What is the purpose of having online or even face-to-face discussions with Christians? I personally don’t think they’re very productive for either person and I really don’t think that anything I am able to say to a believer is going to suddenly convince them that what they believe is nonsense.
I read an article last evening, Six things atheists do wrong (H/T Atheist Revolution), that had me thinking about this subject again. The article is well written and to be sure, the author has captured what I’ve seen, especially online, between atheists and Christians.
I know I’m guilty of every one of those no-no’s pointed out, and maybe atheists should try and be better at communicating with believers. I don’t have a problem with that in general. I was actually at a point last evening, after reading the article that I could do a lot better, in fact, most atheists I know or are aware of online could as well.
I thought differently this morning. The reason is that I’m not looking to de-convert anyone from their belief system no matter how crazy it appears to me. I’m not here to evangelize for atheism. I honestly do not care one bit whether a believer takes offense at what I write or tweet or not. There’s no right (at least in the U.S.) to not be offended. If someone doesn’t like what I write here or tweet, they can very easily ignore me.
Also, why should there be a one-way street? It seems to be assumed if I use the tactics described at the bottom of the article that I’m going to get an in-kind response. Ever heard of the word patronizing? That is exactly what the approach described there looks to be to me.
I think that some atheists think that Christians are stupid. I disagree. Uninformed? Yes. Most Christians I know are very well educated having at least one college degree, some have advanced degrees. No matter how many times we point out to them the inconsistencies in their holy text, or that there is no proof for what they believe, no matter how we do it, I don’t think will, in general, have anyone decide to abandon their faith.
That’s the key word: faith. Christians live by faith, not proof. Those of us that were once Christians had doubts at one time but it was not because, at least for me, what some atheist said or wrote. Over time, the doubts became insurmountable.
So I don’t think it matters. Those that have doubts already may be helped along by someone confronting their belief directly while others, it wouldn’t make a difference how they were approached.