Sorry. I'm new here, but I'm already confused.
Why are people arguing the existence/non-existence of God? Honestly is anyone aware of an online conversion being made? In either direction? Has anyone EVER said, "Oh wow, I guess you're right. So there really is/isn't a God."?
To me it makes more sense debating the existence of Santa Clause - which is supported by a great deal more physical evidence. At least I've SEEN Santa Clause.
It seems that engaging in such arguments actually adds strength to theist perspectives because a logical argument should assume a reasonable basis on both sides. Whoever has the best case or makes the best argument wins.
Are there any sound logical arguments in support of God? I assume not. Why then do we argue with people who are not swayed by certainty?
More broadly, why are we here (at TA).
I think that you are missing the point of these debates. We debate religion not (on the whole) to deconvert theists but to engage the logic and rationality that as atheists we posess in spades. Debating something that you believe strongly in is enjoyable and satisfying, particularly if your argument is strong, as much of the arguments against god are.
People are swayed by internet arguments, discussions and debates, but rarely, if ever, during these events - unless the person has very little emotional investment in the outcome.
While de-conversions from a religion are usually lengthy, conversions to religion, often occur in the space of a few minutes or hours. Rational and emotional changes in beliefs and attitudes are very different processes.
Thanks Mo - I love oxymorons and yours - "Theistic Reasoning" has now replaced "Holy Jihad" as my favourite.
Yes nice oxymoron indeed, just like "freedom of religion".
However I'm curious why you would call "Holy Jihad" an oxymoron, they are quite appropriate together, not contradictory at all? "Holy Jihad" is more like a pleonasm... So in this way you get to have two favourites: a favourite oxymoron and a favourite pleonasm :)
I think we need to define "argument" to address the question at hand. If we mean an exchange of ideas or evidence between parties of differing stands on a topic, then yes, I think it is worth it. The theist gets exposed to ideas and facts that may have been hidden from them by family and friends, and the nontheist gets a look into the arguments that are the keystones of personal beliefs. Both sides have the ability to share and receive information, and that is always a good thing. I know that understanding the misunderstandings of theists helps me focus my future discussions for ever-greater effectiveness. I have had these sorts of exchanges with very entrenched religious friends of mine and they have learned from it (as have I). In fact, one of them often comes to me with questions related to science, and even religion, because he understands and respects my standards for research and for judging assertions.
If we use the more colloquial definition of argument as a nasty, defensive exchange between two (or more people), then I agree: walk away.
The OP is not why we're on this site, but why do people argue with believers :)
The whole point of faith is that it does NOT need to obey the laws of logic. Faith and belief are outside the realm of rationality. THAT is why in my view arguing with "them" is useless. And on top of that, for some atheists, the meaning of atheist is limited to stating "there is no god" whereas for others, including myself, as an atheist I reject any supernatural AND religions, including so-called "philosophical religions", which includes Buddhism and Humanism.