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Talking to people works! - Comments

Sterwick's Avatar Comment 1 by Sterwick

Wow, a baptist to an atheist, this just proves that rational arguments are a constructive force for the world, especially considering the years of brainwashing and indoctrination that is required to make a child a member of a denomination (sect) as fundamentalist as a baptist.

Religiosity is consistently in a downward trend, and it is important to remember the importance of rational thinking as a tool to ensure that this downward trend is sustained.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:58:23 UTC | #950876

silverspirit2001's Avatar Comment 2 by silverspirit2001

It depends on the person, if they are willing to have a constructive debate, and listen.

More and more, it seems, religious people are ignoring the arguments, and just quoting Psalm 14:1-3 - and ignoring any other arguments. (a fool in his heart says their is no god.) Which may be both a positive and negative sign - ie they know the bible and faith do not stand up to reason. But they just ignore that little fact. What happens next is dependent on the person, how nigglingly the thought that they cannot merge reason and religion. People who are taught reasoning skills think they ought to understand, while those untrained, will give up as conditioned to do.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:54:50 UTC | #950886

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 3 by The Jersey Devil

Being in an American math class, we didn't really have much to do...

You might have tried teaching kids, you know, math. Perhaps then you wouldn't have needed to qualify the math class as American, as if it's a pejorative term that excuses your own inapropriate work place behavior.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 15:07:08 UTC | #950887

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 4 by BanJoIvie

Jersey, I think you're assuming that wondernerd is a teacher. That was not my impression. I thought that these two friends were students in a less-than-stellar math class.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 15:44:21 UTC | #950891

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 5 by The Jersey Devil

OK, now that I reread it I believe you are correct. If that's the case then I apologize.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:41:40 UTC | #950894

DaisyD's Avatar Comment 6 by DaisyD

The hard part is getting people to to listen, getting them to follow your arguments. Talking does work once you get them to think.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:43:24 UTC | #950895

masubi's Avatar Comment 7 by masubi

Excellent job! That is how we will change the world...two people at a time. I have three de-converts I can call my own...from working the Secular Student Alliance table on my college campus. Calm conversations is what did it.

Keep it up. Live a good life.

Masubi

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:43:41 UTC | #950896

steveb0503's Avatar Comment 8 by steveb0503

I'm not convinced it does much good - I have managed to push one friend from increasingly ecclesiastical to still-believing fence-sitter and have another friend that, while he seems to have as many issues with organized religion as I do, still considers himself a "spiritualist"/christian, who apparently wants to believe so badly that as the strength of my arguments increase, so too does his ability to defend holding said beliefs (as Michael Shermer once said: "Smart people sometimes believe weird things because they are good at defending beliefs they have come to for non-smart reasons").

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:53:38 UTC | #950900

Roedy's Avatar Comment 9 by Roedy

I have heard of a number of people saying that one read of the God Delusion was all it took. I am amazed. In my experience, people are more likely to shake heroin than Christianity. Granted, to even read Dawkins, they have to be pretty open.

Does anyone say if there were any arguments in particular that capped it for them?

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 20:37:24 UTC | #950902

OHooligan's Avatar Comment 10 by OHooligan

Does anyone say if there were any arguments in particular that capped it for them?

Masturbation.

(I know, I know, it's not exactly an argument. Well, not a proper one anyway.)

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 00:16:29 UTC | #950910

Quine's Avatar Comment 11 by Quine

Yes, I think talking to our friends and neighbors is important. I have written more about that on this thread:

http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/645240-what-do-you-say-to-your-faith-based-neighbors

However, I do admit that I have never tried talking to them about the importance of masturbation.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 02:30:37 UTC | #950919

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 12 by SomersetJohn

Comment 11 by Quine :

However, I do admit that I have never tried talking to them about the importance of masturbation.

I believe there is some research which indicates a reduced risk of prostate cancer in masturbators. Turned round this could be interpreted (with a bit of mental gymnastics), as belief in god increases the risk of prostate cancer.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 14:16:18 UTC | #950952

ratanu's Avatar Comment 13 by ratanu

Here's something that will get the discussion started.

