Most of my friends on Facebook are my old christian friends. I find that I cannot post anything even remotely atheist in nature without being drug into a debate. At first I thought, I figured it out, when I tell them what I have learned the facts are irrefutable that the Bible is fake. Well, as you all know, it does not work that way.
I have debated science and logic to them. Anytime they are stumped they start personally attacking me and ignore the question. I then started a period of using solely the Bible alone to refute the Bible. They would debate whatever I say with other Bible verses. When I point out that the reason I can use one verse to refute the Bible and they can use another is because they contradict each other, they again get angry and start personal attacks.
In my town there are not many atheist. It is a small town in texas and everyone is a christian. I think they actually talked about me in the "mega church" here that I used to be a member of because a lot of the group leaders added me. At least this group has a scientific, biblical and historical knowledge enough to have a decent debate with. They refrain from personal attacks for the most part and actually try to answer my points, with backhanded sudo science of course. They do however often say things like "You have to be a moron to not see irreducible complexity as proof God exists". Or pretentious statements like "Well you yourself say they are just theories. It sounds like you dont know what to believe. It is odd that we do not have the problem of doubt and you do. Based on that, who do you think is right." But then they go on to debating again.
I thought there was hope for them since they dont completely have their head in the sand. Which is why I continued to discuss the matter with them even though I found it frustrating. Yesterday we were in a debate that was about their proof of a creator. They keep trying to prove intelligent design as if that would prove the Bible and Jesus despite the fallacy of the Biblical creation story. I proposed that if the world was created by intelligent design and they could completely prove their theory of the earth being old but created by God and had the seed of DNA planted in the first cell by God, then they will have done what I cannot. Proven that the Bible is false. They would have proven a creator created the universe but not in the way the Bible says he did therefore it is a different God and they are either worshiping the false god of jehovah, or the false creator God that they themselves have proven are two different people. They are actually trying to disprove the Bible as much as I am and their facts they are finding for an intelligent designer at the start of the big bang are only confirming the bible is a lie.
I thought they would be like "O wow, you are right. Well we know there is a creator but it is not the God of abraham so I guess we are diest and didn't realize it." Nope, full blown anger and hatred towards me ensued. The debate went form being civil to being a debate with ignorant angry christians all over again. I guess the only difference is they knew more than most christians. So it took them longer to run out of material before they got stumped and resorted to anger.
I dont see the point anymore. They sot me out and always invited me to their debates to be "the other side of the argument" aka the person they are trying to save. I thought they were willing to reason. I guess not. Christians are hopeless.
Should I even keep trying to show them the answers or should I give up? I was once exactly like them. Super devout. I keep thinking If they knew what I do they would see, but they are blind and dont want it any other way.
If you stop defending your position, they will think they have won. Why not attack them from a moral standpoint such as the lies spread about condoms in Africa, or the fact that pro-life supporters killed a Dr. who performed abortions, or Mother Teresa's sadism and how she tried to keep the poor in situations that made them suffer and actually spread their diseases around. How about how so many christian's have killed out of hatred and how Hitler was a Christian.
I have been up and down that road. Their most commonly used excuse is always, "well those people were not real christians" or "atheism has killed more people (stalin, mao etc)"
but atheism hasn't killed more people, their math is off. Get them to define what a christian is; someone who follows the bible to the letter (as in those they refer to as not real christians) or those who use it interpretively, because when it was written, it was intended to be followed to the letter. The 'extremist' christians they refer to, are those who follow the bible and everything it teaches.
no matter how much bad stuff either side has done, it gets you no closer to the truth
1) You are just giving them an opportunity to "prove" the strength of their faith by not giving in no matter how effectively you argue.
2) When someone tries to force their views on another party (you trying to change them), you engender resistance. This is psychology 101.
I wouldn't speculate on hitler's beliefs, lets just agree he was evil, the pope at the time however had a close relationship with hitler.....
I wouldn't even go so far as to say Hitler was evil, mick - he was demented, psychologically a very sick, sociopathic personality, but despite all that he did, I'm not sure I would use the term, evil.
I think you have done all you can do. Just keep posting in facebook what you like (they tend to get use to it, that is the way it was with me) and ignore them. There is no point in debating people like that, not to mention is fucking exhausting. Before I engage in a debate, I ask them if they care whether their beliefs are true. If the answer implies a sincere yes, I debate or ask questions. If the answer implies a "no", don't bother because all they want to do is to say their part, but have no interest in a stimulating conversation.
You've hit upon what I've found to be a fundamental issue involved with debating Christians, regardless of their level of knowledge about science, the world, and their own religion. Specifically, the majority of Christians with whom I've talked, discussed, or debated (and your experience seems to be pretty similar) have a very different reason for entering into the conversation than you or I may have. We go into these things hoping to raise public understanding of key scientific concepts, or at the very least to get people to question beliefs and values that they've never bothered to question before.
The average theist, though, has a different purpose. On the surface, it may be something as "friendly" as the desire to save our immortal souls. Let's be honest - that's a nice gesture on paper, even if they don't really care as much for us as they claim. In reality, though, I've noticed that the goal of soul-saving falls apart as the conversation goes on. At some point, these conversations invariably turn nasty, insulting, and spiteful. Once they realize that their initial goal is a lost cause, the personal attacks begin, no matter how civil we are.
Now, I don't mean to generalize. There are completely nice and congenial theists out there, and there are definitely atheists who give the rest of us a bad reputation. In my experience, though, I've never ended a long-running friendship with someone over religious differences. Far from it, in fact. Regardless of religion, I find I can respect people more if they can at least carry on an intellectual conversation. However, I have been the victim of many personal attacks and threats as a result of my outspoken atheism. A couple of years back, in fact, I wrote on this very site about one such story, where a long-time friend ultimately threatened me with a restraining order because of our disagreement.
But is there a point? Of course there is. What I've noticed is that you will probably never convince the person with whom you are debating. You will, however, help to expose their arguments for the ludicrous wastes of rhetoric that they are. It's frustrating at times, I know, but keep at it.
Thank you for your encouragement. I have had different results. Most of my closest friends when I was a christian despise me now. They have said that I mock their God (by expressing my disbelief for him when asked). I have always tried my best to be civil. When they personally attack me I leave the conversation without a response or with one like "Let's try to be civil, I am not attacking you please dont attack me". The ones that still talk to me cannot do so without debating me even if I am trying to stay off the subject. I only have 2 atheist friends if you include my wife. I think that is probably it for the free thinking ones in this town.
I should clarify something. When I say that "I've never ended a long-running friendship with someone over religious differences," I mean that in the truest, most literal sense possible. In other words, I've never been the one to say "We can't be friends anymore." Hell, if I did that to every single person I know who yammers on and on about God, I would have only a handful of people in my life, very few coworkers, and no family members other than my wife and son. However, I have lost friends over the issue, but only because they can't handle being friends with someone who doesn't drink the religious Kool-Aid.
Never try to get a fundie to reason and think, it wastes your time, and it annoys the fundie.