I am currently attending a Christian college. One of my professors is an outspoken Dominionist and has verbally attacked nearly every minority in the first two weeks of class and has been spreading a large amount of misinformation. I am a very outspoken atheist, but I have a feeling that I might not want to piss him off, as I need a good grade in this class. I am fairly open about my views in other classes and around campus, but for some reason, this guy is more intimidating than other professors. He is a wonderful person outside of class, but he just has crazy views that he feels that he needs to push on us. I have my facts down pat, but I am trying to figure out how to approach the conversation respectfully. It is a very discussion based class, so I am expected to participate. I am not going to be silent, but I want to call him on his propaganda without coming across as an asshole. Any advice?

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I guess you need to tell us an example - like a really specific one - of something he'd say that you'd want to address, and type out what you'd like your response to be to him if you weren't super worried about being an asshole. It'd help us help you and in the process I think it'd also help you maybe figure out what it is you want to say and then you can edit it down to be more tame and "tactful" while still having all the points you want to make?

Or if you're truly worried about pissing him off because of your grade, you could wait til the semester is over then email him and/or his superiors even... :P Or talk to him next semester? XD

The first thing that pops into my head is from last class. He was talking about oral and written communication, and he was using the Bible as an example. He was saying that people groups who passed down their history orally developed extremely accurate memories, and that's how we know that the Bible was accurate, even after roughly 1500-2000 years of oral history. Now, they probably had better memories that we do (living in the information age and all), but his claim is a bit of a stretch.

If you want to hear how I critique when I don't fear any sort of repercussions, read this blog post (http://thinkingenigma.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/cognitive-dissonance...). Normally, I'm quite a bit more polite in person, and not nearly as abrasive, but I use the same trains of thought, just with a much more diplomatic style.

The key is to make it a discussion, rather than an argument. 

That sounds pretty vague, but by just being respectful in your composure and asking honest questions, rather than making potentially hurtful assertions of your beliefs can make all the difference. I wouldn't really come out and say flat out that you are an atheist as that can crush your credibility in the eyes of your professor and classmates, but by being genuine and honest, asking the tough questions and standing firm in what you believe in, you can fuel a very productive session. Not all Christians will respond positively though, I have had some Bible studies that I have attended where I was asked to leave while attempting this approach in discussions. By that same token though I have also found that even some of the more radical Christians, while they won't agree, at least respect the sincerity and thought I've put into my position, while still being sensitive and overall not a dick about it.


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