How to Convince People Without Being Insulting

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LogicFTW's picture
Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks for the kind words.

You will find some honesty here, and you will find plenty of crap here too. Just like well anywhere else.

I would like to think you will find more honesty and truth here then you will in a religious organization. And even religious organizations are not all lies and bad. There is a semi religious non profit aid and food/supplies organization near where I live, and I think everyone involved is a good person and they do great things for the community despite some ties to religion.

Honesty and reality can be brutal sometimes. Gotta look for the better parts if it all seems to negative at times.

arakish's picture
Magnificent Beast: "...what's

Magnificent Beast: "...what's the thing with being so rude? Geesch."

Ever heard of Christopher Hitchens?

I watched a TV show where he replied after a Religious Absolutists said the same thing. I also follow his response.

After all I have suffered at the hands of the Religious Absolutists, I don't give a damn if anyone finds anything I say offensive. If you don't like it, the problem is you, not me. I have also found in my many decades of life, you cannot say anything of substance without offending someone somewhere sometime. Thus, I no longer try to not offend anyone. Also, only YOU have the power to give a word, phrase, sentence the power to offend YOU.

Additionally, due to all of the humiliation, ostracization, physical abuse, and the rape and molestation I suffered, I have become not just an atheist, not just an anti-theist, I am also a Militant Anti-Religionist. My sole purpose is to see the complete eradication of ALL realigion. Alas, it shall never happen in my lifetime. Thus, I could care less how obnoxious and offensive I am. Especially, towards the Religious Absolutists.

The only advice I can offer is:

1) Get over it.

2) Don't read it.


Anonymous's picture
"Me, too" Get it? I had the

"Me, too" Get it? I had the same anger, and I hear you loud and cloud. thank you.

David Killens's picture
I understand that behind each

I understand that behind each post is a human being with pride, feelings, and emotions. I do try to treat them with respect and dignity.

But too many times, respect is not given, and although I desire to avoid harsh words, blunt comments do come out. And usually that is what I try to be, blunt, to strip away the candy floss and get down to the very basics.

I do not believe in dancing around trying everything possible to avoid hurting one's feelings. Instead, I get to the point, and be blunt. I believe being blunt is being respectful and honest.

I am not going to treat you like a special snowflake or a child.

Anonymous's picture


by the way, did you read/hear his autobiography? It's hilarious. He's been married six times; apparently our favorite comedian has a volatile temper. oh, well. He narrates his book on Audible. It's hilarious.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: The OP title - "How to

Re: The OP title - "How to Convince People Without Being Insulting"

Before I read any other responses, I just want to say....

I'm sorry. I don't understand the question. *chuckle*

(Be advised, I may be back in a moment with a follow-up post after reading the replies of others. lol)

Anonymous's picture
okey dokey

okey dokey

Tin-Man's picture
Hey there, Magnificent Beast.

Hey there, Magnificent Beast. I'm back.

Okay, like I tell pretty much anybody who will stand still long enough to listen, I like laughing and having fun. And if I can make others laugh in the process, so much the better. And, for better or for worse, I have a rather severe case of chronic sarcasticism. (Clinically diagnosed, I swear.....*cough-cough*...*wink*) Alas, it is a condition I have lived with for a majority of my life. Sadly, twenty years on patrol in the streets of one of the most dangerous cities in the South, along with seventeen years in the military with three combat deployments, have only made my condition worse. On the plus side, however, a positive side-effect of my condition is that my bullshit detection sensors have been considerably enhanced. At the exact same time, unfortunately, my bullshit tolerance levels have decreased drastically. As a result, whenever an individual comes in here spouting nonsense or just being plainly/intentionally unreasonable, then that individual will be treated accordingly. The best part is, everybody here has his/her own unique method of responding to such misguided and/or unruly individuals. (Thare beez sum purty smart folkz in hare, bye tha weigh.) Personally, I usually just prefer to be honest...(in my own little fashion). And if my honesty happens to be "insulting" to that particular individual?.... Well, that ain't my problem. If that person does not want to hear the truth, then that person needs to go somewhere else where people will agree with him/her and help him/her believe in whatever fantasy world he/she wants. In my opinion, it would be more insulting and more disrespectful by lying to a person about how I feel, as opposed to simply agreeing with him/her just to keep from hurting his/her feelings.

Oh, and pay no attention to whatever Old Man may have said about me. Very likely he had way too much wine when he wrote that post. Just sayin'.....

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@tin legs...

@tin legs...

A base canard. I was stold sone cober ,....honest.

