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Why do atheist try to convert Christians

 
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 09:54 am
@JLNobody,
Well, Boss, i ought to have qualified my remarks--as with any other belief set, it is the few who give the bad name to the many.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 11:19 am
@Setanta,
What you said (two posts ago) was true but not the whole truth--then when do we ever say the whole truth. That's why debate goes on and on.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 11:41 am
@reasoning logic,
Reasoning logic, I don't think Farmerman was referring to YOU, only to your title. I think--from my perception of your participation generally--that you are neither disingenous nor funny. (sorry, I couldn't resist the opportunity).
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 11:59 am
I rarely try to convert people to my belief system (at least not consciously). Sometimes I do so implicitly when I think I'm just trying to articulate an accurate answer to a difficult question. But my "religious" orientation, i.e., my understanding of the subtle "translogicalities" (to coin a term) of zen buddhism, is just that, a subtle orientation, one that I have temporarily and most clearly for a time after effortless meditation. The doctrinal side of Buddhism is not something I try to promote at the expense of other doctrines. That's not really the point of the Buddhism to which I am attached.
Frankly, when I realize I am trying to "convert" someone to matters of doctrine, I also realize that I am actually trying to reinforce the strength of my own belief system: it's a moment of insecurity. I think that's what Christians are doing when they knock on your door.

Pardon my narcissistic focus on myself. Let's talk about YOU. What do you think of me?
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 12:48 pm
As an atheist who was christian(ish) just two years ago, I have a great reverence for good religious people. I just have no reverence for their religion.

I know that doesn't answer the question, but as some have pointed out, it wasn't a very good question (or a question at all).
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 12:54 pm
It was a "have you stopped beating your wife" question.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 04:59 pm
@Setanta,
I do have to admit that many of you are on to something that I am not able to get about the question that I asked!
What is it that I am missing?

Quote:
It was a "have you stopped beating your wife" question.

Are you implying that I will not get truthful answers out of people?
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 05:55 pm
@thack45,
Quote:
it wasn't a very good question (or a question at all).


Then why did you answer it?

Can any of you answer this problem?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF6GDlk0kZg&feature=channel_video_title



0 Replies
 
tenderfoot
 
  0  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 10:37 pm
@Setanta,
Kinda like the statement " though shall have no other God but me "
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 10:42 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
...Buddhism may just manage to wiggle out of a charge of starting holy wars, but Buddhism has never prevented its followers from waging bloody wars...


Yeah, if Buddhists get into a war over race, territory, economics, etc, they'll naturally try to justify it in terms of Buddhist ethics, rather than passively accept domination or defeat. I was just trying to say that Buddhism hasn't inspired anything like the Crusades or the Inquisition(s). That is, wars and atrocities committed specifically to spread its beliefs.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2011 11:02 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Arella Mae wrote:
They believe they have the truth and they want to share that truth with others.


I don't think this is correct.

I think you attach the idea of beliefs and truths to atheism, when atheists (or at least the ones I've met) are either disinterested or think that no one knows.

No belief or truth involved.

If you look at many interactions between religious believers and atheists, you'll find the atheists asking questions - requesting proofs etc. I don't think you'll find them offering truths and proofs too often.

I think this is a very good reply. Atheism need not be about spreading truth. It can be at it's most basic (and most potent) purely the exclusion of gods from the list of things in which a person believes. This makes people who believe in gods very uncomfortable. I think the idea of atheists trying to "convert people" betrays something about how some religious people frame the world. It's interesting that when addressing atheists, I've heard so much of the language of competition. I feel like often I'm being constantly informed that I'm in a race I don't care about and the other person is reminding me of the score (in terms of population).

It's like one day if you came home with your roommate and they jump out of the car, sprint to the front door and yell "I win!" You've not even got out of the car, nor grabbed the groceries in the trunk, so you find this sudden race to be a bit odd and ultimately unimportant. Then, you get inside and your roommate informs you that because they won the race (that you didn't know you were in) that they don't have to pay for any of the house groceries. You tell them, that's not acceptable--It's not happening. They then just keep telling you about how they won. Meanwhile, you where the one that brought in the groceries. whether you convince them to pay for the damn groceries or not is not of issue, it is that you waste time having to convince them.

