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Dear Christians, How To Talk To Your Ex-Christian.




I've been seeing more and more of these sorts of blogs: "How To Share the Faith With Your (Friend, Loved One, Spouse, Colleague)." "How to Talk to An Atheist." The only thing that they share is a uniform ignorance of other points of view and a manifest deceptiveness with regard to their intentions and agenda. So here is mine, and hopefully it isn't quite as ignorant or ill-considered. I present for your pleasure:




1. Don't.


2. No, seriously, don't. If your goal is genuine dialogue, then proceed to 3. If your goal is not actually "talking" to non-Christians but converting them, then go to item 11.


3. We know more about the Bible than you do and know, based upon years of evidence, that it is not true, reliable, accurate, or even as humane and loving as you desperately hope that it is. So don't argue the Bible at us, because we will bury you under demands for real evidence that, simply put, do not exist.


4. We're probably as moral as you are, and maybe even more so. We do not believe that morality comes from a God who thought it was cool to drown an entire world for not being good little slaves; we do not think Christians, as a whole, have the faintest idea how to live morally. Don't take our word for it; look at crime and domestic-abuse statistics in states that are very fundie.


5. We don't have "something missing" from our lives. The vast majority of deconverts are much happier as deconverts than we ever were as Christians. Claiming otherwise will make you look like a tool. The chances are good that we're a lot happier than you are. Scary, isn't it?


6. Don't tell us you'll pray for us, especially once we've bruised your feelings by demanding evidence and proof of your religion's validity. It sounds like a breathtakingly arrogant presumption of superiority, and we take it for what it is: one of your last salvos in a fight you've lost. Your own holy book commands you to pray in private, so doing it without telling us won't make it any less effective.


7. Don't tell us we'll "learn one day" that we're wrong. This also sounds breathtakingly arrogant, but we know it is also the last tool in your toolbox, the last detonation in the battle. Many of us know that Christians will mew and wheedle about Christ being that sweet boyfriend who sleeps on your doorstep hoping you'll just open the door and give him ONE MORE CHANCE, JUST ONE MORE, PLEASE BABY, WE CAN WORK THIS OUT, but when we refuse such emotional manipulation, it doesn't take long for the Christian to yank out that sweet widdle Boyfriend Jesus' threats of violence. In the real world, we'd call a boyfriend like that a stalker and hardly worthy of worship.


8. Don't demand we read books you think are convincing. Chances are we already know the arguments your favorite apologetics author uses, and we've already seen those arguments deconstructed and refuted thoroughly. Let me be plain here: There are no apologetics books on the market at this time that are actually convincing to an educated, science-savvy, historically-aware ex-Christian. We've already done a lot of reading, a lot of praying, a lot of soul-searching. What you're really doing is demanding that we jump through a hoop to justify our decision to you. But it won't work--even if we read the stupid book, if we didn't convert instantly based on its faulty logic, you'd just say we were "closed" to its message. Don't waste our time.


9. Don't make the mistake of thinking we do not love or hope. Not having Jesus in our lives doesn't mean we don't have hope or that we're incapable of love. I'm sure that'll be news to the millions of Hindus and Buddhists in the world! Most of us found that once we abandoned the false theology of Christianity, that our capacity to love only increased. So if you make assumptions about that, you're going to look awfully stupid.


10. Learn about logic and debate techniques before you broach the subject of religion with us. Learn about cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and the common apologetics arguments and how they've been refuted. "What if you're wrong?", aka Pascal's Wager, is a common one we hear, and we all have a very ready answer for it. I'll warn you, though: learning about these things may undermine your own faith once you realize how many of them you buy into yourself. Too many Christians embarrass themselves by not realizing they're being illogical, irrational, or otherwise biased. It's okay to ask why something like Pascal's Wager is false, but embarrassing to see you to trot it out like it's a magic sword that can destroy all foes and then discover it's really a plastic spork from KFC that shatters on first impact with anything harder than mashed potatoes. "Ha-HA! WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?!? ... oh, wait, never mind."


11. Lots of don'ts in here. What's a "do"? DO love your friend, loved one, colleague, whatever just as you did when s/he was a Christian. We're still the same people. Chances are you've known us for years without knowing that we were struggling that whole time, and you thought we were good people then. We still are.


In short, how do you talk to your ex-Christian? You say this: "If you ever want to talk about Christianity, I'm here for you." Then you walk away from the subject forever and love us just like you did when you thought we were still Christian. Be the example of love, openness, generosity, kindness, and forgiveness that you wish Christianity really truly was.


If you can't do that, then I'd question what business you have "talking" to us about anything, much less trying to get us shuttled back to your threat-filled, totally-disproven religion.



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