Should atheists actively challenge religious beliefs?

The humility you exude is overwhelmingly inspirational. The offer to postpone payment for the cause is noteable as well…

Edit (cash or check ok)

I wouldn’t recommend challenging religious belief unless you are in a place of security (where you will be immune to repercussions). Some of us have that luxury while others do not.


I know this girl. I thought I liked her. Fuck that thought. I grew up with her. I went to high school with her husband. She works at the medical billing department. I went into pay my bill. She wanted to catch up with me on things that had happened in life. We exchanged experiences.

Suddenly, she goes full blown religious idiot on me. She assumed I was Christian. She’s telling me that her god says this and he says that. She behaved as if she knew more about my life than I did. She asked me to attend Genesis Church. I originally just wanted to pay my monthly bill and be on my way. Instead she’s sitting there giving me unwanted advise and the god talk.

It goes into a full blown debate after I state that I’m an Atheist and I don’t believe that. She claims Jesus is real. I ask for evidence. She pauses looking like an idiot. I go on to say that Jesus is the latin word for Joshua and that was a common name thousands of years ago. That there were thousands of people with that name and that doesn’t mean nor prove any of those “Jesus’” is or was ever the gospel Jesus that the bible claimed. Then I find myself giving her a history lesson about how men wrote the bible and not a deity. She ended up shutting up after that.

To be real honest, she pissed me off.

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But it sounds like you planted some good seeds. :grin:

Who knows when they might sprout.

I was not pissed about the debate with her. I was mainly aggravated that she was talking down to me and treating me like I was an immature and irresponsible person. That’s what really hit a nerve especially when she was trying to “help” and give me advise on how to deal with my daughter. I’m older than her by a few years. I just didn’t appreciate the holier than thou “you don’t know what you’re doing” attitude. Like a majority of most confident know it all Christians, she had an answer for everything about my life and that is something that I don’t tolerate. I didn’t pretend to know anything about her life. Fact of the matter is, I didn’t. So I do not understand why she thought she “knew” everything about me. Me telling her that I was atheist should have been hint enough.

To be more honest, you got pissed off at her. How dare she interrupt your day with preaching? All you 'wanted’was a bit of friendly conversation and to pay your bills.


I guess I must be wired differently, because I actually love it when people like her try to do that with me. ESPECIALLY if is somebody who doesn’t really know me. It’s amusing to me. Depending on the situation and how much spare time I have, I would likely just let them blabber on a bit with their self-righteous “evaluation” and wait until just the right moment to interject (politely, of course :innocent:). Now, what exactly happens after that naturally varies according to the person/circumstances. Basic outcome, though, is that individual typically ends up walking away feeling quite foolish for awhile. And I walk away with a big Cheshire grin on my face. :grin:


Religion isn’t nearly as aggressively peddled in the UK luckily, the most we get is a knock on the door, and I can’t ever remember anyone trying to use a “hard sell.”

Mostly friends and family are atheists, and those that aren’t very seldom mention it, when they do they don’t seem to take offence at religion’s claims being subjected to rational criticism, but it never dents their belief of course. I generally steer away from such discussions if I think they will offend people I care about, as beyond challenging pernicious beliefs I don’t really care about the rest, unless someone is determined to have that discussion, then I just keep calm and try to present rational objections to their claims. No point getting annoyed as it doesn’t help my reasoning, and the apologists who want such discussions are often annoyed and irrational enough for both of us by the end, Though just as often they seem bemused by my atheism in the light of all the “facts” they’ve presented, as if I have failed to understand or am too closed minded to reach, ironically. Citing known common logical fallacies using Latin seldom gets much more that ironic laughter, or eye rolling. Again the irony is palpable.

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Well, folks sure don’t need religion for that. A lot of anti-theists do that sort of stuff too. Actually, she just sounds like someone who has an unwarranted yet overgrown sense of her opinions’ value. Definitely not bff material! :wink:

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I don’t think she’s ever been able to hold down a job. I sure hope she’s not there next time I go when I have to pay the next one.


You’re right. I swear every time I talk to a Christian bigot, I come on here and bitch about it and have fun taking it out on the next superstitious idiot that comes on here making god claims. There’s a whole cult of these fanatics where I live.

Get some cameras and set them up in your living room. The next time they come to your house, invite them in, have them sit, and then excuse yourself for a minute. “I’ve got to go check the mail.” Next, turn on all the cameras, hop in the car, take a long drive and go out for breakfast. Take your time reading the morning paper. Flirt with the waitress. Give yourself a couple of hours. Then post the vieo for all to see.

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Uh…um…I don’t know what to say. :thinking:

What is leaving them in my home alone with the web cams going to do? See if they steal anything?

You could end up with a viral video.


You cannot defeat faith by logic or science. The best that you can do is to cast doubt on specifics.

Can you demonstrate that?

If I cast doubt on the existence of an old man in the sky, the faithful just say that God is a spirit, even though the image of God as a big naked ape is definitely not of atheist origin.

There are ways around any argument, and the believers in deities move in mysterious ways.

Well I’m not sure what you mean by defeat, but you can certainly refute claims based solely on strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, which is the definition of (religious) faith.

That’s because you are trying to cast doubt on a generic concept that seems unfalsifiable. If it provides no data or is unfalsifiable then science can’t study it.

Well obviously, since atheism would negate the belief in any deity, regardless of the deity being imagined.

Not really if we’re talking about rational arguments, and claims. What you’re implying is wilful delusion, and of course humans protect beliefs they hold as true, it’s innate in us to do this, the best we can do is to fight that urge and keep an open mind. Anyone dealing in absolutes or immutable claims is the very definition of closed minded.

When I debate theistic claims, I don’t focus on nor do I care what they believe at the end of it, only that I have carefully examined both their arguments and claims, and my own, and tried to be as objective and rational as I am able. I want my beliefs to mirror the facts, not bend the facts to mirror my beliefs. As I have explained to many apologists who accuse me of bias, I am an atheist because I disbelieve in any deity or deities, I do not disbelieve in any deity or deities because I am atheist. I am however a fallible evolved ape, with a middling intellect and a mediocre formal education, so the idea I can or am always impartial in every instance would be absurd. The best I can do is relentlessly try to eradicate as much bias as I can, and that never ends.


All truths are relative, Sheldon. You have your way of doing things, talking around things, I have mine.