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I watch a ton of religios debates on YT. Not in a single one has either side changed thier position. So I was wondering if anything is being accomplished? I think they know this going in, it’s for the audience, most of whom have already cemented their position. I enjoy watching this stuff. Maybe it’s because I was always atheist (even though I was raised Catholic) that I don’t know how to encourage a brainwashed follower to concider evidence and understand the definition of proof, neither do Hitchens or Dawkins it seems. This is a good place to blow off some religious steam since it’s pointless in the real world. How often do you see people get converted in either direction? I think it happens but I think it’s a slog.

ArdentAtheist 8 Apr 6

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When I was trying to figure out what I actually believed some of the Matt Dillahunty and Lawrence Krauss debates were essential for breaking me free of religion. I agree that most people aren't going to change their minds but there are some who might.


Those debates are not intended to have one or the other change their position, but to present their point of view to the audience, which is sometimes polled and will show some shift.
however, most of the actual shifts come later, as points worthy of deep thought require contemplation.

IF you have an entrenched worldview, your entire life is balanced upon that worldview. If you have had that view a long while, that can amount to a lot, a wife and children and all that goes with that, home, freinds, networks of conections
ALL of that can come crashing down.

This is why people feel so threatened by our lack of belief. It is not that we do not believe, it is because it shows them a reality where THEY do not believe, and in that all those connections might break, and that might be scary as hell to someone.

So if, in some debate, a debater makes a point which pieces through to a listener, it is very doubtful they will respond about there and then. If they respond at all, it will be later, when they feel most safe. If you ask debaters, they all have stories about people who wrote, or called, or stopped them someone to tell them the effect their words had.

That keeps them going.


I love watching religious programs on TV, I enjoy humerous programs.


These vids are the reason I know about the loonies: prager, craig, donohue,... I have seldom been around religious people during my whole life. So these "debate" vids have been very enlightening.
Those people are truely crazy.


Just about everytime I listen to hitchens I learn something new. That includes words, and phrases.


The debates aren't for the individuals, but for the audience. For me it made a huge difference, though I wasn't that religious to begin with. Like the universe it is going to be a slow process that will speed up over time as more and more people see the light.


I was a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical, and eventually moved to atheism. Debates were part of the mechanism that helped and prodded me to deconstruct my faith and consider the evidence. Non-vocal fence-sitters who are overhearing these debates will be swayed by rational arguments given enough time.


You may want to look up Intelligence Squared debates. The audience votes their position at the beginning and end of the debates. Debators are defending their position for the audience.

Marz Level 7 Apr 7, 2018

You can't change a position that is rooted in emotion and faith instead of logic.

EDIT: I should elaborate a bit... I think it's easier to convert FROM religion than to a religion. For me, becoming an atheist from a Young Earth Creationist position happened gradually as I studied philosophy and started to realize the logical errors in my thinking.

I eventually realized if there is a God, and we have this tool of logic as a model for noncontradictory thinking, then there should be logical, objective evidence for God. I just don't see it though, hence my conversion to atheism.

To convert one religion to another, you have to point out the flaws in someone's thinking, but you'd likely be guilty of using similar reasoning. Instead the arguments are usually limited to contradictions in the other party's holy text or the history of the religion, not the logical fallacies or scientific evidence that refutes their beliefs.

I don't watch these types of debates because ultimately I feel like it's a waste of my time.

MrHIT Level 5 Apr 7, 2018



I don't think the point is to accomplish anything. I think the only outcome is to enable the vieweship to realise there are better ways to discuss such a topic without resorting to "yeah but you're stupid. so there." tactics.

the non believers are doing it to engage the wider audience on the other side of the screen, while the believers are doing it to assert their dominance in the realm of religion and or religious knowledge. in the end, the only result is going to be the god claim isn't proven it's just asserted, and at the same time, the non believer has to be super careful and never say "there is no god" because that is when the believers can step aside and demand proof for something they have been trying to prove with no evidence for millenia.

at best, the religious are given reason to doubt what they have been told. insulting the religious is not where the fight is, this isn't a personal vendetta against those unlucky enough to be told what's true without actually knowing why. the entire religion debate is on the foundation, on the ideology, on the structure and the theology. I hate religion with a passion, but I make it a point to make sure the religious know i'm not being personal. I know i'm right because they attack me and non believers on a personal level, insulting intelligence, degrading opinions based on beliefs, asserting truths based on theirs, it's nothing more than non believers trying to create a dialogue where the religious can step back and objectively discuss their religion without feeling personally attacked solely because they're gullible enough or unlucky enough to actually believe it.

the youtube debates for me, are just podcasts with the same outcome every time. Intelligence squared debates always come back in favour of the non believers, and that is only because they don't pander or pretend that religion is all well and good, they make sure the audience know, that they[non believers] know more about their religion than they [believers] do. when that point is driven home, they admit to be doubtful of their convictions and become objectively questionable towards the things they've been told time and again, are true.

enlightening they can be. laughable at times. disturbing to witness, while ultimately a honest discussion about a subject in depth and exposing the true nature of religion. the religious, if left alone, will gather and plot without being entirely aware of it. too often do people try to let themselves become a part of a group in lieu of happiness or reward. even if that reward is something trivial like friendship or a relationship instead of something which can actually help humanity.

