When I'm arguing with a theist, I always find myself being.... well not myself. I feel I have to try to break all the stereotypes of atheism and not give it a bad name. Like I am a representative of atheism, and i can't say what i really want to say. Without fear of the repercussions of what the people will think, of atheism in general. So why should I, fell obliged to try to disprove the misconceptions about atheism, when it intervenes with who I am? Now you could say I am "being selfish" but I could say the same about anybody that wants me to disprove all the misconceptions about atheism. Since they are thinking about themselves or the atheism community, and the way society will treat them, if there are still stigmas about atheism.
So lets hear it, why should i be nice to the religious when the only reason I'm doing it is to disprove the misconceptions of atheism? Why can't I tell them to STFU, without fear of the repercussions, that the atheism community will face?
Forrest: You're a doctor, not a boxer. As I see it, *if* your objective is to plant seeds, to convince another person of your view, or to liberate them from toxic 'cognitive viruses,' then you've got to apply yourself evenly and judiciously. Imagine your doctor or your shrink telling you to 'Fuck-off' because you didn't respond to the first round of treatment. Ya prolly wouldn't go to that doctor again, eh?
I very STRONGLY recommend that you visit a video series on YouTube by user, Evid3nc3, called "Why I am no longer a Christian." You can find it here It will help you understand his model for belief which is based on a spider-web and demonstrates that it takes diligence and time to free people from the net - cutting just one or two of the web's support cables doesn't bring the whole thing down.
HOWEVER... if your objective is to simply represent yourself to an inquisitive person, then do just that. Answer some basic questions, feed an inquisitive mind, share a deep part of who Forrest is. Their access to the 'deep' part of Forrest is a privilege, not a right.
IF they insist on contesting you, are obstinate, or brow-beat you and rain-down a torrent of challenging and rhetorical questions, simply tell them that you're perfectly satisfied with the bases for your belief and tell them politely-but-assertively that you're not interested in debating with them until they are genuinely open-minded and then *thank them* for their interest. You've taken all the power from them when you simply fail to take their bait. It doesn't make you a wimp or bad person - it makes you a confident, assertive, well-heeled person who is smarter than to take the bait of emotional dynamite.
Simply leave them with a single charge to investigate Critical Thinking and Logical Fallacies are. If they research these issues on their own, their likely to convince themselves faster than you can convince them.
I wish you all the best and hope this advice proves useful. Don 't take the bait, Forrest. Leave them with their own emotional dynamite. Peace.
So, "Neal," you think my reply is BULLSHIT, do ya?
Well, why don't you just SHUT THE FUCK UP!
.... ok, I think I've made my point here. Emotive explosions will only get you so far. Clearly you're selecting to use provocative language (e.g., pussy atheist, bullshit, bastards, etc). Me, I prefer light to heat and don't need to dominate someone to have an impact on them and don't need to convert them on the spot. When I see someone like Forrest getting so upset that he is compelled to express himself by degrading another, it is a sign of distress and - frankly - of maturity (no offense intended). Yes, we will all be wrong from time to time, but we don't need to goad that condition either.
You make excellent points relative to how others could perceive a less confrontational form of engagement - and that's fine. My objective here was to provide Forrest with a means of controlling his own condition and not being trapped by someone else's emotional snare. What others think of this one interaction with one atheist was not my concern - Forrest's sense of contentment is. When Forrest is ready, he will be able to have empathy and pity on those that contest him - and won't be frustrated by them.
No, you're absolutely right, no one form of communication suits everyone - never implied it did. In fact, contrasting communication can go a long way (good-cop / bad-cop). I think that people like S. Harris, D. Dennett, and to some degree R. Dawkins suddenly become more tolerable and attractive when cast against the likes of C. Hitchens and G. Carlin. In fact, as I begin my own atheist proselytizing in Atlanta, I'd ideally connect with someone that would serve as a useful contrast.
You're right, some people do respond to more-aggressive communication and that's fine. In my opinion, using aggressive language is fine when it is an honest representation of yourself. However, I believe that it is trouble when aggressive communication is largely a symptom of frustration, desperation and impotence, and ineffectiveness. That's when it is time to preserve your own well being and intensely discount the other person and their needs by letting them go and not responding to the need to retaliate.
You bring up good points, Neal, that have helped to stretch my own world view. Thanks, Eric
That is the best, since it gives me no clue as to sincerity, because I didn't hear your inflection. If sarcasm, I would respond in one way, if heartfelt, would respond in another. If voice didn't give me a clue, then maybe you rolled your eyes as you made the statement. Again would respond in a certain manner. Or maybe you looked me straight in the eye, who knows?
There is much to be missed in conversation sitting behind my screen, typing away, without seeing reactions to my words. Live conversation means you can tell when you've hit a nerve with what you have said, then you can pursue or change the subject. So much more information can be gained in a minimal time frame from non vocal clues.
This is very true, and often the cause of many heated arguments on the net. Inflection, tone of voice, non-verbal (and some verbal) cues, all are missing from a text-based conversation.
Sometimes I wonder what replacing text-based responses with all A/V ones (kind of like YouTube video responses) would be like. Points for restoring a lot of context to these conversations, but I could see privacy concerns being an issue. Would people who just recorded audio be considered less trustworthy by virtue of not providing facial cues? How about people who used virtual avatars that mimicked their facial expressions?
@"Neal" Yeah, I am enjoying the conversation too. My admitting that you've stretching my own world view was quite genuine. The combination of the way I was raised, the kind of communication I respond to, my personality, and my perception of the density of information transmitted by that kind of dialog that makes it unsavory for *me.*
There are plenty of other people that 'get' this kind of exchange and it would be good for me to be able to speak it should I run into those that are responsive to it.
Well there are ways of making your points..... that will have the effect of making your opposition.. SHUT THE FUCK UP..... or explode into profanities or adhom's.. because they are unable to rebut them.
You can keep it interesting and vigorous without resorting to personal attacks...(STFU's) It keeps them off balance and on their toes if you are the one sticking to the points.... Once the argument gets derailed to 'you're an idiot......shut the fuck up'... then its derailed for good...
Many times and I would say MOST of the time its the theist who resorts to various forms of STFU.
They don't want to discuss it, they don't want to think about it... they want to browbeat you into acceptence or silence.
You can choose to answer like they do... with STFU... or with rock solid points.
I think what really happened here was a moment of frustration. We've all had them. They can be forgiven. If you don't feel like debating, decline politely. If you are down, do it with equal politeness. Why? Because you can be assured that it makes them all crazy-like, even if they don't visually get riled up. That is your reward. And maybe, just maybe, you'll bring them over to the Dark Side. Wheeee!