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Chat With The Youth Pastor


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Yesterday I began my first attempt to deconvert a christian.

 

This Lutheran guy has been coming around the house lately, dropping off pamphlets and such during the day. I've always been at work when he came by, but my wife has been home. This guy is the youth pastor at the local church, and he's pretty damn innocent and enthusiastic... poor guy. He's a few years older than me (I'm 29), but he's obviously trying hard to be the hip youth pastor. The wife said he about fell over when she told him that she's an atheist... but she doesn't talk to him for long- she isn't too interested. Of course, she told Jace (the hip youth pastor) that I might be interested to talk to him... so he showed up yesterday evening while the wife was at work.

 

I normally don't feel the need deconvert christians, but Jace has implied that it's his personal mission to convert me... so I'm doing my best to convert him right back. He told me more than once very early in our conversation that his faith "has never really been tested". I think he considers me his first real test, and I don't want to disappoint. I'm looking for suggestions on any topics or strategies that I might've missed.

 

We probably talked for an hour and a half. I mainly focused on a few simple points:

 

The fact that a thousand other denominations of christianity disagree with him, and honestly want to know the 'truth', but were demonstrably no more or less true than his Lutheran brand of Jesus. For that matter, there are lots of good people the world over who have barely if ever heard of christianity. By Jace's own admission, some of these folks will go to hell... he has a hard time admitting that their "sin" in this case is simply coming to the "wrong" conclusion.

 

The injustice of hell- infinite punishment for finite sins, etc. He has a boy, and he made the mistake of comparing his love for his son with Gawd's love for me. I asked him... if his son grew up to be a "bad" person who consistently disobeyed his father, would Jace tie him up and burn him with a torch for as long as possible? Needless to say, he wouldn't... I don't remember his exact reasoning.

 

We also touched on the nature of belief, but we didn't go really deep into it. Jace suggested that he was offering me salvation- similar to offering me a million dollar check free of charge. I suggested a different analogy. I suggested that his offer was more similar to hooking me up to a lie detector test, putting a gun to my head, and telling me "now, you better believe in Bigfoot, or you're gonna die".

 

I'll admit that I was caught slightly off guard by one standard christian line- the one that goes something like "if I'm right, then I'll go to heaven and you'll go to hell, but if I'm wrong, then I've lived a good life and it doesn't matter". That pissed me off because, unbeknownst to him, that line is one of my Dad's main justifications for believing. I told him that if he's right, then he worships a monster, and if I'm right, then he's wasted his life- believing in an ancient goat-herder religion based on fear... at least I've TRIED to find the truth.

 

It was a fun conversation, and Jace has only seen the tip of the iceberg. I told him that the wife works evenings lately, so I have nothing to do after work a few days a week. He assured me that he'll be back next wednesday, and he even agreed to bring beer (now THAT is a hip youth pastor! :grin: ). So I have a week to come up with a few simple points to shake Jace's faith. The guy isn't dumb, but he's no scholar either. I'm trying to keep my arguements simple and easy to understand.

 

Any suggestions?

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One I've used in debates before is the Doctrine of Original sin (without which there is no need for salvation) and the fact that Ezekiel 18 (sins of the fathers) says exactly the opposite. That usually sets up a bit of the old mind fuck and the bonus is you get to use the bible the defeat the bible.

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Show him this video or at least watch this one for yourself

THE NAKED TRUTH

 

Also visit these other sites

www.godisimaginary.com

www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com

 

To prepare for stuff he might throw at you read this topic I made

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=9385

 

My advice if you want to do this is to stick with what you know unless you have time for a crash course. If so then go to www.jesusneverexisted.com

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I'll admit that I was caught slightly off guard by one standard christian line- the one that goes something like "if I'm right, then I'll go to heaven and you'll go to hell, but if I'm wrong, then I've lived a good life and it doesn't matter". That pissed me off because, unbeknownst to him, that line is one of my Dad's main justifications for believing. I told him that if he's right, then he worships a monster, and if I'm right, then he's wasted his life- believing in an ancient goat-herder religion based on fear... at least I've TRIED to find the truth.

 

As Vorokar just mentioned in the Odin thread in the colloseum, Pascal's wager is a logical falacy. It can just as easily be applied to other religions. Islam has more followers than xtianity, so why isn't it more valid to point out to xtians if they are wrong about Islam then they will burn in a far more torturous hell of Islam?

 

I also think it's valid to raise the issue of christ's sacrifice. Since he hardly suffered when compared to the scope of human suffering and since he knew that he would find a reward and would actually see salvation of those he loved through his actions, how could his death be considered a sacrifice at all?

