Have you ever been in a debate with a Christian and what you said about their religion offended them personally? Have any of those people been your friends, to whom you have great respect? How do you go about apoligizing for something you are not sorry for saying?

I wear my atheism with pride. I think it is very important that everyone speak out when given the opportunity to place religion in the spotlight and reveal its many ugly sides that are so often ignored. Yet I'm finding more and more that it is impossible to do so without making enemies in the process. Regardless, I feel it is something that needs to be done, but I still feel bad for the hurt feelings I'm causing. I NEVER attack them personally, but if you attack their Jesus or their God, their reaction indicates otherwise... Ugh. It's frustrating.

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That last sentence of yours reminds me of this video


Darkmatter2525 has a theory that people take attacks on their god personally because their god is really just a projection of their own personality.

As for how to apologize I don't know.  Just be glad they aren't the sort of Muslims who start killing people when Allah is offended.

That's a great link Steve - I knew it boiled down to something like that, but darkmatter clarifies the concept. I'm not above stealing it.

Like my old Pappy used to say, "Never judge a man til you've walked a mile in his shoes, then, when you judge him, you're a mile away and you've got his shoes!" Wise man, my Pappy --

pax vobiscum,

Thanks for the link. That makes a lot of sense.

Well, isn't just being an atheist offensive to most religious people out there?

That's very true!

Yes, even breathing as an atheist is offensive to some of these people.

Maybe the answer is to argue (y)our atheism in a way that projects it as an alternative view to theirs, and not a that it's a superior one. No-one wants to be made to feel stupid for their beliefs, but it's easy for atheists to imply this.

If they still take offence afterwards, then it's their problem, and you have nothing to apologise for. If they are assuming that THEIR position is superior and unassailable (and many do, expecting their religion to be respected, no matter how outrageous its claims), then they ARE likely to take offence. Prissiness is not the fault of the other party.

I avoid talking about religion with people whom I wish to keep a good relationship with. If they insist, I preface the following argument with this.

"If you really want to know what I think, I can tell you, but you'll probably be offended. Do you want me to go on...?"

I agree with StevelnCO. Don't apologize. If you aren't insulting them as a person, there is no reason to apologize. They get offended because they can't win, and getting mad is an easy end to the debate. Or you managed to strike a chord with their own unvoiced (is that even a word)  doubts.

Never apologize just because someone can't take criticism, but I'm sure is more than willing and able to dish it out.

The only way we can make any difference is if we never back down from our argument, just like they will take no pity on you and your feelings, you should give them no quarter either.

My best male friend is a Christian.  We get together once a week and jam.  He plays keyboard and I play guitar. I only get involved in a conversation if he brings up something religious.  Otherwise, religion is the elephant in the room and I try to avoid it.  Trying to get him to see that evolution is true and that religion is man made is a real task.  He admits he's been indoctrinated from childhood but that "evil claw of religion" just seems to have a tight hold of him.  He doesn't read that much about science, evolution, atheism but he is a rather intelligent guy.  I think that's why it's so disheartening for me to see him waste his money and life on the dogmatism of Christianity.  Try telling him of all the pedophelia within the Catholic Church and he seems to block his ears.  My next approach, if he brings religion up will be for me to show him Achary S  DVD on "Great Minds of our Time"  which is a great way of showing the history of Christianity and how it evolved from pagan religions.  If I told him Christianity was known as the "Copy Cat" religion I might be wearing my guitar. LOL 

I've deflected this conversation by letting them make all my arguments for me:

I said, "I'd rather not have this conversation with you because I don't want to offend you. But when you can tell me why you don't believe in (Thor,Zeus,Ra, etc) then you'll understand why I don't believe in your god"

Then everything they say against Thor/Zeus/Ra you can just agree with. (But that's just mythology!" "Yes, yes it is.") And everything they say for their god you can throw back to the Ancients ("But MY god is REAL" "That's what the ancient Egyptians said!")  

With any luck, you might be able to just stonewall your way out of offending people too much while allowing them to present your argument to themselves. 

There are, of course, a number of ways this could go wrong

Well, since I don't want to be evangelized by Christians, I don't evangelize my atheism, so your situation wouldn't likely come up in my life.

Psychology 101 is that when someone forces their ideas on others, they engender resistance, not agreement. This is because people don't like being pushed around, so to preserve their autonomy, they assert it.

We'd like to think that Christians can be reasoned with, but one of the pathologies of Christianity is that contrary evidence only provides an opportunity for them to demonstrate the strength of their faith.

You're wasting your time. They will come to atheism on their own, the way almost all of us here did. I'd wager very few of us here are atheists because some atheist clobbered us over the head with syllogisms.


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