How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
20-06-2013, 12:03 AM
How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
I've seen it a lot on this forum: The belief that certain theists just can't be reached. The hostility is extreme and the welcome is non-existent. (Or, rather, it is extended by some even as it is withdrawn by others, and it comes out a net negative). Most theists who remain despite this are confronted with increasing hostility, as their logical holes are exposed and they continue to cling to their positions despite our... expectations? Hopes? ... to the contrary.

I write this as I'm listening to this week's podcast. Specifically,
the first interview, with the couple where the wife almost divorced because the husband deconverted, and then deconverted herself. The story is a familiar one: An outwardly stubborn theist suddenly caves under the weight of her own private doubts and rational empowerment, in a manner that no one was expecting.

That led me to question, with regard to deconversion, just how do we recognize a hopeless case? For those of us just coexisting and interacting, how can we tell the difference between a very stubborn theist who'll never change versus a very stubborn one just about to pirouette? We often declare certain frequent foes as hopeless, incapable of reason, never able to change. How true is that? Do our own attitudes adequately account for the possibility of denial? Does anyone have any experiences to share, from either side of the question?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Reltzik's post
20-06-2013, 12:33 AM
 
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
You assume that your position on theism is based more upon an informed and logical examination than my own or any other theist. I doubt this to be true. If you can show me one example of untrustworthiness in the word of Jehovah my God, one good reason not to believe, than I wouldn't hesitate once a careful examination is undertaken. I have, by the way, been corrected in my thinking many times by atheist and theist alike and have always changed accordingly.

What intrigues me about your attitude is the importance of deconversion or conversion. It has never been my intention to deconvert or convert anyone. Ever. I think it a rather presumptuous and foolish intention. Why not promote understanding, tolerance, and education of differing beliefs or disbeliefs for that matter?

Why do you assume your position is the only one?
Quote this message in a reply
20-06-2013, 12:39 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 12:03 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  I've seen it a lot on this forum: The belief that certain theists just can't be reached. The hostility is extreme and the welcome is non-existent. (Or, rather, it is extended by some even as it is withdrawn by others, and it comes out a net negative). Most theists who remain despite this are confronted with increasing hostility, as their logical holes are exposed and they continue to cling to their positions despite our... expectations? Hopes? ... to the contrary.

I write this as I'm listening to this week's podcast. Specifically,
the first interview, with the couple where the wife almost divorced because the husband deconverted, and then deconverted herself. The story is a familiar one: An outwardly stubborn theist suddenly caves under the weight of her own private doubts and rational empowerment, in a manner that no one was expecting.

That led me to question, with regard to deconversion, just how do we recognize a hopeless case? For those of us just coexisting and interacting, how can we tell the difference between a very stubborn theist who'll never change versus a very stubborn one just about to pirouette? We often declare certain frequent foes as hopeless, incapable of reason, never able to change. How true is that? Do our own attitudes adequately account for the possibility of denial? Does anyone have any experiences to share, from either side of the question?

My simple answer to this, at least to myself is that I do not recognize a hopeless case. Yes, there will be those who choose to believe what they want to believe out of convenience or out of ignorance because they choose so but that does not mean I don't present facts, evidence or science to them. How I usually battle people is not by berating them with truths but trying to open interests in science and its achievements. I ask them to question stances, to wonder about their opinions and to think about things that could make them a better person, not because they should be but because they themselves can choose so and can be.

Hell, I have a really close friend and I truly like her but it kills me to know why she continues to believe and how it drives her to remain away from facts. Her father created a church and relies on a sufficient amount of money he receives from his congregation. He is probably as worse of a case as you possibly imagine. Creationism, Against Homosexuality and the end of the world are not insane ideas to this guy. She even told me she thought Obama was the antichrist and she hated that I simply stated because he was black that she felt that way. Of course he has many problems now but they honestly couldn't give me a good reason besides saying he didn't seem like a christian, although he is, and that democrats just want free things(Although, their family survived off the government for a time. Also, George Bush to them was an amazing person and they helped crazily with McCain Palin campaign but thought Mormons were of the devil. I was slightly heartbroken at their efforts and seeing them in defeat at how they are and will be losing these culture wars they have no way of defeating.) It just boggles my minds how secluded and caged minds can become but I have made some progress. I have gotten her to question her beliefs and although it has caused her outright anger at times it has caused her to rethink some of the things her father has told her.