A
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 02:26 am
@reasoning logic,
No, i am stating that for anyone to attempt to answer your question, he or she must proceed from the premise that atheists try to convert christians. I'm not implying anything. If someone asks you if you have stopped beating your wife, whether you answer yes or no, you have accepted the premise that at one time, you did beat your wife. Such questions trap anyone attempting to answer them into accepting the premise. Two good answers to the "have you stopped beating your wife" question are immediately obvious: "I have never beaten my wife," or, "I don't have a wife."

A couple of immediate answers to your question which don't entail acceptance of the premise would be: "I dom't try to convert christians," or "Why do you assume that atheists do this?"
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 06:42 am
@Setanta,
Your reasoning is all good and sound but pratically not true...indeed when it comes to defend a cause any cause mostly people behave like preachers, although of course there are exeptions to the rule...you seem to be one.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 06:55 am
I like EhBeth's response best also.

I thought I'd try an analogy (because they always work! Rolling Eyes )

It's like I've woken up in a room with a bunch of people, none of us know how we got there.

On the other side of the room, there's a door.

One guy says "We must not open the door, I dreamed there was a monster in there"

One guy says he feels deep inside that we are under the sea, and if we open the door we'll all die.

Another one says she has a special power that tells her there is a feast waiting for us there.

So I say "First I want you all to admit that none of us knows what's behind that door. Only then can we determine how best to respond to our situation."

They all look at me like I've gone crazy.

So in real life then, in discussions with Christians on the matter of atheism, the first thing one has to do is outline what one does and does not believe and get them to accept that as a valid position to hold.

So far, I've failed to ever get past that first step.
0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 06:58 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
People come in all sorts, "atheist and theist alike seem to be the same except for their views about God.
If you can find a theist acting out one way you can probably find a atheist doing the same thing!
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 07:11 am
@failures art,
I can only imagine that we all have our own personal experience that has a twisted reflection of reality!

Does anyone know if this video is true or is it just another one of those over the top bull **** videos?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S8AKHhNehU&feature=channel_video_title
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 07:21 am
@reasoning logic,
Imagine for a moment that your parent(s) or child(ren) believed that a unicorn told them to do things you thought was harmful to others and themselves. Now, imagine yourself silent and approving.

You could want to tell them for many reasons. You could do so out of concern for them, others, or yourself. In the case of how it effect you, you'd have a direct imperative to object a speak up. Call that "conversion" if you like, but it misses the point.

In the end, it doesn't matter if a person believes in a unicorn or any number of gods. I'm only concerned with their actions. When it comes to convincing someone, I want to influence their behavior, not their belief. If I feel the best way to address their behavior is to speak to their motive, and their motive is their belief, I will find myself in a conversation about religion. That's not me trying to convert anyone.

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Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 07:27 am
@reasoning logic,
Not sure what you mean by "true", but it all looks legit if that's what you mean. For example, that's the real Carl Sagan, and he really said that. The philosophies outlined certainly sit very with my own!
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 07:43 am
@Eorl,
Mine too!
I asked it in such away that it might be an attention grabber, I am not sure if it worked but I will try many different ways to share with others the view points that I hold as valuable because I think that others may find them valuable as well once they have been exposed to them.
I do realize that not everyone will find value in them but I am cool with that!
0 Replies
 
Oylok
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 10:49 am
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic wrote:

What do caring people do when they have something that they think is valuable and have an abundance of it. keep to them selves?


I agree with you and Max about the logic of it.

Earlier I felt that if atheists even thought they knew "the truth" about God or about how to live most effectively, then they should try to convert others to that view -- for the same reason that Christians try to convert their "pagans".

At the same time, most people seem to want to believe in something, so why rob them of that? I mean, why assume that sharing "the truth" with people will benefit those people, especially if it's rather bleak? (And especially if you can't prove your "truth".)

Also, it is possible that I am simply a very unspiritual person and am simply blind in a sort of spiritual "third eye" that the most of humanity seem to possess to varying degrees. I tend to think materialistically and categorically, a la Aristotle. But are happiness and peace of mind to be found that way?

It is for the last reason, then, that I've decided to practice yoga and attend Unitarian masses. But have no fear that I will do so hypocritically, as I hinted earlier. I plan to be completely open with the minister about my atheistic bias. As far as the rest of the congregation are concerned, I think I may simply tell them I'm an agnostic, trying to become more spiritual--all of which is correct.
 

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