A friend of mine is a pretty die-hard Christian (shock horror, both of his parents are missionaries/vicars) and he often posts little sayings of some kind or another on Facebook, which I usually ignore. However, today he posted something that really irritated me for some reason:
"The more I look at science, the more in awe of God I become."
And just to make that worse, one of his Christian friends commented "Boom" as if he had made some kind of infallible argument. Somehow, I feel as though nothing I say will make any difference because they must be incredibly deluded already to believe that God just "invented" science. Basically, this is the guy who thinks he's a "modern and intelligent" Christian by saying that things like Noah's Ark are "just stories and aren't meant to be taken seriously by Christians". But if that is true, then why take ANY of the Bible seriously and where does he draw the line between stories and (what he believes is) the truth?
In the past I asked him and his friend where the evidence was. He claimed science (yes, seriously) helped prove Christianity and that Christianity was about "opening yourself" to it and believing, and then you "feel God" or whatever. How do you argue with someone like that??
What do you all say to religious people (not necessarily just Christians) who claim that science is just an invention of God? Is there a specific way to argue with someone who twists everything to awkwardly suit modern day thinking?
I agree. I've met a few who know how ridiculous the Bible is but are still religious anyway (which in a way, is just as ridiculous). That's just it though; I've never met anyone who has anything BUT vague statements, and just can't understand how their minds work. It's bizarre. Not even for a second has this friend even thought to himself "but this doesn't make sense" or "we're just twisting things to suit our beliefs". There is just nothing there that makes them stop and think about what they believe so desperately. I can't understand it. I probably never will either, so perhaps I should stop trying!
They have already made the decision to believe in whatever it is they believe and then they are looking for "evidence" to support their beliefs. While all rational people will tell you it's supposed to be the other way around. Religious scriptures are so vague it's not even funny, a rapist/ murderer could read it and come out with the idea that it's a good thing to rape/ kill while a saint will believe the opposite.
There are various people trying to distort science to explain the bible. Ken Ham (who started Answers in Genesis) and Kent Hovind are YEC who are leaders in this. One of the most recent things by Hovind was to claim that natural selection is accurate but has nothing to do with Darwin's evolution. So, yes, these people are severely f***ed in the head.
You haven't mentioned what you are studying in school. If you really want to mess with this guy's head, mention that his mental gymnastics are quite amazing and are making you consider changing your studies to psychology. If you are already studying psychology/sociology then you could ask him if you could use him as a subject for a class paper. Obviously the second one would be better if you really had a paper for which that would be appropriate.
Otherwise, if you want to be friends make him agree to never bring up his religion because you think he's a decent guy as long as he keeps his mouth shut about his beliefs.
Good advice, thanks. We've finished uni now (I did radiotherapy and oncology) though it would have been fun to mess with him like that. I studied psychology and sociology at high school, so wish I had known him then! He would make an interesting case to study...
Oh well. I suppose the second option is probably the best bet. I've got another friend anyway who usually winds him up more than I do, so maybe I should leave it to him, haha.
I think as atheists we need to not only live our lives, but perhaps respect others choices as well.
There seems to be a growing need within our group to "convert" others to our way of thinking. This, in my humble opinion, is only necessary and effective to a point. Explaining logic and reason to a religious zealot is akin to trying to teach a child complicated abstract mathematical equations. They are burdened with a lesser mindset and thereby less capable and less willing to secede from their cults.
It's not particularly that they are stupid, per se, but overwhelmed by their lifelong conditioning and the fear of the consequences if they are wrong. We all have things we avoid vehemently for one reason or another. A devout Xtian avoids reason and logic much like you or I may be afraid of dogs. Perhaps we had a very bad experience at one time with dogs which scarred us, causing us to fear them. Xtians were severely scarred by the fables of punishment for all eternity in a lake of fire, perhaps a satanic figure poking them with a stick the entire time they languished in the fire and brimstone. Just like you or I may have unfounded fears about dogs, even if the fear was only imagery in our minds, they too have the imagery of eternity in a lake of fire in hell. It is also important to remember that no one is born a Xtian, they are taught this, usually at a very tender age when their imagination is at its peak performance, making the experience very real for them.
I know this because I was raised deep in the West Virginia mountains by the most frightened "god fearing" people I have ever met. I was forced to be baptized in the creek on numerous occasions, forced to pray at the table, before bed, and any time I committed a sin as perceived by my family. It wasn't until many years later that I was able to reason away the insanity of religion.
No, I think at best we should quietly state our beliefs, or non-beliefs, in a calm logical manner, and only when being asked or accosted by religious zealots.
We now live in the age of enlightenment and slowly but surely fables, myths and sky gods will give way to logic and reason. There is no need to maintain the angry competitive attitude that the believers thrust upon us. We are better than that, we are smarter than that, we are secure in our knowledge that there is no Great Pumpkin, no Easter Bunny, no all-knowing sky god and no fire and brimstone hell awaiting us. We must lead with compassion, with reason, and not relish in a combative nature like the believers do. Remember, some of them actually need their gods to do their thinking for them, as they are incapable of doing it themselves.
I think perhaps you misunderstand my intentions, or maybe I haven't been clear enough in the post. I am by no means trying to convert my friend. I have never tried to convert anyone in my life, nor will I ever. That's the very definition of a waste of time. To be honest, what I really want is to try and understand his way of thinking, and how his thought processes lead him to such conclusions. I sincerely hope that you don't believe that me having a friendly debate with a friend is "relishing in a combative nature". I'm not a confrontational person, and would never try to force my own beliefs on anyone else. This was a debate, and he is still a good friend of mine.
Having said that, although I agree that on some level we should behave in a "calm, logical manner", I would also say that a little more is needed when in comes to things like the separation of state and church, as well as how religion is used/taught in schools. That would be a particular occasion where I would voice my opinion without being asked.
Again, perhaps you are speaking more generally, but I would certainly not say that I have a "angry, competitive attitude". More than anything, I am curious on one side, and concerned for humanity in general on the other.
I understand your curiosity as it is certainly baffling how full grown thinking adults can believe so fervently in fairy tales. It boggles the mind (or at least mine). It took me personally a long time to come to my conclusions. I think in part because I was attempting to assure myself as much as defend myself from family and friends that looked at me like I had testicles growing on my forehead when I said I didn't believe in their sky god. Now that I am secure within myself I no longer need to "prove my point". You can't prove any point to anyone that is not open to new ideas and concepts outside of their embedded programming. I co-habitate marvelously with my wife of 35 years even though I think she is caught up in the Santa Clause like fairy tale of an all-knowing deity. She does ask me to no longer "present my case" to her and all I ask in return is that she not present hers to me.
As for separation of church and state, that is a humongous inequity here in the United States, and a real pet peeve of mine. To me it seems absolutely obvious that any government founded on individual choice should not be endorsing one over the other. The simple "in god we trust" printed on our money proves that the US does not practice what it preaches. Then the US goes further by giving up 71 Billion a year in tax revenue by allowing the religious organizations to operate tax free while taxing every other business to near extinction. If we wish to allow advertizing space on our currency then why do we not open it us to the highest bidder? Walmart would probably pay 71 Billion a year to put their advertizing slogans on our currency. Even our presidents have blatantly ignored these principals. Eisenhower added "under god" to our pledge of allegiance in 1954, which was written in the late 1800's to exclude such endorsements. Nothing is sacred in government, not even those things we hold most sacred or hold in such high regard that we deem them to be "self evident".
No, I wasn't singling you out, I just see a lot of unproductive judgments being exercised on both sides of the issue, and being my first post I felt that in light of all I've seen and heard over the years I would state what I think the most troublesome part of being an atheist was for me for many years. I can't save everyone, no more than they can "save" me by splashing water on me :-)
I think, Allen, that the term, "god fearing" has always caused the hairs on the back of my neck to rise - why would a loving god want us to fear him? And if he existed and didn't love or care about us in any way, what's in it for us, to worship him? Fear of "the imagery of eternity in a lake of fire in hell"? Not enough, but just in case, I'm perfecting my backstroke --
See, the Bible doesn't begin with any concept of an after life, that's added much later on. If I had to venture a wild guess, it would be that enough people decided following all of those stupid rules throughout life was ridiculous, since it all ended in death anyway, why bother - "What more is he gonna do to me?" Then I'd bet some religious authorities kicked that around and decided that if they could convince us of punishments AFTER death for not playing by the rules, no one could PROVE it couldn't happen, and they had us boxed in. Ergo, eternity.
True. As with any flimsy "as seen on TV" product there has to be a "But Wait!" to sweeten the deal. How can you sell something that gives you nothing in return. People don't just make car payments unless they get a car in the deal.
Alien John, With all due respect, you've constructed a straw man. The reality is really much simpler. Children are natural born rational curious thinkers. They don't believe this nonsense, you can tell, as Christopher Hitchens once said, by the questions they ask.
It is our responsibility, all of us, to demonstrate that religious untruth can and should be confronted. This isn't evangelizing, and nobody's really trying to convert anybody to anything other than a close, personal relationship with reality. Young people need to know that it's OK to reject religion, and need to see crazy ideas mocked, and ridiculed as crazy.
Surveys indicate that the numbers of atheists in the United States are rising rapidly. This trend is entirely due to social media, and a willingness to confront claims which are not true. Join the War on Ignorance and defend civilization against the corrosive project of Creationism, and mental slavery.