She understands science and its merits and I have gotten her curiosity working which I believe religion completely severs when you think about it. I got her wondering about things and have told her if she can question her beliefs it should only strengthen it but it is such a long and hard, gruesome battle. She believes her faith, which is an offshoot of the Christian faith, is the only true one. She also believes abortion is wrong but I know she questions her sexuality, she wonders about things but I can't help if it wasn't for the income and her father being the preacher there that I am fighting a losing battle but I still should try and continue for any hint of obtaining knowledge.

I told her constantly that if a God does exist that questioning it should only strengthen anyone's belief in a deity. I know some are fruitless and it may be a waste of time. I don't believe people can't change. They do, regardless how old they are. I remember a teacher I used to love whose parents were both racists and lived within the deep south. Her husband was an African american and once they had children they both changed their stances. It sort of amazed me hos humans could do that. What humans fear is the unknown but once that becomes known and they realize it truly isn't that horrid. They are more willing to change. Eventually with children they might and that's why I believe that religion is playing dirty and trying to brainwash them before giving them a chance to learn about science with an unbiased view.

Probably another rant from me. Need to let off some steam and play that new Animal Crossing game or something.

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." -John F Kennedy

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” -Benjamin Franklin

It has been a long time. How have you been?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like ShirubaDangan's post
20-06-2013, 12:57 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 12:33 AM)David Lee Wrote:  You assume that your position on theism is based more upon an informed and logical examination than my own or any other theist. I doubt this to be true. If you can show me one example of untrustworthiness in the word of Jehovah my God, one good reason not to believe, than I wouldn't hesitate once a careful examination is undertaken. I have, by the way, been corrected in my thinking many times by atheist and theist alike and have always changed accordingly.

What intrigues me about your attitude is the importance of deconversion or conversion. It has never been my intention to deconvert or convert anyone. Ever. I think it a rather presumptuous and foolish intention. Why not promote understanding, tolerance, and education of differing beliefs or disbeliefs for that matter?

Why do you assume your position is the only one?

This is pretty OT to my question, so I'll address it once and then (naively) ask everyone to let it lie as we move on. While I think deconversion is a good thing in general, it is not a goal I pursue, because I do not think it can be rushed or forced. It's a journey that the deconverting must make for themselves, and to my mind pressure from without will not hasten or further that end. Rather, it will tend to delay or preclude it. (This is a very "me" thing, though, and I hardly speak for the others here on this point.)

Nor am I an "evangelical" atheist. (Nor do I, for technical reasons of fine semantic distinctions, actually identify as an atheist. I'm an ignostic, even if the distinction is that of a hair's breadth in my case.) I am content to coexist with believers, and can be good neighbors with them so long as we have good fences. (*cough*secularism*cough*)

What I referred to as a theist immune to reason in the OP was speaking not so much about the fact of the matter. In some cases it MAY be the fact of the matter, but whether it is or isn't wasn't what I was getting at. I was seeking to characterize the expressed attitudes of many about those theists. It was not meant as an expression of my own attitudes.

And I also try to promote understanding, tolerance, etc. Which may be one of the reasons why I started this thread. Perhaps our positions aren't so distant.

I know that I tend to be extremely roundabout in my approach to things, so I'll state my original question much more directly. Should those of us in the atheist camp here on this board be so quick to decry those specific theists who, posting flawed arguments and not immediately withdrawing them in face of critique, strike us as deliberate trolls or unthinking sheep? Or should we perhaps be a bit more charitable in our interpretations?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Reltzik's post
20-06-2013, 01:07 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 12:33 AM)David Lee Wrote:  You assume that your position on theism is based more upon an informed and logical examination than my own or any other theist. I doubt this to be true. If you can show me one example of untrustworthiness in the word of Jehovah my God, one good reason not to believe, than I wouldn't hesitate once a careful examination is undertaken. I have, by the way, been corrected in my thinking many times by atheist and theist alike and have always changed accordingly.

What intrigues me about your attitude is the importance of deconversion or conversion. It has never been my intention to deconvert or convert anyone. Ever. I think it a rather presumptuous and foolish intention. Why not promote understanding, tolerance, and education of differing beliefs or disbeliefs for that matter?

Why do you assume your position is the only one?

