So I'm formulating my goals and plans for 2011 and there's one thing I'd like to accomplish but am going to need a bit of help with.  I'd like to learn to think more clearly and logically, if that's at all possible.

 

I've been out of the religious BS for nearly ten years now but I still find it hard to think through various arguments from theists, take them apart and refute them (which I see happening here to great effect).  Obviously, this is only one use of 'clear thinking' but it's the one that's been on my mind the most lately.

 

My first thought was to ask for book recommendations but that might be too limited.  There could be films, courses, exercises, groups (Toastmasters?) or lots of other resources out there that hadn't occurred to me.  So, do any of you atheist thinkers have any guidance to offer?  Anything at all... I'll throw it against the wall and see what sticks.

 

Thanks!

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Do you frequent the internet? 

 

I believe watching actual debates helped me more than anything.  

 

Names to look for on you tube"

 

Christopher Hitchens (The supreme debater) 

Richard Dawkins

Sam Harris

Victor Stenger

Daniel Dennett

Michel Shermer

Richard Carrier

Stephen Pinker 

Peter Singer

 

Possibly hundreds of hours of the most entertaining theology shredding I can offer.  

 

I think studying 'how' to think more logically is not as useful as watching the best logicians in action.  

 

Also - as you watch the debates - take notes of words and terms you don't know - Sometimes the debaters like to throw in some latin and what not.  

 

Hope that helps.  :)

I'm glad you put these names up here some are obvious (to me) but others I have not heard of Thanks :)

I'll also throw in Bart Ehrman.  

 

He is a famed NT scholar.  His videos and audio clips are close to perfection.  

 

http://www.bartdehrman.com/multimedia.htm

Thanks Dustin!  I knew about the "Four Horsemen" (Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett) but I'm not so familiar with the other names on that list.  I'll do some You-Tubin' and add them to my watch list.
Check out this post by Nelson:

Skepticism of Religion: An Informal Bibliography

That should get you started.

And don't forget our TA E-book: Defend yourself with Knowledge

I found that list by Nelson last night... That's one helluva list.  I'm slowly going through it to see if I can pick out a handful to start with.

 

I didn't know about the e-book.  Sweet!

Learning about logical fallacies in a college course really clarified why the Bible, and religion in general, fails. If I were you, I'd really pour over that link, and any books you can get your hands on about the theory of argumentation and Critical Thinking. You don't even have to know everything about Christianity to refute stupid arguments. "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so" is what we like to call circular reasoning... and I think this form of logical fallacy is especially annoying to us here on T|A ;) You cannot verify what the Bible says by comparing it to what the Bible says, as you know. There are a lot of "arguments" Christians make that feel wrong, but I didn't know that there are specific labels for each one! :)

 

Hope this helps a smidge...

Nice!  Hadn't seen that site before Cara.  Thanks!  It's all dumped into Evernote now for future reading.  :)

I really like this topic, and desire this for myself as well - for any issue.  How to be more clear in the factual and tangible reality that surrounds us all.  This includes dwelling in thoughts of worry and what ifs - wasting time and potential with nonrealities.

 

I'd also like to be able to matter-of-factly discuss opposing opinions without feeling anger swell inside, but yet not avoid discussions because of "discomfort".  It is becoming more important to me as I get older to be able to say, "I don't agree, and I don't share your beliefs" without concern whether the person now hates me or not.  Religion (specifically Christianity) is a topic that incenses me, can't seem to discuss without words like "fucken" or "retarded".

 

Looks like I need to grow up.

You should watch videos of The Atheist Experience. http://www.atheist-experience.com/archive/
Its a non profit show that has a lot of good archive videos. They touch on a lot of topics and give you tons of food for thought.
Lots of great suggestions here. Kevin LaPlante is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Iowa State U and he has a great website/podcast for those looking to develop critical thinking skills.

http://www.criticalthinkeracademy.com/

The material is easy enough for the beginner, but still offers enough for the more advanced to hone their arguments.

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