I am agnostic, my parents are Christians. We debate about it every now and then but they have kind of given up debating with me because they can't disprove any of my points, they just say to keep reading the bible and quote verses that say that say that non Christians are willfully ignorant. About 2 or 3 weeks ago my mom lost her wallet, and has been complaining to everyone about it ever since. 2 days ago she had us all go in the living room and had my younger sister pray that God would help us find the wallet. About 1 or 2 hours later someone called from Wal Mart and said that a wallet in lost and found belonged to her. My mom has been using this against me ever since. I've already told her about studies that showed prayer has no effect on the health of hospital patients but she just says she doesn't know, and it's God's will. How do I show her that things like this aren't sufficient evidence for a personal god?

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Comment by Strega on January 29, 2013 at 3:27pm

Well firstly, her god either made her lose her wallet, or at least knew she was going to lose it and didn't nudge her.  I'd be pretty irritated with him for that.  Finding it for me afterwards is a pretty poor cause for thanks, as I'd have suffered all that anxiety at his behest.

But in reality, I don't think you can counter faith with logic, because they are at two ends of the spectrum.  I had a picture and quote about that.... *rummage*... Ha!

Comment by Teri G on January 29, 2013 at 3:36pm
This is something that really irritates me.
It's called confirmation bias. This is when people look for things that prove their beliefs right instead of those that can prove it wrong. Your parents probably think "Aha! Something he can't disprove!" What about all the prayers that went unanswered? Those don't prove anything to them. What happened was purely a matter of chance. Pray for everything you want and when you do get what you want you say "god is looking out for me" even though it was bound to happen eventually anyway. It doesn't prove anything.
Comment by Teri G on January 29, 2013 at 3:43pm
If their prayers were answered pretty much every time, then that would be a different question entirely.
Comment by Dark Star on January 29, 2013 at 5:09pm

Ask why God has never seen fit to heal an amputee (without a TV evangeli$t around) or why 15 million children starve to death each year. Is finding that wallet really on the top of his honey-do list?  That's a rather insulting proposition, is it not?

Comment by matt.clerke on January 29, 2013 at 5:16pm

Here's my thoughts on this (harsh in some ways): It's God's will that she found her wallet. It's God's will that she lost her wallet. It's Gods will that millions of children are starving (or worse) in Africa.

If that doesn't get my message across, I can put it more bluntly: God's will is either the will of a vain, petty, sadistic deity, or just how reality functions. Which seems more likely?

Comment by Elon Johnson on January 29, 2013 at 6:53pm
I am like you now. My father is a preacher in Mexico, and my mom is a christian. I am an atheist, but I have found that they just don't value logic, science, and evidence, which is pretty hypocritical because they still use medicine, and other "demonic" things. I have found that in their case FEAR is the thing that is holding them back, so I try to appeal to the emotional side of them as much as the logical one, and try them to get to think and don't conform because it doesn't matter if I win a debate or an argument if they don't change their mind. I have a pact with my dad: I will read the Bible amd he is going to see some documentaries. Hopefully he will eventually change his mind.
Comment by Ryan Persson on January 29, 2013 at 7:35pm

"So I try to appeal to the emotional side of them as much as the logical one" 

How do you appeal to the emotional side?

Comment by Peta M on January 29, 2013 at 8:15pm

Well she may have the wallet but if she keeps using that scenario against you as evidence lol, Ask her this: How long her religion states we have been on the planet my guess will be 6 to 7000 years will be her answer , then offer her this hmm the worlds oldest living tree is aprox 9550 years old so maybe the tree used to find wallets for people before God?

Obviously the tree is just one example Dinosaurs are another etc....  I prefer the tree people accept trees as they are apart of their current world , but as you can see in a factual way you can point directly too the ridiculousness of her claim with the added bonus  of humour .

Followed by would you like to see the tree it's in  a science Daily article ( here's the link) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416104320.htm also it was published by National Geographic in about 2008 I think ...NB (Even Theists like National Geographic I have found).

Good luck let the wallet finders debate begin! lol

Comment by Elon Johnson on January 29, 2013 at 8:19pm
It not easy but I think that a good way to start is by presenting the harm that religion does, I try to remain calm and just tell them and try them to imagine the most vivid way. Also, it helps when you talk bad about other religions because, at least in my case, they agree, Islam is doing terrible things. And then compare other religions to Christianity, they will think about it.

Another way is to let them know all the time they are losing. I have told them things that we as a family could have done instead of religion, at first they don't agree, but little by little I think it could change. When I say doing things instead of religous stuff I mean for example: they lost a lot of time in praying instea of acting when we were having immigration problems. Our lawyer made fraud on us, and I had to do immigration jail for a month, I told them how acting in the real world would have been much better than prayer.

And at the end, what it worked best for me: education. It is amazing how ignorant they are because of religion, but with patience just make them now the greatness that REAL knowledge can bring.
Comment by Elon Johnson on January 29, 2013 at 8:22pm
Good luck! and as one psychologist said: it is better not to crash with somebody, but to be along them and change direction together.

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