Would you 'convert' someone to Atheism if it meant destroying their moral framework?

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)



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You've implied that being politically correct isn't being aggressive, but then say that aggressiveness doesn't preclude sensitivity (being politically correct).  If aggressiveness is about moving forward to reach a goal, then an active fight and being PC are one in the same in achieving the ends, but by two different methods.


However, that's not what you originally implied.  You implied that using an aggressive offensive is what's needed while excluding those who are PC as being non-aggressive.  So yes, it does oppose your original stance if we're using your definition of aggressive from your last reply.  






Right, and that's been established.  The problem is that you defined aggressiveness as NOT excluding sensitivity.  Being politically correct IS being sensitive ie, acceptance and tolerance.  So by your own admittance with your listed definition and description of being aggressive, you basically said that being pc is considered aggressive.

My true experience with people, is that religion never really turns anyone into a better person. Or really that much into a worse person, either.  You're good or you're bad, you're sociable or you stay to yourself, people find reasons to like you or to dismiss you, you end up being successful or you don't, no matter what philosophy or religion you choose (or accept just because that's what your family follows).  


Of course, some people like alcoholics and addicts do find something to grab onto and clean themselves up with religions - but actually, overall, the same proportion of such people who try to improve do so across the board no matter what new course they choose and adhere to. (in fact, people who join theism-heavy Alcoholics Anonymous are MORE likely to "slip back" than alcoholics who work to clean up on their own!)    


If your friend is bright and kind and moral, it is because of what is in his own life, not because of a religion his parents taught him.


Imagine if your friend was in Nazi Germany or 1990's Rwanda - do you think if he was handed a gun and TOLD by his family and society that being a killer was the right thing to do, that he would go out and murder who he was told to?  Or do you think he would say "Hold on! I'm not sure bout this, you haven't convinced me WHY you say these certain people are sub-human and should be killed?", or even join The Resistance based on his high morals and love of people? 


I really don't think your friend is such a great and caring guy just because he's Methodist.  And I really don't think if he thought about things and chose another philosophy, he would become any different.


If he DID change philosophies and then became a terrible person, that means he was never a good person in the first place, just faking it, a liar.  And that would come out sooner or later, no matter what or because of anything you or anyone else told him. 


Spartacus of Thrace (good username, by the way): You said "If your friend is bright and kind and moral, it is because of what is in his own life, not because of a religion his parents taught him."

This is an assumption, though, since we don't know that person. It’s illogical to say we can know for sure it’s not because of his religion. It might not be because of his religion, and it might be because of his religion. Pull one major thread from the tapestry of a person’s life and we do not know all of what else will become undone.

it can be quite harrowing to lose your faith.  it was for me. 


i don't think one can be converted to atheism.  you can encourage critical thinking which may have atheistic implications (that there is no god controlling anything), but atheism is nothing more than a negation.  not a worldview, not a philosophy. 

that you have to pick up on your own.  you could have a nonbeliever who thinks that they have an obligation to treat others with kindness because that's how they want to be treated.  you could have a objectivist who also doesn't believe in any gods but sees themselves as wolves and society as sheep to be exploited to their benefit. the only thing they have in common is that they lack belief in santa jesus.


again, atheism not being a way of life, just a lack of belief.  encouraging people to think for themselves and learn to question everything. 


michael shermer had a great quote for the paperback edition of "why people believe weird things."  it was a response to the question: why should we believe anything you say?


"you shouldn't."  cogita tute- think for yourself.

I would surely give it a try... but bear in mind: “You just can’t win with these people” (cit. from movie "Paul", 2011) ;)

And as someone said already: religion does not equal high morals! What he will lose in faith, he will surely gain in coherence and lack of hypocrisy. 

I think for some people - the lowest of low of society the fear of hell does indeed play a deterrent. Think about it: religious has been used as the crux to control societies from the beginning of civilization.

Speaking generally...


What "moral framework" allows someone to undermine someone else's moral framework?


Respect people's boundaries. When you make a full court press against what other people believe in, it just brings out their resistance. On the other hand, if the other person knows you are an atheist, they may want to open up a discussion. At that point, just answer their questions; don't attack them or their views.


As wrong as religion may be, filling them with doubts they're not ready to deal with is unkind and irresponsible.

My thoughts, so long as your friend isn't harming anyone else with his beliefs, let him keep them. Perhaps wait for a time in his life when it might be more opportune to talk about it if you want to, or maybe just work away at it slowly, one concept at a time. If he is a nice person now, then odds are even with radical changes in beliefs he'll continue to be the same nice person, but less delusional.

I'm pretty sure that if a person would lose all their direction in life as well as their morals if they left religion than chances are they will never leave religion.

His morals have nothing to do with his religion. He is a Christian which means that he goes by the bible - he could choose to believe in all the violent hateful stuff about killing nonchristians and people who work on the sabbath and children of unmarried women and oppressing women and gay people. The fact that he does not do that and instead takes on all the love your neighbour stuff can only be down to his individual morals. He would have those regardless of his religious beliefs.

To be fair, the teachings of Jesus are much more benign and loving than the teachings of some other more vile of religions. I find most Christians not to be violent people or inclined to violence.


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