I am having an online discussion with a born-again "follower of Christ" lady who says that the fact that I have so many Christians in my life challenging my atheism means that the Lord is courting me. My response has been that I think it is because I am an outspoken atheist and the issue is very important to me, so I tend to give Christians around me reason to talk to me about it.
What should I say to her about why this issue is so important to me without her twisting it around so that it seems I am just confused and seeking Jesus but don't know it?
BTW, I think she thinks she is helping me to find Jesus, but she's not. I am basically studying her. the problem is that I can see how people can be taken in by her message.
As far as what you might say without her twisting it .... there may be nothing, honestly. If she has the premise that everything you say is 'proof' that you really need/are seeking Jesus, there may be no way to get around that with her.
It's very much a self looping mechanism... think of a huge string of yarn wrapped around an axle... except there are no ends... there's nothing to pull to start unraveling it. Perhaps a lot of this is because many of the beliefs are unfalsifiable. There's no way you can 'disprove' that some deity really isn't somehow 'seeking' you (what a pathetic deity it is that has to act this way to 'hint' to you, in the manner she is suggesting).
I suspected this might be a problem with my mom when I finally decided to tell her what I have come to understand. Growing up in a highly religious environment, I know all of the insane mechanisms design to justify the insanity. Comprehensive belief in Christianity is a mental prison where, when you walk out the cell door, you step into the cell were just in.
Before I talked to her about my conclusions, I asked her to suspend the unfalsifiable before we could even have a conversation. For example, if my mom believes, and she does, that if someone doesn't believe in Jesus, that means Satan has been allowed to cloud their mind and is deceiving them. I told her, "We cannot have a real conversation, if you think that everything I think is being modified/affected by some completely non-detectable force to both me and you."
Another unfalsifiable claim I got from her was after I had a long discussion about the Bible and other topics, and she being confounded many things I pointed out, she said, "Well, one thing I know you're missing is what it's like to have a real relationship with him..., I know him, and I know he is real, etc." I said, "What do you mean relationship? How is thinking or talking toward some completely undetectable entity, and reading random literature written thousands of years ago, a relationship?" But there was no point... she said, "Well you just don't understand, I really do know him."
Then I though, "OK, I quit."
Until a Christian can suspend the unfalsifiable claims, and actually consider at the very least that perhaps a deity did not write the Bible, I don't think you'll get anywhere with them. And maybe not even then.
Yes, those are the arguments I am getting from her. I know she won't be convinced otherwise, so that's why I don't want to debate her per se. To be fair, I'm not going to change my mind either. At least I have actual proof for a lot of things I believe are true that are incompatible with many of the things Christians believe.
I want them to know that we atheists are here and aren't going to go along with the crowd just because it's a popular religion where we live or because it's being jammed down our throats.
I had an ongoing game on Facebook with one of my religious cousins. I told her that for every bible quote she posted I would comment in return one that showed the immorality of the bible. A week later she deleted me.
They really do pick and choose, don't they? How convenient. The Facebook lady just emailed me with a list of supposed ways that Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament. Again, she is trying to prove that the Bible is true by what it says in the Bible. I can't even read her email or my brains will drain out my ears.
I think she'd win a cut-and-paste war with me, but I can out-blasphemy her any old time. I have been polite and respectful so far in the discussion, but I'm getting tired of it. I think I should tell her I'd love to read her email and consider each line of scripture thoughtfully, but I have to go rob a liquor store, smoke some hash, sacrifice a kitten to Jaguar Woman, and find 2 or 3 people of indiscriminate sexual orientation with which to have extramarital sex.
I bet she'd have quite the little conversation in her head with Jesus about that one.
There is so much hate and violence in the bible that you could easily win. Don't be afraid to read the bible. For me reading the bible was what pushed me over the edge to leave all religion behind. Just read it cover to cover like any other book and it will give you loads of material to debate with. You should then follow the bible with a Hitchens book.
Oh I have read it, from cover to Some Letter to Some City, until I just couldn't stand it any more. It was depressing! My friends told me to stop reading it - it was pissing me off because it was such crap!
And I did follow it up with several fantastic books.(Why Evolution is True, The Best Show on Earth, and Science: Proof, Passion, and Power.) I felt much better afterwards!
Now I'm reading The God Question, which is a scary piece of evangelical propaganda. I can see how people get sucked in if they don't understand basic concepts of science. I'll have to read Dawkins' new book after.
I've been doing that with my biological son who has recently joined a Pentecostal church. He hasn't responded but 2 of my cousins have. One cousin asked why I was doing it and I said that if he's gonna post verses about the glory of god, it's only fair & balanced that I post verses highlighting the tyranny of it. The silence has been deafening. :-)
Good for you! I feel bad that this will affect your relationship with your son. : (
Don't worry about it, we've never had a close relationship anyway (long story) but any chance we had at one got blown out of the water once he stumbled into his new church. Oh well, his loss. I come from a Jehovah's Witness family, I'm used to the alienation. :D
How Christian of her.
People will believe anything they want to believe. That goes for 'so-called christians' and 'so-called athiests'. It isn't a religion thing, but a perspective thing. Many people simply lack the ability to step into another's shoes, thus they purport their ideals on others. Christians do this. Athiests, bhuddists, muslims, the popular kid at school, republicans and democrats. The list goes on.
As for this lady? I doubt your words will deviate her path for good or worse. But if you can't resist the urge... Ask her what she is doing for Christmas and gently remind her that the practices of the holiday such as trees and wreaths and gifts come from pagan sun-god worship. As a true christian, she should be searching out the iniquities of antiquity. Remind her of the many times God says it is an abomination to do these things. As a free-thinker, you feel obligated to reveal these easily found truths. The easiest of ways is to google the topics and reference them to her bible which you most assuredly can copy/paste from multiple versions online.
Just for kicks, ask her where she thinks the 'three kings' came from. I bet she will never guess the Chaldeans.