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?



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I wouldn't mind adding a twist to this question: What if a close friend of yours was critically ill but either (a) Was already religious and felt the only solution was faith healing; or (b) Wasn't religious but felt the only solution was to use alternative medicine.

I'd further add that you knew what illness they had was able to be treated/cured with western medicine. Would you feel more compelled to interject then?

I really have to disagree here. "Western medicine often does more harm than good" is a gross exaggeration especially when you look at leaps and bounds made with penicillin, the small pox eradication (which faith healing was of no help), organ transplants, cochlear implants, pacemakers etc., the list is too long.

I have no doubt that the placebo effect may be strong and that surgery can be risky and medicine still not perfect, but I'd give my kids their vaccinations over any current alternative any day; I'd go to a hospital before a guru, shaman or preacher any day; and I'd take medicine over a homeopathic remedy any day too.

Wow, talk about obsession.

I know you said often, but I take often as meaning more times than not which I said is a gross exaggeration. I have had my appendix removed, my older sister with Down Syndrome has had her oversized tongue surgically shortened, my father has had kidney stones removed, my gf of the time's mum suffered an aneurysm where she had a 9% chance of surviving, now after many months she is now back to a normal life. During difficulties in my nephew's birth, the Dr's performed an emergency C section and they are both alive and well. These are just the first things that popped into my head from the people directly around me that would have caused death if not treated by western medicine. So I don't have "faith" as you disgustingly put it, I trust the education and skill of trained Ambo's, Doctors and Nurses to do their best. As I said, it still is always risky and we aren't at the pinnacle of knowledge so of course we still have so much more to learn, but at least they are advancing.

I said my kids to get their vaccines, as in childhood vaccinations. I don't take flu shots by advice of a close friend who is a pharmacist.

I'm Australian so I have no idea about what America's health system is like, though I hear it is totally shit, expensive and you don't even have a Medicare system.

I didn't say Mesmer discovered the placebo effect, I was referring to alternative medicines as a whole of which 99% is the placebo effect. Alternative medicines that are proven to work are simply called 'medicine'. Hypnotism sounds interesting but as far as I hear, no proper tests have been conclusive on the matter, though the topic is researched. Oh and of course the pharmaceuticals wouldn't look into hypnotism as it doesn't use pharmaceuticals in any way. They are also businesses so it is undoubted that they would fight to maintain their hold on the market.

Also, pharmaceutical companies can only sell products that have undergone YEARS of testing and with strict guidelines to what gets passed. Homoeopathic remedies (i.e. water) has done none of that and are created, from what I heard, by their own companies that supply internationally. If I'm wrong about that let me know.

Also I almost guarantee that 'scum' has sold you something that at some stage of your life has improved or helped it.



I'll reply properly soon.

I have to start here "I wonder just how many AIDS victims have died of treatment and not the rather illusive HIV virus?" Are you serious?? Really, were you dead set being serious with that comment? Show me cases where the treatment of the HIV virus has been inducing death. Apart from trying to restrict the HIV virus, the main treatment is boosting the immune system. Prove hypnotherapy can do a better job and the treatment will change!

"I pointed out to you very clearly that THE NUMBER ONE SURGICAL PROCEDURE in the world is simply not necessary." You do know that diet and exercise only slows down or stops further build-up in cardiovascular diseases of the heart which is only one type of heart disease. When it becomes too late and surgery is required, how would diet and exercise replace bi-pass surgery? In other types of heart disease, how will diet and exercise treat parasites in or infections of the heart? How will it replace valve-replacement surgery? Or replace pacemakers? And the reason they are the most expensive has a lot to do with the fact that heart surgery takes hours upon hours.

The only assumption I made was that you were American. I never said you condoned homoeopathy, but I have always been talking broadly about both faith healing and alternative medicines. "Actually this is the only case where I might not prevent them. Faith healing actually works in a surprising number of cases and Western medicine often does more harm than good". I then also admitted that hypnotism is interesting and being tested (regardless of what pharmaceuticals want) but so far isn't conclusive.

So I am listening to you and not denying your cases of Mesmer or Dr Scottish-guy-in-India. I never once said that medicine was perfect or that it isn't run by fellow primates wishing to sell their practice or product. I never said we knew everything, just that we are advancing! I have listed reasons for why I would consider it the best course of action if critically ill, therefore why I would promote against use of a quack faith-healer (though again I have admitted the power of the placebo effect).

"You need to open your mind a little. You don't seem to have much experience of life." You've obviously opened your mind so much your brain has fallen out. Yes not my joke and an old one at that but very suitable here.

I agree. I think that a comprehensive education about any given religion (reading all the holy books of that religion, research the history of that religion from credible sources and learn about the expectations of its contemporary culture) would be the most compelling means to dissuade anybody. But supposing that it doesn't, as long as new found belief doesn't end up changing their behavior in a way that is harmful to others, I don't mind them believing in Sky Cake.

I remember a time when my husband, Chris, was getting tired of not getting along with his step-dad, because Chris had began questioning "god", and became agnostic. So one day he told me he wanted me to start going to church with my family, and that he would start going with his as well. 

I made him realize that all he was doing was giving his step-dad what he wants, to see things his way, and that it wasn't making a difference. 

Now, I don't know, if its possible to make a theist realize the foolishness in their belief, but I think if you start with children they can see how ridiculous some things are, like a mother telling her baby that it is sinful and that it needs to ask for forgiveness. You would think the story in genesis would make anyone question it, and great flood of Noah's time, and the fact that Noah did all that while past the age of 600.

But for theists, like all ex-theists have experienced, all you can do is wait for them to crawl out of the deep hole of nonsense, and realize that they have pushed back so much knowledge and their own reality. 

I would probably have to ask them why, and would offer my opinion or advice if they would like any. But if they aren't interested taking about it, I'd probably let them do what they feel is right for them. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want them to go religious, but it's their life and their choice. I would certainly prefer it is they wanted to discuss it though.

Nope, I would let him make his own choices. I don't try to force my beliefs on others. I'd let him know I don't agree with it but that he should do what he thinks is right by him and his. My friends are more important than there beliefs and what they believe wont change what I believe. So why try to tell him what to believe? Somehow what he believes does not threaten me enough to chance losing a friend.

I wouldn't support it, I wouldn't dissuade them either. If they asked me my opinion I wouldn't have one to give because I can't form an opinion on someone else's situation. I can't possibly know what they're feeling, or why they feel that way or analyze the decision enough on their behalf. It's a choice that should be made by the individual. As long as they weren't doing anything dangerous or illegal then I would choose to stay out of it. I believe its completely unfair and immoral when religious people try to convert others to their side, so it wouldn't be any more fair or moral to do it to them. 

If I cared about the person and believed they were open to reason, I would absolutely express my concerns for their well-being!

I would ask them to find out what claims & doctrines that church espoused before even touching it, then see what the objections and evidence against those individual claims modern scholars and scientists offered. If need be, I would ask them about specific beliefs: "Do they believe that 8 people aboard an ark managed 2 or 7 of every kind of animal on the planet, that a global flood wiped out the rest of life, and that the 8 people and 2-7 of every kind of animal repopulated the entire earth? Do they believe the Noah's ark story is true?" After finding one, I would make a comprehensive argument as to the wrongness of that claim. I would find examples of preachers/apologists blatantly lying about the said topic and show it to the friend.


If the friend was resistant to being deterred by facts, I would find out what about joining (that )religion appealed to them, and try to demonstrate that said religion is not ideal or even necessary for that purpose.


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