 

Finally I think that Dan Barker's Easter challenge and Heimdall's challenge to pin down the exact birth date of christ are very powerful since they outline in a real way the fact that the bible, which they trust their entire future to, can't even get the birth and death of their god correct. (sorry, I tried to find Heimdall's challenge, but it's lost in a massive thread. You can PM him for it as I'm sure he will be happy to share it. It's much simpler and to the point than Barker's.

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Ask him if he believes God is omnipotent and unconditionaly loving. If he says yes to both, tell him that a god that "needs" or "requires" us to worship in a certain way is indicating that there is something God cannot provide for itself. Therefore, God is not omnipotent.

 

And if God is unconditionally loving, what is the point of there being a Hell? Unconditional means NO conditions. Requiring us to do certain things or we're going to burn sounds pretty conditional to me.

 

The christian god is neither omnipotent or unconditionally loving. I've never had any fundy be able to give me an answer on that without backpeddling over themselves.

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Thanks all for the advice.

 

That's a good point about Pascal's wager... I've made similar arguements against it in the past, myself. Jase's version of it was a wierd coincidence, though- he used exactly the same phrasing that my Dad used all those years ago. That triggered something when I heard Dear Old Dad's wager... and I was pissed. I lost my cool and didn't even recognize it as Pascal's wager, let alone a logical fallacy.

 

I think next week I'll give him a semi-disingenuous apology and offer a more well-considered answer.

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How about the millions of unanswered prayers. Particularly, when two christians are praying for opposites e.g. A church praying for nice whether for the picnic, while another is praying for bad weather so people will come to church and give money to the lord.

 

Or you can talk about all the blessings the non-christians get. They get jobs, new cars, are happily married, etc. Who gave them all that? Was it the devil?

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How about the millions of unanswered prayers. Particularly, when two christians are praying for opposites e.g. A church praying for nice whether for the picnic, while another is praying for bad weather so people will come to church and give money to the lord.

 

Or you can talk about all the blessings the non-christians get. They get jobs, new cars, are happily married, etc. Who gave them all that? Was it the devil?

 

They would just say that the unrighteous are flourishing. There is a verse that says that the wicked shall flourish somewhere in there. I've heard it before.

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Hit him up with Ezekiel 18 and ask him why if God is ready to let your own behavior save you why anyone needs a savior to begin with. Then follow up with the fact that Matthew's Jesus agrees with Zeke (Matt 25: 31-46)

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Thanks for all the advice, but I'm about to ask for more. I've printed out a small stack of stuff to go over with Jase. Here are the bullet points in no particular order:

 

*Original sin is bullshit: appropriate verses printed and highlighted in Ezekiel

 

*A true believer would drink bleach: Mark 16:16-18

 

*Gawd kills babies: a page worth of baby-killin' verses printed

 

*Should we fear god?, from SAB: four pages demonstrating that christianity is based on fear- none saying otherwise

 

*how did Judas die?, from SAB: both verses.

 

*Does Gawd want some to go to hell?, from SAB: includes four verses that specifically back my arguement that Gawd is a cruel monster who intentionally sends some to hell despite their intentions.

 

*Do humans have free will?, from SAB: includes several verses that say it was all decided before we were born. Also stapled to this page is a printout of all six times that Gawd hardened Pharaoh's heart.

 

*Is Gawd the creator of evil? from SAB: Includes one verse that indisputably says that Gawd created evil, and one that implies it.

 

*Does Gawd ever lie? from SAB: includes multiple verses of got intentionally decieving and lying.

 

Notice that all these arguements are simple and to the point, and I'm sticking mostly with what I"m familiar with. I'd like to top all this off with one more arguement, though. I have dozens of reasons why the bible just isn't true, but do any of ya'll know of a simple, concise arguement that can be covered in less than a page? Simple contradictions might not be enough- this guy is a little wishy-washy on the literal truth of the bible. I'm looking for something more along the lines of how the bible was assembled and which stories existed before the bible books were written.

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Well, what deconverted me was the Gawd kills babies+ Gawd loves genocide+ Gawd created humans just to worship Him+ Gawd is a sexist who advocates rape and sexual enslavement in a few places= mankind (specifically one little Middle Easter tribe) creating Gawd in Man's image.

 

It just made too much damn sense in reverse for me to "unsee" it.

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I wonder how "salvation" is a "free gift?"

 

Basically, Jesus offers you eternal life...If you accept it you are saved. If you don't want it you rot in hell...

 

That is basically like being held up at an ATM machine. Yes, you have the choice not to hand over your cash. But you'll wind up with a cap in your ass. So naturally you hand over the cash to not get shot.