Tin-Man's picture
@Old Man Re: "I was stold

@Old Man Re: "I was stold sone cober ,....honest."

Well, crap. Looks like I'm gonna have to let the air out of one of your tires again. This time I will do the left rear so that you can feel like you are in a NASCAR race.

By the way, Magnificent Beast, if you see that red trike coming at you, stand clear. There's a reason he wears that helmet.

Anonymous's picture
The word today, is COMPASSION

The word today, is COMPASSION. Think of an alcoholic who intellectually understands why it is beneficial to stay sober. He bullshits and bullshits, makes excuses why he can't stop drinking. Blames his family, blames the government, blames Mickey Mouse.

Until he tells you about his childhood, his life, his service, and then the question is, "why doesn't this guy drink more??" "how has thing guy survived this far in one piece?" You hear about his horrific childhood, and the way people have ripped him off, and used him, and all he's looking for is love. So he drinks. Dulls the pain.

Because you listened pass the bullshit, and he invited you to hear a little his suffering. Now, you understand why he drinks. Suddenly, he's just like you: trying his best to live another day without dieing, with the hope that life will get better.

So, my suggestion is listen pass the bullshit, and have compassion. Everyone's trying their best, with what they know. Everybody is trying to make it.
I'm not talking about unknowingly being insulting to someone. That's not under your control. I'm talking about using insults, with the full intention of belitting someone else. That does no good. You have other options. Agree to disagree. Walk away. But insulting others because they believe differently than you, especially why you've haven't tried to understand, is ugly and only divides us more.

arakish's picture
Magnificent Beast: "Until he

Magnificent Beast: "Until he tells you about his childhood, his life, his service, and then the question is, "why doesn't this guy drink more??" "how has thing guy survived this far in one piece?" You hear about his horrific childhood, and the way people have ripped him off, and used him, and all he's looking for is love. So he drinks. Dulls the pain."

Damn. Now you sound like you are describing me. And I will admit that sometimes the combination of Adult ADHD and CPTSD can get the better of me and I will hit the bottle to "numb the pain." My brother drinks more than I do and has asked me, "Dude. Why don't you get drunk more after what you have gone through?" The only answer I can give him is, "Been there. Done that."


Anonymous's picture
My point is everybody....

My point is everybody.... EVERYbody is like you, like me, like us. Just trying to get to the other end in one piece. You figured out answers don't come in a bottle, some still believe answers come in prayer, or a bible, or on Sunday sermon. Some can't believe in atheism because of fear. That's completely understandable. It helps to understand why folks believe the way they do. A lot of times, it makes complete sense, even you don't agree with it.

LogicFTW's picture
I am lucky. My brother, my

I am lucky. My brother, my father, and much of my family has a real problem with alcohol. I do not. I had something pretty awful happen back when I was in my young 20's, something where it was largely my fault that lead to a lot of pain, (through my negligence I nearly killed someone very close to me.) That night after I left the hospital, I tried to drink to numb what I saw that was playing over and over in my head, and to escape my own self blame, it was the worse night of my life, and it still haunts me.

It failed spectacularly. I only felt much worse with the alcohol instead of numbing it I dwelled on it. Alcohol may be a social lubricant, I been told I was the life of the party on alcohol, but for me at least, it does not numb my hurt at all, it multiplies it. Marijuana if I am feeling down can amplify my fears and paranoia, and I avoid opiates like the plague.

Because of that experience I am the only male in my immediate, and much of my extended family that does not have a problem with alcohol.

Why people believe what they do is actually much simpler, their environment. If you were born in a mostly atheist family and surrounded by mostly atheist society, chances are extremely high you will be an atheist. If you are born in a roman catholic church family, and all your neighbors and friends are also roman catholic, chances are very high you will be RCC. It really is that simple. (however in today's day and age people are increasingly crossing over to none's and agnostic and atheist, because well, increasingly their peers are. Especially in most US cities.

Do I understand religion? Yes. Do I agree with it? No. Do I still think in this day and age religion does more harm then good, yes. I also understand that debate on here is unlikely to change anyone's mind. However my understanding of religion and religious followers has grown exponentially since I joined this site.


I am happy to report the person I nearly killed through my negligence did survive, and made nearly a full recovery. I would probably be a very different person today if that person died that night, (and it did get perilously close.)

Anonymous's picture
I don't agree with religion,

I don't agree with religion, either. But I understand it. And I understand why some folk need it. Once the understanding of WHY religion takes such hold over some, all of us become better for it. Then, and only then, can you convince them otherwise why religion is not working for them. Their belief has nothing to with lack of intelligence, or other insulting judgements that so many atheists claim. That is my point of this thread. Your post validates this.

