I was curious, if an atheist friend of yours showed interest in becoming religious or joining a church... what would you do? Would you try to dissuade him or her? Would you be supportive?
I know many religious people who try to dissuade people they know from becoming an atheists, so I am just wondering if it works the other way around?
id ask him/her why if it was for a majorly illogical reason i would try to dissuade them by stating all the reasons why religion is completely illogical but if for an understandable reason like depression i would ask him/her why he/she made such a decision or is thinking about it and try to help him/her through the the pain or such in the same way that i escaped my depression by helping him/her realize who he/she really is. I've been through depression due to me not coming out as bisexual but through it all i did not even think about turning back to the black hole that is religion. everyone live long and and stay logical.
I recon it would be important, 'specially if the friend is a close friend, to make an attempt at stopping them. Ask why they would want a life filled with guilt, death worship, abandonment of reality and the rest of the sordid fraudulent nonsense touted by the severely deluded. It has nothing positive to offer, so do your best. On the other hand, if the other person is an as*hole, then them getting sucked into the religious void could be a fortunate thing, for yourself at lest.
If they asked I would offer my opinion and advise against it but I would not press the issue or give them a hard time I figure its there life to live so they can make there own choices. The only way I would do more is if they were joining a truly harmful or objectionable group. For a few examples Scientology, a end of the world cult, or a especially nasty and hurtful group like the Mormon Church. In these examples I would voice my opinion and most likely cut ties in the case of joining a hate group like the Mormons. To be clear I would not cut most people out of my life for embracing a religion in most cases I would wish them well but some religions are vile and I cant support some one who chooses to join a group that excludes and spreads lies about others based on there race or sexuality. In the case of Scientology or a end of the world cult I could not let some one I care for be taken in by a scam that is focused on getting there money. Also some of the end of the world cults have very disturbing things going on multiple wives and mass suicides I could not in good conscious let a friend walk into that.
I will ask him/her what the reason? is it fear? because making a decision based on fear
I had an experience that could kind of be along this line of thought. An ex of mine, with no religious background or understanding (parents thought she would learn it in her life n make a decision, though this just left her with no knowledge of the topic) made friends at uni with an evangelical christian. When they got close, her friend brought out the "its not good enought to just be a good person to got to heaven blah blah fear god etc.". So she turned to me and I was able to talk her through her fears of hell. This is probably not exactly what you asked, but maybe a lot of cases people are persuaded to turn to religion because someone has hit a hole in their knowledge. Alternatively it's due to a personal experience n to that, I'd still probably try to persuade them but would be a harder door to try to kick through.
"What would you do?"
Nothing. I hate interfering in other people's choices, even if they are about to make truly bad ones.
"Would you try to dissuade him or her?"
No, but it should be noted that my friends are well aware of my attitude towards religion and the religious, and the person would therefore already know that I would have no respect for the choice. If they specifically asked for my advice I would make it clear, in no uncertain terms, exactly how idiotic I think such a choice would be.
"Would you be supportive?"
No. I would probably include them personally in my routine mocking of religion. I may not be the one who stops people from themselves, but I don't support what I think is silliness either.
This quite sums up the post I was going to write. Thumbs up!
I guess it depends on how close you were with them but I think yes, I would gently question their interest in possibly turning to or returning to religion. As others have mentioned it may be a life crisis. The community here is great but it is a virtual community and when people need somewhere to turn to, sadly there are not enough atheist communities to go to for support. This is why I feel the need is great to create a local community wherever we are.
Well personally I would support something like that. We're talking about a critical, adult mind, which can hopefully decide what's what. Then again, some choose to ignore/not follow their own better judgement. However, if said person was seriously investigating a religion, then I'd be in their corner for sure.
Then again, I don't know if I really belong on this platform... I'm fiercely agnostic. (oxymoron??)
Just my 2 cents.
Haha kind of an oxymoron as the only difference I can find when looking up the difference in the terms agnostic and atheist, is that some people label agnostic as feeling like the answer to whether there is a god/s is unknowable and not worth discussing, but that would mean you wouldn't be on this forum.
Huxley coined the term agnostic as a softer way of saying atheist. You doubt the existence of a god but evidence could sway most people. The term was a-gnostic as in against gnosticism or the knowledge of the church. Saying straight out atheist wasn't that great back in those days.
So I put it to you that you are an atheist, just not a 7 on Dawkins' scale, maybe just a 5?
I'm not familiar with that definition. I personally take it to mean that, while the existence of a god isn't knowable, the fact that humans kills each other based on a belief makes it very real.
I guess I'd fall under the "agnostic atheist" category, so maybe I'm half 'in'.
It would surely be possible to locate some deity in the universe, were it to exist. Since we haven't yet found evidence of the existence of a deity, I can't in good conscience believe in one.
You totally threw me off with that Huxley reference! My mind still goes to the author! :D
So, back on topic:
Have the talk
Support their decision
Don't go with them to services etc.
Haha good course of action. Yeah "Darwin's bulldog" not Aldous Huxley. Thing is with that definition that you put yourself under is very much how an atheist would describe themselves. Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens and Harris have all at some stage said 'you can never know there is no god/s, to say there definately isn't requires almost as big a leap of faith' (that's paraphrasing and a combination of all 4 people's words lol). Yes religion is very real, and people's own experiences are just as real to them (Hitchens speaks very eloquently about that), but to say they are true realities of the world? You would have to say that all alien abduction experiences that are caused by sleep paralysis (again never saying they are all false though I doubt it) are just as real. Sorry, digressing again.