Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Debating Evil Atheists

Contrary to what some fellow bloggers might think, I'm not much of a militant atheist (I'm really agnostic to start with). In terms of debating with theists, I've had my moments (and will have them again) but broadly speaking it's a wasteful pastime. Now, I'll fire back the occasional time when a particularly moronic Godologist questions my morality or tells me I side with mass-murderers but other than that the debate, as far as I'm concerned, is over. And "Creationists"? They're just a source of eternal amusement to me.

Below's a little gem I found the other day, giving theists some sound advice to argue the points with atheists.

Christians: Tips To Doing Battle With Evil Atheists

Some things to keep in mind:

1. Remember that they are people, just like you are. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, they are not some lower life form we share this planet with.

2. More than likely, they are smarter than you are. This can be difficult to come to grips with, but it does appear to be true and is a claim that is actually supported by the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

3. Statistically, they are also as moral, if not more so than you are. While it is a good thing that they generally are highly moral, it is a shame that we, who often times claim the moral high ground, seem unable, or unwilling, to match our words with our lives.

4. They will probably thump you in debate. They are much more likely to have carefully thought through their position and understand why they believe what they do. We are more likely simply to present some argument that the person we heard it from guaranteed would destroy the enemy. The problem with that is that many of them have heard the same arguments many times and are easily able to counter them.

5. Don't under-estimate their knowledge of the Bible. Many of them are more familiar with the Bible than the average Christian is. And they know all of the passages that will cause you a problem, and will not hesitate to challenge you with them.

So, as a Christian, what chance do we have when doing battle with the godless empire? Here are some suggestions that may make your stay here more rewarding.

1. Don't feel like you have to win all of the battles. You are not going to. In fact, you may not win any of them. Be satisfied with being able to clearly and logically express what you believe and why. While you may never convince another person on this group, you will have helped yourself by taking the time to understand what you believe and why, and to verbally present it. 1 Peter 3:15 says in part "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." We are challenged to give an answer, not to win a fight.

2. Be respectful, open and truthful. The remainder of 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to make our defense "with gentleness and respect". Realize that the people you are debating with really do have a lot to offer. Don't throw away the opportunity to learn from them because they do not believe in the God we hold dear. Don't make the mistake of believing that everything an atheist says is suspect.

3. Treat them the way you would like to be treated yourself. Remember what Jesus says in Matthew 7:12: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Jesus tells us to initiate the desired treatment, not just respond to others in the way we are treated. Most atheists here will treat you with at least the same amount of respect that you show to them.

4. Be willing to admit that there are things you don't know. Believe it or not, it will not hurt your position.

5. Remember that our walk is by faith and that we cannot prove that God exists or that the Bible is true. We might be able to make an argument to support those beliefs, but do not mistake that for proof.

6. Remember that while the Bible may be authoritative to you, like it is to me, to an atheist it is just an old book and has no more authority than the Iliad.

7. Enjoy your stay with us, learn and share, and don't get too worked up about anything.

8. Don't feed the trolls.

H/T BEAJ.

Source: Google groups.

10 Comments:

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Bar Kochba said...

Personnaly, I can sympathize with agnostics. Belief in G-d , while I do believe that it has a logical basis, cannot be truly proven. As for atheists, especially the angry bitter kind, I have no patience. They have no more proof than us, yet our faith provides answers and comfort while militant atheism provides neither. Of course, would the world be a better place if people in need turned to The G-d Delusion instead of the Torah for solace?

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Bar Kochba:

Unfortunately, organised religion has historically provided the justification for countless feuds and wars. Ergo religion therefore does not necessarily lead to 'good' and can be used and abused at will by leaders. Having said that, any idea, when driven to its illogical extreme, can provide the excuse for war and slaughter.

Personally I don't see evidence that the religious lead better or more moral lives: they aren't exactly under-represented in the world's prisons for example. And quite a few religious nutters feature very high on the world's 'Most Wanted' list.

In debate, the religious often come off no less belligerent, dogmatic and prone to use of ad hominem and very derogatory language as do the "bitter atheists" to which you refer.

When an argument breaks out between this social group and that social (for this and that substitute at will), prejudice and ignorance usually rear their ugly head. This is as much true of the religion/atheism debate as it is of the many other important debates of the current day.

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger Bar Kochba said...

Just a thought:

The Ten Commandments were given on two Tablets, one for the commandments between man and G-d and the other between man and his fellow. They each have a parallel on the other tablet.

"I am the L-rd" is parallel with "Thou shalt not murder" because one needs both. Religion without morality leads to the Inquisitions or 9/11 while "thou shalt not murder" without G-d leads to the Holocaust or other atheist crimes like Communism.

Just a though.

 
At 3:05 AM, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I do all I can to not debate religion. I'm upset with secularists like Hitchens, who see the military as a tool of secularism.

 
At 4:04 AM, Blogger BEAJ said...

Bar, an atheist is simply someone who answers the question "do you believe in God?" with a NO.
An agnostic is someone who says "I don't know" but generally they fall into the atheism category, because they usually will say "No" to that question.
Simply, I'm an atheist because I see no evidence God exists, and I tend to think there should be lots.
You mention the 10 Commandments, well there is no evidence that an Exodus ever took place either.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Debb said...

I really don't understand debating faith in God vs faith in no God. What's the point? No mind is changed based on such a debate. I have faith in God because I need God. Without a Creator who loves me, none of the questions of my heart have an answer, and I would be left without hope. When another person reaches that point of hopelessness in their life, I can share my hope and maybe help them find their answers through the Creator that loves them. The only purpose I can see for debating faith is to prove who is the more skilled debater.

 
At 3:03 AM, Blogger Eitan said...

debb: you said: "I have faith in God because I need God.

I'm sorry but what you call "God" is a coping mechanism. Most religious Jews believe in G-d because it stands to reason that there should be a G-d; not in order to feel better when one's down.

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger Bar Kochba said...

BEAJ: I just read an amazing book called the Riddle of the Exodus by archaeologist James Long which provides evidence for the Exodus. It is a fact. The problem with modern Egyptology is that they completely ignore Jewish datings for the Exodus and are therefore unable to find evidence since they are looking in the wrong places. However, if you look at the end of the Old Kingdom, where Jewish dating places the Exodus, there was an absolute collapse of the Egyptian empire. The Ipuwer Papyrus which is the record of an Egyptian priest lamenting the Ten Pague sis from the period. So is a monument contained in a little museum in Ismaila, outside Cairo, which speaks of Pharaoh chasing his enemies to Pi-Kharoti (think of the Hebrew Pi HaKhirot) only to be thrown into the sea. There is ample evidence, most compelling the fact that we Jews have celebrated Passover every 15th of Nissan since the Exodus.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Debb said...

eiten: "I'm sorry but what you call "God" is a coping mechanism. Most religious Jews believe in G-d because it stands to reason that there should be a G-d; not in order to feel better when one's down."

I can argue effectively for a God or against a God using logic, evidence, debate skills, etc....but in the end, I have to make up my mind on what to believe. It's not about feeling better when one is down. It's about a future. It's about purpose. It's about hope. It's about faith. And faith can not be debated.

 
At 12:57 AM, Blogger USpace said...

Good one, well said, I agree totally.

:)

 

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