 

Jesus is nothing but an armed felon.

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iskerbibel,

 

While the simple stuff from the SAB is simple it's usually not very effective in the long run. Most contradictions are usually just waived away unfortunately.

 

You'll need to get this guy to actually think about things. They don't need to be hard or even contraversial but just something to think about. Ask him why Herods expert priests, and god, were so wrong on the place of jesus' birth. This guy can do his own homework but here's the relevant verses to get him started:

 

1 Chronicles 4:4 (NRSV)

 

and Penu'el was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the first-born of Eph'rathah, the father of Bethlehem.

Here's the establishment of the clan.

 

Micah 5:2 (NRSV)

 

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Here's the prophecy being referred to in Matthew 2:6.

 

Matthew 2:4-6 (NRSV)

 

4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

6 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'"

As you can see, once we get to Matthew 2:6, the priests suddenly have no idea that a clan is the promised origin of the leader but instead believe a town named Bethlehem is where the leader is to be found. Apparently god agrees with their flawed assessment and sends everyone there. The clan of Bethlehem is forgotten and a prophecy is left unfullfilled as jesus is not from this clan (that I could find).

 

See if this type of question does anything more than just tossing a bunch of contradictions at him. I'd also ask about the census that David gave. Did god order it or did Satan (both did thus equating them biblically...at least as master/servent). God showed his justice by punishing, not David (for following orders), but the people who had nothing to do with it. If this guy has a conscience this should be a tough one to think about as opposed to the "standards" (like babies of evil people grow up to be evil so they need to be killed too, unfortunately).

 

mwc

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Jase may also profit from thinking seriously about the way Christianity functions as a system of unjust domination by one group of others. For example, there's a heart-rending antitestimony by Cindy on the main board, posted June 26. As a sixteen year old she started to realize she was attracted to other girls. She would not have been treated as she was if Christianity didn't condemn gays and lesbians in the first place. Some people have these realizations about themselves even earlier than puberty. It doesn't contradict the Bible to believe that they are just evil and need either to repent or go to hell, but if Jase can step away, as mwc suggests, and just look at kids' lives - are GLBT children and teens really evil or is the Christian system that oppresses them the evil thing?

 

Examples like this can be brought about other groups of people who are also ground down by Christianity's pronouncing as "sin" that which is natural. Christianity is an ideology that hates nature.

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Or how about a seven year old boy with Tourrette's Syndrome that has very violent thoughts on a very regular basis (a common occurence when TS is co-mormid with something like OCD)? So much so that he believes that he is demon possessed (since no diagnosis of TS has been made and one won't be made for another 13 years or so). Each and every thought, according to the bible, is the same as doing the actual crime and this boy, yound adult and later man, is having these thoughts nearly non-stop as if a horror movie is being played over the top of his real life. Everywhere he looks is violence, death and destruction. For years and years and years. There's no relief to be found. He wants to kill himself but he knows that will send him to hell. He prays for relief (nearly non-stop to himself) but none is given. He's crazy and/or possessed since he can't control his own body and mind.

 

Now we know this is an illness. There are certain meds that can help control some of these things. Of course now that this is all known the drugs aren't really needed. It can be dealt with. The demons are long gone. The "movies" are all but gone. But how much liability is there? Where does the buck stop so to speak? What if the drugs don't help or they aren't available? What if you forget to pray but die? Do you even need to pray since these thoughts technically aren't your fault? How is this decided? It's not technically in the bible? (The bible indicates willful acts but these weren't willful but it also says you wouldn't have these types of thoughts unless you wanted to so they must be willful). Who's to say? Man, that's who.

 

God and the bible only condemned and now it's up to man to make excuses on his behalf. What a pathetic state of affairs.

 

Hmmm...that's more of a rant. Sorry. ;)

 

mwc

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I should amend what I said above to acknowledge that not all Christians are oppressors of, say, GLBT people. I know that many are not. They tend to be willing to use reason and experience alongside the Bible as a rule of faith, or to step out of a literal reading of the Bible. I wonder if Jase can do that, and under what conditions?

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Islam has more followers than xtianity, so why isn't it more valid to point out to xtians if they are wrong about Islam then they will burn in a far more torturous hell of Islam?

 

 

I don't think this part of your comment is correct, Vigile. Christianity has many more adherents than Islam. However, Christendom may be seen as more splintered than Islam, although neither religion can be said to be monolithic.

 

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

 

However, I think Islam is growing more rapidly than Christianity. Given that the rapid spread of Christianity in the centuries following the supposed resurrection is often cited as evidence of its veracity, this undermines a key Christian argument.