You write
"You assume that your position on theism is based more upon an informed and logical examination than my own or any other theist. I doubt this to be true."

The plain truth about this is that if you are a deist, (I'm assuming you are,) then you have not made an informed and logical examination of belief. The Bible is the basis of belief, and it is full of nonsense. Anyone who disagrees with that is reading it with rose coloured glasses.

You write
"If you can show me one example of untrustworthiness in the word of Jehovah my God, one good reason not to believe, than I wouldn't hesitate once a careful examination is undertaken."

Ok, grab your Bible and open it randomly at any page, then read it objectively. The lies, the immorality, and the silliness of what's written should jump out at you from the pages if you are able to do this truly objectively. You'll find multiple reasons not to believe.

There is no one position taken up by atheists. As you probably know atheism is simply a disbelief in the existence of Gods. So it's impossible to suggest that we atheists think our position is the "only one."

I, for one, do promote tolerance, understanding and education. I have spent nearly 7 years studying the origins of Christianity and am very happy to share what I have learned. I am also very open to learning something new from Christians.

You may well be a tolerant Christian but Christianity itself is fundamentally intolerant towards the outsider. Christians have a bigoted mentor. Jesus berated anyone who didn’t buy his message:
“Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him” (John 3:33, NJB.)
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16, NJB.)

He even threatened to burn or kill others for not believing:
“Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away—he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and they are burnt” (John 15:6, NJB.) (A similar quote is repeated in Mark 6:11.)

“Then he began to approach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent. Alas for you Chorazin! Alas for you Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you were done in Tyre or Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sack cloth and ashes, and still I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgment day on Tyre or Sidon as with you. And as for you Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down in hell for if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that I will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgment day as with you” (Matt. 11:20–24, NJB.)

“But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence” (Luke 19:27, NJB.)

There’s no interpretation that can tone down these atrocious tirades. Jesus had an arrogant, fanatical belief in himself, and an ambition to be in charge. He denounced anyone who didn’t worship him, and threatened violence. These aren’t the words of someone spreading peace and goodwill.

Throughout history, many Christians in positions of power have persecuted, converted or killed the outsider. Jews, Muslims, and American and African natives have been brutalized as a consequence. Christian parochialism was one of the reasons George W. Bush invaded Iraq. Imagine a world today if Jesus had consistently preached universal liberalism and love; it would probably be a far less violent and happier one!

We should be grateful that Christian violence has been curtailed over the last two centuries as humanitarian ethics have countered belligerent Christians. Some Christians, however, still unashamedly condemn unbelievers.

I won't even bother touching on the intolerance in the old Testament and in the writings of Paul as it would make this post too long.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mark Fulton's post
20-06-2013, 01:09 AM
 
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 12:57 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  This is pretty OT to my question, so I'll address it once and then (naively) ask everyone to let it lie as we move on. While I think deconversion is a good thing in general, it is not a goal I pursue, because I do not think it can be rushed or forced. It's a journey that the deconverting must make for themselves, and to my mind pressure from without will not hasten or further that end. Rather, it will tend to delay or preclude it. (This is a very "me" thing, though, and I hardly speak for the others here on this point.)

Nor am I an "evangelical" atheist. (Nor do I, for technical reasons of fine semantic distinctions, actually identify as an atheist. I'm an ignostic, even if the distinction is that of a hair's breadth in my case.) I am content to coexist with believers, and can be good neighbors with them so long as we have good fences. (*cough*secularism*cough*)

What I referred to as a theist immune to reason in the OP was speaking not so much about the fact of the matter. In some cases it MAY be the fact of the matter, but whether it is or isn't wasn't what I was getting at. I was seeking to characterize the expressed attitudes of many about those theists. It was not meant as an expression of my own attitudes.

And I also try to promote understanding, tolerance, etc. Which may be one of the reasons why I started this thread. Perhaps our positions aren't so distant.

I know that I tend to be extremely roundabout in my approach to things, so I'll state my original question much more directly. Should those of us in the atheist camp here on this board be so quick to decry those specific theists who, posting flawed arguments and not immediately withdrawing them in face of critique, strike us as deliberate trolls or unthinking sheep? Or should we perhaps be a bit more charitable in our interpretations?