I don't doubt for a second that if I was religious and I was able to let myself get enirely lost in religion, I would have a better life than what I have, but i'm not able to forget the things I know. my honesty pisses off a lot of people, especially people who can't speak to me in the same manner or with the same amount of conviction without being hostile or competetive or personal. if I could, i'd swap my life for any other life. everything I know in life has been one shit pile after another. I can't think of one good thing to come from life apart from the 0.000001% of humans who did anything remotely remarkable in the hopes to improve existence as we know it.

i'm not a people person, I don't care about people and yet I have to pretend I care simply because it's expected and it helps those who need it. i'm the cunt in the end when I say I don't care about your dead father, your cancer ridden son, your diabetic uncle, I really don't care, but I will pretend I care, but that's not enough. honesty gets you nowhere and that's why religion and the religious choose to lie to others and themselves. if they didn't lie, they would be stuck with being brutally honest and that would expose them for who they are. these debates aren't debates, they're just collections of excuses from the religious while they try to imprint the misdeeds of others who were not religious onto other non religious people in a sad attempt at "guilt by association" when in reality, they can't admit that humans are manipulative bastards and they too manipulate their followers, albiet less dictator and more instructor, but it's still manipulation, why else do they need leaders of the faith?

I don't hold personal grudges until I am personally attacked. until then I will discuss the matter at hand and it can get heated to the point it's angry and very agressive, but as long as it remains on point and on the subject, it will be a worthwhile discussion. there must also be a high emphasis on communication and choices of words. if there is one thing which pisses me off more than religion, it's people who say dumb shit and then come back with "you know what I mean." or "that's not what I meant" when in fact it's what was said. those people piss me off, it's even more infuritating when it's in written format and there is an ability to proof read, edit and change before posting.

yeah, great place to blow off steam. in my opinion, as long as there is no personal attacks and degradation of others on a personal level, then I say go as far as you want. it took me a few years but I figured out I was attacking the religious and not the religion, which in the end made my fight harder than it should be. I don't do that no more and I make my points solely on the religion, not the religious. have fun here. I know I do. this place is like my junk food, I just come here to binge and bitch. that and I get to type insane amounts and no matter how little sense I make, I don't give a shit what others say about my lengthy nonsense.


The only way to accomplish change I believe is threw the youth really, showing them proof on social networks. older religious people are never going to change.


I believe they make a difference. While you may not see change happening during the debate, any time people can be made to do research or think creatively, rather than just parrot platitudes, there is a chance that logic and reason might sneak into their thick little skulls. I think there aremore doubters and non-believers than we can imagine, and the internet is the tool that was needed to allow them a voice. The age of burning heretics, both literally and figuratively, has been eradicated by technology.

Deb57 Level 8 Apr 7, 2018

I also enjoy watching the debates and have wondered the same thing. I agree that most people's views are probably cemented. However, perhaps these debates can plant a seed of doubt. Even if it's just a tiny seed, it's worthwhile.


If the inflicted cannot be brought to water so be it . We can only keep trying


You probably won’t see it in the individual so much as emergence over time as future generations come of age.


These debates are accomplishing something. Remember, the debate is between a firm believer and an unbeliever. Both of them have, it is hoped, done their homework and are able to make their case clearly. We know with some certainty that neither of these individuals is going to change their position one iota, regardless of how well either of them presents their case. That is, unless one of them produces some form of irrefutable evidence. But that is only what happens behind the lecterns.

We know something else with lesser certainty. Some of the people in the audience may be in the midst of struggling with some part of what they think they believe. We have no way of knowing how many of those people will be shifted off center by what they hear, but I think it safe to say that some will come away from the session thinking a little differently.

Those videos on Youtube aren't watched by a single audience. There are people with questions who occasionally watch them and again we have no way to determine what percentage of them have their thinking either shaken or altered. Even if it were only 5%, that is progress.


Probably none of the actual debators will change, it would make headlines. But debating gets people thinking, and may help some reach more logical thoughts. And give them strength, comfort, impetus to change. Even reach some who may have been raised in highly insular closed circumstances (church school, home school, cult) who never before were exposed to new idea...and to me this is their real value.


Well, I started years ago as a theist watching a lot of YouTube god debates and ended up an atheist. Hitchens and Dillahunty are too convincing.?

SalC Level 6 Apr 7, 2018

When I watch them it usually is for my own education. I haven't been an atheist that long. I don't know if any of the debates can claim they've turned anyone from one view to the other. The views are usually so entrenched that I think the best they can hope for is to plant a seed.

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