Okay so this happened
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
10-04-2015, 11:04 AM
RE: Okay so this happened
I just don't get it though...

Theists who try to "defeat" atheism. What are they hoping to achieve? Prove we are "wrong"? Get us to just give up and throw ourselves into the nearest church?

Or more likely, they are addressing their insecurities by lashing out at what scares them.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Robvalue's post
10-04-2015, 12:22 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
If you're looking to vent, I hear you. Hugs and all that. Hug

If you want not-quite-solicited advice, it's hiding under the button below.

I'd suggest adopting a much more Socratic approach. The key in the Socratic approach is to not overtly take a position yourself, but rather guide him to your own position through a series of questions that draw him into clearly stating positions, and then highlight the foolishness of those positions (where they are foolish) and force him to reconsider them. Do not anticipate his positions. Let him commit himself to the position and clearly state it before you bring questions to bear against it.

So, using your conversation as an example, with a more Socratic method, the conversation might have gone like this:

Him: Atheists have a religion.
You: Wait... what?
Him: Atheists have a religion.
You. How do you figure?
Him: Because you believe in something.
You: What do you think we believe in?
Him: You believe that nothing exists, therefore, you believe in something, which makes it a religion.
You: What is your definition of religion?
Him: If you believe in something, then you have a religion.
You: I believe our cat Lece' has three colors. Some might believe she has four colors. Is either belief a religion?
Him: People have worshiped cats.
You: Isn't there a difference between worshiping cats, and counting the number of colors on their coat?
Him: ...
You: Could I believe or say that water is wet, without worshiping water? Is it a religion to believe that water is wet?

There are various advantages of this approach. First it keeps the focus on the silly things he is saying, and the specific way(s) in which it they are silly. Second, rather than drawing him into defending the position (like saying outright that the position is stupid would), it invites him to examine its specific flaws. Questioning is more inviting than contradicting. Third, it invites him to state, clarify, and modify his position. This will give you more grist for the mill while at the same time putting him in a mode that is more open to considering and reconsidering his position. Fourth, it gives YOU the opportunity to be enlightened, in the event that you are holding the wrong position. (For the record, Buddhism is a religion that doesn't have gods... or at least doesn't care about them.) Fifth, it avoids the accusation of you always needing to be right... for you to be right, you'd have to have adopted a position in the first place. And sixth, it will get him into the habit of questioning these things on his own and answering those questions for himself.

Note also the choice early on, between trying to correct the "atheists believe in nothing" misclaim and provoking him to define religion. Eventually correcting this false claim will be important, but the key issue at the moment is getting a clear and reasonable definition of religion. Any syllogism is divided into a major premise (If condition A then conclusion B, in this case what does or doesn't count as a religion), a minor premise (Condition A is true, in this case the nature of atheism as meeting whatever condition for being a religion), and a conclusion (Conclusion B is therefore true.) The human brain likes to begin with conclusions, and then construct rationalizations for them... not the most rational setup, but evolution just kinda stumbled us haphazardly into sapience and the whole thing's a bit of a kluge. Minor premises are pretty easy to address. It's the major premises that are difficult to establish, defend, or debunk. If you begin by setting straight the minor premise, then the rationalizing brain will have to monkey around with the major premise in order to keep the conclusion. Because of how hard it is to correct major premises, arguing through last ditch rationalizations here will be a huge challenge. It is best to correct the flaws in the major premise first. This leaves the minor premise as the place for a rationalizing brain to monkey around, which is much easier to deal with.

So far I've followed the views expressed in your conversation very closely, but modified the order and manner in which they were expressed. For example, I had this Socratic version of you get right to the point -- asking him to commit to whatever definition of religion he was using that allowed him to label atheism a religion -- and then undermining that point. When he brought up the worship of cats, he was clearly attempting to make his belief-equals-religion model accommodate a bad fit. Socratic-you's follow-up question highlighted how the accommodation was bad, and then given the opportunity Socratic-you asks a question showing another bad fit.

Now I'll depart somewhat from the views expressed in your original conversation, because somewhere around here most people faced with a Socratic approach will start modifying their position... or at least find ways to "say it better", without admitting that they are changing it.

Him: Well it's not just ANY belief. Believing that water is wet isn't a religion
You: So some things people believe to be true aren't religions?
Him: Yeah, but that doesn't mean atheism isn't a religion.
You: But believing water is wet doesn't count as a religion?
Him: Right.
You: What do you think the difference is? What type of belief counts as a religion and what type doesn't? How are you defining religion, if it's a belief but it's not just any belief?

