People always ask me whether or not I think we are wasting our breath arguing with Christians. They tell me stories about how they discuss, debate, and/or argue religion with the religious and seem to get nowhere. “What’s the point?” they ask me.
I have been discussing, debating, and arguing with Christians and other believers in the Abrahamic God for a long time now and I can tell you right now that I have never had an experience in which a Christian heard what I had to say and then said, “You know, you’re right, Christianity is bullshit.” That has never happened and I doubt very much that it ever will. But I also rarely if ever had someone say, “You made some great points in relation to politics, you’ve convinced me.” In fact, only when discussing philosophy or science with philosophers or scientific minded people have I been able to convince anyone of anything right there on the spot. Despite this fact however, I can tell you that people do in fact reject Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Most atheists were at one point a believer in one of the Abrahamic religions. I was once religiously Jewish and was thoroughly convinced that God existed and that he inspired the writing of a book. So that is evidence that rational arguments do work. But how do they work?
More often than not, you discuss, debate, and/or argue with a Christian (or other Abrahamic religious person) and they argue back. Then, you both go home. The following Sunday, they go to Church/Bible Study/other house of worship and they say to their religious leader, “I was arguing with this atheist the other day and he/she said X. I couldn’t think of a good response to that. What should I tell him/her next time?” The religious leader will then give them a standard answer and they will go home. Later that week, they will think about how they will argue with you or someone like you next time. They will think about their religious leader’s answer and imagine themselves giving that answer to you. Then they will think about your possible response. They will realize that the answer that their religious leader gave wasn’t very good.
Next the Christian goes onto the “internets” and enters a Christian chat room or message board. They explain the situation to their fellow followers and get a swarm of responses. The Christian signs out, feels great, and goes to bed. The next day or later that week, they will think about how they will argue with you or someone like you next time. They will think about all the answers they got from their fellow Christians and imagine themselves giving those answers to you. Then they will think about your possible responses. They will realize that the answers that they got weren’t very good.
Next they will go back to the “internets” and do some googling. A few weeks will go by and they will continue going to church and hanging out with their Christian friends. But now something is different. Somewhere along the line their 100% absolute certainty has been altered slightly to, “maybe there is a God, but he probably isn’t exactly like the Bible says he is.” Now they can still go around and call themselves a Christian because they still believe in a God. But they aren’t quite as certain as they once were.
The more they get challenged even in their more moderate wishy-washy belief in some Vague Higher Power concept the more they will be forced to reject more and more of the dogmas they once believed with 100% certainty. Over time, even their belief in the Vague Higher Power gives way to reason and they are forced to conclude that such an entity probably doesn’t really exist after all.
I have had many people who I have discussed religion with come back to me years later and tell me that they have now become atheists or at the very least what they call agnostics. Some have come back to me claiming to still be Christian, but reject the Bible as literal Truth. The fact is that it does happen and it seems to be happening more and more. The more Christians cling to the more fundamentalist view of Christianity the easier it is for them to learn how ridiculous that view actually is in time.
So don’t be discouraged from discussing or debating religion with a “believer” whether they are moderate or fundamentalist.
Posted by Staks Rosch of DangerousTalk.net