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?
Atheism is not a belief, it's just a state. You want people to become atheists, not to believe in atheism. 'Belief' only applies to faith.
That being said, the approach I usually use when talking with extremelly religious folks is to focus on Freethought. Try to keep the word "Atheist" out of it. Even the word God out of it. Freethought is defined as a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of evidence, science, logic, and reason; and should not be influenced by tradition, popular culture, mythology, authority, or other ancient dogmas.
Once you define Freethought, you set the crowd for accepting it rather quickly, at least unconsciously. I mean, after all, not many people would consciously say "I'm against evidence, science, logic and reason". Then, you drive your speech towards suggesting using this principle for everything in their lives (at this point you still haven't said anything about religion, or rejecting God).
In my experience, this allows a seed to be planted on people's brain, without the apathy that words like "Atheist" or "God does not exist" tend to generate.
Read Wikipedia's article on Freethought, and it'll give you a few simple ideas on how to convey your message.
That's awesome help, Luis. Thanks so much.
I've narrowed down the topic of my discussion quite a lot. I have decided, because of lack of time, I am changing my speech to The Importance of Science Literacy. I discuss why science is absolute and mind blowing, and why it should be held in higher esteem in American culture. I have a short rant about atheism and theistic clashes in regards to science, but mostly it's statistics now about the universe. I am trying to make my audience feel small. I have the rough draft written and the power point mostly finished. I will have it polished very soon and I'll upload it here.