A new tactic

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Keith Raye's picture
A new tactic

I joined Atheist Republic so that I could read, and hopefully learn from, the views of other atheists - so that I could discuss their views and balance them against my own. I have no real interest in debating with theists, because it simply isn't possible to debate in any truly meaningful way with people who either have no conception of logic, or who deliberately ignore it . Sometimes, I've found that the posts of theists make me so angry that I lose sight of that original objective. I have said, on this website, that the best answer to religious fervour is ridicule, but the experience of sharing space with you guys suggests to me that there's a better way. If we want this site to be chiefly for atheists to discuss matters between themselves, a better tactic might be to simply ignore the rants of theists altogether. Ignore their posts as being of no value. If they start a thread, don't post on it. I can't think of anything that would piss them off more than that.

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Mohammad Ali 's picture
I personally like your

I personally like your attitude of 'not giving a shit' but I doubt that is the what AR is about as you can see in the logo(We are atheists who give a shit).
I get what you are saying but I think everyone should be able to speak out their minds especially when such a platform is provided.When two contrasting ideas are brought together a rational and reasonable conclusion is reached (Ideally).But that does not seem to work.I guess we should keep on trying.

Keith Raye's picture
@Mohammed Ali

@Mohammed Ali

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that theists should be banned from AR. To me, the principle of freedom of choice and expression is the trump card that beats all others. Freedom should be encouraged in all walks of life, by all people, in all countries. Theists should be able to read our posts - they might even learn something. But we don't have to engage with them, and we shouldn't feel obliged to engage. It simply isn't possible to have a rational argument with irrational people.

Mohammad Ali 's picture
Well as I said before I

Well as I said before I understand the point you are making and I sort of agree with you.It IS impossible to have a rational argument with a person who lacks the basic sense of logic.But I still think better conclusions can be reached if we try to engage in discussions rather than just keeping it to ourselves.

Keith Raye's picture
@Mohammed Ali

@Mohammed Ali
Yes, I understand what you're saying. But consider another point if you will. When we engage with the theists we're giving them credence - we're telling them that their twisted ideas are worth considering. That's why they keep on doing it. My position is that their ideas are worthless. You can't, and shouldn't, try to prevent other people from following their own beliefs. Freedom of thought, choice and expression, is paramount in a civilised society. It's only when those beliefs detract from, or interfere with, the freedom of choice and expression of other people, that they become wrong-headed.

Mohammad Ali 's picture
@Keith Raye

@Keith Raye
"It's only when those beliefs detract from, or interfere with, the freedom of choice and expression of other people, that they become wrong-headed"
Wouldn't you agree that is exactly the situation right now.
Now would you rather let it continue for ages to come or try to do something about it.Dont get me wrong but I personally don't give a shit.But there are people who have to because their lives have been terribly plagued by this nonsense.Some close friends of mine too.For the sake of them and of the better future change has to come.

Keith Raye's picture
@Mohammed Ali

@Mohammed Ali

I agree with you about doing something. For instance, we should argue against religion being taught in schools, we should argue for the abolition of faith schools. We should campaign against religion having an automatic right to formulate our laws, because in Britain, the faithful are in the minority now. But are we serving our best interests by giving web space to theists, and encouraging them to promote their blood-soaked, twisted, megalomaniac of a god on our website?

Algebe's picture
That's one tactic, Keith, but

That's one tactic, Keith, but I value the opportunity to plant a few seeds of doubt in the minds of theists, while they are trying to bamboozle me with their old familiar arguments about god, the unverse, and everything.

Keith Raye's picture
@Algebe

@Algebe

Freedom of choice and expression, mon brave. It applies to everyone. But are you actually planting seeds of doubt, or are you playing the theists game?

CyberLN's picture
Keith, I think the dialogue

Keith, I think the dialogue can be very fruitful. Watch this, it might change your mind.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bVV2Zk88beY

Jeffrey Paul Bradt's picture
I'm watching this video. The

I'm watching this video. The fact that those who influenced the speaker to leave her church were nice and understanding stood out to me. I try to be equanimous and kind while I argue for atheism and non-religiousness.

CyberLN's picture
I thought it was a powerful

I thought it was a powerful story. I also think people tend to shut down when approached with vitriol. Not everyone, certainly. I spoke with a friend about it who is a neuroscientist. She said that because of the way the brain works, it's pretty common for fight/flight to kick when a person thinks they are being attacked, even if that perceived attack is only verbal.

Jeffrey Paul Bradt's picture
Points from Megan Phelps

Points from Megan Phelps-Roger's TED talk-- how to debate the religious:
1. Don't assume bad intent. People say harsh things because they were trained to or for other reasons, not always because of bad intent.
2. Ask questions. Show interest.
3. Stay calm.
4. Make the argument. It's not always obvious or self-evident.

I am referring to the video linked to here.

