Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
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23-05-2013, 03:39 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 08:36 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  So... I announced I'm an atheist on Facebook earlier this year. I have actually been an atheist for several years and many of my close friends already knew, but some didn't including the person I most worried about telling, my former christian mentor and youth director. Long story short (because that's not really the point of this post), he's been somewhat FB stalking me, following me and commenting on posts, tagging me, calling me ignorant, that I make him sad, and how I failed him, etc. Most recently he sent me a private message where he told me I have been a FB bully, demeaning to Christians, and a Christian basher, among other things.

While I disagree with him (and have written a long response to him that I haven't yet sent), one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people (something he clearly is not concerned with), and my desire to fully explore my understanding of reality, my former christian self, and in general, just be an honest human being. I try to attack ideas, but not people, but as you probably know, people often take criticism of their ideas personally. It can be a fine line to walk. All of this I've discussed closely with my best friend, who as I've become an atheist, has become more religious.

So, the main point in this post... This week I posted a blog about how I feel the Christian attitude towards gays is morally wrong, and how when I was a Christian I held immoral attitudes that I thankfully have shed. If anyone is interested, you can find it here. My best friend posted a somewhat harshly worded criticism of this blog, which surprised me because she has in the past told me I should be totally honest in my writings, and she is fully aware of how my youth director has made me feel recently.

I'm wondering do you worry about hurting people's feelings? If not, why? If so, why? How do you navigate the world with other believers? I'm primarily interested in hearing from those of you who have close friends who are believers. Do you talk about religion? Do they criticize your online presence? If you had a chance to read my post, do you think it was too harshly worded towards Christians and their religion? I'm not apologizing for anything I said, but I honestly don't see it. Most of my post was a criticism of myself more than anything. I stand by it 100%, but again, I really dislike hurting people I care about. Am I crazy?

Tell him to go fuck himself. Your beliefs are none of his fucking business.
Un-friend him - he's a bigoted jerk.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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23-05-2013, 04:00 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
Quote:one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people
They take it personally, even if you are not attacking them. You probably can't change that fact. I'd say you should focus on keeping in mind that YOU are doing nothing wrong, so you shouldn't allow them to make you feel bad. All you're doing is being honest. Many theists take this as a personal attack, the mere existence of atheists. If they're offended by something not even offensive, it's clearly their problem, not yours. They can't expect you to control their emotions for them.

Another thing I find crazy is that I don't see a lot of atheists commenting on religious posts from their f-list, but the minute and atheist puts something about atheism on FB, all hell breaks loose, they are called stupid and hateful and wrong.

I think it all comes down to cognitive dissonance. I mean, if a Christian tells me I'm wrong, I don't get upset, I don't yell or freak out, because I am not feeling any cognitive dissonance, I don't need faith, the things I believe or don't believe are based on evidence. So someone telling me I'm wrong is not a thing I would take personally. On the other hand, a theist often feels threatened just because atheists exist, because faith is a fragile thing and not based on evidence.

I'd suggest that maybe the problem is not your lacking a backbone, but your friend's inability to respect other views...
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23-05-2013, 04:42 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 08:36 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  So... I announced I'm an atheist on Facebook earlier this year. I have actually been an atheist for several years and many of my close friends already knew, but some didn't including the person I most worried about telling, my former christian mentor and youth director. Long story short (because that's not really the point of this post), he's been somewhat FB stalking me, following me and commenting on posts, tagging me, calling me ignorant, that I make him sad, and how I failed him, etc. Most recently he sent me a private message where he told me I have been a FB bully, demeaning to Christians, and a Christian basher, among other things.

While I disagree with him (and have written a long response to him that I haven't yet sent), one thing that I struggle with is my desire not to hurt people (something he clearly is not concerned with), and my desire to fully explore my understanding of reality, my former christian self, and in general, just be an honest human being. I try to attack ideas, but not people, but as you probably know, people often take criticism of their ideas personally. It can be a fine line to walk. All of this I've discussed closely with my best friend, who as I've become an atheist, has become more religious.

So, the main point in this post... This week I posted a blog about how I feel the Christian attitude towards gays is morally wrong, and how when I was a Christian I held immoral attitudes that I thankfully have shed. If anyone is interested, you can find it here. My best friend posted a somewhat harshly worded criticism of this blog, which surprised me because she has in the past told me I should be totally honest in my writings, and she is fully aware of how my youth director has made me feel recently.

I'm wondering do you worry about hurting people's feelings? If not, why? If so, why? How do you navigate the world with other believers? I'm primarily interested in hearing from those of you who have close friends who are believers. Do you talk about religion? Do they criticize your online presence? If you had a chance to read my post, do you think it was too harshly worded towards Christians and their religion? I'm not apologizing for anything I said, but I honestly don't see it. Most of my post was a criticism of myself more than anything. I stand by it 100%, but again, I really dislike hurting people I care about. Am I crazy?

Re: Thread title.

I wish I could get into arguments! The last facebook "argument" I was in was between myself and my father when he claimed "The Greatest Story Ever Told" was historically accurate and that Jews were slaves to Egypt & Christians were prosecuted in the Roman Empire.

Suffice it to say, it didn't last long.


Re: the original post itself.

I'd say, save your frustration, when he gives you an opening, absolutely destroy him, tell him he is a dick and block the guy soon after.

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23-05-2013, 04:46 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
Always remember to take breaks from debates. If you notice your emotions are getting a bit high, you might want to stop.

In real life debates I frame everything in terms of what I believe, and why. I let them know I'm not interested in convincing them or being convinced.

On the internet there is so much information that debate on theists side isn't favorable. So I tend to take the look at this! Educational route. As I learn, I also try to pass on the information even if they disregard it all. That way others can evaluate the debate for themselves, and come to their on conclusions.

