Why why why do religious people think they can make a believer out of an atheist? I’m so sick of tolerating their bullshit. Be gone you religious fanatics and hypocrites!!! Yes I’m waving my magic wand.
Just use Behaviorism.
If I get unwanted religion conversation, I nod and murmur , "Um-hum..that's nice," while looking bored and distracted, then act like I remember something and leave.
I only look at them, smile, or give them positive feedback when they are kind, and discussing neutral subjects.
This technique trained my parents in TWO visits.
Actually there is an answer to your question. Religious people stand on shaky ground, a position that cannot be logically defended. The more people they can convince to join them, the more security and support they have for their untenable beliefs. As a psychologist I can tell you that arguing with them is futile and even counterproductive. I suggest that best reply may simply to say, "I don't agree with you". This encourages them to wonder why, and perhaps to question.
They believe it’s their duty to convert unbelievers...brownie points for them with the man upstairs. Just smile and be completely relaxed about it...let them froth at the mouth and rant, passivity takes the wind out of them, it’s an argument they want..don’t give it to them. They will just deflate and go away! I now find them amusing rather than irritating.
I have a question for you. Is it possible that what you believe--your god, your holy book--is wrong?
If the answer to this question is yes, we have room for continued discussion. If it is no, any further discourse will be wasting your time and mine.
Maybe youre being to respectful. Which isnt usually a bad thing. At some point the respect has to be returned. If I start to feel someone is being pushy with their beliefs I take the gloves off and start to make fun of their silly beliefs. That usually puts an end to the proselytizing...
not all religious people think they can or even should convert others, be they atheist or members of other religions. judaism, for example, does not proselytize, and officiall discourages converts three times before grilling them on their reasons to want to convert and then MAYBE agreeing to let them study for about a year before converting. sikhs also do not proselytize, and are discouraged from doing so; i am not sure if they are forbidden. i am pretty sure jews are forbidden to do so.
now christians: that's a whole 'nuther ball of wax! they'll threaten you with a hell in which you don't believe, entice you with a heaven in which you do not believe and explain to you about a deity in whom it is impossible to believe, and expect you to fall on the floor and speak in tongues.
As an atheist since age 13, I have four smart-aleck replies in my back pocket that shut down Jehovah's Witnesses:
"We are ALL atheists here," grandly waving my arm to include the entire neighborhood.
"I stopped having imaginary friends at age four."
"I don't believe in an invisible being that resides somewhere beyond the clouds."
"I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or invisible gods."
This shuts them up. Perfect.
While they puzzle, I smile, say goodbye and shut the door. They don't bother me anymore.
I had been told more than once by fundamentalist that everyone alive knows the Gospel is true and are either denying it or have been misled by another religious tradition. Either way they consider it to be Satan. (Can some say, "Well, isn't that special" in their best Church Lady impression). They are (in their warped belief system) only attempting to reveal what you already know to be the truth. Doesn't matter that most atheist score higher on a fundamental test about the Bible than most Christians. Jews also score higher than most Christians. We have to wonder just what Christians are being taught (next to nothing) and just where their zealous beliefs come from.
Why? Because they have been indoctronated into a faith based cult that does not sceptically / logically evaluate reality.
Instead of my wand I usually respond with:
I find your assertion laughable as I value demonstrable truth. Demonstrable means you can demonstrate and test a truth claim with evidence. All religions are based on faith. In this context religious faith (that serves as the foundation of religion) is belief without evidence dishonestly asserted as truth (usually with a capital "T" ). I find this level of dishonesty morally repugnant. If religions were factually supported, there would be no need for faith.
They usually respond with a "Oh you're an atheist you don't believe in anything." (I love it when they go down that path.) then you can proudly respond, "On the contrary, I believe in truth; things that can be demonstrated and tested. I value reality over fantasy. Unlike the religious, I have a high standard for truth claims. I actually value facts over fiction and genuinely feel sorry for those who can not distinguish between fables and reality.
Depending on how annoying they are if they haven't run away by now, I'll address the "moral" teachings of their bible, Slavery OK, Zephyra sacrificing his young daughter as a burnt offering to Yahweh. (because their unchanging perfect god get's off on the smell of burning flesh) Their book (and the followers who follow the faith) being the foundation for idiot like the flat-earthers, (horsemen form the "Four corners of the Earth" ) The earth as a giant snow-globe covered with a Fermament. The biblical cure for leprosy, Noah's flood (lots of examples to break that - what about fresh water fish? Salt water fish?)
I have had theists react in a variety of different ways when I question their baseless assertions: run away from me, assume the fetal position, whimper like a beaten dog, tear up when he realized (a minister) admitted (realized for the first time?) by promoting faith over facts, he was not doing society good but adversely effecting the outcome for those he was deceiving and his teaching to not think logically harms his followers and humanity, and in one occasion an idiot yelled in my face "WHAT ABOUT THE FLOWERS?" over and over until a building supervisor escorted him from the YMCA. (the YMCA is my primary theist hunting ground.) I've only de-converted a few but it was worth the time as they later thanked me for helping them no longer be afraid of hell, people that were not like them, and a list of other silly Church based phobias. and how they could find more beauty in the world, no longer under the dark cloud of faith.
It's part of their "mission". They think they are "saving you". From their perspective, they are doing something admirable. From our perspective, they are trying to coerce us into a belief system that we can't subscribe to. Good people do misguided things because they don't know better.
I tend to think that their whole ' convert the non-believer' thing originally arises from both the their parents and the Priest/Minister, or whatever he/she is called, indoctrinating into their early still forming brains the compulsions that a) EVERYONE, without exception, MUST be made to believe as they do, b) anyone who does NOT see things as they do MUST be wrong, therefore MUST be converted, C) they WILL have failed their god and jesus IF they don't convert the non-believers and that we, the Non-Believers, are a Sinful people who need saving.
I feel you. Why invite me to church? I mean, in the south they are every 20 feet (another big reason for me to relocate). I will go one step further. How insane is it that people will openly talk to something that does not exist (god) but people like us who do not believe are criticized????? Amazing.