Dear atheists or the world,
I joined this website several months ago, after realizing my lack of faith in any sort or deity. However I lack the information to have a argument with any sort of religious person. So,I am asking my fellow atheists to share some tid-bits,books and/or facts that i can research and memorize for further use. Please keep in mind im only 15.Also, my parents don't know of my lack of belief, so books have to have a discrete title.
One of your first steps should be to change the title of your discussion. You are not a beginner atheist. You were born atheist. I would argue you were an atheist for the first few years of your life. You didn’t believe in a god or personal god when you were two years old. You were indoctrinated into your previous faith (probably by your parents) much like everyone else in the world who claims to believe in religion. If anything… you are a begin again atheist :)
Thomas Paine is a good source. He was among the founding fathers and the titles of his books aren't really evidence as to the content. "The Age of Reason" and "Common Sense". Richard Dawkins "River Out Of Eden" may be a good one as well. The inconsistencies within the Bible itself are always good. Genesis, Exodus and all the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). You can also search things like "Absurdities in the Bible" and such. Good luck.
My advice: Education and lots of it in just about anything possible.
Debating religion is a frustrating exercise that more often than not devolves into name calling and insulting each others intelligence. Trying to turn others into atheists is even more useless. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. It's best to stick to informing others about what atheism is and isn't, showing them that atheists are good people too, and subtly encouraging them to ask questions of themselves.
Tyler: Just keep thinking for yourself. Trust me, the arguments will come naturally.
That being said, here are two of my favorites.
Casually tell some religious person who is trying to influence you that you have an elephant named "Wilbur" in your back yard sipping a mint julip. When they give you a quizzical look, ask them to go and introduce yourself to Wilbur, or whatever name you choose ("Darwin" would drive home your point nicely). When they decline the invitation, ask them why. Then, when they make it clear that they don't believe you have an elephant sipping mint julips in your back yard, assure them they are wrong; that you KNOW for an absolute certaintly, that there IS TOO an elephant sipping mint julips in your back yard, because you go by the strength of your FAITH, not by the EVIDENCE of your eyes or theirs. They usually get the point. Every time I've done this with J.W.'s at my door, they've changed the subject and handed me a copy of "The Watchtower," which they claim has "scientific evidence" for God (it NEVER does!).
A question I like to ask Christians, nearly all of whom buy into the efficacy of prayer, is, if they had an arm amputated, would they pray to God to grow a new one? This is not original with me, but it is very effective, because you will rarely get a straight answer; although the last Christian to whom I posed this conundrum did say, unambiguously, that she WOULD! Because God could grow her a new arm if He wished. Of course, she walked away quickly in anticipation of any further elaboration of my challenge .
Try "A letter to a Christian nation" by Sam Harris. It is a quick read, plain language book and covers many topics. It would be a good place to start.
Another interesting book to read is " The Demond Haunted World" by Carl Sagan. It is not overtly athiest so parents would not be concerned. If they do and read the book it just might get them thinking...