David Killens's picture
@Magnificent Beast

@Magnificent Beast

It is ironic,but I will pull out a quote from the religious viewpoint.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road to heaven is paved with good deeds.

I have known too many alcoholics that have died from their disease. And there have been too many times when I sat down with them, and listened to their stories, nodded my head, and been sympathetic. This may have caused a temporary peace for them, but I was enabling their alcoholism. I did not do anything to stop them from drinking themselves to death.

It took me awhile to figure things out, and since then, I refuse to be an enabler for long term suicide. I want them to live a full and happy life. I want to help them on their path for a cure for their disease.

For Jimmy, and Ken, and Marsh, and Joe, and Scott. You were dear friends who I cherished and lost.

Tin-Man's picture
@MB Re: "The word today, is

@MB Re: "The word today, is COMPASSION."

Howdy again, MB. Still good having you with us. "Compassion." Good word. "Empathy" is another one. I happen to like both. And, as my wife has been known to tell me from time to time, I sometimes have a tendency to have a bit too much of both, depending on the situation. (As I've said somewhere on this site before, I have a real soft spot for kittens and puppies. *chuckle*) Be that as it may, I am also very realistic, and my compassion and empathy do have their limits.

Perhaps I should try it like this. Somebody comes on this site with a genuine intent to have civil and intelligent discussions about whatever subject he/she presents, then that is totally cool. Heck, I may even learn something if I am lucky. Somebody comes in here requesting advice or seeking support for a legitimate problem, then I will do my best to give good advice if possible. And even if I do not have the knowledge or experience to offer good advice, I at least try to show some amount of support. On the other hand, when an individual trots up in here spewing nonsense and trying to tell everybody else what they should or should not be doing/thinking?..... Well, then... For me, that just became fun time! *Big Grin*

Something you need to keep in mind (and I think a couple others may have already addressed this somewhat). This is quite obviously an ATHEIST site. (Says it right there in the name.) Therefore, it is not as though the theists who visit here "made a wrong turn at Albuquerque" and thought, "Oh, gee. I didn't know this was an atheist site." Now, from my experience so far, there are basically four categories of theists who visit this site:

1. The "Drive-by" theists: Start a thread spouting off about how much proof they have, OR pose as "students" wanting to learn about atheism for a report and providing some type of bogus questionnaire full of loaded questions. Then they MIGHT make one or two responding posts, and they are never heard from again. Honestly, the biggest thing that bothers me about those guys is that they never hang around long enough for any of us to have fun.

2. The "Evangelicals": They come in with a roar preaching about how they want to save the souls of all the godless heathens here. Make a few posts of no relevance throughout various threads, and then disappear after a few days when they finally figure out their fangs have no biting power in here. Either that, or Cyber kicks them out before we are allowed to start shredding them. Either way, in my book, those guys are fair game. Because if I were to go on any theist site acting the way some of those guys do, then I would totally expect to have my ass handed to me in a very unkind manner. And those theists on that site would be quite justified in doing so and bidding me a not-so-fond farewell.

3. The "Regular" theists: Only about a half a dozen or so of them at any given time. But they are the ones who can be counted on to pipe in on some of the more “serious” discussions, and we all know each other well enough by now to be able to enjoy a little light-hearted banter between us. Not to say things may not get a little heated from time to time, and perhaps a few strong words do get thrown around here and there. Even so, they have the guts to keep coming back for more, and have even been known to score a few points themselves every so often. And truth be known, we would actually miss them if they did not return.

4. The “Sincere Seekers”: A very rare breed, these are. They are the most welcomed, though. (Probably because they are so infrequent.) Sadly, some of them in the beginning can easily be mistaken for a “Drive-by”. But once it is determined they are being genuinely curious, and asking insightful questions, and actually hanging around longer than one or two posts, and responding to the posts of others, then they are welcomed with open arms and encouraged to hang around. Keep in mind, however, that does not mean they get any special treatment. As you may have noticed, we are not exactly a very “touchy-feely” bunch here. We generally do not treat folks with kid gloves. Anybody comes in here not wanting to hear the blunt truth/opinions of others may want to consider going to their “safe space” instead. Otherwise, welcome to the real world.

Another important thing to remember: We are all human here. Meaning, we sometimes make mistakes and/or misjudge people. Or maybe we read something the wrong way and jump the gun with an unnecessary snide remark before realizing, “Oops. I didn’t read that right.” I’ll be the first to admit that there have been a few times I have had to go back and apologize to somebody here for remarks I have made. Hey, if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. And, in the end, I actually appreciate it whenever somebody calls me out on something like that. Helps me learn and grow. Also, some in here have more patience and tolerance than others. That’s just the way it is.

