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Why argue about God or any belief?

Has anyone ever been argued out of a belief in God or any question of faith? Is faith or belief premised on rationality?

I've never seen any point to arguing about such things. Debates about God seem silly and pointless. Since spirituality is a very private matter, it seems especially pointless to have such discussions through text on the Internet.

Have any of you ever convinced anyone online to stop believing in God? If not, why do you try?

LukeJWalker 4 Feb 5

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28 comments

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8

Your question could make a good point, and I wish I could agree with you. Unfortunately, inherent in the claims you make to form the grammar of the question, are false premises. If religion was a private matter, there would be no debate. If muslims weren't blowing themselves up, if jews weren't killing untold infants through "private" practices performed on the genitals of said infants causing infection and fatal std's, if Christians weren't killing 100s of millions of people a year by blocking stem cell research, AND trying to get nonsense taught in science classes around the country, is Catholics weren't knee deep in a mass pedophilia scandal, if Mormons and scientologists weren't blatant cults splitting families apart and ruining the lives of more people than those who profess the faith, if just these "scratch the surfaces" things weren't true, you'd have the ghost of a point.
The reason why the debate must go on, and there must be pushback is because 90% of the people on the planet are basing their lives around fairy tales and wishful thinking. All religions are used a substitute for wisdom and quite frankly I think civilization and the survival of the human race is much more important than the deeply held feelings of a majority of people who simply find it inconvenient to take responsibility for their own actions and refuse to think critically about the important questions we all think about.

Now that's a good answer too

6

Debate is important from the standpoint that people on the sidelines - lurkers - may be undecided. A well crafted, mature, respectful argument may be what tips them over by the beauty of its reason, logic, and common sense.

Taken straight out of the ND Tyson playbook. And damn good of you to do so.

@Aquaman - It's an original thought of mine from my church days, where I always said that an overheard truth will sink in quicker than being challenged face-to-face. So, I guess Tyson and I draw from the same well. πŸ˜‰

5

Here's the problem: If people just had their own spiritual whatever and it was internal to them and it was private and so on, then that would be nice and they could believe any darn thing they like, including God. But, they don't just do that, do they. No, they have religions, with churches, and theology, and morals, priests and Popes and alike, and education for children to teach them their damned theology, as well as frightening them with damnation, and then they support politicians to promote their beliefs, and they also oppose things that are not consistent with their theology, and tell adults who they can have consensual sexual relations with, and how and when they can have babies, and on top of that they want to have wars with other religions which haven't seen the one true faith that they know, so, yeah, goddamn it, we should keep arguing with them, challenge their unproven claims, their appalling history, dreadful practices and anti modernist thinking in the faint hope that one day, just maybe, they might just all f--k off so we can have a better, rational, science based world!!!

Now that's a good response

4

"Has anyone ever been argued out of a belief in God or any question of faith? Is faith or belief premised on rationality?"

Yes, it happens every day.

My atheist wife was teaching Sunday school when I met her.

My friend AronRa, he met his wife arguing against her online. She was a creationist then. She went from online arguing YEC to wife of "notorious" atheist youtuber.

are you really friends with the notorious one? i was listening to a talk he gave a while back and he said a line that is so simple, so obvious, yet so elegant, deep and truly life transforming. not a day has gone by where i don't go through the task of ensuring i remember this line (or something very similar) 'if you want your life to have meaning, try making someone elses life meaningful." id honestly say that he is by far the most underrated intellectual in society. his ability to pull a perfectly crafted argument seemingly out of thin air, and then use that argument to forge the foundation of arguments that, each and every word, every syllable, my mind is working harder to comprehend than i can describe, is like being attacked by Bruce Lee. you know its coming, but before the pain has time to set in hes already on to the next opponent.

I really am. We've hung out quite a bit. I've even taken him sailing a couple times. We've been out riding motorcycles. It wasn't anything super frequently, but I know him, his wife, and rest of family.

At one point, I was pretty involved with the JREF and knew a lot of people in the skeptical world. Explaining how all that came about is apparently what pushed Aron to take it to the next level a few years back (or so he tells me). Now he's a real jet-setter.

4

Well, I was convinced through argument and reason.

3

When I was religious, I prayed in private. I never had any desire to have the country make laws against birth control, same sex marriage or abortion etc. I didn't want images from my faith erected in the court house. To me it was a personal thing. If everybody was as respectful of others who don't hold their beliefs, I would argue FOR their faith, but that's not how it is in the south, and I suspect the rest of the country.

3

Why try? Well, it's not about the beliefs but the actions that stem from some beliefs. Take for instance the right to life movement. They'll tell you that it's unchristian to perform an abortion. And they will act on that presupposition with protests and even murder.
If religion is a motivator in heinous acts then it deserves scrutiny.

2

Published debates and arguments were what I went to when I began to question my faith and these resources were very helpful. Even if the people arguing don't change their viewpoints the audience can benefit.

2

Someone, a friend, convinced me years ago.

2

As soon as you can convince religious people that spirituality is a private matter, then I will be all in for not debating it.

1

If we just changed one mind it's a step in the right direction and that's all that matters

1

A lot of people have already given great answers regarding the effect of debate on others. But one thing that hasn't been mentioned is the effect that debate has on the self.

In a debate, it's too easy to take one side and stick with it come hell or high water. It's too easy to think that the purpose of debate is to change the other's POV but one of the greatest benefits to debate, to me, lay not in convincing others that my POV is correct... but convincing myself that it is... or isn't!

I for example abide by the notion of convincing myself that god exists when presented with the idea that he doesn't and convincing myself that god doesn't exists when presented with the idea that he does. In this way, I fine tune and better understand my own position on the subject.

Think about it: if you never make your private thoughts public or simply talk to people that agree with you, if you never expose them for debate to others, then you are prone to the classic logical fallacies of confirmation bias, dunning kruger effect, and echo chamber mentality.

0

I see religion as having qualities of a mental illness or addiction. One must be ready to give up the "security" of the disorder in order to heal. You can lead the horse to water, of course, but to drink is their choice.

I have had that honor of assisting in that "awakening" several times but never by making the decision for them and definitely never following a heated debate. It is counter productive to put someone on the defensive about what they've held as core beliefs, possibly since childhood.

"Is faith or belief premised on rationality?" Generally, no and definitely not with religions. Faith is the antithesis of rationality. All you need to do is take a rational look at religious rituals to understand this.

0

AMEN!
Better to live and let live, as long as others do the same.

0

Spirituality and religion are not the same thing. I think that is the only obstacle to tolerance.

the problem with spirituality is that it has been, in large part, hijacked by the religious. its virtually impossible to attempt to live a spiritually fulfilled life without the tug of the religious attempting to claim your experiences.

0

"I've never seen any point to arguing about such things. Debates about God seem silly and pointless. Since spirituality is a very private matter, it seems especially pointless to have such discussions through text on the Internet."

This statement seems to fly in the face of 3000 years of recorded history, which restlessly demonstrates that the belief in god forms the basis for the way people live in most world cultures.

The concept of a god implies the existence of a necessary being, an absolute, which is an important constituent in thought because without some form of absolute everything is contingent, and therefore relative, but then there is no truth.

So we deny the existence of a god, and live in a contingent world, but how do we replace what taking god out of the picture leaves out?

cava Level 7 Feb 6, 2018

by honoring each other and providing meaning and value to the lives of those we touch. we are a social species, not a god forged species.

@Aquaman Yes, I agree with that. There is still an issue in thought, in epistemology or what constitutes knowledge. God provided the guarantee of a true connection between what is perceived and what is in reality for many thinkers up until Nietzsche. Since G's demise things have been kind of up in the air.

Well its only been up in the air for philosophers. Unfortunately, while there is a massive amount of brain power and time spent thinking about the universe and our place in it, science hasn't just begun to sever it's ties with philosophy, the severing has long been done. The truth may be a concept that is ultimately unattainable, but as has been said, this does not mean the search should be abandoned. What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Or if you prefer Thomas Jefferson to Francis bacon, Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

Again, faith and religion are nothing more than substitutes for wisdom, where consolation plays such a normative role in numbing the pain in the tragedy of life that our evolved brains simply refuse to grasp the totality of our situation, so deeply, that billions, yes billllionssss of people base their lives around Fairy Tales.

@Aquaman I don't think truth is a concept, it is a 'troth' , something that demands.

@Aquaman "Religion is a system of symbols which. establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by. formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and. clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.." Clifford Geertz

0

Since both sides make points that cannot be actually proven, I see no need to argue the subject either. Using logic to make them squirm a bit can be fun though

when you say atheists make points that can't be proven what do you mean by this? that is an illogical claim that contradicts the basis of atheism. atheists do not claim there is no god. atheists claim that all attempts to demonstrate a god, are less than convincing. theists bring faith to the table, atheists bring science and skepticism. every truth claim religions have ever made about the nature of reality have been relentlessly proven false by science. science has never once been proven wrong by religion. there are obvious reasons for this, such as, religion is not well defined.
so i ask again, what is it about atheism that would lead you to make such a fatuous claim?

0

I don't bother. in fact, i came here to get away from that crap.

0

To debate about god...or any other imaginary thing...is a waste of intelligent time. Whenever a person attempts to talk to me about the bible -for instance- I tell them I have my own "bathroom" paper.
Several people have asked me "How is the Pope?" since he is from my other country. Well, they didn't like when I mentioned to them about him playing soccer on the beach...LOL

i used to think the god debate was inherintly a time waster. until a group of dellusional thugs flew planes full of living people, into buildings full of living people, shouting god is great, certain of paradise, ultimately killing 3000 american men women and children, that prompted me to reconsider the debate. since then, i have seen absolutely nothing produced by religion to make me think any differently. as a matter of fact, considering where you say your from and the absolutely horrendous conditions that exist, caused by the same faith that wreaked havoc on america, im frankly shocked by your comment. how many 12 and under girls need to be raped this month for not wearing the veil in england before this is something worth taking the time to discuss?

@Aquaman Since people won't change unless they decided to do so...is stupid to debate about god with them.....or about anything else.

BTW, what does it have to do my other country -one where only 20% practice their religion) with the blowing of the TT and the rest you mentioned?

It's not about the natives to your land. It's about the mass immigration turning large tracks of places like Sweden, into a dismaying trap door under the feet of all the native Swedes never knowing if their wives, sisters, daughters or mothers will make it home on a nightly basis. Some scandals are so massive that they're simply hard to believe. As many as one million white English children may have been the victims of Muslim rape gangs, better known as grooming gangs, in towns up and down Great Britain. In the Qur'an, taking enemy sex slaves is encouraged and until all of GB is Muslim, until all of the world Muslim, we are all the enemy. here are the facts: calculations based on convictions show that a British Muslim male is 170 times more likely to be a part of sex grooming gang than a non-Muslim. And there are no recorded instances of non-Muslims doing this to Muslim girls as part of a criminal enterprise. it was estimated that six out of seven Muslim males either knew about, or were part of, a grooming gang

0

It’s pretty pointless to argue religion with the religious nuts. They’re to indoctrinated and closed to accept anything rational on the subject.

0

Arguing about anything is pointless. Nobody is going to change their mind about anything. I post to find others with the same beliefs as myself or to bring information to people whose sources most likely aren't giving them correct information.

0

I won't argue about god.

0

I don't venture onto religious websites seeking to convince theists of their errancy. I don't look for arguments or confrontations, when out and about. BUT I also will not stand by when seaparation of church and state is under attack; when I am accosted by someone wishing to save my soul when I am going about my normal business; or when I am demonized b/c simply b/c of who I am (queer/progressive/atheist/Jewish).

0

Like many others have said, I focus less on the believes than on the self-righteous, saved, forgiven, holier-than-thou attitude that religion gives them and what that does to their relations with reasonable. mature individuals.

0

I do not see any reason to try and convince any godder of their fantasies. They are perfectly content to believe in the adult equivalent of Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. They will go to amazing lengths to hang on to their hallucinations no matter their lack of evidence. It's pointless.

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