As a proud nonbeliever I watch documentaries on any given religious topic with a bias, a rather notable one. What I've found though is that, while on our side we have facts, logic, reason, and for the most part good intentions, we go about the whole thing with too much hostility. The religious people that convert and maintain faith are honestly good people who also have good intentions, as far as I can tell they all truly have faith and want to help those without. 

Even if the facts on our side are stronger, love doesn't flow from facts and unfortunately that is how the argument is presented from our side most of the time, as facts. Not to mention all the angry protests I have seen against the holy this or that. 

This is my main point, calm down Atheists. If you are forced to argue instead of debate, keep a cool head, and argue the indisputable facts with a smile. Sure, many of them are very stupid and will make this easy on you but the faster we can take the rage from our words, the faster our words will be heard.

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@Gallup - thank you for taking the time to school this skypilot on such a regular basis.

Surely you are joking.  Do you actually read and evaluate these arguments, @Heather?  Or just skim them and buy in because of length? <g>

The Barna Group just did a poll for the Washington times...

The United States is not the world, @Gallup.  I will agree, the United States is an odd outlier because of the history of the Great Awakening religions and their impact on U.S. society and culture.  Even so, the poll question you report is a very, very different claim than the one that was being made.  Believing they may be living in "end times" means very different things between the various religions, and in most of them does not mean what you claim.

That's your standard move: when reality gets in the way, you ignore it.

So your claim is that it is "reality" that "the religious have no intent or belief that the world and humankind go on", that we're all setting up everyone for a Jim Jones-style murder-suicide?   That's the version of "reality" that you actually believe in?

No wonder you find it necessary to use playground names to try to make a point.

One example is the billion souls network,

So your evidence for intent of genocidal murder-suicide is a goofball website making ridiculous claims about evangelism, but nowhere suggests murder-suicide?

This is what they are trying to bring about: heavenly bliss for themselves and eternal torture in hell for everyone else.

I'm lost.  Are you really worried about eternal torture in hell?  Are you really concerned about Christians who are hoping for the Second Coming (which is not necessarily the End of the World)?  I thought you were an atheist. 

Jim Jones committed real-world murder-suicide.  That I can see caring about,  that is what was mentioned above in terms of what we religious folks intended, and that is clearly nonsense.

You're saying these two claims, which both refer to belief in Biblical end-times prophecy-- Jesus returning to judge mankind at the apocalypse-- are "very, very different?"

Jim Jones' murder-suicide cult and the Second Coming of Christ are very, very different?  Let me think for a nanosecond.  YES.

The claim was that the religious intend a Jim Jones style (i.e. human-caused) murder-suicide of all humanity.  You can't support the claim because it's not true, so you offer a bunch of other obliquely related stuff to pretend there is evidence.   That's been a common tactic of those preaching hate since the dawn of time.  Anyone who suggests that perhaps the hated group isn't all that bad gets ridiculed and set upon.

The only question is how you can justify this as rational?

The method was not the claim, it's the impending doom heard over the megaphone and pulpit and there is no argument about that. All religions differ as to the details. You may also argue it's not the reason Israel was put back as prophesized and it's not the reason for all the odd burial rituals that religions are so keen on. You may argue that it's not a cause of  poor stewardship of mother earth. You may argue that Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons because of how responsible religious-states are.

Please tell us why should us atheists should "be nice" and pretend that the majority of the people on this planet do not have the attitude that their deity will end our sinful species and pass eternal judgment and that it will happen in the fairly close future and it will all begin in the Middle East. It's the "we told you so" moment of enforcement and authoritarianism.

At some point when the religious fail to be "fundamentalists" as in not believing in the fundamentals, I do not see them as religious. Congrats Dr Bob.

That's why they call themselves evangelical Christians, Bob. It's what they do.

But the original claim, made by someone other than yourself (so that your claim of misrepresenting you is specious), was about all religious.  That was the claim you defended.   I was the one who attempted to narrow it to a segment of evangelical Christians, and you objected.  Then you attempted to lump people of different religions who may believe in the Second Coming in with this one very narrow evangelical view, despite the fact that their beliefs are very different.  It's the Fox News approach, complete with the disparaging comments about anybody who would think differently.

@Keenan, I apologize.  I did not mean to have your thread hijacked by feeding the troll.   I offer it as an interesting example.  Many religious tend to view atheists as petulant children, rather than as thoughtful people with whom we should engage as friends and colleagues.  I disagree with that viewpoint, but I think I understand where it comes from.

The irony is that we have common cause against the distortions of fundamentalist theology and its impact on society.

At first I thought you might have been being a bit mean to Pinocchio here, until he brushed off nearly everything you said. While I do appreciate the apology that also seemed to be a way to get people behind him, it's clear that anyone may make such a reach when confronted with Gallup's Mirror. The ugly truth put right in our faces.

Gallup's Mirror, truly you are truthful, you have your facts more than straight, they're laminated and properly filed. If only you could reconsider the point of this post. Pinocchio's not a great example, seems to me he's probably a common History Denier, but anyone who goes, "Oh, I didn't know that" (or similar statement), I do very much hope you take the time to not to be dick.

P.S. Ragnarok is growing near. 

I agree with you, Keenan. When Americans talk about winning people over, we sometimes use the phrase, 'winning hearts and minds.'

Whether you challenge a person to think or apeal to their emotional side should depend on the person and the situation. You can even combine the techniques...a gentle conversation filled with hard facts, an impassioned diatribe peppered with information, or even leading in with an emotional apeal and transitioning to informative persuasion.

I like to approach your average believer with compassion. They're not my enemy. They're potential allies. I try to be respectful, even though their behavior sometimes makes me want to pull out my hair.  

I think it was LBJ who, speaking of his time in the US Senate, said "When I have 'em by their balls, their hearts and minds follow."

This is my main point, calm down Atheists. If you are forced to argue instead of debate, keep a cool head, and argue the indisputable facts with a smile. 

No, I won't put on a fake smile just for the sake of someone's thin-skinned hypersensitivity. It's like smiling and nodding when someone says they can speak to Elvis through their tinfoil hats. Being so polite and smiley can often be mistaken for being patronizing. Anyway, people are what they are, whether theist or atheist, we are a complex bunch. There should be no set absolutes on how we converse. 

There should be no set absolutes on how we converse.

I agree, LL, there should be no set absolutes on how we converse, except maybe this one.

I'm still with you, Keenan. Bullies don't own the whole debate, and often their goal is more to support themselves than to care about (much less mentor) the meek. People are usually most effective at just one type of intellectual battle.


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