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Posted: 02 February 2011 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hello All (not sure what the rules are here, do I need to start with a joke)?

Glad to be on this site.  I’ve been a non-believer for several years now and often come across situations where I will be lambasted by the usual stuff - you know, the “you just don’t understand God” thing, or “you need to show more respect”.

Here is a post I saw on one website:

“I’ve read your posts. You say you’ve done this and that, but really, you end up going with these atheists that know nothing and discount the awesomeness of God on those beliefs. How sad.
Btw… no holy roller here. I just know God, plain and simple. I don’t preach to you or condemn you. I just know you could know God if you would seek him out without the interference you are allowing in your life as evidenced by your posts.
Don’t confuse knowing God with churches, priests, and what have you. It’s your journey alone. You have to find the way by yourself. All these distractions by atheists and their videos will keep you from knowing what the truth is. It truly is sad to lose out on what you really could have in life.”

Personally, I find this kind of dialogue infuriating, which is often why, when atheists and Christians collide on some websites, there’s a lot of verbal bloodshed and, admittedly, the atheists are usually the ones doing the most bloodletting.  But I understand why we do it - it’s because we cannot imagine how normal, modern, thinking people can make statements like this with a straight face.  Seriously now - does ANYONE really believe that God actually TALKS to people?  Don’t these people appear delusional?  Don’t we have a word for people who hear voices in their heads?  Oh, but NOOOO….you have to respect that.  It’s almost a non sequitor to call it a “debate”.  A TRUE debate is an exchange of ideas; talking to a religious person results in the atheist doing all the heavy thinking and the Christian falling back on the “God said it” dogma.

How does one deal with this?

Thanks all.

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Posted: 02 February 2011 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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NoGoingBack - 02 February 2011 12:32 PM

How does one deal with this?

(Andrew):  I’d find someone else to talk to.  You’re not going to get much useful from anyone who “knows” what God wants.
Welcome to the forum.  Be sure and check out our new sandwich bar on third floor.

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Posted: 02 February 2011 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Andrew - 02 February 2011 01:54 PM
NoGoingBack - 02 February 2011 12:32 PM

How does one deal with this?

(Andrew):  I’d find someone else to talk to.  You’re not going to get much useful from anyone who “knows” what God wants.
Welcome to the forum.  Be sure and check out our new sandwich bar on third floor.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks - I’ll pick up a slice of devil’s food cake for dessert..!

I suppose you’re right, there’s very little one can discuss when someone claims - almost by fiat - that they “know” what God wants.  I guess my question is this:  If you were be stuck in a situation where’d you actually have to respond to this tripe, what would you say?  My usual “show me the evidence” or “how do you know it’s really God and not just a good feeling” seem to always be met with the same response - that, as an atheist, my “heart is closed” (funny, I always thought the heart was a blood pump and the brain did all the reasoning) and it would be impossible for me to “hear” God unless I seek him (whatever the latter means).  Also, I am often accused of not understanding scripture - if only I could understand it, then all my questions would be answered.  I guess I lack the “God gene” then - God’s fault.


How would you respond?

Thanks
John

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Posted: 02 February 2011 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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NoGoingBack - 02 February 2011 02:31 PM
Andrew - 02 February 2011 01:54 PM
NoGoingBack - 02 February 2011 12:32 PM

How does one deal with this?

(Andrew):  I’d find someone else to talk to.  You’re not going to get much useful from anyone who “knows” what God wants.
Welcome to the forum.  Be sure and check out our new sandwich bar on third floor.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks - I’ll pick up a slice of devil’s food cake for dessert..!

I suppose you’re right, there’s very little one can discuss when someone claims - almost by fiat - that they “know” what God wants.  I guess my question is this:  If you were be stuck in a situation where’d you actually have to respond to this tripe, what would you say?  My usual “show me the evidence” or “how do you know it’s really God and not just a good feeling” seem to always be met with the same response - that, as an atheist, my “heart is closed” (funny, I always thought the heart was a blood pump and the brain did all the reasoning) and it would be impossible for me to “hear” God unless I seek him (whatever the latter means).  Also, I am often accused of not understanding scripture - if only I could understand it, then all my questions would be answered.  I guess I lack the “God gene” then - God’s fault.


