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Old 03-16-2012, 09:49 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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I'm just wondering if anyone here has actively tried to 'de-convert' a believer in any theistic faith, or rather convert them to an atheistic way of thinking...I'm sure it's much less than the opposite, although if the conversation comes up you are bound to argue your point, which might sway certain believers.

This includes trying to convince someone of the falseness of their religion, arguing for atheism, starting/contributing to atheist websites.etc.

If so how successful have you been? Have you landed in hot water, experienced disapproval from family, peers.etc for doing so?

I think Dawkins said he was an evangelical atheist. While maybe not going to that extreme, how many have taken it upon yourself to free people from the oppressive bonds of religion, as you might view it?
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone here has actively tried to 'de-convert' a believer in any theistic faith, or rather convert them to an atheistic way of thinking...
Mostly no. I do not. I do try instead to confront bogus claims and thoughts on forums like this to make sure that OTHER people reading them see the counter arguments. Then I let them make up their own minds.

So I am happy to confront and knock down the myriad of bogus attempts to say there is a god on here, usually directly to the theist espousing them, but I never do it with any kind of conversion in mind. I merely want to show why something they espoused is baseless or even false.

That said I have converted some theists in real life, not on forums, away from theism. Surprisingly 100% of them I did not by arguing the facts, the science or the philosophy.... but by sitting them down and actually making them read their own bible (amazing how many people say they are christian and have not read the bible).

In 100% of the cases where I did this the people in question came out of the experience saying "I was meant to believe THAT??? No thanks!" and they never went back to it.

But again important to me is just to be there when people espouse nonsense and be one of the voices out there explaining exactly why it is nonsense. After that I let the readers decide for themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
If so how successful have you been? Have you landed in hot water, experienced disapproval from family, peers.etc for doing so?
I am a founding member of Atheist Ireland and I helped host last years Atheist Alliance International conference which was in Ireland (this year it will be in Germany where I live so I am hoping to help with that one too but not as much as I did in Ireland.

We have been quite successful in Atheist Ireland. Even in its short life span we have become a presence in the minds of the elected politicians, we have been called to submit things to National, International and European conferences on human rights, education and more, and have even managed to pull a profit of sorts.... I think we are the first Atheist Alliance International sub unit to host the annual conference and not make a loss on it too.

Have I had hot water or back lash? Not a lot, but my inbox does fill quite quickly every day with death threats, LONG SCREEDS of text that are written to preach to me ABOUT THE LORD all of WHICH are written in CAPITAL LETTERS like this sentence IS, and ruminations on exactly where the writer of the emails thinks I will be spending eternity. And more. As yet I have seen no email worth taking seriously, though it does always give one pause, however brief, to be the focus of not one but numerous death threats.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:00 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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^ How seriously do most Irish people take their Catholic faith?
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:04 AM
 
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Less and less these days. The younger generations are falling less and less for the lies of religion. The sex and other scandals in the church have ravaged faith in the church. Pay cuts to priests of which there was 2 large ones in 2011 have left some of them even considering taking second jobs in supermarkets stacking shelves. It is dying. Not quickly, but it is dying, and the work of organisations like Atheist Ireland are working to help that.

At the same time however there are still 100s of people lining up to stare with no protection at the sun because a fraud says if they do Mary will come in a vision with a message. There are people worshiping a tree stump in one part of Ireland because it looked like Jesus or something like that. And Ireland have recently added a Blasphemy law to the law books which few other countries have, and most modern countries are working to abolish.

There is a lot of fuss over removing catholic patronage from the schooling system in Ireland too at the moment which we are working hard in Atheist Ireland to hurry along. There is what is called an "integrated curriculum" in Ireland which means there is not just a religion class, but religion is integrated into the other subjects too, so there is not even an option for parents to "opt out" their children from religious education.

So a lot done, more to do, really.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:08 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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Interesting, I'm sure you consider that a good thing lol...More traditional forms of Christianity - whether Catholic or Protestant - seem to be losing ground quickly in the West. Ireland seems like a land that has always been steeped in superstitution, which has interwoven into the fabric of the Catholic faith, a very indigenous Celtic form of Catholicism. It's interesting how Catholicism seems to most readily mingle with native superstitious traditions, from Brazil, to Louisiana to the Philippines to the Emerald Isle.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,113,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone here has actively tried to 'de-convert' a believer in any theistic faith, or rather convert them to an atheistic way of thinking?
No, of course not. I never have and I doubt I ever will.

If anyone wants to believe in a god, it is fine with me.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Sitting on a bar stool. Guinness in hand.
4,429 posts, read 5,669,481 times
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Trying to convert/or deconvert people is not my particular agenda here or in the real world. I believe people find their own path (whatever that may be) to athiestm/agnostisim.

My agenda here includes.

1. To show support for and/or show that I exist for atheist/agnostics that otherwise might feel alone/isolated in their beliefs. This to me is the most important reason why I'm here.

2. As one poster already said. I'm here to fact check, counter argue, and look for arguments against my POVs.

3. To express my points of view on particular philosophical and religious issues.

4. To poke fun at ridiculous comments made my some posters.

5. To promote the awesomeness of both the duckbilled platypus and Neil deGrasse Tyson.




Last edited by baystater; 03-16-2012 at 11:21 AM..
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:02 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,238 posts, read 19,536,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I'm just wondering if anyone here has actively tried to 'de-convert' a believer in any theistic faith, or rather convert them to an atheistic way of thinking...I'm sure it's much less than the opposite, although if the conversation comes up you are bound to argue your point, which might sway certain believers.

This includes trying to convince someone of the falseness of their religion, arguing for atheism, starting/contributing to atheist websites.etc.
No, that would be a rather pointless strategy for an atheist to use.

It's a lot simpler than that. Most atheists believe that science, reason and logic are on their side. So, it's really only a matter of discussing an issue on these points and letting the other side make up their own minds.

We know that usually the more scientific knowledge and understanding a person has, the less likely they are to believe in the supernatural.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:04 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,369,517 times
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^ I like the quote about the philosophy doing the thinking for you. Too often someone picks and chooses a philosophy as if it's a package deal, take or leave everything it says, instead of judging each point on its merit.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:12 AM
 
Location: USA
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I'm agnostic, not necessarily atheist (sometimes lean more in that direction than others), but my answer is absolutely NOT. I do, however, confront some of the beliefs within the Christian religion that I believe are harmful to themselves and/or contribute to an us/them mentality that I believe is harmful to us all.
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