Hopefully I can reason enough to get them to question their beliefs.
I’m not sure if it’s even possible to do this with any kind of success. Most of the people that I hear of who deconvert end up doing so by critically reading the Bible, and if they’re cool with everything in the Bible, there’s really not much else to use that will give you any traction. Keep in mind that just as it is for you, there is trememdous social pressure to show extroverted religiousness in communities like you describe, and IMHO if you want to help your friends you will need to deal with that first.
For example, one possible social pressure might be ‘my family will disown me if I deconvert.’ From an individual perspective, this pressure may very well be a much stronger influence than any amount of logical reasoning, and in a socially logical sense, it’s a perfectly reasonable position to take. It is no mistake that successful cults use the very social closeness that cults can create (and which cultists value) to keep people from straying.
When Fundies get *that* hard nosed IMO there are two things going on. First is that their religion really has become a total psychological crutch. It props up their sense of self, their sense of self-worth, etc. The other is that subconsciously they doubt what they believe. And so they need to reinforce “there is a god, there is a god, he loves me, he loves me” in everything they do. So on the one hand, well, that’s their right and maybe just steer clear like others have suggested. And really if they just stick to innocent god talk and don’t try to shove it on others, what’s the harm.
On the other hand, if they are aggressive about it and pushy, if you really want them to begin the process of converting to sanity, you can “help them along” in subtle ways. For example, always refer to “God” without a capital g, i.e. god. And always refer to “a” god not THE god. Also refer to god as a she. All of these undercut the psychological aspects they have for an authoritarian father figure. It also undercuts all the meaning that’s packed into refering to their god as “The God”. As for the second thing I mentioned, maybe just slip in something like “geez you guys turn everything into god talk. It’s as if you’re not sure of yourself and you need convincing”. Now you’ve planted the thought that going on and on with the religious talk is a sign of weakness of belief and self-doubt.
First is that their religion really has become a total psychological crutch. It props up their sense of self, their sense of self-worth, etc. The other is that subconsciously they doubt what they believe. And so they need to reinforce “there is a god, there is a god, he loves me, he loves me” in everything they do.
The short version being that these people feel threatened when they have to take seriously the possibility that they just might be wrong. This is a conclusion I came to years ago when listening to their often shrill objections to every bit of evidence which is brought against them. “They doth protesteth too much” applies here.
When they can’t make their case, ultimately they appeal to faith as if that’s the BIG trump card when in fact, it’s just a cop out.
I think it partly depends on whether you want to ‘come out’ as an atheist/agnostic or not. If you do, then it’s quite easy: point out your opinions and arguments. You may lose some friends, but then those might be friends you would have wanted to lose anyway.
If you don’t want to be overtly atheist or agnostic, then it might be that your best option is just not to get drawn into these kinds of conversations. People will see what they want to see in quotes you post. Unless they are overtly atheistic or agnostic, the quotes are liable to be taken in ways you did not intend. Since I don’t see any reason to stop posting altogether, best just not to respond.
dougsmith, I understand but both of the responders are my close friends. They do NOT know I am an atheist. I would like to be able to at least get them to slowly realize that their comments are way outside of the mainstream. I will probably keep posting but need to be a little more guarded in my response as to not provoke them to their religiosity madness. I have many friends like this….scarey huh?
You might try subtlety and approach the subject indirectly. more like a question than a statement.
For instance “what do you think about this”? and show them this clip,
I think that’s fine if the intention is to come out as an atheist. If not, what’s the point of rocking the boat? Such clips will raise very sensitive issues, which he will probably feel compelled to weigh in on. If he feels he would be obligated to lie about himself or keep silent, I don’t see it.
IMO, the comment under the video says it all. These are people of faith, and see no logic in fact. Their minds exist in another world and you have chosen not to be a part of it. You might question yourself about why you chose to walk away from this belief, and realize that all of us at some time in our lives began, like you to question the veracity of faith. Some were lucky to have been born into a faithless environment or into one that encourages open minded questioning. Continue to learn and leave the believers to believe. If they want to know they will find their own path to the facts. Often times proselytizing has no effect on the faithful. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Thanks everyone for the help. I like to respond to them. That is just my nature.
Here is another example of the stuff that they post.
““Who is more irrational? The guy who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or the guy who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in? What else is freaking you guys out? Unicorns?” -Brad Stine”
Brad Stine? Dunno who he is….So far I have not responded but really feel a need to at least put my 2 cents worth in a response. Any suggestions? I at least want to have a little fun with this
“Who is more irrational? The guy who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or the guy who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in? What else is freaking you guys out? Unicorns?” -Brad Stine
Well, I think there’s more than a kernel of truth there, Dizzy. It really doesn’t make sense to be offended by a nonexistent being, so anyone who is so offended is really not thinking right.
But OTOH I don’t know of many atheists who are so offended. What they’re offended by is religious people trying to legislate policy according to religious doctrines. In particular, they’re offended by using the Bible to legislate policy. And the Bible has no more to do with God than it has to do with unicorns ...
Here is another example of the stuff that they post.
““Who is more irrational? The guy who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or the guy who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in? What else is freaking you guys out? Unicorns?” -Brad Stine
this sounds more like Ben Stein! BTW I’m not particularly offended by a “god”, any god for that matter; it’s the way the theists use their religion to entitle themselves to political and cultural power. How could you be offended by a myth?
Actually, now that I think about it, we have something like that (giant “eucharist au theobroma” ) in Czech and it’s absolutely delicious. If you ever travel to Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), a beautiful town, make sure to try their local wafers filled with hazelnuts and chocolate.