How would you respond?

Thanks
John

(Andrew):  I can usually get out of a situation (if I really want to) by just saying that I’m not a believer.  I tell them that I can’t help it…it’s not that my heart is closed, but that belief in the existence of God is just not there. 
I paraphrase Russell—I don’t think that God, if He exists, would be offended by my lack of belief.
If I otherwise like the person and enjoy being with them, I try to change the subject.  If they’re an asshat, I walk away.
If you really want to engage these sorts, hanging around places like the Internet Infidels or the Project Reason forums would be a lot of help.

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Posted: 06 February 2011 04:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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NoGoingBack - 02 February 2011 12:32 PM

Hello All (not sure what the rules are here, do I need to start with a joke)?

Glad to be on this site.  I’ve been a non-believer for several years now and often come across situations where I will be lambasted by the usual stuff - you know, the “you just don’t understand God” thing, or “you need to show more respect”.

Here is a post I saw on one website:

“I’ve read your posts. You say you’ve done this and that, but really, you end up going with these atheists that know nothing and discount the awesomeness of God on those beliefs. How sad.
Btw… no holy roller here. I just know God, plain and simple. I don’t preach to you or condemn you. I just know you could know God if you would seek him out without the interference you are allowing in your life as evidenced by your posts.
Don’t confuse knowing God with churches, priests, and what have you. It’s your journey alone. You have to find the way by yourself. All these distractions by atheists and their videos will keep you from knowing what the truth is. It truly is sad to lose out on what you really could have in life.”

Personally, I find this kind of dialogue infuriating, which is often why, when atheists and Christians collide on some websites, there’s a lot of verbal bloodshed and, admittedly, the atheists are usually the ones doing the most bloodletting.  But I understand why we do it - it’s because we cannot imagine how normal, modern, thinking people can make statements like this with a straight face.  Seriously now - does ANYONE really believe that God actually TALKS to people?  Don’t these people appear delusional?  Don’t we have a word for people who hear voices in their heads?  Oh, but NOOOO….you have to respect that.  It’s almost a non sequitor to call it a “debate”.  A TRUE debate is an exchange of ideas; talking to a religious person results in the atheist doing all the heavy thinking and the Christian falling back on the “God said it” dogma.

How does one deal with this?

Thanks all.

Laugh… seriously… laughter is very good for your heart and mental health.


But respect the right of people to be who they are.
You don’t have to believe what they say.
You don’t have to respect their beliefs.
But you can respect the right to choose what they want to believe how ever difficult it may be for you to accept that.
After all your reply to a believer could appear to them as theirs does to you.

It isn’t about delusions or even insults as with your post which contains many insults towards this believer.
It is about being in control of your own reasoning and remembering that being in control also means being a person whose understanding and intelligence is shown by replying in a correct manner and with tact.

What I would ask you is this: “Why frequent sites where Christians are?”
Seems to me that you choose to go to these places. You choose to speak with these people.
Are you sure you are not a closet Christian. (just joking) hope you see the fuNny side.

Now how many have you shown the light to?

All the best.

Badd

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Posted: 06 February 2011 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Badd,

Thanks for insight.  Actually, it’s an open forum within a nonreligious website.  What happens is the usual - believers and nonbelievers clash, just as what happens here.  People give their points and others give their counterpoints.  Christians are just as free to come onto that site as they are here.  No, I am not a “closet Christian” lol…


Thanks
John

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Posted: 12 March 2011 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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I disagree with the posters who say to laugh it off or to not bother dealing with it.  You can easily turn his line of emotional argument against him.  The problem is you’re going to have to illicit some emotion yourself, which I know atheists are often uncomfortable doing in arguments.  Oftentimes though, emotion is required to make that first breakthrough with people whose beliefs are based on emotion.  They tend to be more open to the rest of your views if you can give them that emotional nudge first, in my experience.