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However, I think Islam is growing more rapidly than Christianity.

 

Thanks for the correction teach'. I must have confused their size with their growth as you point out.

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Any suggestions?

 

Well, I've always found talking about morals to be interesting.

 

Christians commonly believe that their behavior is moral. I would assert that one of the keys of morality is doing "the right thing" because you know it is the right thing.

 

But Christians do the right thing because a) it gets them into heaven and B) it keeps them out of hell. That's not a moral choice - that's merely a selfish choice.

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It was a fun conversation, and Jace has only seen the tip of the iceberg. I told him that the wife works evenings lately, so I have nothing to do after work a few days a week. He assured me that he'll be back next wednesday, and he even agreed to bring beer (now THAT is a hip youth pastor! :grin: ). So I have a week to come up with a few simple points to shake Jace's faith. The guy isn't dumb, but he's no scholar either. I'm trying to keep my arguements simple and easy to understand.

 

Any suggestions?

Okay it's past wednesday now, how did it go?

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Wednesday evening came and went. Jase never showed. I guess I must've scared him off. I guess that leaves all the Petes Wicked Ale for me.

 

I still have the pamphlet he left, and his church's name and address is on it. It's just a few blocks from the house- a little hole-in-the-wall rented in the local community center. I'm considering showing up sometime.

 

It's too bad that I don't know his last name- and the church doesn't have a website or anything. It might be fun to go knock on his door and ask if he'd like to talk about Gawd.

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Wednesday evening came and went. Jase never showed. I guess I must've scared him off. I guess that leaves all the Petes Wicked Ale for me.

 

I still have the pamphlet he left, and his church's name and address is on it. It's just a few blocks from the house- a little hole-in-the-wall rented in the local community center. I'm considering showing up sometime.

 

It's too bad that I don't know his last name- and the church doesn't have a website or anything. It might be fun to go knock on his door and ask if he'd like to talk about Gawd.

 

 

I know this may be too late, and at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I would say do not go into arguing about specific doctrine, such as original sins, salvation, the problem of evil etc. These are all things christians can have in-house debates about -they do not destroy belief. My suggestion is that you lay down the ground rules first. Namely, ask him to agree that he believes in the God his bible (not the god of the koran, not zeus, not some deist like intelligent designer), and that his knowledge of god is dependent primarily on the accuracy of the bible (if its not accurate then how can where is he getting his ideas about god's eternal being, infinite love, omnicience, etc). The point being that his faith is dependent on the bible being the word of god or divinely inspired. Then when you start discussing bible contradictions (pick a simple one elike Genesis one vs. genesis two) he can't say the author made a mistake, it a bad translation, its your bad interpretation( if he falls back on this remind him that if the bible is left up to each person's fallible interpretation how is a person to know what the bible is really saying about god or anything else). If he admits the bible has errors, then the whole book falls apart. Also ask- who wote the bible? when was it written? If he cant answer when it was wqritten or who wrote why would he stake his life on a book he barely knows anything about. Hope this helps, even if belatedly.

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How about the millions of unanswered prayers. Particularly, when two christians are praying for opposites e.g. A church praying for nice whether for the picnic, while another is praying for bad weather so people will come to church and give money to the lord.

 

Or you can talk about all the blessings the non-christians get. They get jobs, new cars, are happily married, etc. Who gave them all that? Was it the devil?

 

Good point Lorena! While believing, I prayed as hard and as devotional as I thought possible and after years of this I NEVER felt my prayers were answered or that there was anyone on the other end listening. Yet with my fuck religion attitude, I still have fear of damniation.I just don't care anymore.Is this normal? Will this fear vanish with time? Thanks.

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My experiences with Youth Ministers when I was a goodlooking young man were simply that they wanted to fuck me.

 

Who said that was a problem? :Hmm:

 

Heh... seriously, though... the only fuckin' that's going to happen is a battle of the mindfucks. He knocked on my door and effectively asked if he could mind-fuck me, so I mean to mindfuck him right back.

 

I got bored yesterday and went by his church- Jase wasn't there, but the main preacher was. I got his phone number so I can "get his opinion on a few matters". Turns out he lives 90 miles east of here... so I won't bother to drive an hour and a half just to knock on his door and ask him if he'd like to talk about Jesus(though that might be fun). I'll call him today or tomorrow and continue asking difficult questions.

 

Garrison- the fear of damnation does go away eventually. It happens quick for some folks- takes years for others. My fear of damnation disappeared once I finally had learn't enough to KNOW that christianity is bullshit (rather than just strongly suspect it).

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