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23-05-2013, 04:50 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
Having a backbone is easy if what you are defending has evidence.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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23-05-2013, 07:37 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 10:24 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Got it Thumbsup

Read it, liked it. Gets your point across in matter-of-fact way without personal attacks. It is well written, forthright and you back up your reasoning. In the end you can't control people's reactions, which, by the way, can change after self introspection.

Your leather tag reminded me of this poem by Langston Hughes.

Motto

I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

Ha! Thank you very much for the response. The Langston Hughes similarity is much much cooler than my actual intended reference, which was a nod to Moulin Rouge.... although Moulin Rouge uses the song "Nature Boy" by Eden Ahbez, published in 1947. Big Grin

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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23-05-2013, 07:39 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(23-05-2013 07:37 PM)PersephoneK Wrote:  
(22-05-2013 10:24 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Got it Thumbsup

Read it, liked it. Gets your point across in matter-of-fact way without personal attacks. It is well written, forthright and you back up your reasoning. In the end you can't control people's reactions, which, by the way, can change after self introspection.

Your leather tag reminded me of this poem by Langston Hughes.

Motto

I play it cool
I dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
My motto
As I live and learn
Is dig and be dug in return

Ha! Thank you very much for the response. The Langston Hughes similarity is much much cooler than my actual intended reference, which was a nod to Moulin Rouge.... although Moulin Rouge uses the song "Nature Boy" by Eden Ahbez, published in 1947. Big Grin

He was a cool cat Thumbsup

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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23-05-2013, 07:43 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 10:54 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  I don't know yet if you're crazy, we just met. Tongue

Fair point. Spoiler alert, I am a little crazy, but I think for other reasons. Big Grin

(22-05-2013 10:54 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  As for your blog, I didn't read it all but from what I read, I didn't see anything particularly offensive. There was plenty to be taken offensively by those who cling to lies but then, you can't spend your time worrying that your speaking the truth hurts someone's feelings.

It may help to look at it from this perspective... If your friend has blood running down her leg, you're going to point that out to her. Is she going to be offended? I would hope not. Likewise, if you point out that it's raining, does she get mad and blame you for causing the shower? Again... I hope not.

We could probably go through a hundred scenarios where you pointing out something true doesn't offend your friend. So why does pointing out that god isn't real offend her so? Well... because it's true and she knows it.

In simple terms, we don't get our feelings hurt when someone points out a truth we accept. It is only when the truth teller exposes a lie we are telling ourselves that we react in anger or defense.

I get that you don't want to offend people and I respect that position, because I hold it as well. However, truth telling is not offensive. Francis Bacon didn't come up with the scientific method because he wanted to offend the religious (or god). He came up with it because he wanted to find the truth.

It has helped me to put things in this perspective and perhaps it will help you. After all, you're not the one who's lying so if anyone deserves to be offended, it's you.

I appreciate your perspective. I think intellectually I completely agree with you, but I have a hard time totally believing it from an emotional perspective. Although I don't think my friend is telling herself a lie. I can only say from when I was a Christian, I really did fully believe what I believed. I never allowed myself to fully question (even though I think I questioned more than most). It wasn't until I literally gave myself permission to go to Hell that i was able to completely question all possibilities, including the absence of god. I think for my friend, her belief is much more of an emotional crutch. She has gone through some major crap in the last few years, and this is her way of coping. I think she sees me as cynincal or something, which isn't true at all. I have discussed with her the whole truth thing, but she tends to not believe in objective truths, so our conversations in that area sort of grind to a halt. We just don't speak the same language when it comes to the natural world. I find this to be a problem with many people I know actually. Frustrating.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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23-05-2013, 07:46 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(22-05-2013 11:36 PM)slydog Wrote:  I don't think you were mean/harsh at all.

You simply stated the facts that lead up to you leaving religion behind. Facts are facts, even if they are hard to accept.

Religion is a heated topic (mainly because people are incredibly passionate about what deity they believe in) and no matter how hard you try to not sound harsh in your criticism of it, someone is going to view it as a direct attack on them, and not on the religion itself. They can't separate themselves from their religion.

Thanks for the feedback. I agree. Its so hard to separate our ideas from ourselves. Its a pretty human response, I just wish more people could recognize it. I try to. I'm not always successful, but I try.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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23-05-2013, 07:51 PM
RE: Wish I Had More Backbone in Debates
(23-05-2013 09:11 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  I love how you understand 'attack ideas and not people'. For people in my life I disagree with, I state what I think bout the topic, and then I kill them with kindness. Big Grin

Ha! I'm better at doing that at work for some reason. Its my standard way of dealing with douchbags there. I'm less skilled at that in my personal life for whatever reason.

(23-05-2013 09:11 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  Your youth councillor should know better and be more responsible. It sounds as if he is getting emotional about his beliefs and using you as someone to get angry at instead of being concerned for your wellbeing. Even if you were to convert back, is this someone who is a good mentor, now? Maybe in the past, but the current reactions make me wonder.

I totally agree with you on a logical perspective. I'm having trouble letting go of the past with him though. He was someone I respected as much as my parents. I think its fair to say that if he and I met today, we would not probably become close or even friends. But we have a history, and I'm not completely willing to just let that go, at least not without explaining it to him first. My problem is I also hate conflict, so I haven't been able to muster up the courage to do so.

(23-05-2013 09:11 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  You state yourself well and are respectful, right? However, you cannot control other's reactions. We all own our own reactions and choices on how to respond.

I try to be respectful. I can't claim perfect success in that area, after all people can feel disrespected for various reasons that are different. I know I have felt disrespected by my youth director as of late. But you are right, we can't control other's reactions. We can't really even control our own feelings, just how we convey and express those feelings.

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~Rene Descartes.
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