Can we talk, FUN TIMES. If you haven't had the pleasure of engaging in such vigorous debate, I
can't recommend it highly enough. In spite of the fact I haven't successfully deprogrammed anybody yet, the one big drawback is that I DON'T GET TO DO IT ENOUGH. I'm looking at you Helen, I love me a good argument.
Of course the obvious caveat is that before you engage in battle you must know your opponent well enough that he won't go all jihad on your ass. There's nothing scarier than a flesh and blood human defending to the death his spirit friend (yeah go figure, the neighbor down the street, not worth defending to the death, but dissing a nebulous being, death to you, sinner). Another thing to keep in mind too is that humor helps defuse many awkward situations.
Which leads me to this point, how people worship has interested me to no end. My born again sister has a book called Kingdom of the Cults. The twist is that the book is written by a Christian. The only arguments this writer offers against the Jehovah's Witness, the Christian Scientist, etc is that the way these other religions practice their beliefs is contrary to his interpretation of scripture (kettle black pot hello). He goes into great detail how Seventh Day Adventism is a cult because they worship on Saturdays when EVERYBODY knows God rested on Sunday. Wow, with logic like that, who can defeat him?
Anyway, thankfully with such sites as Operation Clambake, Exmormon, Exchristian, etc, you get to read the dirt about other religions' practices. One word Freaky. you don't know bizarro until you read about some of the nonsensical bologna some of these people do in the name of "scripture".
Which leads me to arguing with a Christian. Logic doesn't work. It can't. If you say "atoms and void" you really do mean atoms and void, not, what about the fantastical creature occupying the space BETWEEN the atoms and void, What about him, huh, huh? One billion worshipers in this world can't be wrong!!!
The goal of the Christian is for the non believer to forsake logic, but the goal of the nonbeliever is for the Christian to accept logic. Not to blow my own trumpet, but the person I normally argue with knows he is outgunned in the logic department (I owe all my courage and strength from such sites as http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/) and as a result, we don't argue as much as I would like to. I've tried the whole how come science requires proof but religion does not, anthropomorphism, I can't fear something I don't believe in, etc. Hasn't bought any of these arguments yet. "I just believe, ok? Get off me."
Since logic really doesn't work, my next tactic is more subtle. Whenever possible, I highlight the freakazoid beliefs of Scientologists, Mormons, and Catholics. This way we are automatically on the same side. Isn't if funny how Mormons wear that magic underwear? What about Scientology Operating Thetan III? What about Catholic rosaries? 1001 Hindu gods? (The ironic thing is this particular Christian feels more kinship with a Hindu friend than with me. Christianity and Hinduism barely resemble each other but I digress). Aren't gullible people superstitious for no apparent reason? Ha ha funny right? But the next step is a big leap of faith so to speak for me, really. I guess by poking big gaping holes at other belief systems, the hope is that someday this Christian will examine his own.