Okay, I’ll vote for the second option. It has worked on me before. As a kid I couldn’t pronounce sibilants, I had a lisp. I went to a speech therapist who was really nice and patient and all that stuff. The problem, however, was that I wasn’t making much progress. Until one day a kid at my school mockingly imitated the way I talked. I ran home, stood in front of a mirror until I got rid of my lisp.
Mockery works. It only depends on what the status quo is. It would be difficult to mock a person with a lisp in Spain, where everybody has one.
Well, in terms of changing minds, rather than habits, I’m not convinced mockery or antagonism works, George. And beyond that, I think there is a serious ethical question about whether hurting someone “for their own good” is appropriate. Even if it might be in a general sense, it’s a dangerous way of thinking that leads to the kind of well-meaning but cruel treatment of people you have firsthand experience with in your native coutnry.
It’s possible to be honest without being offensive. If you have the time, you could actually point out one or two of the arguments in the book and explain why it did not strike you as reasonable. As for the word “Skeptic” in the title, that it all too common. My sister gave me some apologetic books by some guy named Lee Strobel, and he also claims to have been a “hard-headed skeptic”.
Lil, I apologize for George. Even if one has his/her mind made up and is certain of the falsity of all beliefs other than his/her own, it doesn’t justify insulting those who have those beliefs. George is quite bright and a lot of fun, but, like all of us, there are times when his sensitivity to the feelings of others slips a bit.
While I’m quite open about my atheism if the topic comes up, I never bother presenting my ideas unless challenged or questioned by a theist.
When I was younger people would often try to convert me and give me pamphlets, booklets and books to do so. I read them and felt them baseless and illogical. So, I would give them books on the other side to read. I found two things were almost always the case: 1) They never read the book, or 2) I couldn’t get it back. After losing a number of books I stopped doing that.
The interesting side issue that has peaked my interest lately is the reading habits of atheists & theists. It is more common for a critical thinker to research or read a book on a topic, while a majority of theists tend to take others words for it, and will only read about new ideas if they come in easy to digest brochure formats. They are cognitive misers.
Making short digestible brochures about atheist, agnostic & deist information would appear to increase the chances that theists will become more informed on these subjects. If CFI has provided such information, I would like to get my hands on some.
does this issue not also relate to some of the issues of dealing with islamic people?
We (those in western countries) fall over themselves to ‘be repectful’ of others. I feel we are causing ourselves probelms as it gives a feeling of entitlement to those who we are desperate not to offend.
That feeling of entitlement then grows to include ANY descent from their position. Growing up in a ‘free’ society and maturing is as much as anything, learning that we (the individual) are not everything, and that we have to make compromises to accomodate others. This is a lesson that is certain groups seem not to be learning. Should we not become more vocal in our criticism, so these individuals learn that others also have a voice, and are entitled to it?
You (anyone) do NOT have the (god given) right not to be offended. You have the right to publically state your beliefs, and I have the right to publically state mine. If I am offended, but not otherwise hurt, then so be it, the reverse is also true. DEAL WITH IT!
If the young lady feels it is correct to give overt or tacit criticism of your atheism, then you have the right to respond in kind.
(that would be option 1 in my original post!)
I feel that is a mistake. If we don’t share our POVs with those who are willing to listen and share, then we will never educate people as to what Humanism really is. In fact, I was recently invited to share a blog with a liberal religious person. She invited two others- another religious person and another atheist. The agreement, basically, is to share ideas and views, not convert. Yes, we have our disagreements, but so far it is going well and without intolerance to the other’s POV.
The key here is an actual hand of friendship and willingness to be open to the other person’s POV. It is very possible to talk to some Christians and explain to them what Humanism is and is not without either forcing the other to convert. Of course, forced convertion is not part of Humanism, but reason, compassion, and peaceful living is. IF you can find the right Christian(s) to converse with, it is possible talk to them and share with them without too many headaches.
Of course, having a knowledge of the wide umbrella Humanism covers helps too in this matter. I’m not saying you don’t have this knowledge. I’m saying a strong knowledge helps. When I speak with a liberal or progressive Christian I first explain what Humanism is not- it is not anti-Christian or anti-God. Then I add, it is anti-dogmatic and alike. This you can easily find in the various Humanist Manifestos. Then I give a secular explaination of Humanism and then the various branches of Humanism. A lot of times the religious will suddenly ask, “What is Religious Humanism?” If it’s an online discussion I refer them to a Bob Price article found on the Secular Humanism website as well as one that Fred Edwords wrote for the AHA.
It is possible for both sides to explain their positions and communicate without too many battles. It takes work, but it is doable. If you can strike their interest on a topic, it’s a start. The trick is finding the common ground that is tolerable to both sides and admittedly it is generally Religious Humanism that strikes their interests. If you are adverse to this area of Humanism, then it could be harder to find a common ground, but not impossible.
Absolutely, Mriana! It’s one thing to allow fear of offending others to stifle us, but it’s another to be gratuitously offensive or to avoid dialogue or compassion entirely because “we’re right and to hell with how they feel about it.” I think there is a more effective and more ethically sound middle ground, and it’s worth seeking out.
It is very possible to talk to some Christians and explain to them what Humanism is and is not without either forcing the other to convert.
I use a combination of humor and a sort of “play it by ear” method to spark the conversation.
If I’m with someone (or a small group) talking about “The Da Vinci Code” (Jesus being “married” and having a daughter) or some other aspect questioning the divinity or existence of Jesus, I’ll interject something on the order of “What difference does it make (with a shrug)? Would good suddenly become evil and evil become good? Would cats start sleepng with dogs? Would the world as we no it come to an end?” Based on the reactions to that, I know whether to proceed or drop it.
When it comes to “Old Testament” references coming up, I’ll toss out “You know the sun doesn’t go around the earth, (don’t you)?” (or any similar exceprt; there are plenty, making it almost too easy). Again, based on the reactions, I know whether to proceed or drop it.
In both cases, I’ll meet with either a smirk or some other sign of a sense of humor and open-mindedness (80% of the time) or shock and indignation or the old rationalizations (i.e. “You can’t take the bible literally [you get to make up meanings to suit your purpose]”). In the former cases, it’s not too difficult to expand the conversation to Humanism, Secularism, whatever. In the latter cases, there’s not much point in proceeding because reason has no meaning for them.