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Christopherhays

When is it appropriate to convert Christians to Atheism?

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7 hours ago, Christopherhays said:

When is is appropriate?

Only when they are interested in wanting to know answers. Remember how we  were 'open' to wanting to question the bible when we arrived here at Ex-c? If they are not open, you will get defensive answers as to why they are right. I was one of them many years ago. I would not listen. So I feel that it is a waste of time. Most people have to be ready to hear these truths about the bible. I would think that millions of people have their doubts (the same as I did) but do not want to face the truth. As we all know, finding out the truth can be devastating. Losing faith is the single most hard thing that has ever happened to me. I leave others alone now. They can barely make it through life without their faith.

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Never.

 

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Converting anyone to anything is a fool's errand. You wouldn't want to be accosted by someone Christian trying to force their side, and it's likewise for anything else. As with anything it's best for you to live genuinely and let people approach you if they want to. 

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My first answer would be “never”. I can barely control my own thought patterns let alone the thought patterns of others.

However I have recently discovered Anthony Magnabosco, who is able to have respectful conversations with Christians, gently questioning how they arrived at their beliefs.

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I can remember the first conversation I had that made me question my faith. I didn’t reject the religion instantly of course, but it got the ball rolling. I’m very thankful for that because I’m not wasting my life anymore. If you had close friends and family literally throwing their lives away for a lie, wouldn’t you want to do something? I’m mostly thinking of my brother who’s a missionary in the Middle East and has seen Christians targeting in bombings multiple times. I also have a close friend who’s a missionary in China and has to use code words and stuff to let us know he’s okay. 

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On ‎1‎/‎22‎/‎2020 at 6:08 PM, Christopherhays said:

When is is appropriate?

 

Never.

 

Atheists are not, and in my opinion should not be, in the business of conversion. Last thing we need is misinformed people going door to door trying to convert people to atheism.

 

What you can do, as has been suggested, is have respectful conversations if the religious person wants to. Don't go forcing a conversation. I never ask people why do you believe God? I wait for them to come to me and then we will have a conversation. Most of the time it ends very quickly as they realised we are going places they don't want to. Sometimes you will get a person genuinely searching for answers and you can just lay out why you don't believe without trying to 'convert' them.

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I would add that demonstrating by example that atheists are good people who share basic positive human values goes a long way toward showing others that being atheistic is not a horrible, miserable existence but can be just as rich and rewarding as any other world view.

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For the fanatics I hung with, nothing would begin to penetrate because they refuse to entertain any doubts. I was convinced I'd found real "magic" in the power of god, and it wasn't until I found the guy that led me there making up stories about miracles. That was enough of an emotional slap to get me really asking questions again, and not accepting bullshit shell-game responses. But I know others that shrugged this off and kept going. 

 

Be open to talking to believers, and try to unplug their expectations about atheists. I still hope to influence my believing family members, though I rarely see them anymore. So I go on with life, enjoying singing, growing edible mushrooms (or trying to anyway), posting a lot about my handyman projects, and generally living a happy life. Believers tend to draw a very black and white, light and darkness false dichotomy about belief (we are pigs wallowing in shit, dogs that eat their own vomit, weeds fit only to be burned), so demonstrating to them that this isn't true is in some ways more important than what you say. The real questioning has to come from within themselves, and most believers tend to have some doubts or things that seem terribly wrong about the bible god. Others have galvanized themselves and rubber stamp anything they think is from Jesus. 

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I assume most of you would try to talk your wives/husbands out of joining a cult right? I think that’s closer to my situation with my brother. I don’t care if he’s an atheist, I just don’t think he should be openly evangelizing Christianity where he’s not welcome. A few members from his church (cult?) were held hostage by Islamic terrorists a while back. This is really dangerous stuff. Even my crazy homeschooling fundamentalist parents think his new church is too controlling... idk I just feel like I should do something. Maybe if my family wasn’t so extreme I wouldn’t have an issue.

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22 hours ago, Christopherhays said:

When is is appropriate?

 

Atheism has literally nothing to offer...haha....No bloody dripping Jebus on a cross. No angry bearded man throwing lightning bolts. Shit, it sounds as boring as agnosticism. :)))))

 

No, Christians are the ones who feel their way is the ONE TRUE WAY. If someone asks me about agnosticism or paganism or advaita I would be interested to give them information but really, we're all just a little bit different. Someone might not LIKE or WANT or even UNDERSTAND what I am talking about even if I did try to explain my beliefs. And in the end, why should  I want them to believe what I believe? My own ego gratification? Meh, not that important, imo.

