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← Can theists be convinced by reason?

paulmcuk's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by paulmcuk

It depends what aspect of thier faith you're arguing about. It's difficult, if not impossible, to convince a deeply religious person that their god doesn't exist using logical reasoning. This is partly because so many questions about the universe are as yet unanswered by science that it's easy for theists to argue that there "must" be a creator. Similar difficulties apply to all the "meaning of life" type questions since saying "there is no meaning to life" is a tough sell.

You're on firmer ground with specific religious stories and dogma. There's a wealth of evidence and reasoning to use in a Evolution v Creationism argument for example. Or on stories like Noah's Ark. In fact, attacking the bible, rather than the god, is generally much more fruitful since it contradicts itself so often. For example, if a christian says homosexuality is wrong because the bible says so, it's usually a simple task to point out things that the bible also says are wrong but which are accepted by christians (pork, shellfish, adultery, working on the sabbath). Indeed, the whole area of biblical/christian "morality" is solid ground for atheists who can cite the bible passages that support slavery, genocide and rape. Citing examples of how the bible stories resemble earlier, non christian legends is also a good way to chip away at its credibility.

Attacking the particular church can be good too. Examples of where church leaders have breached their own rules (or the law) and tried to hide it/get away with it (often with the support of fellow church leaders) are always useful to counter any argument about christians being in some way morally superior.

So, my three-step deconversion plan (which I just came up with) would be:

  1. Attack the church. Breaking the individual's faith in their church and its doctrine separates them from their support structure.

  2. Attack the bible. Most christian's faith is built around the bible but most haven't even read it. Educate yourself on it and expose its glaring flaws and contraditions.

  3. Go for god. Once a christian no longer believes in the bible they should be more open to considering whether they really need god at all.

Sat, 10 Dec 2011 10:00:43 UTC | #897466