Being as serious as possible. What should you do when you are provoked to argue with a dedicated Christian? Only being 16, I do not know what to do other than to shrug off everything they say when I want to argue with them. I have been an atheist for sometime now but I still do not know what to do in a situation like this. What would you do?
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Arguing means to me fighting back and forth often it has no means to an end and leads to no desirable outcome. Debate on the other hand can be quite different as long as both you and the other person involved in converse can be open-minded and respect the beliefs and opinions of each other things should be fine. Take no disrespect but give none either if the person you are speaking with won't listen to you make it known and walk away because you are wasting your time talking with them. You should be willing to hear what they say as well and engage in intelligent conversations with them where you both openly discuss and listen to each others feelings with out being jerks to one another. In my experience I have seen many atheist and theist be jerks when it comes to talks about religious matter. Keep this in mind. this is my best response based on what you put forth I may be able to expand on this with more to go on.
I have to disagree slightly with Zaphod regarding "respect the beliefs." I would say "respect the person," but that doesn't mean you have to respect his or her beliefs. If someone believes in talking donkeys, I owe no respect to those beliefs. In fact, I think I am incapable of respecting some of the beliefs I have heard. That doesn't mean I am disrespecting the person who holds them, however. Nonetheless, some people will take criticism of their beliefs personally regardless of how it's done - just human nature.
I understand what you mean and I agree with you. I guess what I am trying to say is, respect that the opinion comes from someone and be respectful to that fact, in effect respecting the person while not necessarily agreeing with them. I think another persons opinion can be just as valid as mine and I am willing to reasonably debate someones opposing opinion. Sometimes people are closed to reason and this leaves me no choice but to walk away.
Let me be more specific. In a debate situation I am very open minded, I can handle that. But what is there to do when you're talking to a close minded Christian? When you are being completely reasonable but they just want to tell you how much you are wrong?
I would only be able to put up with a certain amount of this before I walked away as I really don't think continued conversation with a closed-minded person would yield any positive result. Maybe in time they will come around with an open mind.
Bring all the knowledge you can and remember that their arguments are always based on faith and not on actual proof. They can only play the faith card and this is what destroys their arguments completely.
Having been a devout theist and very closed-minded at one time, I know all too well the kinds of walls we can put up to resist reason. Even if you are disappointed this conversation, keep in mind that the foundations of faith can crumble (as mine did). Apart from holding onto that bit of hope, there is little you can do until the person is truly ready to listen. You just have to be comfortable with the fact that you planted the seed and let go of the outcome.
I think Spewer put it very well here, nobody is going to listen if they are not mentally prepared to do so. You really do have to console yourself knowing you did your best and let go of the outcome, maybe in time they will come around but that is up to them and they will only do so when they are ready, you may never even know they may come and tell you you were right but in the grand scheme of things it likely does not matter.
So, just to get this right. The best and only thing you really can do is try to talk to the person Logically and open minded. If the person won't listen I should just walk away and be satisfied that I tried? Hoping that they will think on what I have said and come around? I've never thought of it in that way. Thanks!
Yes, wish there were more to say on it than that, but yeah! All that being said though they will not come around until they are ready to do so ans maybe not at all they have to open their mind to other possibilities before they can see outside of it.
But how can you speak logically to someone when the basis of their argument(debate) is illogical?
I think arguing with those who are not open minded people or to those who only limit themselves on what they believed in is just a waste of time. Better to just leave or ignore them. If it is a friend, an exchange of ideas or thoughts about beliefs could be just a normal conversation. :)
Closed-minded people don't deserve our time so if you can't stand having argument with them, stay away and just stop talking something about beliefs and religion with those kind of people. It would be better that way. We cannot push them to believe and we don't need them to believe on what we are saying. The most important is that we know where we stand and how to live with it.
Great responses so far, but I would like to take a look back at the first part of the statement. How would one be *provoked* to argue in this case? I understand that disagreements surface and become apparent often, but it's not really necessary to argue them over each and every time they come up.
Unless I meet an exceptionally argumentative person, rarely do I find myself in arguments about religion with people who don't already know my stance on things. Usually, if someone's making a religious reference in the course of an otherwise unrelated conversation, I can see what they're saying even if I don't particularly relate to the specific analogy, and let it go. If they demand a response from me and I have no other way to address what they're really trying to say, I simply reply that I don't believe in god and they're generally more than happy to drop it altogether. So am I.
It's not that I am ashamed to be an atheist or whatever, it's just that religion is irrelevant in the vast majority of circumstances (as as a matter of fact, I think many of the world's problems are caused by religion sticking it's nose in and trying to make itself look important in places where it doesn't belong) so there's no point in arguing it when there's many more important matters at hand.