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1 minute ago, midniterider said:

 

Atheism has literally nothing to offer...haha....No bloody dripping Jebus on a cross. No angry bearded man throwing lightning bolts. Shit, it sounds as boring as agnosticism. :)))))

 

No, Christians are the ones who feel their way is the ONE TRUE WAY. If someone asks me about agnosticism or paganism or advaita I would be interested to give them information but really, we're all just a little bit different. Someone might not LIKE or WANT or even UNDERSTAND what I am talking about even if I did try to explain my beliefs. And in the end, why should  I want them to believe what I believe? My own ego gratification? Meh, not that important, imo.


I wouldn't care so much if they identified as atheist... but I would want them to “believe what I believe” about the dangers of dogmatism and the importance of logical reasoning... 

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I wouldnt want a family member evangelizing where they are unwelcome or even where it's illegal. Have you mentioned to these people that they might get imprisoned or worse? If they dont care and are willing to give their life for Jesus then there isn't much you can do for them. 

 

Do for them what you can. They will only accept what they want to accept. They will only listen to as much as they like. :)  Then take care of yourself and mold young family members' minds with logic and reason.

 

 

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1 hour ago, midniterider said:

I wouldnt want a family member evangelizing where they are unwelcome or even where it's illegal. Have you mentioned to these people that they might get imprisoned or worse? If they dont care and are willing to give their life for Jesus then there isn't much you can do for them. 

 

Do for them what you can. They will only accept what they want to accept. They will only listen to as much as they like. :)  Then take care of yourself and mold young family members' minds with logic and reason.

 

 


They don’t seem to acknowledge the danger. They think it’s god’s plan and they’re betting everything on an afterlife. I’m pretty sure they’d welcome “persecution.” I was raised the same way as my brother so I know he can make it out too... but his church is so controlling. He lives and works with church members that keep him on track. I read a review from an ex member of the same church that said they left when the church leaders said god wanted them to switch jobs and housing. 

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You are using very broad and loaded language. Convert, atheism, etc.

 

I think more narrow and neutral questions could be better adressed. Like - How could I inspire some christians to study biblical criticism? Or how to test some hypothesis? Or, to inspire them to study modern psychology and neuroscience? ...those things.

 

There is a book , by Steve Hassan, on the subject of getting loved ones out of cults. Although it is not a manual for general deconversion, there are some pointers on how to empower and help individuals trapped in high demand groups. And the International Cultic Studies Association has members and articles about this. Rachel Bernstein, psychotherapist, has a podcast Indoctrination on the subjects of cults and mind control. There are actually lots and lots of information now. Search ex cult member sites, ex Jehovah witnesses , ex Mormon, etc. You can contact experts from ICSA for actual professional help on this subject. Christian Szurko, a Christian, has a center in England the dialogue center, about getting people out of dangerous groups. He could help you maybe at least inspiring your family /friends to become more liberal.

 

Some ideas from those sources. 1.Become a mini expert on the subject and have a ready made list of sources from certified experts - theology ( from different Christian sects and confessions, and I would include Islam here) history, philosophy, psychology, - again from fundamentalists to militant anti theists. 2. Become, if possible, a model in compassion, asertivity, etc, leading a fulfilling life. So if they will be inspired to ask questions, seeing your life and knowledge, creating cognitive dissonance about any threats they might have internalized about apostates and non christians - violent, aggresive, lustful, stupid, illogical, insane, etc. 

 

I actually admire the idea of evangelising and missionary work, as a thing. If you have discovered something good, why not propagate it? This idea of live and let live I think is too overrated and exaggerated. I would not like to let live a sect of religious prostitution like there still is in India today where young poor girls are forced into it. Sometimes, forcing others to behave is the only way, when other means of persuasion have ended. And if we do not challenge our ideas, how can we grow in knowledge?

 

And about your brother, maybe you could actually tell your parents about cults and Christian cults. They surely think that Jonestown and Waco were a destructive cult, so maybe you could collaborate on this subject with them. But do remember that Christianity has  along history of glorifying martyrdom. Dying while serving the Lord meant instant eternal Heaven. So yeah, be careful. But influencing others to be more logical and open is possible. 

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You cannot save someone from themselves nor is that your duty. Speak of why you don't believe but stay away from "you should.." even if it's "you should consider..". That puts people on the defensive. 

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I'm never going to purposely set out to convert someone. But if in the midst of conversation, I can plant a seed of doubt that may eventually burst into fruition, that would be fine with me.

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28 minutes ago, Tsathoggua9 said:

I'm never going to purposely set out to convert someone. But if in the midst of conversation, I can plant a seed of doubt that may eventually burst into fruition, that would be fine with me.


I see a distinct difference between confrontation and education. A common Christian technique, as found in the Bible, is planting seeds as Tsarhoggus9 and others have noted. That only works if the prospect is receptive though.
 

When confronting a Christian putting the focus on why I’m an atheists, rather than questioning why they are Christian, has a much better chance of engaging them in a conversation. That isn’t likely to convert them, but planing seeds for why you aren’t a Christian is the purpose of the encounter. Those seeds may or may not produce fruit, but the intent is to give them another perspective to think about and maybe consider.

 

I agree that attempting to out and out convert them to atheism is a waste of time and energy

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I wouldn't try to convert anyone...echoing other posts here, I would gladly chat with them but I wouldn't try to coerce them in any way. They need to be open and willing to change, and that's not something you can force.

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       I actually think you can influence someone s decisions. And the whole idea of marketing and sales does exactly that.  But is a craft in itself. I mean there are pick up artists who routenely pick up girls with no clear previous openness. 

        Like sometimes you just begin incrementally. First say something like wel i like this pastor but not that pastor or smth like that to make them doubt church authority even a little. 

       I disagree with most posts here. It is possible and worthwile , not certain for sure BUT and this is a heavy essential BUT , it takes time patience and most off all craft mastery of persuasion.

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Conversion is pointless.

 

When it comes down to it, organized religion is very obviously false. The solipsism and babys-first-philosophy-lesson tier reasoning that is present in ever single major religious text screams "THIS IS CLEARLY WRITTEN BY MEN" at the top of its lungs. 

 

What people need to escape religious brainwashing is not knowledge or even reasoning, but simple intellectual honesty. And that, when it comes down to it, is a choice. You either desire to know the truth regardless of the truths harsh implications, or you want to take that blue pill and stay in wonderland. A person who chooses the blue pill does so because it is what they need, what they feel is best for them, and what they believe to be the extent of their journey.

 

If anything, attempting to de-convert a person needlessly can have adverse effects. If you really could rip a person out of their wonderland, would they accept reality or would they just turn to something else that is just as bad? I've seen many people leave religion only to join some "secular cult", such as woke SJW nonsense, neo-nazism, or some other political extremist group as a cope for filling the gap in their need to be led by zealous fervor. Then what did they gain from their de-conversion? What did you gain? Not much, I'm afraid.

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8 hours ago, Jedah said:

 

If anything, attempting to de-convert a person needlessly can have adverse effects. 

 

 

I agree. With some it is a form of addiction, and simply stopping one may result in another popping up. 

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14 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

       I actually think you can influence someone s decisions. And the whole idea of marketing and sales does exactly that.  But is a craft in itself. I mean there are pick up artists who routenely pick up girls with no clear previous openness. 

        Like sometimes you just begin incrementally. First say something like wel i like this pastor but not that pastor or smth like that to make them doubt church authority even a little. 

       I disagree with most posts here. It is possible and worthwile , not certain for sure BUT and this is a heavy essential BUT , it takes time patience and most off all craft mastery of persuasion.

So should I persuade my elderly parents that what they believe is trash? That what they've believed their entire lives is wrong. That they've brainwashed and indoctrinated their children and that there is no heaven awaiting for them that they can look forward to. Cause them untold grief when they realize yes they've damaged their children's lives in a lot of ways through the social isolation they put us through and how they taught us to relate to other people (which means we now need to deal with this on our own as adults, learn new skills and coping mechanisms). They already think they've failed as parents as several of their children left the church. So should I compound the damage by adding to it? 

 

Edit: I view this kind of behavior as selfishness. "I need you to believe this or that therefore I'm going to try persuade you of it". Or worse, manipulation. 

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After leaving the faith I wanted to spread my views.  But with time, and some blunders, decided the strongest approach I would use in the future would be to say something like,  "If you are ever curious as to why I left church (or religion) I would be glad to discuss it with you, or give you a copy of the story I wrote about it."

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