Explaining your atheism
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05-06-2014, 09:43 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
I find most debate to be nothing more than intellectual masturbation and trying to persuade a theist is especially fruitless.
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05-06-2014, 10:51 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  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!

Brother, you have grossly misjudged indoctrination. But you shall see this with your own eyes.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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05-06-2014, 11:02 AM
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!

As a note, your scriptural examples would only work against your run-of-the-mill-fundie-Protestant who has barely read the Bible or studied theology (granted, this is a LARGE portion within the Christian community).

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05-06-2014, 11:20 AM
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!
If I had an answer, I'd be happy to share it. However, since I've been getting nowhere for years with a particular family member, I obviously don't. I have had conversations lasting for half days at a time and each time when it seemed I was finally making headway, I met with one of these:

1) Magic - anything is possible because this is God who can do anything
2) God works in mysterious ways
3) We finite beings cannot understand God's infinite mind, nature, or plan
4) You are deciding how you think God should be - an imperfect being cannot judge a perfect one
5) You have to have faith in order to understand

Weeping

So good luck. If you find something that works, please let us know. But sorry, I have my doubts.

I will say, however, that you might be onto something with the idea of not revealing your atheism at first. If you present your arguments as "I still believe, but this doesn't make sense to me - what do you think" it might prevent that wall that goes up once they know you're coming from an atheist perspective. Maybe that will help them to consider your points with a more open mind and you can deconvert seemingly together.

By the way, welcome to the forum. Smile

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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05-06-2014, 11:42 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(05-06-2014 11:20 AM)Impulse Wrote:  If you present your arguments as "I still believe, but this doesn't make sense to me - what do you think" it might prevent that wall that goes up once they know you're coming from an atheist perspective. Maybe that will help them to consider your points with a more open mind and you can deconvert seemingly together.

A trojan. Yes, yes that might work. But you'll have to have the patience of a marathon runner. Don't lay the issues thick and fast. Do it little by little. Perhaps address one point in a day then wait a week. Address another and proceed in this manner. If you lay the issues too fast then you'll out yourself and the defences will be raised. You need to manage his/her cognitive dissonance. Too much too soon and the jig is up.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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05-06-2014, 11:49 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
You can not de-convert someone they have to do it themselves. If you want to plant the seeds of free though you have to be more subbtle. See if you can get them to look at church history (christian and others) from a secular point of view. Talk about how they are the same and how they are different. Why one is true and all the others are false. Discuss why the things christians believe have come to be. Keep from being confrontational. It will take time or may never happen. My de-conversion took years while I was studing those things to try and be a better christian.
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05-06-2014, 11:59 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(05-06-2014 11:42 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  A trojan. Yes, yes that might work. But you'll have to have the patience of a marathon runner. Don't lay the issues thick and fast. Do it little by little. Perhaps address one point in a day then wait a week. Address another and proceed in this manner. If you lay the issues too fast then you'll out yourself and the defences will be raised. You need to manage his/her cognitive dissonance. Too much too soon and the jig is up.
Well, I am a marathon runner so there's that. Tongue

Seriously though, I agree with your point. Too much too fast will draw suspicion.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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06-06-2014, 05:47 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(04-06-2014 05:20 PM)TheSkeptic Wrote:  The great aspect of using the Bible is that most Christians know only the idyllic verses used in church.

You could start with that fact. 'You say the bible is God's word and you haven't bothered to read it??!!'
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06-06-2014, 07:15 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
(05-06-2014 11:59 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Well, I am a marathon runner so there's that. Tongue

yay Smile Me too

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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06-06-2014, 09:28 AM
RE: Explaining your atheism
Of course, a lot of them have read it, and continue to cherry pick the more famous verses. Without really studying the Bible, that's what most people do. Once they've studied it, they'll be able to bust out some more esoteric verses... but they'll still continue to cherry pick. Most apologists cherry pick out of ignorance (those are the only verses they know), but the well-studied apologists cherry pick to support an elaborate narrative. They know exactly what they want the Bible to say and they know exactly where to look for those passages.

This is why two different Christians who have read the Bible and done lots of study can give you entirely different answers to questions like "how do I get to heaven?" and "do works matter or just grace?" or "does hell even exist?".

If you're stance on the Bible's contents and their meaning is anything other than "it's a bunch of Hebrew mythology", you're cherry picking.
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