So in what has to be one of the most surreal moments of my godlessness I was asked by a close friend of mine to speak to her Sunday school class about atheism. The kids are between 15-17 and "non-denominational." My friend has sworn that this isn't some sort of malicious attempt to convert me, and I trust her on that.
I said I would give the lecture.
So people of ThinkAtheist here's my question for you:
If you could tell young Christians (in the south no less) about your atheism what would you tell them?
The majority of the foundation on which the Christian faith is based is the Bible.
I would have the children do the experiment where they start with a written phrase and whisper it one to another in a chain and the last person silently writes down what he/she thinks the phrase is.
Use that as an example of how the Bible has been passed down for over 4000 years like that (old testament) and how - with every person it was spoken to - it changed. Also, show how some phrases and words are taken out of context when translated between languages.
I would also recommend visual aids including the comparisons of Jesus to Mithra and Horus, who predated the alleged presence of Jesus by over 1000 years...
One of many points which led to my rejection of the Southern Baptist Fanatics who tried to convince me of the "perfection" of every literal phrase and chapter of the bible may be found at this link:
@Xoandre - an interesting combination of science and science fiction.
I grew up noticing the vast number of different belief systems out there in my local world, and the rest of the world. I was intensely curious about why people believed so strongly in what they believed, and why most of them felt that they were the only ones who could be correct.
It made me very sure that I had to learn for myself what is real, and what is myth. I couldn't depend on any one person or group's opinion, because most of them disagree with each other, and so most of them must be wrong!
Most people just believe the same teachings that their local population, family and friends believe. So the hardest part of learning for myself what's real and what's myth was to be skeptical of what my family and friends and local preachers say they believe, especially when they claim with divine authority (or other age-old "wisdom") that I should also believe it.
Then I started to wonder why there were so many cults and other oppressed or brainwashed people in the world. How could this happen to so many human beings, and how could they take their beliefs so seriously as to even think it's good to kill and destroy other human beings and lifestyles, usually in the name of their deity, or other divine leader?
Meanwhile, I kept hearing arguments against atheism, like how could one be good without God, or how can one explain the beginning of the universe, even when scientists say they don't know or aren't sure?
For one thing, I know I'm good without God, because I know in my heart what's right and wrong. And it seems that almost everyone in the world knows in their heart what's right and wrong, and are generally good to each other, unless... they're in an unhealthy, dog-eat-dog survival environment, and are desperate to survive.
And about scientists not knowing everything, and admitting they don't: That is a big difference between scientists and those of faith. We've only had serious science for a couple hundred years now, and look what we've learned and produced, compared to thousands of years of so many different myths and versions of religion!
This is not to say that science should be worshipped; question everything, even science, and even evolution. The reason science keeps writing so much about evolution, medicine, energy, electronics, and hundreds of other things we experience daily and take for granted is because it works! Current science ideas and writings are not perfect, and they never will be perfect. The point about science is... that it's humble enough to admit that it isn't perfect, but keeps trying every day to learn more and more about reality, and is able to accomplish and forecast things that were undreamed of only a hundred years ago.
Again, I do not worship science for it's own sake, but I question it every day. Science can be an evil tool just as much as it can save lives, improve health, and make the world better. It's the human beings in it that need to use the powerful tool of science with intelligence and compassion. That also means that it's even the obligation of as many people in the world as possible to learn science, question it, and help the world to determine its future, no matter one's religion or lack of it.
[I wanted to keep writing and writing, but... where does all the time go?! All you can do is highlight the most important points, right?]