Don’t worry so much about the big factual inaccuracies, at least at first.  By big I mean things like God existing outside the universe, reading thoughts, and other things that Christians claim to know while they clearly do not have the capacity to KNOW these things in any way.  When you retort, at first you should concentrate on the things he’s implying about YOU with these “facts” that he has.

He’s implying that YOU can’t possibly find happiness or salvation unless you believe in one particular idea.  He’s saying that HE has the answer to this problem.  He’s saying that there are barriers in between you and this knowledge that he has.  If you can get him to agree that our experience on earth is subjective (which is easy with two or three logically placed, simply stated questions), you need to ask him if knowledge of any sort is possible, and if he thinks that filtering this knowledge through assumptions is a good way to get at knowledge. Then you need to bring up the very large assumption of God’s existence, and get him to explain to you how he knows that this assumption is a safe one.  You need to ask him the right questions, and allow him to talk.  The Socratic method works absolute wonders on religious people, if you’re patient. In fact, it works wonders on pretty much everyone.  You can quite easily (with a little creativity) show him that his “religious knowledge” is a barrier to him, which is exactly what he’s trying to pin on you. 

Euthyphro is one of my favorite works by Plato, and it has been indispensable to me as far as it pertains to humility and openness during religious arguments.  If you accept one or two of their premises for their argument’s sake, you can show them that even with these acceptances, the ideas don’t stand on anything resembling solid ground.  Enjoy this fine, not too lengthy work! http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/euthyfro.html

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Posted: 15 March 2011 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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You could try to chat, it seems you do that… but it ends up being futile.  There is no proof except feelings.  It’s subjective.  Try posting a link to Sam’s letter to a christian nation?

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Posted: 22 March 2011 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hi John,

I guess I can call myself a born again newbie on these forums, as I’ve been away for a few years.  To answer your question, my perspective is there really is no response to that kind of comment.  At least not any that will win you the debate in their eyes.  The fact is that believers are not truly open to arguments.  As a former very devout (not fundamentalist) Christian, I actually believed I was pretty open minded.  And in comparison to many other believers, I was. I wanted to hear the arguments against faith and I wanted to discuss my talking points, but at the end of the day, I bought into the 2000 year old apologist propaganda, and there was nothing anyone could say to make me change my mind… at least not in the moment of an argument.  That said, I always (and still do, just from the other side) tried to never insult the person I was talking with, just their arguments.  That is often where all vitriol comes from.  People start attacking each other on a personal level.  Nobody wants to admit that they are stupid, and when you admit an idea of yours is stupid, if often feels like you’re saying you are stupid.  That’s when it gets emotional. 

However, I will say this… just because in the moment I didn’t believe the arguments, it doesn’t mean I didn’t think about them later.  Overtime, as my faith began to erode, those arguments came back to me.  But the big turning point for me came on a day that I actually still call my “Epiphany Day.”  I had one of those rare “weight lifted off my shoulders” moments where for the first time I allowed myself the actually truly ponder the idea that god does not exist.  I didn’t stop believing immediately, but this was the major turning point for me. I had to allow myself to be open to every singe possibility there was, including the non-existence of god.  It seems small, but in my mind, this was also owning up to the possibility that I could go to hell.  Anyway, my point is that as a fairly open minded (relatively speaking) Christian, it was not until I truly opened my mind up to the possible non-existence of god that I was able explore rational thought.  Up until that point, all of my effort went into proving to myself and others god existed.  I even wanted to become an archaeologist so that I could prove his existence, which luckily for me, was a major factor in my ultimate transformation into atheism. 

So at the end of the day, I’d say, feel free to engage in respectful debate, but once they make it personal, just get out.  They’re not worth your time (unless you find it fun).

~Mary

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