[Reads the post . . . reads the poster's sig. Repeats] Uh-huh. Well, I'm going to clarify my original response. Y'all need to work on your counterargument, 'cause, DAMB! The best you have is Bucky Ball and that's pretty sad. You are WAY overconfident.
Quote this message in a reply
20-06-2013, 01:12 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 01:07 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...grab your Bible and open it randomly at any page, then read it objectively. The lies, the immorality, and the silliness of what's written should jump out at you from the pages if you are able to do this truly objectively. You'll find multiple reasons not to believe...

I didn't make it past page one when I read it for the first time before running into this problem.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Raptor Jesus's post
20-06-2013, 01:16 AM
 
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 01:12 AM)Raptor Jesus Wrote:  I didn't make it past page one when I read it for the first time before running into this problem.

Let's examine why that is, if you don't mind, RJ. (I guess that new nic isn't going to pan out, huh? Let me know if you want to be called something else) Anyway, what about those first pages threw you off?
Quote this message in a reply
20-06-2013, 01:16 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
Sometimes theist ask, "what hope can you have without God"?

We do have hope. Hope that the rest of the world will come to reason. Anytime a theist ask what hope an atheist has, just say hope in reason.

...
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Raptor Jesus's post
20-06-2013, 01:21 AM
RE: How hopeless are stubborn theists, really?
(20-06-2013 12:57 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(20-06-2013 12:33 AM)David Lee Wrote:  You assume that your position on theism is based more upon an informed and logical examination than my own or any other theist. I doubt this to be true. If you can show me one example of untrustworthiness in the word of Jehovah my God, one good reason not to believe, than I wouldn't hesitate once a careful examination is undertaken. I have, by the way, been corrected in my thinking many times by atheist and theist alike and have always changed accordingly.

What intrigues me about your attitude is the importance of deconversion or conversion. It has never been my intention to deconvert or convert anyone. Ever. I think it a rather presumptuous and foolish intention. Why not promote understanding, tolerance, and education of differing beliefs or disbeliefs for that matter?

Why do you assume your position is the only one?

This is pretty OT to my question, so I'll address it once and then (naively) ask everyone to let it lie as we move on. While I think deconversion is a good thing in general, it is not a goal I pursue, because I do not think it can be rushed or forced. It's a journey that the deconverting must make for themselves, and to my mind pressure from without will not hasten or further that end. Rather, it will tend to delay or preclude it. (This is a very "me" thing, though, and I hardly speak for the others here on this point.)

Nor am I an "evangelical" atheist. (Nor do I, for technical reasons of fine semantic distinctions, actually identify as an atheist. I'm an ignostic, even if the distinction is that of a hair's breadth in my case.) I am content to coexist with believers, and can be good neighbors with them so long as we have good fences. (*cough*secularism*cough*)

What I referred to as a theist immune to reason in the OP was speaking not so much about the fact of the matter. In some cases it MAY be the fact of the matter, but whether it is or isn't wasn't what I was getting at. I was seeking to characterize the expressed attitudes of many about those theists. It was not meant as an expression of my own attitudes.

And I also try to promote understanding, tolerance, etc. Which may be one of the reasons why I started this thread. Perhaps our positions aren't so distant.

I know that I tend to be extremely roundabout in my approach to things, so I'll state my original question much more directly. Should those of us in the atheist camp here on this board be so quick to decry those specific theists who, posting flawed arguments and not immediately withdrawing them in face of critique, strike us as deliberate trolls or unthinking sheep? Or should we perhaps be a bit more charitable in our interpretations?

RE
"Should those of us in the atheist camp here on this board be so quick to decry those specific theists who, posting flawed arguments and not immediately withdrawing them in face of critique, strike us as deliberate trolls or unthinking sheep? Or should we perhaps be a bit more charitable in our interpretations?"

I think that depends on the attitude of the theist who we're trying to help. If someone is genuinely open-minded and interested in learning something new, then of course, every courtesy should be shown to them. If they happen to know something about the topic they should also be respected. Unfortunately, what happens most often,is that the theist who posts here is simply parroting what he's been told in church. We get the same old tired arguments that are not based on historical fact, but on wishful thinking. Most often when someone like myself or Buckyball or any of the other atheists here who happen to know a bit about the history make a valid point, the theist simply ignores it because he's out of his depth.

There's nothing wrong or shameful about being uninformed, provided you're willing to learn, and that is so often not the case.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Mark Fulton's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: