We seem to be having a light incursion of evangelical Christians. Here’s some advice for them, on how to convert an atheist. It’s a very silly article, I’m afraid, because while it says all these sensible things about being polite and getting to know them and leading them gently to church, it never addresses the key stumbling point for atheists: that their religion is wacky, nutty, insane, internally inconsistent, and illogical. The very elements that Christians think makes their faith unique and special and powerful are the pieces that make us wonder what damaged Christian brains.
For instance, here’s what we’re told is going to happen to us when we die:
I don’t know. I don’t see how any response, no matter how polite and friendly, is going to overcome the inherent goofiness of the religion.
Paholaisen Asianajaja says
That’s one mean-looking God!
Finally! An explanation that makes sense! Now I see why so many people believe in Christianity.
I think this is a satire, check out the guy’s other videos
Hey, I just noticed that the linked article on “How to convert an atheist” comes from a site that also includes “How to become an atheist.” How useful! (Do you think the same person wrote both articles?)
Reginald Selkirk says
Also at WikiHow:
How to Become an Atheist
Hey! Reginald is copying me! Strike him down, God! Strike him down now!
Edward Currant is excellent.
Yeah, come on! How un-christian would that be… Hehe..
I have totally seen the light! Sorry guys, I guess I won’t be visiting this site anymore… looks like you’re all screwed for eternity.
But seriously, hilarious.
That animation is remarkable on two levels.
An astounding lack of creativity
“Most Atheists are highly intelligent. Probably better educated than you are and have spent a lot of time thinking about reasons TO believe. You have to give the a real reason – not just an emotional one! You need to read and think a lot too. They usually don’t care about your beliefs or want to be bothered with them. It is best to leave them alone. Don’t be surprised if they manage to persuade you to give up your beliefs.”
They’ve hit the nail on the head there!
From the “How to Convert an Atheist” article
Let me guess: Pascal’s Wager?
The next logical argument (that isn’t flawed) we hear will be the first.
Nick Gotts says
MF@10 quoting wikiHow
“Don’t be surprised if they manage to persuade you to give up your beliefs.”
That made me wonder whether the advice was intended seriously.
“Am I in Heaven?”
“For the moment. . .”
Thanks for starting the week off with a good laugh.
Donnie B. says
Is there a name for the inverse of Poe’s Law? e.g. “Satire that is sufficiently cunning will always be mistaken for real fundamentalism.” If not, I lay claim to “Donnie’s Corollary”.
Either way, that video qualifies. “Brought to you by Christians for praising and worshipping the God of the Bible, or else.” Heh.
“According to my all-knowing knowledge.”
From the ‘Persuade-an-Atheist-to-Become-Christian’ link:
Here is a short list of people who have (or had) a wonderful appreciation for nature, and wrote stunning books about it:
Carl Sagan (Cosmos,Pale Blue Dot,Billions and Billions)
Richard Dawkins (The Ancestor’s Tale,Climbing Mount Improbable)
Daniel Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea)
Isaac Asimov (too many books to list)
Learn from their examples …
The “How to persuade an atheist” article is misleading. Never in the history of the world has an atheist been persuaded to convert. Rather, like Paul but with lesser fanfare, they are snatched. “Persuading an atheist” violates theological causality.
That said, it contains some decent rules of behavior. The evangelist just should keep in mind that the priority is on the message, not the response. They should realize that they will never accomplish the impossible; they will never persuade a single atheist to become a Christian.
I don’t think I’d argue with the guy, as this one did. If the Hebrew sky king exists, I’d rather spend eternity in a burning pit than telling a sadistic megalomaniac how wonderful he is all the time.
If I wanted to live that way, I’d still be married to my first husband.
I also think it would be sheer torture to spend eternity with a bunch of people I wouldn’t spend time with unless I had to when I as down here.
And, yeah, you might get Mozart’s Requiem or some Vivaldi in heaven, but you’d probably also have to listen to christian rock.
Trust me, burning flames eating away at me for all time is preferable to enduring any of that.
That was amazing.
Oh, some atheists do end up converting, I don’t doubt. However, all indications are that these are pretty dumb or otherwise silly atheists to start with. Whenever I see someone mention that they used to be an atheist, in addition to checking into what made them think they were atheist, I always have to find out what changed their mind. Sadly, it is always something really lame like Pascal’s Wager or a first cause or God of the Gaps lunacy. At that point, I figure, they may or may not have been atheist, but if they were, they were pretty stupid atheists. As such, I don’t see their conversion as much of a selling point (so persuasive, we can convert stupid people!).
Then there are those famous atheists who start sounding like deists when they get old, clearly out of a fear of mortality. I don’t put a lot of stock in that, either, the almost-on-my-deathbed conversion.
Nick Gotts says
Oh no! It’s Super-Calvinist! More pompous than a college of cardinals! More tedious than a ten-hour sermon! More ludicrous than the doctrine of the Trinity! Run for your sanity!
The guys voice sounds like Ed Current, I wonder if it’s by him.
Oh…maybe I should have waited till the end of the video before commenting. Now I feel like a knob.
Richard Harris says
Jumpin’ Jeezus. That’s the feckin’ god as portrayed in the feckin’ bible book, down to a T. Jehovah is an asshole – why can’t the religiots see this?
Eddie does it again – hilarious!!
I ask them to define atheist first. That’s where the trouble usually starts. A stunning number of people confuse apatheism with atheism. And a disturbing number think atheism is that time when they attended another, probably mainstream, church–i.e., if you’re not a True Christian™ you’re an atheist.
Ray S. says
Typical of the Christian sort I get around here is the moment in the video where the god say something like ‘According to my all-knowing knowledge you didn’t believe in me in life. Why? I need to know.’. Never once parsing that if the god was indeed omniscient, there wouldn’t be any need for the dialogue at all. The god could not possibly learn anything it did not already know. That’s why I still didn’t know at that point of the animation that it wasn’t actually a serious (!) attempt at witnessing.
Let me second Pablo’s wonderment whenever he phrase “I used to be an atheist” is uttered. Usually I can take it as fair warning that stupidity follows. Actually I’m not sure I can remember an incident in which stupidity did not follow.
From the WikiHow article:
“Simply stated, anyone who does NOT say “I believe a god/gods exist,” is, by definition, an atheist.”
Or, as the recent Pew survey found out, 21% of American atheists claim to believe in god…
Strange people, you Merkins! :oP
Apparently, the article point to the Kalam cosmological argument as ‘logic’, which states that an actual infinite can not exist, and therefore the universe can also not have existed forever. The irony is, of course, that christians believe that their god DID exist forever.
I have yet to see any argument for religion in general, let alone any specific religion, that can stand up to even basic scrutiny.
Can anyone think of any argument for religion that isn’t so fragile?
I think it’s quite fun to watch how all these Christians just don’t know anymore what to believe. They all seem kind of completely lost.
You have basically two big opposing trends happening now.
On one side, the fundies who believe in the kind of stuff in that satiric video (unbelievable but they do seem to exist) and on the other side the kind of universalist / spiritualist. It’s like a pendulum, and now the pendulum is swinging more towards the universalists / spiritualists.
You see it clearly with people like Oprah who basically give up on the notion of uniqueness of their faith, and pretend that all paths lead to God. With her Church of O and a congregation of 22 million viewers, she does have a huge influence.
I think, over the long term, that’s where the bigger risk is, all this mish mash of spirituality.
Greg Krehbiel says
You are an insufferable ass.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Who are you referring to?
Well, God is an exception, not bound by logic, right?
I pointed this out a couple of months ago: you can’t one one hand discuss “proofs” (or “disproof”) of God and simultaneously claim God is not bound by logic. Proof is a logical concept.
Bjoern Brembs says
Loved that video! Thanks! The conversion article also was hilarious – the most important thing was to be prepared to be converted to an atheist, lol :-)
I think this post is rather unfair; this is the most honest and reasonable articles of the sort I’ve seen, and promotes intelligent dialogue without polarization. If atheists and theists are ever to discuss the subject, this is exactly the approach that I would approve of. It explicitly says that discussion could convince a theist to become an atheist, and it even endorses friendship despite philosophical differences. I think we can appreciate efforts like this one without actually agreeing with any of the arguments.
Ah, but Aquaria, if you somehow did end up in heaven, you would be perfectly happy to wash yahweh’s feet and sing his praises for eternity (or whatever), even if, up until the moment you arrived there, that would have been indistinguishable, to you, from hell.
There is, apparently, mind control involved. Or maybe pheromones. Or they make you watch a hypnotic tv program. Maybe it’s some kind of brain slug? Ah, dammit, now I lost track of whether I’m talking about god or Dr. Claw. It’s surprisingly easy.
This coming from someone who apparently believes that divinely-commanded slaughter can be morally justified.
Flea Snobbery says
You could see these people as the arse-kissing employee who snickers when their boss scolds someone else. In other words, evangelists are the Smithers to God’s Mr. Burns.
If every path leads to god then god must be death since that is the common lot of us all.
Nick Gotts says
Consult a good psychiatrist: talking to yourself can be a sign of serious mental disturbance.
It came to me reading these comments that, for most folks, the purpose of converting an atheist is not to have him become a theist but a specific brand of Christian.
As an example would the author of the “How to Convert an Atheist” be happy if the atheists eyes would suddenly open, in the metaphysical sense, as he announces “Yes! I have been wrong! There is an afterlife, there is a higher power that I will worship forever – HAIL LORD SATAN!”
(or Ba’al, Loki, Zeus)
I am not a fan of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, but where is the irony? The argument asserts that anything that begins has a cause. So why is it manifestly ironioc to then assume that God is eternal? Wouldn’t the irony, such as were, be if you used Kalam to “prove” God and then claim God was not eternal?
Not that I know of. As Paul wrote (paraphrasing): if we are wrong we are the most foolish and miserable of creatures. That is the very antithesis of a fault-tolerant system. Error means catastrophic failure. Quite fragile indeed.
God knows all, sees all, tells nothing.
Why would Paul know anything more about god than you or me?
Whoa, deja vu.
– Prepare yourself
– Think about your relationship
– Start off casual
– Invite your friend to …
– Be open minded
– Know when to ease up
When I was a teenager, I read an article in one of “those” magazines about “How to get two women into bed at once.” I swear this advice came straight from that other article, and they just adjusted a few details.
Gareth, “Merkins”? You’re assuming a lot of playfulness in the United States.
LOL, Kne! Now we know it won’t work.
I made it to 0:59 before clicking away. (File under: Not In The Mood.)
“The God of The Bible”, as portrayed, has a cross on his
tiaracrown-thingie. A cross. The God of the Old Testamant is promoting Christianity full-time now? I wonder how the “Judeo” part of the “Judeo-Christian tradition” feels about that.
Speaking of which: The ethics of the conquest of Canaan.
Greg Krehbiel: PZ (who I suspect you were referring to) may well be an insufferable ass. I happen to rather like him, myself, but there you go. Anyway, at least he wouldn’t attempt to justify genocide:
Apart from the justification of genocide, you must see the irony in that last paragraph? No? Ah, well.
Is it just me, or does god sound an awful lot like Ben Stein?
…it’s all coming together now.
I realize that this is satire, but this is exactly how it was explained to me as a kid.
The irony is that the first basic premise of the kalam cosmological argument is that an actual infinite can not exist, yet the christian god is such an actual infinite, and can therefore, not exist, yet is still the cause of the universe. The argument is in essence, self-foiling.
Read the wikipedia page on the kalam argument here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalam_cosmological_argument
It explains things further than I just did.
And now for something completely different:
The site that has the ‘how to convert an atheist’ article, also has a article on ‘how to believe in god’ right here: http://www.wikihow.com/Believe-in-God
It explains something about why religious people can be such incredible wackaloons.
Also, a little something that might amuse some people: conservapedia has no article on scrutiny. Apparently, scrutiny does not exist in the mind of a religious fundamentalist.
Capital Dan says
Well, Nick. If nothing else, you have to give him a bit of credit for being honest with himself.
Meanwhile, they’re spreading the idiotic idea that creationism is patriotic, because — get this! — the Founders were all creationists. Now Chuck Norris is babbling about it in WorldNetDaily,: America’s founding creationists. I’ve blogged about it (in my humble way) but this kind of thing needs to be bashed about by lots of others. PZ? You listening?
I’m no philosopher so I may be wrong, but I think the Kalam Cosmological Argument only states that caused infinites cannot exist. And the precluded “actual infinity” is an infinite chain of causes and effects. Again, this is not inconsistent with the notion of an eternal, uncaused deity. An eternal deity is not an “actual infinity” if I understand that correctly, which perhaps I do not. Maybe some of the many gifted philosophers on this site can comment. I stand by my comment that there is no irony here.
Nick Gotts says
Hmm, given the zeitgeist of the time, and the constitution they devised, we can reasonably assume they were mostly if not all, racists and sexists; and quite a few were slaveowners. Where is Norris heading with this, I wonder?
I was calling the author of the post an insufferable ass. Sorry for the confusion.
If he thinks any progress is made by calling a belief “wacky, nutty, insane, internally inconsistent, and illogical,” he’s an ignorant ass. And if he thinks showing stupid little videos is the way to portray somebody else’s position, he’s doubly so.
Those of you who think I was justifying genocide in my post on my blog need to learn to read more carefully.
I’ve dropped in on this forum from time to time and am consistently impressed with this — it’s mostly inhabited by somewhat angry ideologues who preach to their own choir and flatter themselves that they’re so very fair and intelligent.
Keep on fooling yourself.
Nick Gotts says
True – but you have to be concerned for someone who finds himself insufferable – he might “do something silly” as the euphemism has it.
That “how to convert an atheist” site was actually not so bad. Nice and polite. Would that all fundamentalists act this way.
Some of the suggestions are actually pretty reasonable, on the face of it. For some reason, though, they just won’t take that one extra, obvious, logical step….
The truly scary thing is, while this is an obvious satire, each and every argument it makes was actually presented to me by a group of Christians trying to prove to me how their faith is obviously correct. We even had the child molester conversation, it went so far as to have them agree that had Hitler, in the bunker, in the last moments before he died, actually realize he had been evil, etc., etc., and embraced Jesus, he would go to heaven. To these guys, Hitler could be saved, but an atheist (or even agnostic) who had never harmed anyone, helped hundreds or even thousands, but didn’t believe in their specific dogma, straight to hell.
Truly an uncomfortable discussion.
Glen Davidson says
Oh yeah, just give a real reason.
You know, guys, you ought to supply the poor saps with an actual real reason for once. Because it would go a long way to destroying atheism altogether if it existed.
Nick Gotts says
Those of you who think I was justifying genocide in my post on my blog need to learn to read more carefully.
Those who can readily be interpreted as justifying genocide need to learn to write more clearly.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Truth sometimes hurts.
Matt Penfold says
For a person who’s first comment here was “You are an insufferable ass” to then criticise PZ for posting in a tone that will not lead to progress suggests that person has a remarkable lack of self-awareness. One would be tempted to accuse them of hypocrisy, but I suspect they lack the intellect for that accusation to hold up.
I’m not a philosopher either, so maybe I misunderstood the concept of an ‘actual infinite’. I just skimmed over the wiki page of actual infinites (I’ll read it more in-depth when I get home from work), so I may still be wrong in my view of an actual infinite.
My understanding of an ‘actual infinite’ was something that is in some way, well, infinite. aka, having existed forever, or something having infinite size would make something an actual infinite. This would make god an ‘actual infinite’.
I’m not sure how an infinite chain of causes and effects would relate to an eternal god, however.
Can anyone enlighten us in our little conversation here?
I believe hypocrisy requires one to be aware of the deficiencies in one’s own position/activity first.
The “explain why…I need to know” from a supposedly omniscient god had me chuckling too!
I also appreciated the subtle dig at the end about God’s inability to heal amputees, which I assume was referencing: http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/
I’ll bet whoever writes for that site/blog must be a regular here, no?
But you haven’t explained why? It is within the realms of possibility that what you consider to be sensible, rational, sane, consistent, and logical, I consider to be the opposite. And you don’t give any reasons why religion is either what you (supposedly) consider it to be, or why it isn’t what most people here would consider it to be.
I will grant you that PZ hasn’t justified his statement, either, but this is just meant to be a fun post, you know?
And the video is satire. Lighten up, you might like it.
Well, what did you mean by, “you begin to suspect that […] annihilation was the only practical answer”, then? Admittedly, you did go on to say that it was only your perspective, and that there are probably no real answers to this problem, but that doesn’t get you off the hook. Why even attempt to answer the problem if you have to justify the annihilation of so many people, regardless of their crimes?
Given that you have already shown yourself to be a rather poor judge, why should we care what you think about a diverse group of people? Once again, you are just making statements, and not really arguing anything.
Glen Davidson says
You showed in the second quote what is wrong with the first one. Of course it’s pretty much preaching to the choir. It’s a means of rallying the troops, neither profound nor particularly meaningful. But some like it, and it can be entertaining.
The anti-religion posts aren’t especially to my taste. Unfortunately for the blog, however, there isn’t much happening in countering IDists, etc., so it’s moving back more toward stock anti-religious posts. I doubt anyone is really trying for any progress here with them, just a bit of rabble-rousing and entertainment.
From the article:
The author ignores the possibility that the atheist may simply not think in those terms at all. If you are steeped in naturalism as I am, you do not wonder “who or what made it all” bur rather “how did it all come about”. See? The former has intentionality as a built-in assumption, whereas the other does not (although it does not exclude the possibility).
Thus, the existence of the universe does not seem to me to be in any way evidence for the existence of a creator, since I do not make an immediate unconscious connection between the two. I need evidence for the creator itself before I will accept it, but the evidence is not forthcoming.
If you want to convert me, you will have to pry my sane brain from it’s impervious skull. And even then it will still be impossible from my dead body.
Great vid, but I see the wikihow.com stuff as less of an argument against religion (it already has enough against it to convince most rational people not to believe) and more as an argument against wikihow.com.
Wikihow.com is a patronizing, mostly useless site, which offers ‘how to’s on everything, including things that the authors obviously know nothing about. Further, it includes bullshit, like “how to enjoy a movie” – I mean come on, what idiot out there was like ‘shit, i’ve been doing it wrong all this time!’
The only useful articles seem to be directed at homemakers with cooking suggestions and craft ideas for the kids, all of which are easily and freely available elsewhere.
Norman Doering says
Indeed. Thinking there is or isn’t something like an abstract notion of god is a rather metaphysical thought that has little personal or political consequences.
But thinking that you know what God thinks and thinking God gives a shit about our sex lives has never struck me as sane. And that does seem to have some negative personal and political consequences.
What nonsense. If there is no life after death then whether someone was a Christian or not is way down the list when measuring the success of someone’s life. Many Christians have accomplished great things in their lives even if it turns out their religious faith was just a delusion.
“…..Trying to use logical arguments may not work, as it may have been logical enquiry which originally convinced them to become Atheist……”
In other words you’ll have to come up with an illogical reason
Lets see, illogical reason…..
I’ve developed this wonderful pill that converts atheist to christianity, but selling it to christians had been hard. Apparently, they don’t like the “makes you gay” side effect.
This is a spoof.
The toast comment gave it away.
It’s kinda funny.
Pretty good vid on youtube called Christianity to Atheism in less than 5 minutes
I don’t like the “goofy, nutty,” meme, primarily because I think one ought to reach atheism (if one starts from elsewhere) through logic, and it is only after you’ve reached it that “goofy, nutty” becomes obvious.
I much prefer the “illogical,” “self-inconsistent” theme or meme.
I think there are two forensic, if not exactly logical, arguments that one can use on oneself or on others one is trying to convert to atheism.
First is that somewhere (I’ve lost the reference) Eusebius (sp?), an early, pre-biblical, Church Father (Bishop) said that it was ok to lie for Christ. If Eusebius said that, then no one who wants to claim to be a Christian can claim the TRUTH, especially of the Bible, which was put together after Eusebius. The bible was put together by folks who thought it ok to lie for Christ, ergo no part of the bible can be accepted as TRUE without external evidence from non-Christians.
Second, The Roman Catholics, at least, (Anglicans, Lutherans, too??) claim that, since the Church antedates the Bible, the various, changing, changeable, interpretive, etc., etc. “teachings” of the church are superior to anything in the Bible. This point is glossed over by many Christians! Thus the Trinity, the sinlessness of Mary (and perhaps of her mothers on back to Eve), etc., none of which are biblical teachings. One must ask any professed Christian (a) Is there any other source than the Bible that is necessary to faith? (1a) (If yes, what is it or what are they? and why do they qualify?) (1b) (If not, why are you wasting my time when I could be reading the Bible, the ONLY TRUE SOURCE of Christianity?)
Granted, these arguments don’t logically establish atheism versus faith, but I’m the sort of atheist who claims “no evidence of gods,” rather than “no gods.”
Brownian, OM says
In the interest of providing full disclosure for Pascal’s gamblers, I see a whole series of Wikihow articles in the future:
How to convert a Baha’i to Atheism
How to convert a Baha’i to Buddhism
How to convert a Baha’i to Christianity
How to convert a Baha’i to Confucianism
How to convert a Baha’i to Hinduism
How to convert a Baha’i to Islam
How to convert a Baha’i to Jainism
How to convert a Baha’i to Judaism
How to convert a Baha’i to Shintoism
How to convert a Baha’i to Sikhism
How to convert a Buddhist to Atheism
How to convert a Buddhist to Baha’ism
How to convert a Buddhist to Christianity
How to convert a Buddhist to Confucianism
How to convert a Buddhist to Hinduism
How to convert a Buddhist to Islam
How to convert a Buddhist to Jainism
How to convert a Buddhist to Judaism
How to convert a Buddhist to Shintoism
How to convert a Buddhist to Sikhism
How to convert a Christian to Atheism
How to convert a Christian to Baha’ism
How to convert a Christian to Buddhism
How to convert a Christian to Confucianism
How to convert a Christian to Christianity*
*Includes such favourites as:
-How to convert an Anglican to Orthodoxy
-How to convert an Anglican to Protestantism
-How to convert an Anglican to Roman Catholicism
-How to convert an Orthodox Christian to Anglicanism
-How to convert an Orthodox Christian to Protestantism
-How to convert an Orthodox Christian to Roman Catholicism
-How to convert a Protestant to Anglicanism
-How to convert a Protestant to Orthodoxy
-How to convert a Protestant to Roman Catholicism
-How to convert a Roman Catholic to Anglicanism
-How to convert a Roman Catholic to Orthodoxy
-How to convert a Roman Catholic to Protestantism
How to convert a Christian to Hinduism
How to convert a Christian to Islam
How to convert a Christian to Jainism
How to convert a Christian to Judaism
How to convert a Christian to Shintoism
How to convert a Christian to Sikhism
How to convert a Confucian to Atheism
How to convert a Confucian to Baha’ism
How to convert a Confucian to Buddhism
How to convert a Confucian to Christianity
How to convert a Confucian to Hinduism
How to convert a Confucian to Islam
How to convert a Confucian to Jainism
How to convert a Confucian to Judaism
How to convert a Confucian to Shintoism
How to convert a Confucian to Sikhism
How to convert a Hindu to Atheism
How to convert a Hindu to Baha’ism
How to convert a Hindu to Buddhism
How to convert a Hindu to Christianity
How to convert a Hindu to Confucianism
How to convert a Hindu to Islam
How to convert a Hindu to Jainism
How to convert a Hindu to Judaism
How to convert a Hindu to Shintoism
How to convert a Hindu to Sikhism
How to convert a Jain to Atheism
How to convert a Jain to Baha’ism
How to convert a Jain to Buddhism
How to convert a Jain to Christianity
How to convert a Jain to Confucianism
How to convert a Jain to Hinduism
How to convert a Jain to Islam
How to convert a Jain to Judaism
How to convert a Jain to Shintoism
How to convert a Jain to Sikhism
How to convert a Jew to Atheism
How to convert a Jew to Baha’ism
How to convert a Jew to Buddhism
How to convert a Jew to Christianity
How to convert a Jew to Confucianism
How to convert a Jew to Hinduism
How to convert a Jew to Islam
How to convert a Jew to Jainism
How to convert a Jew to Shintoism
How to convert a Jew to Sikhism
How to convert a Muslim to Atheism
How to convert a Muslim to Baha’ism
How to convert a Muslim to Buddhism
How to convert a Muslim to Christianity
How to convert a Muslim to Confucianism
How to convert a Muslim to Hinduism
How to convert a Muslim to Jainism
How to convert a Muslim to Judaism
How to convert a Muslim to Shintoism
How to convert a Muslim to Sikhism
How to convert a Shintoist to Atheism
How to convert a Shintoist to Baha’ism
How to convert a Shintoist to Buddhism
How to convert a Shintoist to Christianity
How to convert a Shintoist to Confucianism
How to convert a Shintoist to Hinduism
How to convert a Shintoist to Islam
How to convert a Shintoist to Jainism
How to convert a Shintoist to Judaism
How to convert a Shintoist to Sikhism
How to convert a Sikh to Atheism
How to convert a Sikh to Baha’ism
How to convert a Sikh to Buddhism
How to convert a Sikh to Christianity
How to convert a Sikh to Confucianism
How to convert a Sikh to Hinduism
How to convert a Sikh to Islam
How to convert a Sikh to Jainism
How to convert a Sikh to Judaism
How to convert a Sikh to Shintoism
How to convert an Atheist to Baha’ism
How to convert an Atheist to Buddhism
How to convert an Atheist to Christianity
How to convert an Atheist to Confucianism
How to convert an Atheist to Hinduism
How to convert an Atheist to Islam
How to convert an Atheist to Jainism
How to convert an Atheist to Judaism
How to convert an Atheist to Shintoism
How to convert an Atheist to Sikhism
How to convert a(n)….
I just visited GregK’s blog (he of #31 & 57) – and it was not pleasant. The guy seems to be delusional about many things – and writes as if he is fair and balanced – but always skeptical about criticism of religion. Seems to be a DI slave.
Maybe he needs some meds?
@ Vidar, #65:
I believe that the concept of an “actual” infinity (as opposed to a “potential” infinity) is that an actual infinity actually exists – if I remember my Aristotelian philosophy. Kalam states that this is not possible.
Take into account the Xtian assertion that their god exists, and is infinte, the self-contradiction is readily apparent, if not unexpected.
At first I thought this was a Poe:
It starts with
and then goes into an explanation of how cult inductions work.
#45, It’s also similar to the process that is used to recruit people to become spies.
I have no philosophy training, and you seem to have had some training in “Aristotelian philosophy,” but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the concept of an “actual infinity” is a bit more substantive than an infinity that “actually exists.”
Your declaration that “the self-contradiction is readily apparent” is based on this premise, that Aristotle mean nothing more than “an actual infinity is one that actually exists,” and so I rather suspect that your conslusion is hanging, logically speaking, on a shoogly nail.
That would rather depend on what the person was like, wouldn’t it?
Who said anything about hate? Perhaps you decided to believe in god because you want him to exist, but that doesn’t mean we disbelieve for similar reasons. Please make some token effort to understand what you’re attempting to criticize.
good idea, a personal Wikihow favourite of mine would be,
– how to convert a Rastafarian to Cheondoïsm ?
Any takers ?
To be clear here, religions don’t hold the patent on goofy and nutty.
Brownian # 80:
Very good. It would, of course, be the same article, with just a few critical words switched around.
As it is, the “persuasion” techniques seem self-contradictory. One of the very first thing the article says, is:
You have to give them a real reason – not just an emotional one!
That’s right. So where does it go from there?
1.) Be very friendly (they will want to imitate a friend?)
2.) People convert by magic powers (they just suddenly “know” something is true by supernatural intuition?)
3.) Lead them to the view that religious people are good people (because being ‘nice’ makes one’s religious judgment sound?)
4.) Show that parts of the Bible are reasonable (so that they will conclude that the rest of it must be reasonable too?)
5.) Make them familiar with the community (so they will want to believe the same things in order to join it?)
6.) Help them feel comfortable, comfortable, comfortable (so they will be soothed and drift into belief out of a desire to be part of it all?)
Not a SINGLE ONE of those “reasons” is a real reason dealing with the truth of the issue. Instead, every one of them is an emotional reason which appeals to feelings and comfort. Be sure to emphasize what they call the “practicality of Christianity” — it’s a place to turn to in hard times. In fact, the article explicitly states “Try to avoid intellectual debates with atheists”.
Yes indeed, you need to give them real reasons, and not emotional reasons, so it’s a darn good idea to avoid intellectual debates. You know — rational arguments. They just turn into “politics or some other subject”(?) Oh? You wish
And this is also good:
“Don’t assume that you know what your friend thinks or believes about something merely because he or she is an atheist. Instead, ask him or her about it.”
“many atheists are atheists because of their (however misguided) perception that Christians are hypocritical or evil”
“Many atheists are atheists merely atheists because they cannot comprehend God, despite the high level of intelligence they possess “
Uh huh. Whereas the believer apparently “works for God,” and comprehends God enough to know that comprehending God is not important.
What’s important is that it all just works so well emotionally when you realize that “working well emotionally” IS the “real” reason.
But it’s not an emotional one!!!!!!!! NOT!!
I am quite confused by your two points.
Point 1, re. Eusebius. Let us grant (although it is very, very, debatable) that he intended to send the message: “it is OK to lie for Jesus.” Let us grant that the bible was “put together” post-Eusebius (not true, establishment of the canon is not the same as writing or rewriting the text.) Even granting those, I don’t see why that would be a problem. Christians would grant that all Christians, apostles included, are sinners–sins for which there is no reason to preclude lying–Peter certainly lied at the denial (“I was not with him, I don’t know him”), so why do you suppose that Eusebius–who is considered infallible by nobody–would be especially problematic should his profound flaws (including but not limited to theological errors) be established?
