My name is Keath, I'm new to this website and I'm so happy to have found it.
I've been an atheist for a long time, and everyone who knows me knows my views.
Everyone except for a my very religious professor and a class full of students I have to give a 5-7 minute speech in front of. To give a perception of how religious my prof is, her email is LiveGodLoudly@example.com (I can't give her real email) either way, she talks about her church and her religion all the time during lectures. I also go to Oklahoma State University, and of course in Oklahoma, it's uncomfortably religious here.
I am so proud of my atheism and I want to try to persuade more people to choose reason over faith so I need to speak out. The title of my speech is going to be Atheism: My Out Campaign; and I want to try to persuade people in my class because it's a persuasive argument.
What would you guys discuss most in order to persuade a religious person to believe in Atheism?
TL;DR What would you say to persuade a religious person to believe in Atheism?
If you're talking to a mostly religious audience, I'd actually focus on why it's likely that the major monotheisms are all incorrect (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and how if you believe one over the other, you are making an arbitrary choice. I think the point that these religions cannot all be correct, and further that none of them are, is an easier point to make then the absence of a deity entirely. This will get them warmed up to the idea that religion is wrong, and you can end your talk by saying something like, now that you can see how weak of a foundation these three religions stand on, it's not a big leap to dismiss the idea of God altogether. You can suggest that at the very least, one should be skeptical of God's existence.
If you're set on trying to go straight for the jugular, though, and persuade people that there is no God, I would go with the idea that positing the existence of God doesn't actually help us explain anything. That's a pretty rich topic, because you can talk about how evolution explains biodiversity, different theories of abiogenesis, and different theories about how the universe came into being. Make sure to mention that it doesn't make more sense to assume that God exists and created the universe from nothing than to just say the universe itself was created from nothing.
I definitely thought about discussing not just the Christian myths but Islamism and all of those but I only have 5 or so minutes and I don't want to jumble up my speech. I'll probably just some all of it up in to 'religion.' I want to say "my enemy isn't the faithful, my enemy is the faith.' I think that's a powerful line. I'll probably post a few paragraphs of my speech up to see what you guys think
Talk about thermodynamics and evolution. Ya know, the primary concept of an almighty being coming out of itself going against the natural evolution as an introduction.
Then, you can talk about all the paradoxes of faith, the fact that holy books were written by guys who lived 5 thousand years ago (i guess it is 5, but i might be wrong), and if one of them is an evolutionist, talk about the formation of universe - the face those people make is delightful.
Don't forget to talk about all the bloody details about Church's history.
oh, btw, i meant "and if one of them is an creationist", not evolutionist :P
I know a lot about evolution and I'd love to discuss in detail why evolution makes more sense, but my class is full of people that are not too science oriented and I'd be worried I'd lose their attention. I may have chosen too detailed of a topic to try to persuade people haha. There's so much to say in such a short amount of time!
My main point I want to make is that the intricacies of the universe are too wonderful to waste your time not wanting to find out more. I want to stress that there's so much more outside of the confines of religion. I also want to talk about how religion is destructive to a society.
I also want to discuss how morals aren't created through religion, that they are very likely brought about by a growing society and are synonymous with evolution.
Like I said... too broad maybe.
I only ever watch Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens videos. I love YouTube for those videos. I've spent countless hours watching everything I can. I am most inspired by Dr. Tyson because I'm a nut for astronomy. Thank you for the ideas.
here is some reference material:
Awesome!! Thank you very much, Greg.
No problem Keath. Just remember to stick to your guns and make 3-4 outlined points and back them up. Given how people think, this is the most effective way of doing something.
Good luck by the way.
I did this. My persuasive arguments revolved around my audience's practicing religion being pointless, basically because it was dying out. I gave them a brief history of Christianity to show them how they ended up being Christian and then proceeded to show them why Christianity was dying:
1) A "watering down" of the faith in an attempt to survive in an ever-changing and increasingly progressive society (using Catholicism's becoming indistinguishable from Protestantism as an example of faith dilution, and using gay rights as an example of America's becoming more progressive-- any perceived threat that things are changing should adequately shake them).
2) how the masses were made privy to information only the privileged had been prior to the dawn of the age of information. Heavily implying without specifically stating that our society's becoming more intellectual as a result means that less people stay dumb and therefore less people believe in gods. And then remind them that the chances of their children retaining their faith throughout adolescence, much less into adulthood, are increasingly lower and lower. I'm pretty sure I also said the sentence "I'm sorry Christians, but you're dying out the way of the Native Americans" when I was talking about religion being culturally delegated to isolated regions (like the bible belt). Anything to make them feel like that society will soon ostracize them into extinction. The basic idea is "You can swim against the current, but you can't change the tide, and the tide is no longer in your favor".
3) and then I just threw up a bunch of graphs. Polls and surveys showing the rapid decline of Christianity in America in recent years.
This should open any on-the-fencers' eyes to a new perspective. But to the religious, this approach may come off as a bit arrogant. So prepare to profess complete confusion at the notion that you've offended anyone.
Hahaha dude, my hat goes off to you. I'm proud of my atheism but I feel way too damned secluded in Oklahoma to say things like that to a definitely 100% christian audience. It's awesome you've done this though. How long did you talk for?