Imagine for a second that you have a child that becomes religious. If you care for a second about them as a independent being, you'll let them make their own choices about faith. If they end up a religious person, you might find it disrespectful if they were to approach you with the intent to convert you. Yet, all too often, we see support for Atheists doing just that to family members. You'll find excitement at the idea of converting someone. The hivemind circles around bolsters this behavior with sources of information and no thought as to why this behavior is wrong. Is being factually right the measure of this as an acceptable behavior?

We've all seen this. So why is it cool for an Atheist to Evangelize to religionists but not the other way around? It's one thing to respond to specific points made, but it's another to seek people out. I've witnessed an atheist attempt to chase down a religionist before and I personally find it disturbing. Are you someone who thinks that it's alright to seek out people to debate? Why do you do it? How is it different from someone asking if you "know Jesus"? 

Tags: Atheist, Evangelism, preaching

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Are you someone who thinks that it's alright to seek out people to debate?

To debate, yes. As in: to gain an insight into their way of thinking... not to try to convert them(although that may be a result of the debate).

 

How is it different from someone asking if you "know Jesus"?

This question usually leads into an attempt to convert me, not a discussion to gain insight into each other's thought processes and such.

I agree on both points. Premeditated challenging with intent to convert is where I jump off the train. Unless of course they started it.

I don't think evangelizing is acceptable in many, if not most, cases. 

every time i have gotten into a debate/argument  with a theist it has been due to them finding out i was an atheist and challenging me

I don’t think it’s cool for anyone to try and convert anyone to anything through evangelism (of any religion or lack there of).  But I will happily debate and give my opinion should I be asked, the only time I usually end up talking about my beliefs is when I myself are openly evangelized to or if someone is making a very derogatory statement toward the “evil” Atheists.  But it’s more of a defensive stance rather than offensive.  I don’t like it when someone feels that I am in the wrong and tries to convert me, so I wouldn’t do that to anyone else… unless they are asking for me to =P

What brings this is a reddit post where a guy was saying that he had finally gotten his father to agree to discuss religion but he wanted his pastor there. Even after prodding he wouldn't show motivation for the discussion. To me, clearly his father was uncomfortable discussing it. If he hadn't discussed it on his own and he wanted a moderator, then it's serious to him. If he isn't discussing it normally, he's probably not causing grief with his religion either. The OP wouldn't provide a reason for the discussion so I was left thinking that he was trying to "win" the argument when I can't imagine what a win would be. I've seen aggressive atheism first hand as well and been turned off by it. I know that if I had respected a person's beliefs only to have them want to fight me on mine, I'd be pissed. GTFO until you can respect me pissed.

Is atheist evangelizing the same as being a polemicist? Because I would say that I love debate, and do at sometimes purposely engage people with a comment to tease out a conversation. I've never directly approached someone with the intent of de-converting them. That would indeed be the pot calling the kettle black or whatever that cliche is. In any case, no I do not think it is o.k. to push our non-belief on anyone or "preach" as it were. Having said that, I will actively seek debate and even conflict when it comes to defending what I feel is important to as-well as defending the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves or who are too scared to. We in this community and as representatives of the larger atheist movement have, in my opinion, a duty to push the message in any way we can.

What would the message be that we are to be spreading? 

I invite debate as well. I often post items with the hope that someone wants to discuss it. I enjoy that quite a bit. Where I would draw the line is following people and challenging them at their every word. I have a friend whom posts a Biblical quote every day on Facebook. I certainly don't post a counter-point or other passage to show how the Bible is horrible. He finds peace in it and causes me no harm... carry on.

Where I would become more aggressive is when it delves into politics or science. Even at that, I don't hit at the religion, just at any silly points made. How that relates to their understanding of the religion is up to them. That's not to say that I will laydown. I had a friend say recently that she'd pray for me after a long political debate. The result was a rant that would have gotten me banned from TA.  What a horrific place to say I'll pray for you. 

I do not really care to "convert" anyone to my way of thinking. It is generally more rewarding to me to spend time with folks who are already in the same frame of mind with regard to atheism. I would not actively seek out a debate, frankly it would be asking for trouble for me, I live in South Christianlina.  If I am approached by someone then I will simply state my position and if they insist I will most likely oblige.  It makes me nervous because I do not handle confrontation well.  

I don't think it is possible to convert anyone to any philosophy unless they are willing and at least somewhat on the same page.  

As a retired teacher of 38 years you're profession has been to teach facts such as science and math.  Thus, you cannot just turn off your logical way of dealing with children and adults by trying to convince them of imaginary, invisible beings who live somewhere in the sky and that is where you might go to live with them if you confess your acceptance of them just before you die.  Somehow, common sense, not pious ignorance better known as faith is what has ruled my life.   Whoooo, whooooo, whooooo ! 

im from north east texas in the bible belt and it is imposable to hava a conversation with idiots

They start it, I'm into it big time, but I've never proselytized, never said, "you should be an atheist." Not once.

I mock and sneer.  That's enough for me.

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