Atheism Tie Dye Shirt

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 03:19:50 UTC | #950983

The Next Billy Graham's Avatar Comment 14 by The Next Billy Graham

I would like to start off by apologizing to atheists. American Christianity is based off people who believe they are christians due to the fact that they prayed a prayer. I prayed that prayer once and i honestly thought i was a christians even though i put people down and when ever i came in front of a non believer i would never talk to them... JESUS FRIEND OF SINNERS... was the most selfless person ever who sought out prostitutes and people posessed by demons. During my middle school i was and atheist for all of the three. Becasue in my earlier elementary school, trimont christian academy, they would not even let non beleivers come. Whenever i went to a boarding school that didnt care what religion you were sucker punched me so hard. An atheist asked me why do you believe in God there's no proof. My answer was i dont know and i walked away. For three years i didn't care and i listened to worldly things. Until my 9th grade i started to go to church. Our preacher was a very happy who just looked appy for no reason. So i started looking at the christianity idea some more. Maybe trying understand it i came across a debate. ( i cant remember all of it). But the evanglestic said i amhappy fro Jesus lives in me he is minwe no one can tell me otherwise. I have been thorugh things just as welll anybody else. If you dont beleive me than fine i"m not god i can't force anything upon you.Everyone has gone through pain and heartachhe. We must realize that somebody else somewhere has come out he same scenario as you abuse, drugs, divorce, abortion, job, or whatever Jesus Christ know i know he knows because whenever he i asked him in my heart and repented my sins on that January 12 2012 9:12 pm in my room it felt amazing. Then i thought well maybe I am just so excited nothing reallly hapeened from then on i have been so happy and live jesus with jesus chirst in my heart. I DONT NEED PROOF I HAVE FAITH!!.( PLEASE EXCUSE GRAMMAR)

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 04:09:26 UTC | #950985

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 15 by ZenDruid

@The Next Billy Graham:

First, it is axiomatic among us faith-killers that religionists have no respect whatsoever for their own language.

Second, that good feeling you got was possibly a dopamine surge, similar to what happens when a guy ejaculates.

Third, "Billy Graham"!? You want to become obscenely rich by selling the rubes a false bill of goods? How much more of that nonsense can the market bear?

Yours truly,

The Next Robert G Ingersoll ;)

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 05:12:37 UTC | #950988

Quine's Avatar Comment 16 by Quine

Well, ZD, it is a tough sell. I have tried to explain to people of faith how the unconscious part of their brains will step in and give them things that they ask for, but attribute to the deified Jesus. This seems to especially apply to folks who need "a higher power" to "straighten out their lives." My missionary neighbor goes to great lengths to explain to me how messed up he was before he "turned his life over to Jesus." Unfortunately, it is necessary for me to spend a great deal of time explaining neuroscience to him to get him to the point where his rational brain can start to see the power of the parts he cannot directly access. Of course, I am not able to 'prove' it to him so it could still be deified Jesus (or Joe Pesci).

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 07:32:01 UTC | #950990

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 17 by ZenDruid

Quine, I'll see your Joe Pesci, and raise you Bettie Page.

I'm not ashamed to admit that the callow pubescent lad I once was, ahem, worshiped Ms Page. I mention this because it seems not only germane, but also more wholesome and normal than worshiping a zombie Jewish carpenter.

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 08:23:26 UTC | #950991

ratanu's Avatar Comment 18 by ratanu

If I may make a couple of points here:

1st - In reference to Billy Graham's comments, it's not surprising to find a book about this very thing on the bookshelves at most Christian bookstores. It's called the "Christian Atheist", pointing out the fact that a large majority of believers live as there is no "God", as evidenced by behaviors that we have all witnessed or experienced.

2nd - Ask a Christian if they believe that "God" gave them free will. Most will tell you that "we were created by God and given free will". Then ask them if "God" gave you free will, why are they so quick to steal it from fellow humans.

What did I learn from organized religion? "Do as I say; not as I do and we will get along just fine".

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 23:47:30 UTC | #951015

Linda TX's Avatar Comment 19 by Linda TX

Pardon me WONDERNERD, but what did you say to a Southern Baptist to cause them to say "Wow, I can't believe I used to believe that garbage!"

Maybe you broke the news, "the Earth is not 6000 years old"?

You said, “To be fair, he changed my views some as well, not much on religion, but on a few political issues that needn't be discussed here.”

Sure WONDERNERD, aren’t we all just dying to become Fox News fans?

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 02:48:29 UTC | #951021

The Next Billy Graham's Avatar Comment 20 by The Next Billy Graham

Allright, it seems that i am not in my ball park.... then lets go off of just sheer old fashioned smart ass back atcha answer ( tried to be nice) first - that good feeling i had is probably what u feel everynight and trust me bud u need jesus more than me. 2nd the tomb of jesus christ was found but there was no body " hold on a sec. isnt the bases of christianity off the fact that jesus christ died and rose again... not seeing any other empty graves 3rdly- ( to DAWKINS nothing personal i still think you are in incredible genious) the fact that he thinks religion is some kind of wherever you are thats what u believe in is bulll crap there are many people in many countries who have converted to christianity including countries such as china, sudan( being massacred for belief USED TO BE MUSLIM) if u think an enviroment has anything to do with what rleigion u say u are than yes Dawkins is right , but it is entirely diffferent than what religion u actually are. BILLY GRAHAM OUT!!!

