Success?
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06-03-2011, 01:41 PM
Success?
I prefer to have public debates with people, mainly because I know that I will not deconvert whomever I'm debating against, but to find the atheists who are going through the motions acting religious because they feel alone.

I'm sure this is the same experience that most of us have had, but I'm curious if anyone has actually been successful in making someone truly question their faith? I usually can only get to that little phrase that signals (to me) that I've won, "You just have to have faith, but I'll pray for you."

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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06-03-2011, 04:47 PM
RE: Success?
Once. Well, twice, actually, but the second I think was more of a "pushed over the edge that they were already teetering on" rather than "converted". That was one of my long-time friends, who would just occasionally ask me something about religious arguments for God, looking for my opinion. He recently declared himself to be an atheist, even though he comes from a fundamentalist family.

The other one was actually during a public "debate". I mean, it wasn't supposed to be a debate, but the guy was a sidewalk preacher who was pushing young-Earth creationism. I had my computer on hand, so I was able to pull up information to refute what he was saying and show it to anyone nearby when I called him out on his bull. Eventually he stopped responding to me, but I had a few people who had been agreeing with him come up to talk to me afterwards. It was just a polite conversation; they weren't actively trying to convert me, and I wasn't trying to deconvert them. They just wanted to know what I thought about some of their questions.

It ended with them admitting that there was substantial evidence for evolution, and thanking me for being willing to show them the evidence. They didn't abandon Christianity or anything, but they at least admitted that I had a point. I think that's about all you can hope for, really. If they're going to change, they've got to decide to do it. All you can do is give them the evidence.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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06-03-2011, 06:36 PM
RE: Success?
Here's my success story:

http://thethinkingatheist.com/forum/show...085&page=1

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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06-03-2011, 09:14 PM
RE: Success?
I tried debating people - I suck at it. I jump the gun and get angry at stupid claims and don't maintain a cool head throughout - which just makes me sad.
I swear after 2 hours of debate and no result , I'm so angry I just want to drink myself under the table - for my own ineptitude (not presenting points clearly) and my stupidity ( for engaging in debate with said person in the first place)

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

Proud of my genetic relatives Big Grin
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07-03-2011, 12:52 AM
RE: Success?
(06-03-2011 04:47 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  ...the guy was a sidewalk preacher who was pushing young-Earth creationism...

I've always wanted to meet a Young Earth Creationist, but I've only heard myths and legends about them. I thought I might get to meet a group when I saw a poster on campus advertising the "Young Earth Society." After a quick panic as to how fundamentalists got into the school (it's a science and engineering school, so we rarely get anyone to come here who is a radical), I realized that is was a group for young geological students, not Young Earthers...I was somewhat upset.

Of all the ideas put forth by science, it is the principle of Superposition that can undo any power of the gods. For the accumulation of smaller actions has the ability to create, destroy, and move the world.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." -W. E. Henley
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07-03-2011, 09:22 AM
RE: Success?
(06-03-2011 09:14 PM)gaglamesh731 Wrote:  I tried debating people - I suck at it. I jump the gun and get angry at stupid claims and don't maintain a cool head throughout - which just makes me sad.
I swear after 2 hours of debate and no result , I'm so angry I just want to drink myself under the table - for my own ineptitude (not presenting points clearly) and my stupidity ( for engaging in debate with said person in the first place)
Keep working at it, and keep learning, and patience will come. Your problem is the same problem I've had and continue to have and struggle with. I can tell you I'm much better at it than I used to be, but still not near where I should be. Confidence in the facts, logic, and rationale leads to more patience.

(07-03-2011 12:52 AM)Glaucus Wrote:  
(06-03-2011 04:47 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  ...the guy was a sidewalk preacher who was pushing young-Earth creationism...

