Hi all. Well I've had my share of debates, conversations and arguments about religion and it gets tiring. So, in an effort to help our younger members and to save you some time, breath and sanity I suggest that you read "The Righteous Mind" (Why Good People Differ About Politics and Religion). You can get a cheap copy online. It will explain to you that facts don't matter, it's all about emotion and a need to belong to a group. You can't/won't change their minds.
As you know the religious can't deal with situations like where both teams pray before a game and one team wins and one loses. Does god hate one team? Teaching them a lesson? Is it god's plan or man's free will? We think that when little kids have an imaginary friend it's cute but adults with imaginary friends are grounds for the psych unit, why is religion different? All the good things that happen is god's grace and all the bad is man's free will. Convenient.
Anyway, the book kinda reads like a sociology text book but has some great insight and a few things you maybe never thought about like: We see faces in clouds but we don't see clouds in faces. It's based on our innate need to protect ourselves.
I used to enjoy "religious" debates thinking I could show them how religion is irrational. They don't care. Find another hobby.
In a way I understand. Mark Twain understood emotion most often beats reason. Also, religion is just one area where people are intransigent about hearing other views. I have come into liberals who are just as closed minded about things that tend to stroke their good feelings. I have had debates with those who refuse facts, evidence or any kind of critical thinking. They are as loyal to their cause as their conservative counterparts.
However, I know people can and do change their views if approached in the right manner (I have witnessed and even been a part of numerous changes). I know for a fact, the messenger can often get through when the message cannot. Many of us on this site have gone through and are still open for changes in our philosophy. Often it takes one tipping point to turn a person in another direction. I also feel, strongly, that what is going on in this country today will be a major factor in how people, especially the youth, view religion and the importance of a strong, efficient government.
With all due respect, I hope the younger people don't take your advice about not caring and take on another hobby. Debate stretches you. It educates you. But there are a lot of people who are lurking in the background and are hoping to find answers to their questions that they won't learn in Sunday School or from the pulpit.
They won't learn from the pulpit or Sunday School that their night terrors and anxieties are caused by biblical indoctrination and that they may be experiencing religious trauma syndrome.
They will likely not learn in Sunday School or from the pulpit that hyper-religiosity and hallucinations are symptoms of neurological disorders, not caused by the devil or their god.
They won't learn in Sunday School or from the pulpit that the patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, that the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.
They won't learn from Sunday School or the pulpit that most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible stories now agree that the historic events are radically different from what that stories tell and that there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position
They won't learn from Sunday School or the pulpit that there are people out there who had the same doubts and questions as they are having and that they are not alone.
People are leaving the churches in droves. Now is not the time to discourage debate. I do think the book recommendation is a good one (thanks for sharing), but facts do matter to some. I and others, who were once believers, are proof of that.