What it all boils down to, though, is that I have often gone out of my way on here to give poeple the benefit of the doubt. And I’m sure I will do it again in the future. And for those individuals who are genuine and sincere, yet have very obvious warped views on reality, I see nothing wrong with holding a mirror up to his/her face in order to help him/her see how ludicrous those warped views look to the rest of us. At that point, it is entirely up to that individual to either accept what we tell/show them, or deny what they are seeing and retreat back into their comfortable little bubble of delusion. But for those who stroll in here with an arrogant sense of entitlement and superiority just because they believe in some type of god, thinking they are going to “set us wicked and immoral heathens on the path of righteousness”?..... Heh-heh-heh….*briskly rubbing hands together*…. LUNCH!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Tin Man

@ Tin Man

Excellent post me auld clanker. Encapsulates my approach to this forum to a tee...

Thank you.

Tin-Man's picture
@Old Man

@Old Man

Gracias, mi amigo! Y de nada.

Anonymous's picture
I enjoyed your post very

I enjoyed your post very much. Very thoughtful and articulate. Your wife is a lucky woman.

I don't know if you're acquainted with the Amazon book forums? Religion forums, atheist forums, etc. I was on it for years because it helped me reason atheism when I left Christianity. They closed it several years ago. I ran into "all kinds". As a retired psychologist, this was nothing new. Although there was one person who temporarily got the best of me, I found for the most part that a lot of misunderstanding in communication is because of this medium. No facial expressions, tone of voice, etc., all which convey a majority of how we communicate.

The person I had "trouble" with was a fundamentalist bible-thumping Christian who, I perceive, had cognitive problems. Having been a bible-thumping fundie myself once upon a time, I understood every point he made, having been a bible scholar, also. What got me in the end was his arrogance. It usually doesn't get to me, but that day, it did. For me, injustice is a hot point. My intention with him was to help him see the mistake of his arrogance as being very un-Christian like. I had good intentions, and went out of my way, as you have done.

"Cast ye not your pearls before swine." is a parable I still use as an atheist. it means that swine don't know what to do with pearls, because they're swine. I found it ironic that a Christian parable was the thing that helped me end the confrontation with that person.

I enjoy your posts very much.

Sky Pilot's picture
Magnificent Beast,

Magnificent Beast,

"I've made a very good living from being sensitive (retired psychologist)."

I'm going to call BS on your claim to have been a psychologist.

The reason is that you misused the word "dieing".

You wrote = "Suddenly, he's just like you: trying his best to live another day without dieing, with the hope that life will get better."

The correct word for the idea you wanted to express is "dying". An educated medical professional would never confuse "dieing" or "dyeing" with "dying".

We all make typos, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. When people point them out it shows that they are reading every word in the post. Sometimes we have fun by engaging in bull shit but we all know that it's BS. There's no reason to be fake. Just be real.

Cognostic's picture
I think what you will find is

I think what you will find is that most of the posts start off good matured and polite. I know that I never rip in to anyone without cause. What generally happens is that you provide the person with facts, evidence, and a logical discussion and they just refuse to listen. They begin using vague abstractions, citing irrelevancies, making unsubstantiated claims, and engage in pseudo-intellectualism. It's generally at this point that the people are just not worth listening to any longer and the vehemence begins. I have never seen anyone making a legitimate inquiry on the site treated badly.

Sheldon's picture
Good post, and IMHO spot on

Good post, and IMHO spot on correct.

arakish's picture
@ Magnificent Beast

@ Magnificent Beast

Here is a story for you. It can help to explain why I am so spiteful towards persons who won't listen to reason. This past February, I went to me mom's church, where she also happens to work, to bring her some lunch since she forgot to bring any. As I was heading to me truck, the church's Pastor (or whatever the Catholics call them) caught up with me wanting to talk about why I am an atheist. This Pastor is in his 70s and has PhD in something religious. Thus, he should have some intelligence. Sometime through the talk, and it was a civil talk, he came right out and said this:

“You should be ashamed of yourself for not raising your daughters in the Word of God. You should be ashamed for never taking them to church to teach them to be proper Christians. It is no wonder you lost them all. You lost your entire family as payment for not raising your children correctly.”

There was once a Religious Absolutist said something to me that set me off. I beat him half to death. If it had not been for my friends pulling me off him, I would have beaten him to death.

