Persuade an atheist
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17-04-2015, 01:40 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(17-04-2015 01:00 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  All,

It is far less condescending IMHO then punching the fellow in the face when he spits at me. I can honestly live with myself. Really, I can.

False dilemma.

Option 3: Walk away without saying anything.

Option 4: Tell the guy you think he's overreacting and walk away.

Sky's the limit, Q.
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17-04-2015, 01:43 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(17-04-2015 01:00 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  All,

It is far less condescending IMHO then punching the fellow in the face when he spits at me. I can honestly live with myself. Really, I can.

--And, I hope you know I'm praying for TTA members even if I don't say it all the time. Prayer is something very personal and intimate and a gift to others on their behalf.

Punching someone is condescending? You continue to misuse the English language. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-04-2015, 02:22 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
RobbyPants for the Win.
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17-04-2015, 03:58 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(17-04-2015 01:40 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 01:00 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  All,

It is far less condescending IMHO then punching the fellow in the face when he spits at me. I can honestly live with myself. Really, I can.

False dilemma.

Option 3: Walk away without saying anything.

Option 4: Tell the guy you think he's overreacting and walk away.

Sky's the limit, Q.

Option 5: Come here and give Girly a big old bear hug you big galoot. No seriously come here now. Don't make me come over there.
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#sigh
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17-04-2015, 08:36 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(17-04-2015 10:52 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  No, it's not my fault if they don't also pray... by that, I mean that I likewise challenge a Christian who has different doctrine that I will pray that if I'm wrong, God will show me, and I hope they do the same. (And if they don't agree with me soon, I know they didn't pray--just kiddin'!) Angel

I know right. I mean, sometimes I walk away from a conversation and say "Dude, chill, calm down, I'll induct you into the church of Mormon when you're dead." Angel No one could take offence at something like that. They're being oversensitive.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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20-04-2015, 10:27 AM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(17-04-2015 08:36 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 10:52 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  No, it's not my fault if they don't also pray... by that, I mean that I likewise challenge a Christian who has different doctrine that I will pray that if I'm wrong, God will show me, and I hope they do the same. (And if they don't agree with me soon, I know they didn't pray--just kiddin'!) Angel

I know right. I mean, sometimes I walk away from a conversation and say "Dude, chill, calm down, I'll induct you into the church of Mormon when you're dead." Angel No one could take offence at something like that. They're being oversensitive.

Well, what do you normally do rather than share a religious statement with someone who spits in your face or screams at you or brandishes a weapon at you? Please be real.

It's unreal to be told I'm being passive-aggressive or somehow misguided when I not only tell someone I'll pray on their behalf but then do so, as I meet their hate with my love. Is God being passive-aggressive by offering His Son for us when we hate and despise Him personally (or as a concept as skeptics)?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-04-2015, 02:10 PM
RE: Persuade an atheist
You're also being "full of shit". Nobody pulled a gun on or spit in your face. At best somebody made a snide remark in your direction after you pissed him being a douche.
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21-04-2015, 08:47 AM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(20-04-2015 10:27 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-04-2015 08:36 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  I know right. I mean, sometimes I walk away from a conversation and say "Dude, chill, calm down, I'll induct you into the church of Mormon when you're dead." Angel No one could take offence at something like that. They're being oversensitive.

Well, what do you normally do rather than share a religious statement with someone who spits in your face or screams at you or brandishes a weapon at you? Please be real.

It's unreal to be told I'm being passive-aggressive or somehow misguided when I not only tell someone I'll pray on their behalf but then do so, as I meet their hate with my love. Is God being passive-aggressive by offering His Son for us when we hate and despise Him personally (or as a concept as skeptics)?

Generally I think the most effective way to communicate with people is to steer towards neutral language. Specifically, seek out vocabulary whose definitions you and the other party both agree on. Prefer that vocabulary over vocabulary that has a different meaning to different parties within the conversation. If a party to a conversation wishes to communicate love and understanding to someone it would seem that is precisely the time to use language that the recipient accepts as being connected to love and understanding. The more barriers you put between the message you are trying to convey and the person who you intend to convey the message to the more likely it is that your message will be lost or misconstrued.

