HI,

I am new to being a Atheist and I keep having people mostly family question me over and over again.  I find I am at a big disadvantge  because I  don't have a lot of knowledge about the facts and the proof of no god( im not sure if that made sence).  

When I say to them" I just dont believe that is all"  that is not good enought for them. And they keep throwing things at me like bible verses and so forth.  I have not read the bible enought to counter what they are saying.   I feel totally dumb when it comes to those who question me and I hate that.   I think it makes me and other Atheist look bad.  I have made a few attempts to explaine that I do not see any proof for a God and that it is just what I believe.  I have come out and even asked why it matters so much to them what I believe, I am not hurting them in any way. And they say to me prove there is not god.  The best I can say to them is prove there is a god.  They say to me we have faith and then tell me I also have faith for me to belive there is no god it takes faith.  That is just plan crap to me.  But I end up being shut down and I feel it is the lack of my information.

I have tried to read books like  The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll, Darwin, Christopher Hitchens and to be honest they are hard reads for me.  I have found a book called The homemade Atheist by Betty Brogaard  " A Former Evangelical woman's Freethought Journey to Happiness"  That is a little easier to read. But it does not state many facts or im just missing them.

What I would like help with is, is there some books out there that have facts and information that is a somewhat easy read that will help me stand up to those who come at me. 

I want to learn as much as possible for myslef and so I can have a intelligent conversation.

My husband is a Atheist and we have some really good talks but he is way above my head in his knowledge and I at times feel like im just not getting it.  But I will keep trying.

If anyone has any ideas for some reading I could do to help me out here I would love it. 

I will even keep tying to read the ones that seem hard to me to understand but maybe a few books that are a little simpler to start out with.

I am sorry for the any words not spelled right I am in a hurry and also a bit frustrated as I was hit with questions once again just last night.   I did my best but feel I fell short. 

Thanks for your time and any advie given

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Thank you for sharing this also.  I never knew something like that was out there.  I read a little of it and think I will enjoy really getting into it. 

 I would like to thank everyone who shared on my post.   I am so glad I ventured out and made the post.  The list of books to read were great and I can not wait to get into them.  Even found I actually had one of the books, or my husband has the book. 

The websites that were shared also were amazing. I spent most of the day on the computer looking and reading and learning

the video's were great also.  Some of them I want to post on facebook.

Thanks again I tried to respond to all who posted but incase I missed someone thanks again.

I love think Atheist and the honesty of the members

I read this book when I first realized that I was an atheist: 101 Myths of the Bible by Gary Greenberg. It's a really easy read and it can give you ammo or insight when your family starts flinging bible verses at you. I was having a hard time finding books because I live overseas, so I find most of my material in e-books. 

I will look this one up also.  Thank you

When I was just starting to consider the notion that God couldn't exist, I didn't have any access to books with an anti-religious slant, because they were viewed by my family as heathen and Satanic. So I turned to the next best place: the internet.

 

I learned most of my material that I plan to use in the case of a debate from YouTube, since most web browsers have privacy features, and I learn better from seeing and hearing. 3 series you should start with:

 

Discovering Religion-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfLGb1uOSHQ

3vid3nc3-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

Root of All Evil?-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVr9bJ8Sctk&feature=relmfu (I also recommend all the other Dawkins episodes on this channel, but this is a good place to start.)

 

 

I started to watch a little of all 3 of these to get an idea on them.  So far they seem like they will be good.  I will need to take more time tomarrow to watch them at a time when I will be able to watch them from start to finish .  I really liked the start of the Root of All Evil.  But I like Dawkins a lot

Thank you for the links again I am learning so much. 

Hi CJ – First of all Welcome to the site. Don’t worry about not having all the knowledge required to answer every question. Get the basics right. There is no need to ever try to prove the non-existence of any god. If people ask why you are an Atheist tell them it is because you do not believe in the god they are talking about and not because you deny the existence of it. Therefore the onus of proof is on the person making the assertion that there is one.

Most Theists confuse arguments for a god with evidence for a god. Example “the universe had a beginning” is not Evidence for a god and could only ever be deemed as an argument for one. Point this out to them regularly. I always ask people who try to convert me (aaah bless them) to write down what they believe and let them know that you will study it in your own time. This will stop any faith based arguments continuing and it compels them to think about why the actually believe themselves. Just say “I would like to understand your views better but rather than us arguing could you write down what you believe and WHY you believe them”. (the WHY is the crucial bit).

If they do actually write it down for you to study you can analyse it in your own time (or post here for other ideas). This approach shows them that you are willing to engage in a debate but moves it from a faith based rant to a debate that will require them to use Reason. The beauty is that they never see the difference because they believe their faith is a reasoned faith!! You will soon see that getting them to write down their beliefs and their questions for you is the best approach for your peace of mind.

They tend to proselytise in groups of a least two so if you do want to engage them try to do it on a one to one basis. Never lose your temper in a debate with a Theist. Never debate Science with anyone who thinks the bible is a science book. Don’t every bother trying to de-convert anyone – all you every need to do is sow a little doubt. Enjoy the debates and remember they have the explaining to do – not you.

see also

I love the idea of asking them to write it down.  I am going to try that the next time someone wants to change what I believe.  I think those in my life that ask me if I believe in god, will not actually write anything down and the issue will be dropped.

But I will keep on learning just in case I run into one person who must debate me.  Maybe I will then be able to say " no I do not belive in god" with a little more confendence.

Thanks again.

Yes writing it down works a treat. They might "want to change what I believe" is not the right way to see it. It is always a case of what you do not believe. The fact that you can say "I am an Atheist" means you now have no choice but to keep learning and thinking - thats exactly what religion prevents !! Enjoy.

You don't even have to argue the existence or non-existence of god.

Grant, for the sake of the argument, that their god exists. Then explain to them how their god is cruel and the whole theology is immoral. You can do that via the barbarism in the Old Testament, but they will say that that doesn't apply anymore. But there are also some screwed up things about Christianity in general. Like an omniscient being blaming his creation for his own mistakes. The concept of eternal punishment for finite crimes - especially for not believing despite being given no evidence whatsoever. The need to accept a blood sacrifice in order to be accepted into heaven. Why doesn't god just forgive people without that? Why did someone need to "die" for salvation? Was that really the best thing an omnipotent god could come up with?
The whole core theology is idiotic, especially if you tie it back to Original Sin. Collective punishment like that is immoral. Especially since god knew exactly what they would do when he tempted them.

You can also point out the negative aspects of organized religion to explain that even if you were spiritual or believed in some god, you wouldn't go to church or support any specific denomination.

Thanks for sharing CJ. If you're looking for easy reads, I'd look at books by Sam Harris, and Atheist Universe by David Mills. I would recommend some Dawkins, but some have told me that they find him somewhat hard to read, although I feel he has some great stuff. I'd say that Atheist Universe is a quick and easy primer for any new Atheist.

 

As for them quoting Bible quotes to 'prove' their god... The first thing I'd do is to mention that members of other religions share equal convictions. If they think a Bible quote proofs Christianity to be so, then remind them that by that logic, a Qur'an quote must prove Islam, Greek fable proves Zeus and an excerpt from the Egyptian Book of the Dead must prove Horus. Obviously, they can't all be right. But they all could be wrong.

You don't need to read the bible to argue against believing it. Using the bible for proof of god is like using a comic book for proof of superman. Also, do not say that you have faith. Faith is believing something without evidence, which has never accomplished anything.Tell them there's an invisible flying spaghetti monster in their bedroom, and if they deny it, tell them that they need to have faith.

 

I never read any books about atheism, and I've been doing fine. I'm sure this website will be much help.

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