After that Pastor said the above, I wanted to kill him. However, I just walked away. After I had had some time to think about it, I walked away because subconsciously I knew there were no other persons around to keep me from actually killing that sorry piece of filth. As another here at AR said, I should have turned him into a grease spot where he stood. Because there were no other persons around to stop me, that is why I walked away.

About a month ago (Sat 28 July 2018), me mom called me and told me that her Pastor wanted me to come into town so he could apologize. He never told her what he had said, and I did not tell her either. All I told her was, "Tell him. It is too late. He should never have had to owe me an apology. Apology, NOT accepted."

Now can you understand why I am so angry at persons who will not accept reason? Especially, the Religious Absolutists?

Even after all these decades, they are still just as hateful, just as bigoted, just as demeaning, just as immoral to all those who won't believe as they believe. Unfortunately, this also extends to any who won't listen to reason no matter the subject.

And if you want to know more, then read my essay, Soul Shatter. Be forewarned. It can be a difficult read.


Anonymous's picture
I have confrontations of all

I have confrontations of all kinds, but in my old age, I have now learned not to react because they demonstrate that they hate themselves, not you. They may mouth off but understand what is really happening. There are tons of reasons why guys like this pastor say things, and they have nothing to do with you, or your life.

Think about it. He doesn't know you. So how can make any judgements about you? He can't. He holds no credibility whatsoever.

Humans do stupid things, like this pastor did. they will continue to do stupid things. Accept that humans are stupid, among other things.

Don't give it any more power over you than it has, already.
stuff like that? Block that crap out of your head, at the very beginning. He doesn't know anything about you. Therefore, he has no credibility. So ignore it.

Live your life the best way you can. Accept it that there are jerks everywhere, and need to be pitied when they mouth off like that. Maybe they were brought up in a barn. He's probably mad at himself, for the shameful things he's done.

Keep going!

LogicFTW's picture
I agree strongly with this.

I agree strongly with this. The whole part about not reacting and hating others. When you hate someone you take on hurt, pain, and give much more power to the person that did the action. Sure stand up for yourself, do not lead others tread on you, but do not hold on to hate, it can and eventually will ruin you. I was fortunate enough to learn this at a young age.

I do think it is somewhat unlikely the pastor in this case is very mad at himself or ashamed of what he said that day. The pastor said what he believed, he may have some regret, but I doubt the pastor is deeply ashamed or mad at himself for what he said, other then realize what he said definitely did not lead to a convert but instead pushed someone further away. It is a pastor's job to prosthelytize.

But I do realize people frequently do not mean to hurt others, (there are definitely a few out there that do, but most do not, they are frequently just hurting themselves, or ignorant, or most commonly, feel very threatened.

Sheldon's picture
After a while patience

After a while patience becomes strained. Not always of course, but we are talking at cross purposes a lot of the time. I try to respect people, unless their attitude towards me or others shows they don't merit my respect. I am under no obligation to respect any belief or idea. I never understand why anyone thinks they can demand respect for a belief they hold.

The KKK and ISIS are religious organisations, should I respect their beliefs because of that?

If I find a belief absurd or irrational then a debating forum is the correct venue to say so, and people who don't wish to subject their beliefs to that kind of scrutiny or criticism ought to consider if an atheist leaning debate forum is a wise place to share those beliefs.

Anyone coming here to proselytise will get short shrift, and rightly so. We get a lot of drive by preaching.

Cognostic's picture
@ Sheldon: Excellent points

@ Sheldon: Excellent points. Some ideas need to be exposed for their idiocy right from the beginning. They are not worth entertaining and it is unfortunate that some people get caught up in them. (The mystical nature of the soul and NDEs currently come to mind.) I typically have my say and then just don't look back at these posts. They are generally page after page of the same garbage and not really worth the effort.

Cognostic's picture
There was a court in Canada

There was a court in Canada that ruled quoting the bible "hate speech", just for shit like this. Granted the article has to do with homosexuality but the frigging religious should be beat to shit for all the hatred they spew. I have seen street preachers tell women that they are dressed like sluts for simply wearing jeans with T-shirts that show their flat tummies. Just the fact that a man can stand on a corner and insult a woman passing by is enough to make me want to walk up and punch the turd in the face. And don't get me started on the asshole Muslims when it comes to stuff like this. They are the frigging worst.

LogicFTW's picture
I continuously get blown away

I continuously get blown away by some women. They ascribe to religions that have a long history of treating them as 2nd class or property. And do not even get me started on women that voted for trump. I can kind understand why men would go for Muslim religions or vote for trump, but women? Talk about ascribing to something that is against your own self interest unless you like being subservient and being 2nd class to men.


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