But you ask an interesting question at the end there: "Is God being passive-aggressive by offering his Son for us"? A question like this is often couched in religious language that makes it hard to compare to everyday life. We are given words and phrases by the community we participate in that we are used to repeating with necessarily absorbing the whole message. When we hear about God offering his Son we're programmed to think "Oh, isn't God good? His grace is sufficient for me."

But I wonder if we could construct a comparable situation without invoking God where we would praise the person offering their son / themselves up in this way. I have trouble to be honest. I start picturing a guy on the sidewalk alternating between words of love and compassion and words of anger and rage, shouting "Look at me! Look at me! If you don't look at me I'm gonna jump off that bridge, and then you'll be sorry.". Or maybe a interfering mother-in-law "After all I've done for you the least you could do is let me move in with you". I find it hard to figure out how to frame an analogy for what exactly God did for us by sacrificing himself to himself so that he can forgive us, but only if we believe the unverifiable stories in an ancient book.

So when I hear "I'll pray for you" I know what is generally meant by that and I'm more that willing to be the bigger person and translate those words in my head to "I love you, and I'm thinking of you". Whereas my natural inclination is to translate those words as "You're wrong, it hurts me deeply that you're wrong, and you're going to burn in hell forever because God is good and just and merciful and barbaric and murderous and full of all the hate I feel for you right now for rejecting something I care deeply about". "I'll pray for you" does tend to sound more like an accusation than a message of love if you consider the implications.

So, passive aggressive? "I'll pray for you"? "I'll say something that on the surface is nice but actually predicts your eternal torture for doubting what I hold to be true"? I think passive aggressive is a reasonable label. The words are often expressed from a theist to an atheist in a way that correspond to the definition of passive aggression. Not always, but often I think.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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21-04-2015, 09:55 AM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(20-04-2015 10:27 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Well, what do you normally do rather than share a religious statement with someone who spits in your face or screams at you or brandishes a weapon at you? Please be real.

I'd like to think that I'd just try to get away from the situation. Getting in one last sanctimonious dig is childish at best. You may think that "I'll pray for you" is demonstrating your love but it comes across as a smug, self-righteous claim that you are a better person and that the recipient of your prayers is broken.

On the other hand, I've never had anybody spit in my face or brandish a weapon at me. If you have then perhaps you should reflect on what you did to antagonize them to that point. If you are as big a prick in real life as you seem to be on the forum then I'm not surprised you've been spat on. Christians sometimes seek persecution to feel superior but it just makes them all the more annoying.

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21-04-2015, 11:28 AM
RE: Persuade an atheist
(20-04-2015 10:27 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It's unreal to be told I'm being passive-aggressive or somehow misguided when I not only tell someone I'll pray on their behalf but then do so, as I meet their hate with my love. Is God being passive-aggressive by offering His Son for us when we hate and despise Him personally (or as a concept as skeptics)?

Going off to pray for someone who doesn't believe that prayer is effective or, well, sane? Fine. Problematic in a few ways, but not really crossing the line in my book.

TELLING them that, as if you're doing a favor or somehow showing them love? That's the messed up part.

Then going off to do so? Fine. Well, problematic in the same way that praying for them without telling them is, but otherwise fine.

Let's focus on the telling-them part, because it's the more messed-up of the two and if we start debating the fine points of the praying-for-them part we'll never stop. What's the point of telling them? Let's break down the whole message here, and try to actually see things from the perspective of the non-believer even if you don't agree with it.

First, the non-believer does not think that prayer is effective, nor that it is remotely rational. They probably realize that you do, and they might tolerate that the way someone tolerates someone on a bus with track marks down their arm muttering about how the CIA is after them. Okay, fine, so long as they don't come over to talk to me about it. Or, okay, a more benign example. Someone who believes in the efficacy of crystal energies.

What is your message when telling someone you'll pray for them, and, more importantly, how is that message going to be received? (If you don't care how it will be received, why even say it?)