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 05:22:01 UTC | #951026

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 21 by susanlatimer

Comment 20 by The Next Billy Graham

2nd the tomb of jesus christ was found but there was no body "

Citations please. "The bible" of your choice doesn't count without corroborating evidence.

How do you separate all those other myths from reality but not this one?

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 05:29:02 UTC | #951027

The Next Billy Graham's Avatar Comment 22 by The Next Billy Graham

Well how come we didnt figure out that the earth was round until 1492 but in the bible in GENESIS it says it is or the fact that in Revelations it says that the Bear and the power from the west will fight with an eagle Bear- russia power from west- china Eagle- us.a or the fact that evelution is retarded because if we evelutionanized from apes than why are there still apes, gorillas, chimps, orangs, or whatever primate judgement day is comiing soon. Heres how i see it i have a 100% chance of not having any pain after i die . If christianity is right i go to heaven if its wrong well i go into the ground and stay ther. But if non believers are wrrong they go 2 hell. Just something to think about

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 06:27:53 UTC | #951028

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 23 by susanlatimer

Well how come we didnt figure out that the earth was round until 1492

"We" did. The bible never actually states that the earth is a sphere. The bible at best suggests it's a circle. The bible talks about the "four corners", even. At best, it claims a two-dimensional circle but even that's questionable. The bible makes all sorts of claims that contradict a "spherical" earth. Please provide all your biblical quotes that insist that the earth is round. I'm sure you're dying to.

or the fact that evelution is retarded because if we evelutionanized from apes than why are there still apes,

You are very likely a Poe and engaging with you might get me smitten by the Mods. That's OK. We're all slightly smitten with the Mods. If you knew the Mods like I knew the Mods, you'd be smitten too.

Heres how i see it i have a 100% chance of not having any pain after i die .

That's what the evidence indicates.

If christianity is right i go to heaven if its wrong well i go into the ground and stay ther.

Unless Islam, Christian Science, Judaism, the Moonies, Mormonism (just for starters) are right. Any of them. In which case, you're in serious trouble.

Just something to think about

Yeah. I've thought about it. But without evidence, I've learned that humans are prone to asserting bat-shit crazy things and more humans are prone to believing bat-shit crazy things because we have a natural tendency to believe things without evidence. That's why infomercials, preachers and psychics (just for starters)s make so much money without possessing skill or talent. Humans are natural shills

Got evidence?

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 07:23:33 UTC | #951031

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 24 by susanlatimer

Oh, and the earth is not a sphere.

Gravity sucks.

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 07:24:49 UTC | #951032

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 25 by Mr DArcy

The Next Billy Graham:

But if non believers are wrrong they go 2 hell. Just something to think about

So Billy apparently regards his Christianity as some sort of celestial insurance policy? You see Jesus can read Billy's mind and know whether he really believes or not. In my case when Jesus reads my mind He sees that I have no belief in Him at all! Does Billy really think meek and mild Jesus wants to fry people like me for an eternity!

The threat of hell is just a silly lot of hot air, my friend. Time to focus on reality, not hocus pocus.

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 13:28:24 UTC | #951039

nick keighley's Avatar Comment 26 by nick keighley

Comment 22 by The Next Billy Graham :

Well how come we didn't figure out that the earth was round until 1492

this is a myth.The ancient Greeks actually got a reasonable number for its circumference. All educated people knew hte world was round. The problem people had with Columbus is he had a crap value for the earth's circumference. Until his dieing day Columbus believed he'd been to the East Indies.

but in the bible in GENESIS it says it is or the fact that in Revelations it says that the Bear and the power from the west will fight with an eagle Bear- russia power from west- china Eagle- us.a or the fact that evelution is retarded because if we evelutionanized from apes than why are there still apes,

msot Americans came from Europe. How come there are still Europeans? We all descended from African people how come there are still Africans? My mother is the grandmother of my niece, how come my mother still exists?

Another answer is that we occupy different ecological and geographic niches therefore we are not in direct competition. As human population expands we do come into conflict with other great apes. And they are not doing well. In 30 years your question may become meaningless as there may not be any other great apes.

gorillas, chimps, orangs, or whatever primate [fulll stop][new paragraph] judgement day is comiing soon. Heres how i see it i have a 100% chance of not having any pain after i die . If christianity is right i go to heaven if its wrong well i go into the ground and stay ther. But if non believers are wrrong they go 2 hell. Just something to think about

Pascal's wager without the elegance and clarity of language

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 13:40:07 UTC | #951040

Linda TX's Avatar Comment 27 by Linda TX

You can read one book and what people who make a living off of that one book write or you can look for what is true. Everyone can do that - they have the right.