Keith Raye's picture
@Jeffery Paul Bradt

@Jeffery Paul Bradt

That's a very thought-provoking post. Thank you for your input.

Benjboi's picture
I'd say you're right at times

I'd say you're right at times Keith, sometimes the argument is set up in such a way that it's impossible to win or even argue coherently. At times such as this it's best to extricate yourself from the conversation. But who else but the opponents are the ones to argue against them? You're actually not arguing with them in the hopes of converting the devout (at least I hope you're not because that's a quick way to go mad), you're arguing in the hope that polite logic might save some other poor schmuck that might search for answers in this corner of the internet from blind religious servitude. Surely that's got to be worth the hassle of arguing with idiots?

Keith Raye's picture
@Benjboi

@Benjboi
"polite logic might save some other poor schmuck that might search for answers in this corner of the internet from blind religious servitude." Is a very good point. Thanks for bringing that up. Does anyone have any evidence to show that that actually happens?

Benjboi's picture
I doubt there'd be much hard

I doubt there'd be much hard evidence to support the supposition. For most people (especially in the UK) a spiritual revelation is a private matter.

I have a friend that converted to Catholicism 3 years ago, I only found out when I tried to arrange a game of golf for a time when she'd be in church (depressingly she was a committed Atheist), secretly I suspect she's doing it to get up the nose of her CofE holier than thou mother in law, but the fact of the matter is that even such a drastic conversion passed me by between good friends. I can't imagine perfect strangers being any more forthcoming with data, especially this side of the pond but I'm happy to be corrected.

Keith Raye's picture
So, what you're saying is

So, what you're saying is that you're kind of hoping that engaging with theists will have an effect on casual onlookers, but you can't be sure that's actually happening - kind of wishful thinking.

. I'm not saying you're being untruthful here, believe me, but I find it very difficult to imagine someone becoming catholic out of pique.Or have I misunderstood what you were saying?

Benjboi's picture
That's exactly what I'm

That's exactly what I'm saying.

And you're right, her Catholicism defies all logic. I jest about it being down to her battle axe mother in law, I have no firm proof of this. It's the only logical reason why a committed atheist would turn to religion in my eyes, either that or she's engaged in some trojan horse plot, again I joke. I literally don't know, it's just a useful example of why hard data might be hard to come by when trying to prove your arguments are having a positive effect.

Keith Raye's picture
@CyberLN

@CyberLN

Thank you. The audio reproduction on my laptop isn't very good and my hearing has suffered from all the rifle shooting I did when I was young - before anyone got around to ear defenders. I'm away from home at the moment ( I spend quite a lot of my time away from home ) but, when I get back in a couple of days, I'll put my headphones on and try again.

CyberLN's picture
Sounds good, Keith. I'm

Sounds good, Keith. I'm eager to hear your thoughts about it once you have the opportunity to view it.

Keith Raye's picture
@CyberLN

@CyberLN

I will certainly get back to you on that.

Michael Gill's picture
I agree that the basic truth

I agree that the basic truth is that theists, by their very nature, are unable to argue. Their willful lack of being able to engage with any logic makes the process, at the very least, infuriating.

However, it's too important to not try. They run the world and it's high time they didn't. They run the world and consider atheists as their seditious enemies.

There is though, a growing brand of theists who happily uphold (indeed, consider it their duty to uphold) the concept of "live and let live". So let me suggest a "new tactic":

Instead of trying to make them realise the errors of their beliefs, try to make them realise the reality that the majority of their fellow believers – and more importantly, the political and social systems which their fellow believers often brutally enforce – are anathema to their more benign thoughts.

Keith Raye's picture
@Michael Gill

@Michael Gill

I mostly agree with what you say, but could you please explain that last paragraph again?

Michael Gill's picture
I meant that try to make them

I meant that try to make them see that it should be more important to them to question the leaders of their religions rather us. To realise that their leaders are the capricious, amoral, lying, charlatans ... not us.

Keith Raye's picture
@Michael Gill

@Michael Gill

Ah. Thank you. I agree with that too, and if you read some of my posts you'll see that I've tried to do exactly that. I started this thread because I wanted to know what other atheists think about it, and I'm grateful for the responses.

xenoview's picture
I fine it fun to engage

I fine it fun to engage theist, it's amusing when they can't answer a simple question. Most theist have never read their bible cover to cover.

Michael Gill's picture
I sometimes find it fun too.

I sometimes find it fun too. It is pretty mean though.

Keith Raye's picture
@xenoview

@xenoview

I understand that too. There are several of you with that perspective. All I'm doing is asking everyone to think about whether or not it's the right tactic. I'm not saying one way is right and another wrong, I'm just asking for opinion, because you can have an intelligent conversation with an atheist, and it just makes a nice change.

Atheist Breezy's picture
You can ignore my posts. I

You can ignore my posts. I give you permission lol..

Keith Raye's picture
@Breezy I do that anyway :-0

@Breezy

I do that anyway :-0

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