I had an argument with a Facebook friend the other week that led to others joining in with her against my expressing my views about her beliefs, and the politics attached to them.

She is Catholic, and was expressing support for the bishops who are suing the US government to stop them "being forced to supply contraceptives".

I linked some article about the absurdity of people - particularly women - who allow their lives (and in particular reproductive lives) to be dictated to be a bunch of celibate men. She deleted my post, and a row ensued, whereby I said that the Catholic church was "founded on a lie which has been allowed to fester for the past 2000 years".

It subsequently lost me more Facebook friends who, I imagine, see me as some kind of "monster" for criticizing this woman's "beliefs". I think I'm just making the woman think.

Am I alone in thinking there are more ways than one of putting an atheist message across? And that although gentle discussion has its place, the occasional blast of "This is how it is" is necessary?


Personally, I'm tired of treading on eggshells around religion. I think it's time to let the Emperor know in no uncertain terms that his new clothes don't exist, and that he's making a fool of himself - even if it means losing friends doing so.

I'm of the opinion that religion isn't just some benign nonsense, but that it has political consequences, and it's an absurdity that causes a lot more problems than it fixes. And that it's about time we made more noise about it.

Opinions, please.

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I love how you always talk in absolutes. Makes it even funnier.

Starting or even engaging in a fight will simply drive them deeper into their positions and stop them from listening. I'm surprised you haven't drawn that lesson from your Facebook experience. I think setting an example is probably the best way to go.

I use to preach tolerance in my younger days, but the older I got the more I realized the damage I was doing. I was an enabler and the humane race was the addict. Sooner or later society will have to make a conscious decision, either we keep these silly mythologies around and stagnate or we finally cast it aside and prosper. Religion has been holding us back for far too long. Don't feel bad about voicing your opinions. It's the chisel that chips away at the marble stone we call religion. After the artist is done the real masterpiece will show. 

"I was an enabler and the human race was the addict".

Precisely!

The Emperor has no new clothes, and has been standing naked in the middle of the room for way too long.

Personally, I'm bored with having to pander to everyone else who doesn't have the guts to speak up.

It's time to tell the emperor to get lost as well.

I agree.  I'm not sure if any "handbooks" exist regarding tactics to use when debating a Theist, but I do know that they have their own apologist books and "Witnessing to an Atheist" books.  I feel like I need one to help build my confidence.  My friends are beginning to confront me and I find myself using soft tactics with them - which are too weak to be very convincing.

Sometimes soft tactics work. Sometimes they don't. All I'm saying is that we should be sure to use hard tactics now and then.

Take for example the fact that there are seven US states where atheists can't hold office.

I'll say that again. THERE ARE SEVEN U.S. STATES WHERE ATHEISTS CAN'T HOLD OFFICE.

Do you really think that quietly defending atheism, and never attacking the absurdity of religion is EVER going to change that?

Being meek doesn't get the job done. Realise that, and you might be halfway towards beginning to affect change.

I was changed by a combination of a few things: argument with atheists, as I tried to protect my ever thinning belief in "spirit"; a good, gentle intellectual argument put forward by Richard Dawkins; a harsher, more brutal argument from Christoper Hitchens, and some fine ridicule of religion from George Carlin.

Attack from all sides: that's the way to go.

One of the things that I've observed about religious people is their tendency to be right wing. Christians are a good example. I thought about it for a while why it seemed so that "The Christian Right" seemed to be a common phenomenon in the US and Britain. Then it occurred to me that part of it is that Christians pass responsibility over to "God" for their actions.

Christians love to spout on about humans being imperfect, and that "God" forgives them for their sins. They believe, too, that they'll even go to "heaven", regardless of how many sins they've committed, as long as they "accept Christ into their hearts". Only then, they think, will they be accepted.

So it's understandable that they'll feel happy: they don't feel responsible for their actions. Look at Tony Blair and you'll see a fine example of someone who doesn't take responsibility for his actions.

And perhaps this is where we have one of the biggest uphill struggles as atheists. We have nobody or no magic pixie to pass the buck over to. We're thinking people, and all we have is the science backed knowledge and conclusions we reach from actually thinking about shit.

Whereas the religious simply accept the bullshit, do what they're told, and pass the buck.

No different whatsoever to a military force: take orders, don't ask questions, and fuck the "enemy" - as long as you've got food on your table, plenty of stuff, and don't have to think too hard.

The extreme wingnutism is religious on both sides. Extreme commies just substitute communism for religion (see North Korea, China).

Its such a shame that people equate some things with wingism... because both sides have good and bad points - down the middle & balance is lost with this new pc that basically is going to turn the world into the film "Idiotocracy".

What do you mean by 'new pc'?

new pc = politically correct, not necessarily true but fits with the desires of the current cultural or social norm.

I guess it's the 'new' that I don't get.  What's new about it?  Also, what is deemed 'politically correct' generally doesn't fit with cultural norms; it seeks to change norms typically through language reform.  Why this would result in Idiotocracy is unclear to me as I can't find any references for this film.  The closest match I can find is Idiocracy, but that can't be right; I mean, how would political correctness encourage the world depicted in Idiocracy, which is about as far away from political correctness as one can get?

Worded differently, I'm afraid I'm a bit lost on your meaning here.

Wow. Many of the Christians I grew up with were very liberal socially, and often quite willing to defy church doctrine. Of course, I grew up in the Episcopal church.

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