I've always wanted to meet a Young Earth Creationist, but I've only heard myths and legends about them. I thought I might get to meet a group when I saw a poster on campus advertising the "Young Earth Society." After a quick panic as to how fundamentalists got into the school (it's a science and engineering school, so we rarely get anyone to come here who is a radical), I realized that is was a group for young geological students, not Young Earthers...I was somewhat upset.
I don't know where you're at, but just take a little trip here to the southern part of the U.S. - that's the majority of the theists that we have down here.

In regards to the OP, no I have not actually deconverted anyone, but I do think I have at least given one person some things to think about. They are hopefully in the process of converting from a Young Earth Creationist to Old Earth Creationist, which would also entail becoming a "Not Completely Literalist" when it comes to the Bible. I don't know how much I've actually had to do with that, but hopefully a little.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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07-03-2011, 10:59 PM
RE: Success?
I converted a guy I know (so I thought). While working with him we had alot of conversations about religion and I quit the job only to get hired back in the future and suddenly he was an atheist who was raising his children as atheist. I felt proud that I successfully got him to start thinking.

Today we were discussing the subject again and I asked him 'Was it me that converted you?' He laughed and said 'no, what actually got me thinking was Paul (an older former coworker) pushing his ideas (christianity) on me all the time to the point where i finally decided it was all bullshit'

I think it's funny that Paul was pushing his thoughts so hard on him because at the time on the cover he was a pretty solid christian to begin with.

Maybe i was the catalyst from the start, i don't know.

I've had deep (shallow compared to what i read on this site) religious conversation with many people and theres no telling how many if any of them actually started thinking because of our chats. I like to think that at least a couple people figured it out in the end. particularly the closet homosexual going to the christian university that i used to work with. he was so intelligent and motivated but so brainwashed and dumb at the same time.
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08-03-2011, 08:49 AM
RE: Success?
I would also like to share this:

2 weekends ago, my 7 year old daughter decided to stay home from church with me. There was no prodding, no discussion of any kind, and no direct influence - my wife woke me up on her way out and said "she's staying home today." I commend my wife for not making either of them go if they don't want to. We just ate cereal and watched cartoons.

This past weekend, no one went to church (had nothing to do with me), but Saturday night, the same daughter ended up singing some song she was making up that went something like "and I hope church is canceled tomorrow, because I'd like everyone to have a fun day..." Of course this was directly after she was making up some other song about not diverting your attention away from God, so I guess it's kind of a break even situation.

The point is that she's starting to see church as boring, I think. That along with little skeptical tidbits here and there are doing good, hopefully.

Our brains deceive us on a regular basis, so we have to find ways to fight back.
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08-03-2011, 10:03 AM
 
RE: Success?
I can't say I've ever possessed the intent to make someone question their faith. Rather, it's more like when I do choose to enter discussions about religion with the religious, I like to pose a point of view that will cause the believer to feel inspired to probe deeper when I've posed observations that call religious proclamations into question.

I may have inspired someone to do that last year, when we were discussing the tenets of Christianity. As someone who was raised in a religious home, this person knew I had a background that was similar to their present day. Suffice to say when the discussion turned to salvation and damnation I made the observation that Christianity's proclamation of affording salvation to the sinner is tantamount to asking the individual created of god, to be saved from god.

The doctrine of redemption asks the individual to shrug off that which god appointed; sin. And salvation asks the individual to save themselves from the god that damned them from birth, for being born by his will as a damnable sinner.

That's clearly not intelligent as a faith filled doctrine to have been inspired by anything qualified to be called a supreme intelligence over humans. As such it can only be deemed as created by humans intent on controlling the mind through interjection of a fear paradigm that seeks to insult the intellect and impart a self-deprecating value system. That's not sacred. That's slavery.

This person to whom I said this looked at me, moved their jaw around as if they were literally chewing it over and then said they never thought of it that way before but it makes sense. The last I heard from them they were making videos fit for You Tube espousing the tenets of the Church of Satan. (An atheist organization) I.E. rational self-gratification and auto-deism.
However, I do not claim responsibility for causing them to assume that ideology. I simply answered their question about Christian dogma, when they asked; what do you think about the whole notion of sin and salvation now?
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