I have an ongoing debate with a "godoholic" co-worker. I have tried in vain to be the voice of reason...but I'm evidently not finding the right words or phrasing.
She is firmly convinced that "St. Anthony" looks out for her when it come to trivial matters such as lost keys or jewelry. She swears that if you pray hard enough, St. Anthony will guide you to its hidden location. "Believers are receivers", she proclaims.
My godoholic friend fails to see the power of coincidence at work here...rather than the power of prayer. If you look for something long enough in the place where you lost it, chances are that you'll eventually find it. If she lost her keys in Nebraska...prayed really hard...then found them while she was on safari in Zimbabwe....THEN I might be convinced.
Because she's had a number of fortunate coincidences, her faith is strengthened. Or as I call it, "receivers are believers". If she'd failed to find most of these lost items, something tells me she wouldn't be much of a believer.
I remind her of the constant suffering in the world (natural disasters, starvation, disease, etc.)...and the priority issues of saints/angels/gods who would ignore praying cancer patients, because they were too busy helping her find her keys. It seems at best illogical....at worst, cruel & insane. I know the belief in St. Anthony might seem sweet & harmless, but I think it's a smaller symptom that enables a greater problem -- religion in general.
Is there an argument of reason I'm omitting here? I realize that I'm a glutton for punishment to debate delusional Christians (redundant phrase, I know)...but I can't fight my desire to help an otherwise-intelligent person see through the silly superstition that holds back the progress of their life...and ultimately, the world.
I welcome your advice.
It is staggering to see the depths to which people will go to rationalize away their ridiculous beliefs.
I don't bring politics into work....but for me, religion is another matter. It isn't just a simple "agree to disagree" issue. Religion begets bigotry, oppression, the blocking of scientific & civil progress, etc. If you had a co-worker who was openly racist, I would hope you would not just "live & let live".
And I would hesitate to use the word "convert". I don't "push beliefs" on anyone...because I don't HAVE any beliefs. I just suggest to people that they use reason & logic and think for themselves. No reasonable person would just ACCEPT the insane dogma that religion pushes.
Thank you for the advice...I suspected that most people would just throw their hands up & say "forget about 'em". I do hope someday to find the properly-convincing argument that will help her to "see the light" (ironic phrase, I know).
Try this on her:
According to Corinthians 15:3-8, Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after his death, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I
also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the
scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he
was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part
remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen
of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as
of one born out of due time.”
According to John 20:24-28, Jesus appeared to people in physical form after his death and they were able to touch him in order to
verify he was real: “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not
with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have
seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print
of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand
into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples
were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and
stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach
hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust
it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and
said unto him, My Lord and my God.”
So, from these passages we learn that Jesus can and did physically appear to people in order to prove that he exists and that he is the resurrected Son of God. Remember that for a moment. It is very important.
Now, according to several passages in the Bible, God will do anything we ask as long as we believe in Jesus and pray for it:
Matthew 21:21: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
John 14:14: “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given you.”
Matthew 17:20: “Nothing will be impossible to you.”
Mark 11:24: “Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
There you have it. In the Bible, Jesus has given us a way to verify whether or not he is the resurrected Son of God. All we have to do is
believe in Jesus and then pray in Jesus’ name that he appear to us in physical
form so that we may touch him and know that he is the resurrected Son of God.
So, go ahead… what are you
I love how it seems that most atheists have done more biblical homework than most Christians.
Is it the Atheists that have done more biblical homework - Or is it the ones who have done more biblical homework that leads one to Atheism ....
Hmmm ... But what would be more fun is to come up with rationalizations as to why those above passages about prayer should not be taken 'literally' ... But the parts in the O.T. about Homosexuals and Masturbation are obviously from the mouth of God herself.
Right on, Dustin....
"Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov
It seems to me that using this saint thing makes it easier to have confirmation bias. The rules, the rituals, figuring out which is the right saint to pray to, all allow for humans to mess up. Asking for little things that are likely to happen on their own might counteract the bigger things if you have enough of them. Because of that it really hard to reason them out with the big picture thing (ignoring natural disasters and the like) because they have a bunch of little bricks build up from the ritual and the little things.
What advice I would give you depend on how these debates are coming about. If you are seeing someone who you want to help but doesn't want it, then I would stop. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink issue. If she is coming up to you and starting the conversation, I would go ahead and try the biblical method. In my experience, that seems to be a very useful way of explaining your point of view.
Mostly, I wouldn't push it too far anyway. You don't want to make work hard for you or your co worker. You do still have to get along with them and making them to uncomfortable might cause some serious bad feelings between you. It sucks because sometime it seems like you have to be the bigger person when no one else has to. But you still have to live a life. That is my two cents. Thanks.