignorant people in 2014 don't accept Evolution. NOT ONE major academic center does NOT teach it. It's simply not a question any longer. It *may* be in some locations for some people. If it is, it's simply a testament to their backwardness.

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,"

Great verse. BUT, when Timothy said that, there was no "canon" of scripture. Oops. So he could NOT have meant the New Testament, (or the Old Testament" as we know it). He meant "all religious writing", (as all scholars agree). So that verse is out. When he said that there WAS no NT or set of 4 gospels. There were hundreds of gospels. Are they ALL "god-breathed". In fact we know how and when the OT was assembled, (see "Who Wrote the Bible" by Dr. Richard Elliott Friedmann, and
"How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel" by Dr. William M. Schniedewind. They know more about the Bible than anyone.

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  Malachi 3:6: "I the LORD do not change"

Really. Great. Then he did not "send his son", and he can't think. Both require changes.

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  He is God of mercy.

Really. Yet he REQUIRED his son to die to feel better. And when he did, he DID feel better.

(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  God is fair.

Sure he is. That's why so many innocent children died in the flood, in the battles with Israel, and in all disasters.

You can't "argue" with a true believer. You can tell them to go learn for themselves, just as you did.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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04-06-2014, 06:53 PM
RE: Explaining your atheism
I don't need to 'splain shit. Angry

But when pressed, there's no fuckin' evidence for any gods, and all religions make ridiculous claims.

Bunch of fuckin' loony toons. Dodgy

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-06-2014, 07:22 PM
RE: Explaining your atheism
I can explain my Atheism in two words.

Hitchen's Razor.


My Youtube channel if anyone is interested.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkRdbq...rLEz-0jEHQ
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05-06-2014, 07:23 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  I believe that self-discovery and personal research is what led most people to atheism. And exactly the opposite is what led people to religion.

Priceless!


(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  So, what is the best argument you can make towards a Christian? Looking forward to hear your thoughts!

Never underestimate the ability of an apologist to cherry pick. Never underestimate their ability to invoke claims of "mysterious ways" or anything else designed to get them to accept contradictory view points without any thought.

If you bust out a bunch of Bible passages, they'll just bust out others and keep believing what they want. If you're lucky, you'll make them feel uncomfortable, and that might be one of the many straws that eventually breaks the camel's back, but I wouldn't count on it.

As Chas said, really, the "best" argument is that there's no evidence any of it is real. Any "evidence" they bring requires you to assume God exists in the first place as one of the premises, and is thus, circular.
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05-06-2014, 07:35 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
Simple, don't need to explain. We don't have to explain why we don't believe in the tooth fairy or why we are not astronauts. Why should we have to explain why we don't believe in a God? It's their job to explain why we should and provide us with the evidence.

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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