In 325 CE, when the Council of Bishops in Rome decided to make an official canon there were thousands of books, epistles, and gospels existing throughout Europe. They were both Hebrew and Greek scriptures, and The Council of Nicaea decided to discard and destroy each and every book, epistle, and gospel that did not agree with their theology, which was the doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus. The "chosen Gospels" were randomly assigned authorship over a hundred years after they were written. The authors of the Gospels are unknown. The Gospels were written forty to seventy years after the supposed death of Jesus. There are no eyewitness accounts - and the names given the Gospels are just titles. There are no originals and nobody knows what was originally written.

There is an eyewitness to the events in Judea in the first half of the first century AD, Philo of Alexandria. Philo did not write one word about Jesus or Christianity. Not a single contemporary person writes about the earthquake described in Matthew 27:51-54 where the earth shook, rocks were rent, and graves opened. This story would not have escaped the attention of the historians worldwide.

There were never 12 disciples or a master. The story was invented to legitimize the claims of the early churches. The original Mary was fashioned on pagan goddesses and she was not a virgin. Unlike Jesus and Mary a real historical figures, before Jesus, Julius Caesar has a mass of evidence.

Nothing in Christianity was original it had all been in the literature for centuries.

The biblical account of the crucifixion says that when Jesus was crucified the heavens and earth affirmed his deity, causing a three-hour eclipse of the sun over all the earth. There was an earthquake causing Jerusalem's temple curtain to be split into, and many Jewish saints resurrected from their graves appearing to the people in Jerusalem. Matthew 27, at the death of Jesus, many dead people came out of their graves and appeared to many. No historian mentions it. None of the other gospels mentions it. They didn't notice dead people walking around? The disciples in the book of Acts, as Luke tells the story, don't even mention it. Apparently when Luke wrote the book of Acts, he had never heard of the story written in Matthew.

Matthew 27:39 and Mark 15:27 say Jesus was crucified between two thieves. It is a historical fact that the Romans did not crucify thieves.

Luke 23:44-45, there occurred "about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."

Yet not a single mention of such a three hour ecliptic event got recorded by anyone, including the astronomers and astrologers, anywhere in the world, including Pliny the Elder and Seneca who both recorded eclipses from other dates. Solar eclipses can't occur during a full moon and Passovers always occur during full moons.

The Gospels mention innumerable times the great multitudes that followed Jesus and crowds of people who congregated to hear him. Luke 5:15 says that there grew "a fame abroad of him." Not one historian, philosopher or poet living during the time of Jesus ever mentions him. The Gospels represent Jesus as an exalted celebrated prophet, with great multitudes of people who knew about him, including the greatest Jewish high priests and the Roman authorities of the area, and not one person records his existence during his lifetime. The Gospels were not written in Jesus lifetime or a named eyewitness' written account that has ever existed.

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 16:53:39 UTC | #951048

ratanu's Avatar Comment 28 by ratanu

Actually Susan, I believe the quote is "Ah gravity, you are a cruel bitch!" - The Big Bang Theory

Comment 24 by susanlatimer :

Oh, and the earth is not a sphere. Gravity sucks.

Mon, 20 Aug 2012 22:48:00 UTC | #951085

WonderNerd's Avatar Comment 29 by WonderNerd

Linda TX:

There was not one thing I said that changed his mind, there were many things over time (not unlike evolution); discussions of astrophysics, evolution, morals, the bible, et cetera, and I do not quite know what effect each discussion had. I really think it was mostly just that he was very sheltered and had never thought to question his beliefs. He is not just some "Southern Baptist", he is an intelligent and wonderful human being, capable of rational thought and forming a world view based on evidence.

As for the politics, both of us know that Fox News is bollocks, along, for that matter with NBC and CNN and other major networks, because for them it is not about supporting an informed and rational population, it is about making money. If you really want to know, we both inadvertently convinced each other of the fallibility of a two party system where both parties are owned by the same people, creating the illusion of democracy. Granted, he is more Libertarian, and I am more Ecocentrist, and we both tugged each other a little over those lines, but we have agreed that the current American system is broken and doesn't allow for the kind of rational discussion between parties that is necessary to get anything done.

Anyway, I could really go on for ages, but this website is for discussions about science and religion, so I will hold my tongue.

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 02:06:56 UTC | #951096

Linda TX's Avatar Comment 30 by Linda TX

O.K. Woundernerd Hold it between your knees!

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 05:58:54 UTC | #951103