First, you're saying that you will do something that, too their mind, is like waving crystals around on their behalf. You're going to align amethyst with quartz to change their aura or whatever. What do you expect from that announcement? Gratitude? Sarcasm? Edging away slightly, saying nothing in hopes that it will move past the awkward insanity to normal conversation faster than sarcasm will?

Second, even the most rudimentary understanding of them not believing means that YOU WOULD GET THIS. That you would then go ahead and tell them that you'll pray for them carries with it the message that you either don't understand the least bit about what them being a non-believer means, or that you didn't even hear them when you said it. Either way you're incapable of receiving or don't give a damn about where they're at. That you might pray for them is one thing. That you might announce it to them is another.

Third... pray for what? I mean, it's FOR THEM, implying that it's on their behalf and for their benefit. But what are the details? It's not for their general well-being, not given the context of the conversation. (Well, It might be, but that's not how it comes across.) No, it's because they don't believe right or they're somehow broken in some way, and you're praying that they'll get fixed. You're not saying you'll pray for everyone. You're not announcing that you'll pray for someone truly broken, like a criminally insane psychotic who would be an all-right person if his brain just worked right. No, you're saying you'll pray specifically for THEM. THEY'RE the ones you're trying to have fixed... and that implies you think they're broken.

That, by the way, is why "I'll pray for you" at the end of a disagreeable conversation -- not in response to the mention of some tragedy, but just because two people have been arguing -- is taken as such a fuck-you dismissal. It carries an edge of "you're broken" and "God help you, because I can't." It's also almost totally devoid of reference to the conversation leading up to it, implying, again, that the person saying it hasn't been receiving. The person saying it might or might not deliberately mean it that way (and might or might not subconsciously mean it that way), but it is easily taken that way. (And is often meant that way.)

And also, fixed in what way? That they'll wake up one day believing, that they'll have some sort of undeniable revelation that will force them to believe regardless? You're not saying that explicitly, and you might not even mean it that way, but it's easy to get that (correctly or incorrectly) from reading between the lines. Are there any consent documents involved here? Do they get to have a say in whether they're forced to believe? If you believe that prayer has such power, why aren't you asking their permission to use this power on them? Have they no autonomy whatsoever? Under this interpretation (which, as I say, is not the only possible meaning, but one which your audience might easily extract), you've decided to announce that you're not going to try to persuade them any more, that you don't care about engaging with them, that you don't care about who they are NOW, but you think you can magically (or so they will hear your announcement) alter their brain so that they won't argue with them any more. That you can reshape them into someone not-them and that will make all the broken parts of them go away.

Also... WHAT A GREAT EFFORT ON YOUR PART! You're going to clasp your hands together and mutter a few words to the sky-daddy. Is this worth their gratitude? It's obvious why you prefer this to, say, engaging with them, actually understanding where they're coming from, and addressing their very real doubts and concerns. It's because engaging, understanding, and addressing them is a horrible chore in your mind! (Again, not necessarily true, but again, how it can be taken.)

I could go on. But the fundamental message in announcing that you will pray for a non-believer -- not just praying for them, but ANNOUNCING it -- is that you haven't heard a word they're saying, that you do not wish to engage, understand, and address them, and that you think they're broken, and you're going to try to have someone come in and fix them without their permission.

And as a counterweight to this... what GOOD does announcing the prayer do? Does it comfort them? No. Does it show that you care about them? No, it shows that you don't, for the reasons I mentioned above. Does it make the prayer more effective? I've got no idea how this is supposed to work any more than I have any idea how crystal-waving is supposed to work, but I'd guess it makes it LESS effective simply by getting their dander up. (Which would be negative effectiveness.) So what's the point in saying it?

But okay. Let's leave aside for the moment ALL those reasons why saying you'll pray for a non-believer sends a very harsh message that you might not realize you're saying and assume that the negative response that you get is completely irrational.

Do you know you will provoke this negative emotional response? Yes. Do you know that telling them you'll pray for them will likely offend them? Yes. Regardless of whether prayer is effective, does actually announcing the prayer produce any positive results beyond simply praying without announcing it? No.

So... why announce it?
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