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Have you ever found a religious person that was genuinely interested in hearing what you had to say from an atheist perspective? I've found that if you tell people that you're an agnostic, they may engage you in conversation in an effort to illustrate to you that their god is real, but if you're an atheist, they're more likely to berate you or simply refuse to listen to your opinion.

Philosopearl 6 Mar 23

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There is a lady at work that I avoided for years because she is one of those "church-y ladies". Goes to church every Sunday, talks about how God has blessed her, invites people to her wonderful church, etc. I avoided her mostly because I figured a) we probably didn't have much in common, and b) once she found out I am Atheist she would think I was "unworthy" of being her friend.

One day we were put in a 'partner' situation where we spent most of the day working together. There were times when we could chat, and we did! She didn't even blink an eye when I told her I was an Atheist. In fact, she said, well I still think you are a good person. I told her, of course I'm a good person. You don't have to believe in god in order to have morals, standards and ethics. She nodded, and agreed with me. I was surprised. Then she asked me if I liked movies and would I like to go with her sometime when she went out because it's more fun to go with a friend.

I don't automatically discount Christians as friends anymore. I wouldn't say my friend is open-minded, exactly, but she is forthcoming and speaks her truth without expecting me to agree and she actually listens when I tell her MY truth.



I have, actually. She was a Baptist and is currently Agnostic.


Very few people know I am an Atheist, especially where I live because I gebuinely fear what these fundamentalist Baptists would do if they knew. I am already being harassed by the new ones across the road and they would only be worse if they knew. The wife is on a campaign to get me to move off my farm and sell out.

How christian of them.

Long time no see. That is so shitty people have to be that way.

@kmdskit3 Isn't it though.

@azzow2 She is a class A bitch.


Why this happens in my opinion and based on my experience:

A theist and atheist carry with them the stereotype of a closed mind while an agnostic the stereotype of an open mind.

I have found that both theist and atheist generally admit they will listen to opposing evidence... the problem is that they will only listen to what they consider evidence and dismiss the rest; scientific evidence is dismissed by the theist for not being personal enough; personal evidence is dismisssed by the atheist as not being scientific enough.

Thus, both sides are closed off to the what the other side offers.

The agnostic, on the other hand, will listen to both types of evidence, personal and scientific, and weigh them accordingly. The personal evidence of a theist is one type of evidence and the scientific evidence of the atheist another; sometimes there is overlap, most of the times there is not.

Either way, the very act of the agnostic accepting the validity of each sides presentation of evidence, even if the agnostic ultimitely doesn't agree with or accept that evidence's veracity, makes it easier for both sides to talk to an agnostic than to each other.

In effect, an agnostic is biligual whereupon the atheist and theist are monolingual.

I have to respectfully disagree. I have a huge family of "born again" christians. They constantly come with their personal testimonies and antidotes. For years I have listened and explained why it's of no value and not evidence. Now when they pick a fight they come with more substantial arguments. Still very weak but they they are trying and thinking a bit. If I accepted their testimonies and antidotes or gave it any weight they would have considered the case closed a long time ago. In this way they at the very least exposed to a small measure of critical thinking and research.

I have to admit that I don't see the point in being agnostic. If you an atheist and it turns out there is a god after all, being agnostic will not help you in anyway. The existence (or not) of a god is one of the most important things you ever have to decide on, so make a decision.


Right there though: you tell them that their personal experiences are of no value and not evidence. You dismiss as fake what they take is very real even though you have no way of knowing what another persona experiences.

As you say, if you would have accepted their testimonies and anecdotes as real to them, even as they were not real to you, they might have considered the case closed as a case of "agree to disagree".

As to the value of agnosticism, it's value is not in the afterlife but in this life. It's value is in being honest to our rationality and only commenting on those things we have evidence for ourselves and not dismissing, but not accepting either, those things for which we have no evidence for ourselves. In your case, for example, as an agnostic I would neither accept nor dismiss their testimonies or anecdotes as true or real. I would simply accept that it's true or real to them, examine if it is true or real to me, and then go from there.


No, they only care about god and loving him.

I think it is more about their Christian image than anything because the are not the most ethical people

@misstuffy Most don't even follow the biblical rules.


I've been debating believers online since I got my first Internet account in 1999. I have encountered many who, if they were not interested in my viewpoint, were able to flawlessly fake it. You might keep in mind that many of us atheists used to be believers, and for most of us the only reason we stopped believing is that we were able to pay sincere attention to opposing viewpoints.


That's because they often see atheist as irredeemable, they think agnostic means being more convincable. Most theists I've talked to don't want to hear what I have to say and just like hearing themselves talk, especially when surrounded by others that share their beliefs. Perhaps they are conflating not actively believing in any deities with believing that there are none.


Come to think of it- no..


Mostly, they "listen" while formulating circular arguments. It isn't true interest in my thoughts as much as interest in converting my thinking to their brainwashed state.


There is a little variation within the Christian faith. The more fundamental become very angry at athiesm. My experience with the bible bashing door knocker has been varied. Mormons tend to view me as an iconoclastic anti-Christ but the Jehovas Witnesses tseem to take pity. Incidently I've noticed a pleasant change in the Jehovas. At the last encounter they didn't try to shove a Watch Tower on me a beat a hasty retreat. They had literature on community welfare and we had a pleasant discussion around those issues.


I have found that in the last few years many churches, especially charasmatic ones, have put forward the atheist (not satan worshippers as in the past) as the real enemy of god. I see reports daily about churches blaming atheist, gays or abortion for any trouble under the sun. I am an atheist and would not tell anyone I'm agnostic as that would be immoral. I do believe that most believers don't know what an agnostic believes and would be more willing to engage with you.

I have found the following reactions:

  1. People are interested in how you believe such a weird thing like there is no god.
    Strange as it may seem this has happened a number of time when one christian introduces me to another christain and tells them (maybe as a warning) that I am an atheist.
  2. Outraged that you dare imply that they are wrong and that god does not exist. Sometimes the outrage is replaced with surprise.
  3. The ones that try and convert you

I think it's import that people know when you are not religious or atheist. Probably for the same reason religious people want you to know. If you want to know about christinity then you will find a openly christian person to talk to. It's the same with being an atheist. If people know you and see you are a good person but yet you are an atheist they will ask you about it and then you can tell them what they need to hear. You will never get someone away from religion unless they are ready to go.

As an atheist I do sell logic, reason and freedom from religion. This makes the religious correct in calling us their enemy...


I remember a conversation I has last year with one of the nicest people on earth, she happens to be very religious, perhaps due to the loss of her son some years ago. Anyway, we got to talking one day about churches here on the island, and I had to tell her that I'm atheist. She was visibly taken aback, and then admitted that she's so sheltered she doesn't think she's ever met an atheist. I know she's always thought of me as a nice person with good values, and that didn't change. In fact, she left a flower on my doorstep after that conversation. She's still one of the nicest people on earth. We didn't argue our difference in beliefs - it simply didn't matter.


I think some of it is out of you are a devil worshiper. I have one devout believer who has engaged in genuine curiosity.


I've not yet encountered a single open-minded white evangelical Christian. My United Methodist and Lutheran friends are liberal, and act like agnostics.


They have been washed into, the religious way is the only way with no inclusion for people that have different ideas. They think they are going to "save you" if that is not idiotic enough.


Most evangelicals I've met misunderstand agnosticism as an "I'm not sure" uncertainty that sounds to believers more like active interest and openness to their beliefs. By contrast, they misunderstand atheism as hatred of god and god followers, rebellion, possibly Satan-worship, baby-eating, etc., and therefore as much more a personal affront.

The irony is that I identify as an agnostic atheist so I could go either way. With most active theists who aren't total asshats, I would probably avoid the atheist point of view. I would talk about how there's no way to intersubjetively know that god does OR does not exist, because god is both poorly-defined and not examinable. Not about how I have personally rejected belief in god. Let them think I'm waffling if it makes them more comfortable.


No. I've met many who pretend to be interested in my views on religion while hoping they can somehow put the spirit if Jesus in me. Some have been almost convincing, almost. You're right about the agnostic/atheist point. An agnostic might somehow be saved or turned, but atheists are lost, from their viewpoint. I think also that some agnostics prefer to call themselves that because atheist seems too 'extreme'. I've come to learn that big arguments with believers is mostly a waste of time. If a believer renounces it's usually for a complex range of personal, experiential or internal reasons, not because a moment of insight from an atheist. In debate believers get defensive and the mind shutters go up. It's a human reaction when we want to believe something no matter what. It can happen to all of us on something; for a believer it's religion.


I do have one friend that will actually listen out of curiosity till I finish my sentence, but he certainly doesn't consider its truth. Immediate rebuttal is all he does. But the conversations are entertaining...

I absolutely refuse to argue with religious people. If they are true believers, there is nothing I can say that will change their mind. If they are even a little bit unsure, I hope they will eventually realize their delusion. I am a terrible debater. Ignorance and arrogance frustrate the hell out of me and I can never think of a good response (at the time). All my knowledge and facts fly out of the window! Arrrggg!


No, but I found a lot of atheists that want to talk about religion 24/7, they just can't let it rest. Figure those odds.


I have - a few Christians and Muslims, more than a few Hindus and Sikhs and quite a lot of Jews

Jnei Level 8 Mar 23, 2018

Haven't met the christian yet who listened to my point of view whether I identify as an agnostic or atheist.


I Never tell religious people that i am a non believer .I see no point in doing so for the reasons you mentioned



When I tell people that I am an Existentialist then suddenly the have a rather confused look on thier faces.


No all they want to do is convince you that their skydaddy is real.


yes, 1.
She is 25 now, raised as a Joho.
She still goes on about being a christian, but she is no longer homophobic, and she visits often to ask questions about the world and is questioning her belief. Her partner of 4 years is an atheist as are all her friends, though her workmates are christian as of course is her family. Her father is a preacher or something.

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