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?
Yes, one of the best tactics. It's always best to simply point out little "problems" like that with their philosophy, then leave it alone to fester in their minds. No one can de-convert them; they have to do it themselves.
As for offending them, I try not to, but I also know that for many of them my very existence offends them. Therefore, I don't feel guilty when I do actually offend them. But I do worry. Some of them are crazy, and they are all gossip mongers. The best way to get your thoughts off your chest is to plant those little thought barbs I mentioned. That way, you ease your own discomfort without giving them an excuse to malign you.
I think it was Dawkins, who explained it once, that clicked with me when he said he had a Christian tell him out and out, " It doesn't matter if you could categorically PROVE to me there was no God, I will still believe it anyway because I have faith." That -- is how I have experienced most debate with family and friends.
Several thoughts on your comment, if you don't mind.
What is the one thing that separates us from the rest of the primates? Our ability to reason. We use reason for in all our daily decisions, except on faith. Why should we not use our ability to reason on matters of faith? How could this be the wisest directive with respect to using our brain, to use our reasoning on everything else except on matters of faith? Why would a god give us a brain but then tell us not to use it on such an important issue.
When I've said this to my Christian relatives, they don't know what to say. They have no answer. My hope is I just helped my relatives use their brain and think. Awesome concept!
(Side note: Am I allowed to plug my new website? I hope so. I've created a new atheist logo and it's available on fine apparel and merchandise here: http://www.noneexist.com)
I'm not experienced enough (or maybe patient enough) to have gotten that far.
I look forward to the next opportunity now. ; )
PS. Love the new site and concept.
I will definately frequent.
Why do I take the position that conversation is the answer? 911.
911 was our wake-up call in the United States. We've seen suicide bombers pummel Europe for years. It was only over there, we thought, something for them to worry about. Now it's here. Now, we all know that people are willing to kill others (on any continent) in the name of their invisible friend, their god.
Okay, here's a big question. Isn't our responsibility as atheists, freethinkers, skeptics, humanists, nontheists, heretics (by whatever name) to start the conversation?
What is one of our greatest tools to help us to learn what to say in our conversations with the believers? The internet. It's helps to spread knowledge. We have excellent books by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and others which tear apart the Bronze Age and Iron Age myths. And they have lots of online videos.
Then we have websites, blogs, twitter, facebook, and etc., which give us instant access to good reasons why Christianity and all religions are simply man-made. These books, videos and websites give excellent reasons, in detail, for not only rejecting the teachings of all religions but why they are dangerous and hinder the forward healthy progress of any society.
It's conversation or war. Is it not time to start the conversation, to avoid a war?
(Side note: I'll plug my website again. I hope you don't mind. I've created a new atheist logo and it's available on fine apparel and merchandise here: http://www.noneexist.com)
Hilde I don't have that problem. I am not here to convert anyone but if you are going to challenge me or ask me my postitions I have no problem expressing them. I don't feel there is a need to not hurt someone's feelings. If their feelings get hurt based on my position of the existence of God then they have much greater issues then that.
It seems to me theists wear their beliefs on their sleeves. I will not do that because it is not necessary. Having said that, I have no problem expressing my position and do not profess it with "I am sorry but". No reason to apologize.