Here Socratic-you is resetting to the challenge for him to state his position clearly. He will now be forced to define religion as more than just belief, and do so in a manner that exempts water being wet but includes atheism. This will give you more absurdities to highlight with questions and make his position more untenable. It will also help (emphasis: HELP! This is for his benefit too) him come to a better understanding of what religion is and isn't.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 11 users Like Reltzik's post
10-04-2015, 12:53 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
Thank you Reltzik. That was EXCELLENT. The next time he chooses to engage on this level with me at Four in the morning... I'm going to tell him it will have to wait until I am awake... not after I've only had three hours of sleep. And then I'm going to come and get you Big Grin

I don't debate well when I haven't had much sleep or enough coffee. I truly appreciate you taking the time to write out that very well thought out post of advice.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Judi Lynn's post
10-04-2015, 01:54 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
(10-04-2015 11:04 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I just don't get it though...

Theists who try to "defeat" atheism. What are they hoping to achieve? Prove we are "wrong"? Get us to just give up and throw ourselves into the nearest church?

Or more likely, they are addressing their insecurities by lashing out at what scares them.

Well, Call of the Wild and I are currently debating in the boxing ring. He tells me that he has arguments against Atheism (We haven't gone over them yet) that make it impossible for him to accept that I could be correct. He believes that I have made an unreasonable choice based in flawed thinking. This tells me that his motivations are not all that different from mine. We both care about what is true, because we believe life is better lived with knowledge of what is true.

I have met other Theists who feel that a battle against non-belief is the epitome of good vs. evil. They see Atheism as a catalyst for immorality and poisonous thinking, so fighting against it gives them moral satisfaction.

Ultimately, I don't think these are bad reasons. I just think they are wrong. It actually encourages me to hear them, because I am reminded just how much we value in common. As long as we share these common desires, to fight immorality and learn truth, I can very likely persuade them to see my point of view.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Dark Phoenix's post
10-04-2015, 04:22 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
At 4am I would say "Write down your claim on a piece of paper and place $20 next to it. We'll discuss it in the morning and then I'll go buy us some breakfast with the money when you concede that your claim isn't valid."

Discussion
Write down what you think a religion is and then we'll look up the definition together.

Write down five attributes of the christian religion that make it a religion.

Lets go through those five things and ask "Does atheism require this or that ?"

If that doesn't work, try an island analogy of people living on an island who never had any contact with the outside world.

How would you determine if these people have a religion or not ?

What would you look for ?

Hopefully he will see the light.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Rahn127's post
10-04-2015, 04:53 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
Where does everyone keep finding these people you are arguing with like that? I never had a debate or argument about religion outside of here and maybe once or twice on youtube about gay people and religion.

Seriously! WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE?!Blink


My Youtube channel if anyone is interested.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEkRdbq...rLEz-0jEHQ
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
10-04-2015, 04:55 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
(10-04-2015 04:53 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Where does everyone keep finding these people you are arguing with like that? I never had a debate or argument about religion outside of here and maybe once or twice on youtube about gay people and religion.

Seriously! WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE?!Blink

LOL... well... I found mine in my house Big Grin
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
10-04-2015, 05:20 PM (This post was last modified: 10-04-2015 05:34 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Okay so this happened
(10-04-2015 05:39 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  I'd say you won that round, I don't know if you want to continue a dialog with this person, but you could ask how a lack of belief in gods requires faith.

Aye, there's the rub. I think that what is responsible for the bulk of confusion with these types of arguments is that "belief" and "faith" are being conflated. They are not the same. "Belief" is more or less an expectation of an outcome based on some sort of evidence or past experience. "Faith" is an expectation of an outcome absent of any evidence. (Or in some cases despite evidence to the contrary.) As such, "faith" stipulates that no proof is possible within its context. Not much left to talk about then.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like GirlyMan's post
10-04-2015, 05:24 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
Seems karma bit him in the ass this afternoon. He was using a grinder when it slipped, cutting his thumb. He left work half an hour early and got another employee to drop him off at Workfirst so he could get it stitched up. I met him there and we sat for over two hours. Never a dull moment with him. Two stitches and no time off from work, which is good because we live literally paycheck to paycheck.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
10-04-2015, 05:49 PM
RE: Okay so this happened
(10-04-2015 06:03 AM)Dom Wrote:  If you can substitute "assume" for believe", you are not talking about a religion. You are talking about arriving at a decision based on probabilities.

I assume the bridge will hold.

Assumption comes across as a better word than believe.
It is possible to assume a higher force may exist in the Universe.
We do not have to tag any religions to this assumption.
By analogy we may see some good in this world as opposed to evil.
WE might see fit to universalize this assumption
Demands for proof do not apply to hypotheses not to be applied.
If we assume something pre alleged Big Bang existed it must
have been subjected to some form of vivifying force.
Was this force intelligent, evil, or chaotic?
In terms of infinity, it does not seem irrational to contemplate
ineffable cosmic scenarios beyond our current capacities to evaluate.
Indeed an intelligent cosmic evolving force might limit our understandings
for some purposeful reason.
An open attitude in no way negates rational secular thinking. The fact that
such may be totally wrong, unless forming coercive religions, may at least
provide some harmless deviation.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: