I was a Christian for 37 years and am now an atheist for the past 4-5 months. My wife is an open minded Christian. I believe she is only holding on because of the way family will react.
She has agreed to consider my point of view via the following:
1 - she will read 1 short book
2 - she will watch one video
She has also agreed to read a paper written by myself covering why I no longer believe.
I am mulling my options. I was thinking of having her read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris and having her watch a lecture given by Bart Ehrman on the Bible's errancy.
So give 'em to me! What are your suggestions as to what to have her consider.
If you decide to write a paper that explains your justification for adopting the atheist position be sure to address such issues as the evolutionary origins of supernatural belief systems (Boyer's Religion Explained would be a good reference source) and the overwhelming lack of verifiable evidence to support the supernatural claim. If your wife appreciates reasoning and logic the task at hand will be more easily conveyed. Good Luck.
I debate with Christians on a regular basis. I have found that getting them to challenge their own beliefs is the best approach. Here is my method:
Ask your wife to write down on paper what her top 5 beliefs about god are and why she believes each of those beliefs is valid. She is not allowed to say “because the Bible says so” in her answers. Suggest that you would like to read them in exactly 1 weeks’ time and that you will give them your full attention.
She will have to think critically about what she believes. As you have allowed her a week to do this, she will want to revise them as she knows you will be dissecting them. Some people become preoccupied with this exercise as they want to use their 5 points as arguments to convert me. They want to make them as good as possible. In doing so they are forced to think critically about them. Not only what they believe but more importantly WHY they hold them to be “true”.
You cannot reason a person from their faith. However they can do it for themselves, especially once a few seeds of doubt have been planted (often by themselves).
It can be a scary process for people. They can become fearful and confused. I always look at the process as being their victory. I will be their support and answer any questions.
When someone reaches the point where they are actively challenging their own belief I then introduce them to some of the books already mentioned. It is only then that the words on the pages start to become clear as the fog of faith starts to lift.
Wouldn't the paper be blank? Everything is from the bible..
Three books in a university library opened my mind. The first compared the main christian denominations, the second compared the world's major religions, and the third described the many origin-of-the-universe stories.
My Catholic dad had sent his five kids to Catholic schools, and Catholicism has rules for everything so quitting was a major personal change. Reading that all of the world's religions had a version of xianity's "golden rule" comforted me. I visited the university's atheist club and heard students say they "knew" there were no gods. I was studying math, where "knowing" requires evidence and chose agnosticism.
I'm now an agnostic atheist. I meet religious people, and if their beliefs help them live well I don't try to convert them. One rather dogmatic atheist I know has a wife who, when I asked, told me she's a christian. They seem to get along.
I am also a recent atheist. I think most important of all is to have respect for yourself believing. You must go with your mind and reason, and also respect other individuals beliefs(i would like to have some rules on what can be called a belief and what should be called a deceit).
I think you could discuss in your paper what are the dangers in create a religion from scratch. And most of all discuss also how this society who fund a religion would try to hold its individuals from change of belief.
Sorry for my grammar. Spanish is my Mother language.
That's all right, American English is my mother tongue and I still don't get it right half the time.
"And most of all discuss also how this society who fund a religion would try to hold its individuals from change of belief."
You may not have English as your mother tongue, but I admire your turn of phrase when you say "This society who fund a religion."
I think you have hit on the problem precisely. Society "funds" religion...they offer support to religious values and beliefs that support the greater good of the society.
Religion is a way of insuring the cooperation of the lower classes. Marx in his statement that religion is the "opiate of the masses" only got it half correct. Just as religion is an injectable drug it can be used not for a soporific effect, but as a stimulant to specific actions.
Once a society has a certain program installed then any deviation from the accepted doctrine must be treated as an invading virus. In order to create what you want people to think then you have treat all other beliefs as dangerous...never accept them as possible alternatives and, far worse, use other beliefs as a way of clarifying and modifying your own beliefs.
Always remember: it isn't what you believe that matters, only the truth matters. As long as you are trying to figure out what you believe then you are struggling with other beliefs and potentialities. Once you couch the argument in terms of what you believe and what is true, then you are still carrying the light...to reference Colleen McCormack's The Road.
Keep carrying the Light. You will eventually sort out all the details and find peace in the truth.
The Shirky Principle states that "Institutions will try to preserve the problem for which they are the solution."
I used to collect these little handouts given to the un-suspecting. They must have been created with little reguard to their audience, but most times offered great materials to file in our PSU Secular Society closet.
I never thought to consider them fodder/sources for the creation of 'educational materials'.
Chick Tracts are considered a cultural icon today.
will give you an idea of their popularity. Back in the day we used to get these by the 500 lot and distribute them everywhere...like stuffing them into the holder when we went through a bank's drive thru. I never felt bad about distributing Chick tracts...they were a class product and an American icon.
Learning the Christian doctrine is BS helps eschew religion:
Minutes 11 - 37 of this video ought to do the trick.
It ought to. It surely ought to (I watched a tiny snippet of it, having to get ready for work--the snippet pointed out similarities between the Jesus legend and Egyptian legend). Certainly to us it functions as an explanation of how the Jesus legend came to take the specific form that it did.
But I can guarantee that they will simply say that that was all just God laying the groundwork for sending his Son. I know this because I have heard them respond to such things that way before.
You see, if someone accepts as a prior assumption that Xianity is true, then the meaning of this bit of data has to be something like that--and it could be. Therefore as far as the Xian is concerned, it is.
If you want to show Xianity to be a bunch of hokum you have to attack it directly; you have to show that the bible itself has problems and internal contradictions. Even then you may be dealing with a non-fundamentalist who thinks its allegory.
Wow, just watched it. I second that!