I don't mean that they would literally go crazy and kill everyone, I mean like if they would lose their direction in life, stop being selfless etc.
I know lots of really nice (obviously deluded) religious people, but for an example, I'll use a friend of mine called Callum.
He gets A* in EVERY single test and has had all As on every report since I've know him.
He is a VERY VERY nice person, (EVERYONE likes him) and he somehow manages to be popular with people without going against his views or getting in trouble. Ftr, I'm in secondary school (which is like middle school in America I think..? Anyways I'm 14) and he has never gotten in trouble either.
I often have religious debates with him (he's Methodist, I believe) and his arguments aren't very good but I never win him over.
I'm also pretty sure that all of the above comes as a result of his faith and morals (which is rare in teenagers these days, I know xD)
I have never sat him down and drilled atheism into him as I know I could (I've done it to others in the past) because I genuinely think it would ruin him as a person?
What would you do? (taking into account that we go into this debate assuming Atheism is the right way of life xD)
I never set out to "convert" someone; however, I would not feel bad about doing it based on upsetting his "moral framework." If he is moral only because of his fear of God's punishment, he perhaps needs to realize that he can be moral without it, if he so chooses. Conversely, if a lack of God's restraint frees immoral impulses in him, I'm sure they would have come out eventually, God or no god. After all, most serial killers were raised in religious homes; or at least so it seems, based on newspaper accounts. Years ago, when I attended the Baptist church (as a curious atheist) I sure saw a lot of people there whose moral frameworks were rather rickety.
There really is no one right way to live your life.
If you chose to be truthful, and genuinely believe this person to be your friend, then there is no need to convert anyone. Just be yourself. The hypocrisy encountered in everyday life, where religion, and belief system are concerned should be enough for the average person to "smell" a rat in the system.
The Idea of converting someone...just puts you in the same shoes as those that forced others to become christains all over the world, just like a jesuit priest in the 1800's.
Live your life as truly as you can, and the rest will flow more naturally.
Atheists take on burdens that the “faithful” cannot bear:
Theists and atheists alike operate on an all-too-narrow bandwidth of knowledge and discipline. A wider channel can be acquired only by study, being challenged, and having to respond.
Nothing wounds vanity like having one’s face pushed into a conceptual quagmire of one’s own making. Believing is so much easier than being skeptical and rational.
A lack of trained-in discipline shows itself in a limited knowledge across spacetime (synchronic) and along spacetime (diachronic), conceptual confusion, a marked absence of (self)-critical thinking and elementary logic.
In this thread it’s easy to locate the following problems:
1. Boundary conditions violated (lack of conceptual clarity)
2. Unknowable assumptions (if extreme = poisoning the well)
3. Ethical relativism (black & white thinking)
• Any attempt to provide a direct response to the central query will likely be as confused as the putative question.
For example, one attempted response engages in a partially expressed logical fallacy of black and white thinking (or false dilemma). It is expressed in a supposed equivalence of all life-style choices -- mores or morality or ethics. Moral relativism appears as the “white horn” of the false dilemma opposed to its unexpressed, but equally false, equally simplistic twin, the “black horn” of authoritarianism.
The search terms to rectify the error: black and white thinking, (moral) relativism, (moral) perspectivism, Nietzsche’s perspectivism, Marvin Harris’ cultural materialism; see his Cannibals and Kings.
• The question initially posed can not be answered as it stands.
The question poses a case which can be characterized as an extreme (statistical) outlier. Call this the ‘overcrowded lifeboat scenario’. Consider that mores, morality, and ethics are designed to be canned answers, indoctrinated by authority figures, which apply to average individuals going about their average lives -- at the boundaries facile answers lead to thoughtless action, as found among so-called "pro-life" xian authoritarians.
Moreover, moralities can not be evaluated by a moral yardstick -- that leads nowhere but endless repetitions of assumed moral superiority or bland admissions of cultural relativism, both horns of the false dilemma above. But, that does not mean yardsticks don't exist.
Search terms in addition to those above: Nietzsche’s notion of “health” of a culture, for Nietzsche start with Kaufmann’s index to his Nietzsche, philosopher psychologist and anti-christ.
I would not try to "convert" anybody. My biggest beef with organized religions is that they can be too "on your face".
It doesn't matter to me if someone believes that the squirrel sitting on the brach over there is the One True God; just leave me alone about it.
Now when they try to insinuate religion into politics and what not, that's another matter.
I agree with Dan - that is exactly my position - I just don't care what people do, just not in the street please. It's when they come knocking at my door, or are pushing laws in parliament, or getting into secular schools. That's when I start frothing at the mouth.
It's when we have an insidious catholic church here, jehova witness pedophiles and muslimism - is there such a word - is on the rise. Really scary.
I have friends who seem to benefit from religion if only it helps them feel more positive about themselves. I even recommend church to a couple friends who need all the support they can get. At the same time, I discouraged them from being taken in by Jehovah's Witnesses, when they seemed especially vulnerable to suggestion. The church they go to now is non-denominational, and positive in many respects. Perhaps someday they'll gain enough self-esteem to be able to think for themselves more confidently and positively.
Even if religion has historically had a negative impact overall, I believe that it can have a positive, placebo affect on some people. Meanwhile, without going into a pro-atheism (or should I just say anti-theism) stance with them, I try instead to point out to them how their strengths and successes come from within themselves, and that the key is to find positivity and goal-seeking in whatever ways work best for them. This may also help them break from religion one day, if they eventually consider doing so.
At age 14 I would let it go right now. If he has a strong set of beliefs it's because he has had them drilled into his head at home. I would keep debating him when it does come up, but remembering he truly believes what he is saying, so respectfully debate without name calling and degrading and when he is older and starts to define himself more and more he come to the point when he questions his beliefs. Everyone regardless of religion does.
Your question assumes that religion is the morality that binds us. The description you gave of your friend is very rare indeed… even of the most devout believers. To think that losing faith in a god would undo what appears to be an otherwise good upbringing is absolutely absurd. Apparently you don’t think very highly of your friend if you think that he’s so weak that he cannot possibly prosper without his faith.
As you know there are NO atheists who excel in school, commit selfless acts, who are extremely charismatic and personable, or who lead moral lives as productive members of society. And of course none of these are ex-believers… after all, those characteristics are reserved ONLY for the faithful. If you think this statement is utterly absurd, then you are correct. Faith does not have a monopoly on morals and your friend will be just fine (if not better off) without faith.
I wouldn't really "drill atheism into him" because that's not what atheism is all about. You don't want to force anyone to believe a certain thing because that's what atheism tries to get away from. If I tell someone I am an atheist they question me and try to force me to believe what they believe, (trust me, you will deal with this all throughout high school). If you want to try to enlighten someone you know to become an atheist, just talk to them normally, inform them of what you believe and that they should really look into what being an atheist is and is not. As for the second part, a person's morals doesn't necessarily come from their religious beliefs, that is just the delusion that the religious person lives in.