This is simply odd. First of all, Roman Catholics do not teach that sacred tradition (binding extra-biblical oral tradition establish by the Magisterium) is superior to the bible, but an additional, equally reliable source of revelation. This is not glossed over by “many Christians.” I would venture to say it is known by most Catholics and most Protestants, the latter if only to criticize it. (And if you challenged me with the statement that the trinity is not in scripture, I’d demonstrate exactly how it is a good and logical deduction from scripture.) If you asked me (a professed Christian) about whether there are other necessary sources, I’d answer (as a Protestant) b, no. And if you then countered with “So why are you wasting my time when I could be reading the Bible, the ONLY TRUE SOURCE of Christianity?” I would probably ask “why would you think that a sufficient source of revelation (the bible) would preclude discussing the contents thereof? Does a sufficient source of knowledge for passing one of my physics courses (the text book) imply that a discussion regarding the contents could not be beneficial?”
Sid Schwab says
I posted about this subject HERE, not long before my current state of abloggia. It got some rich comments. It’s possible PZ even linked to it, and if so I apologize for the repetition. If not, I apologize for the braggadocio.
Eddie Current is probably the best practitioner of Poe’s Law. His videos always crack me up.
Dissenting opinions are not deleted. AFAIK, the only posts that ever get deleted are either blatant spam, or posted by a known banned commenter or from a banned IP address.
So, “Athiest”, which is it?
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
For those curious about the troll and its comments.
I’ve read the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the trinity, and it looked pretty handwavy to me. There’s a few mentions of people offering each other blessings in the name of the holy spirit — so of course the holy spirit is a distinct person of the triune god.
Of course, most of the Nicaean Creed is like that as well.
Say, why didn’t Jesus ever state explicitly that he was co-eternal with the father, and of the same substance? How hard would it have been to forestall the theological disputes which his presumed omniscience knew was coming up?
And how about being a little clearer on the whole Eucharist business? “No, seriously, the bread really does not magically turn into my body, and I don’t want you to actually eat it. And the wine really does not magically turn into my blood, and I don’t want you to actually drink it.”
Or vice-versa, for Catholics.
Nick Gotts says
Personally, I think all comments containing the string “Athiest” should be automatically blocked (except this one). It’s a reliable diagnostic sign of the most boring type of Christobot.
uncle frogy says
thanks for the time it took to make the list of how to converts.
A similar list I have felt could and should be made for those who want to teach creationism – ID Bull Shit in school to ask which “myth” should we chose to endorse with by government mandate?
and >> Most Atheists are highly intelligent. Probably better educated than you are and have spent a lot of time thinking about reasons TO believe. You have to give the a real reason – not just an emotional one!<< are there any other kinds other then emotional ones?
Ah. I see. Thanks, Rev. I’ve been mostly absent the past several days, and missed the puppeteering on the pampheteering thread. Apparently our sockpuppet troll can’t read.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Yeah he was especially nasty in the previous post. PZ had more to say there.
Speaking of the trinity and other time-wasters, I’m reading Justinian’s Flea at the moment – here’s part of the description of 5th-century Constantinople (p. 20):
5th-century Constantinople, you are off my time-travel wish list! :)
P.S. I like “handwavy.”
Bill Dauphin says
Don’t think that’s gone unnoticed! It’s good to see you back.
Torbjörn Larsson, OM says
Heh! Very funny, you captured the unreasonable part perfectly. Actually, I believe that is a (probably very old) theological argument why religion in general and christianity in particular are meaningless – they make it so by pretending it is.
Btw, I was curious about the handle combined with the cynicism, but it is still David Heddle I see. Still pounding a non-proven fine tuning (e.g. relaxing the weak force works fine, IIRC) and misdirecting probabilities (in the form of rejecting a quote mined Adam’s puddle – it isn’t just pointing out (religious) chauvinism or being a (rejection of religious) large number argument, you know, it is also demonstrating why religious a priori probabilities are erroneous). Good for you – or is it god for you?
Speaking of gone, has anyone found out if Etha is OK?
I miss pitting my scripture knowledge medals against hers during troll slicing class.
“Also trying to take moral high ground would be bad when they most likely will be able to point out many seemingly immoral things in the bible.”
Expect them to have less respect for you when they describe a few of these things to you and you keep on worshiping the bear-conjuring childslayer in the sky anyway.
Or maybe he thinks your full of crap because you don’t know how to spell ATHEIST.
Jesus muthafuckin Christ on a stick! Get it right!
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Instead of complaining in this thread, say something of worth.
Rev., you tricky fellow … :-)
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Well done. Sums everything up quite nicely.
Well, I tried figuring out what ‘actual infinity’ means in the context of the kalam cosmological argument, and I think I’m lacking the formal training required to figure out just what it is supposed to be.
In any case, the kalam argument still boils down to ‘we don’t know how the universe got here, therefore, goddidit’.
