Some of my best friends are christians, and I don't mean I-go-to-church-on-christmas christians, I mean they really believe. Some say they're just "spiritual". A lot of times we end up discussing big questions about god, life and death and ethics and morality. But I feel like I always have to hold back on what I really want to say, because I don't want to offend anyone. I don't really mind people being religious, as long as they keep it to themselves, but I always have to fight the urge to try and "convert" people to atheism.
Do anyone else have this problem? And if so, how do you deal with it?
Great cartoon, Laura!
Hehe :P That's awesome!
The strange thing in Norway is that, because we have a state church, something like 80% of the population are actually members, and listed as christians. But the reality is that most people hardly ever go to church, and most people don't really believe the biblical myths.
It depends. Most of the time among my friends the topic doesn't come up, but sometimes it does, for example someone says "let us all go to the temple" and I say "no, let's go to a bar, its more fun" and someone quickly mentions that I am a non-believer and then everyone avoids the topic.
But, at other times when someone mentions a news item about a woman getting raped, and a particularly religious guy comments that she had it coming / deserved it because she wears jeans or some such crap, that REALLY pisses me off and I take a moment to tell him what an asshole he's being. Or when someone comments that homesexuals should be given counseling (on how not to be homosexual), I give that person counseling on how the world would be a better place for everyone if he chooses not to wake up in the morning and goes right back to sleep. But this kind of thing happens rarely. Mostly everyone avoids the topic, and so do I.
Here's my point of view. If your Christians friends are open to talking about the "big" questions, then I would certainly talk about atheism. Why do I think this is the appropriate road to take?
1) The church does not teach reason, rationality and the mythology of all religions to their followers. You will be talking about concepts which they have never heard about. I think this is a golden opportunity for you to talk to them.
2) They are willing to talk to you about their faith, why can't you have the same amount of time talking to them? (Stated another way: Why not be as willing to talk to them?)
3) They are making huge truth claims. They know (thunder and lighting) a god. Wow. If more people called Christians on the carpet about what they are really saying, I really think they'd start feeling silly.
4) There is either conversation or no conversation. If there is no conversation, how can your friends come to the realization that they are simply believing in ancient mythology?
A few sites to help get the conversation started:
One of my favorite things is to use small quick quotes. Such as:
I think that discussing why Christianity is mythology is a long and tedious process because there are many invalid teachings that followers simply accept without thinking about them.
I think that main stream religions are simply functional cults. These cults allow you to go to work and live your own life without forcing people to live in a communal setting. This is why I think it's a good thing to talk to your friends and ask them to examine the truth claims they are making and if these truth claims really make sense.
If you need book recommendations or online videos, let me know.
That was a great answer. Something I am printing out to use myself. It's the most valuable, concise "how-to" on debating religious sentiment: A bit of information, a few quotations, and a line of thinking to keep in mind - all neatly contained. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for your reply. I just started an account with Think Atheist as of November 2010. I think I'd like to post (on Think Atheist) all my favorite online videos by my favorite public atheists but I'm not sure where to do this.
However, if you or anyone would like my list of online videos, let me know and I'll email them to you. I also have more atheist reference websites as well. Oops, I think I just created a lot more work than I think I have time for.
Let me know if you need more information.
I agree with Kristin; this is really helpful!
I especially like the insightful quotes, I think I might use them :)