I would word it: “God did it, so no matter how hard you try you will never come up with a testable theory of what happened before the big bang, or if you do, the test will fail, but by all means, (and I mean it sincerely and will support public funding for your research, which I find fascinating,) keep trying.
But to your wording, ‘we don’t know how the universe got here, therefore, goddidit’ I can only say: fair enough.
Cryptic Philosopher says
Single biggest boo-boo made in the “How to Convert an Atheist” article, in tip #5: “Don’t forget to show them the Scripture itself; that way, he or she will know that it’s not your own thinking, but God’s.”
Maybe, just maybe, that’s the problem atheists have with the whole idea–we actually LIKE thinking for ourselves!!!!
To quote from the NIV: “If you have honey, eat just enough; too much of it, and you will vomit.” Proverbs 25:16.
Maybe we won’t ever find out what happened before the big bang because we won’t ever find out where you go when you fall of the edge of the Earth. It’s not my field, though.
At any rate, the difference between saying nothing and invoking a god of the gaps is a matter of saving one’s breath. Proliferation of turtles is fairly harmless by itself, though.
That made my morning. Hilarious.
Brian English says
The Kalam argument in Wikipedia:
Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
Premise 2: The universe began to exist.
Conclusion 1: Therefore, the universe must have a cause.
Premise 1 is a falsified inductive premise. Virtual particles begin to exist and don’t have a cause for example.
Premise 2 is unknown. We don’t know if the universe began, or is a cyclical procession of big bangs and big crunches. We will probably never have enough certainty about the big bang to know if it was the beginning of the universe or just a point where our theories can tell us nothing about what happened.
So, it’s not much of an argument.
Either way the argument fails. Either something can be infinite and the universe could have existed forever, or nothing can be infinite and God doesn’t exist.
Brian English and Malcolm,
It appears to me as if you think I was defending the cosmological argument, which I was not. I was arguing only that the belief in an eternal God is not inconsistent with the argument, as Vidar suggested.
Similarly Malcolm’s rebuttal,
is, in my opinion, incorrect. The Kalam does not say that the infinite cannot exist, only that certain types of inifinities cannot exist, and that everything that has a beginning has a cause. The universe had a beginning and therefore a cause–God is infinite and without a prior cause. The argument supports both the finite and the infinite, so you have not refuted it.
Now Brian English’s comment
is exactly what comes to mind every time I read about Kalam, although I think of “vacuum fluctuations” rather than “virtual particles,” effectively the same thing.
Speculating as to whether vacuum fluctuations have a cause is too much the metaphysics for me, so at that point I declare that diminishing returns heave reared their head.
So are many, many things. It’s the beauty of parsing together books from various sources one can make themsay virtually anything and most do.
That is really truly stupid. There are many examples of Christians becoming atheists. Heck virtually this entire discussion board. Likewise some atheists seem to convert(albeit few who arrived at the stance via reason/logic) to Christianity often with great fanfare. Francis Collins comes to mind.
You can believe whatever tripe you wish but please don’t ignore the reality thats all around you for a shoddy piece of thinking that demeans God and his creation. Be honest.
Likewise some atheists seem to convert(albeit few who arrived at the stance via reason/logic) to Christianity often with great fanfare. Francis Collins comes to mind.
you have to keep in mind that Heddle is only able to speak in terms of projection.
that HE has never been able to “persuade” any atheist he projects as a defacto conclusion about the ability to persuade in general. You will also often find him defining all of xianity via his projection of his own personal dogma.
that said, it does seem a far rarer thing for an adult atheist to become a xian than the converse. Which is a good thing, IMO.
not so sure about teens, as I’ve often heard their “conversion”, one way or the other, involves more pure rebellion against authoritarian parents rather than a considered choice.
please don’t ignore the reality thats all around you
don’t bother. seriously.
What I’m trying to ignore is the endless stream of dogmatic bullshit that ceaselessly and relentlessly insists on trying to come between me and my reality.
Er, okay. The video is a parody of arguments against atheism and/or for religious belief. The same guy has dozens of them.
I don’t know what I’m more surprised by – that people are missing the satire, or that other people are getting so annoyed by the people who are missing the satire.
Another win for Poe I guess.
No sign of Etha on her blog for 3 weeks now. I think she’s on vacation.
As for me, life has become unexpectedly stressful; I have little to say and even less energy to say it. (Enjoy it while it lasts… heh.)
“The universe had a beginning[…]”
As Brian English has pointed out, that’s not known to be a true premise.
Have you seen the videos of Theologikos? Ultimate poe material.
LisaJ at #6 gives the best argument I have ever seen for being an atheist:
Sounds ok to me.
JohnnieCanuck, FCD says
I don’t know, watercat. After you’d tried all 0xFF positions with every other inhabitant, an infinite number of times with each, it could become indistinguishable from the worst Hell.
Still, I suspect most men would welcome the opportunity to start such a Sisyphean task.
Evolving Squid says
>>What do you think heaven would be like if I let in every
When that line came up, my first thought was:
“safer for altar boys”
Ken Partington says
It just proves that religion is ALL IN THE MIND.
Chip Uni says
Mark Twain said it best: