How many people have you de-converted?

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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How many people have you de-converted

Poll ended at Oct 29, 2010 9:41 pm

Zero
33
72%
One to Three
11
24%
Four to Six
1
2%
Seven to Nine
1
2%
Ten or more
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 46

Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#61  Postby Towns » Jan 13, 2011 5:31 am

There is a difference between a believer and a follower.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#62  Postby Driftwood » Jan 13, 2011 7:58 am

Towns wrote:There is a difference between a believer and a follower.


There can be a difference, yes.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#63  Postby Slydog » Jan 13, 2011 10:25 am

HughMcB wrote:Yip I've successfully deconverted at least two in RL. :party:


:thumbup:

I've tried. A bunch of times. Mostly I don't start it but it's fucking irritating when they blather on constantly on Facebook and I keep reading their shit. Anyway, I usually back them into a corner, knock down their strawmans, and that's the point when they stick their fingers in their ears and accuse me of not being tolerant.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#64  Postby Denny » Jan 13, 2011 4:12 pm

Towns wrote:There is a difference between a believer and a follower.



How?

A believer of a religion is someone who follows a religion.

A follower of a religion is someone who believes in a religion.

To me they're exactly the same.
Last edited by Denny on Jan 13, 2011 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#65  Postby NineOneFour » Jan 13, 2011 4:12 pm

Yes, I have.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#66  Postby Mac_Guffin » Jan 13, 2011 6:53 pm

Towns wrote:There is a difference between a believer and a follower.


Maybe, but they're rare... like gnostic atheists.
Usually (like gnostic atheists), they're present in fiction. Someone believes there's a god, and lashes out and rejects him only to start following him again, ie. Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#67  Postby Quip » Jan 15, 2011 8:51 am

It's tough to say how to deconvert a christian; more often than not, they won't give you the benefit of being there to see it happen. Someone who isn't genuinely interested in reality will have more to gain from saving face than admitting to having been wrong or inconsistent in their worldview. (And someone who is genuinely interested in reality will probably already have been deconverted.) As such, deconversions, in my experience, occur more frequently on private reflection long after I'm gone. What I've noticed works best, however, has more to do with emotional appeals than with objective evidence. Literally a hundred percent of the cases where I've met theists, known them as theists, and later again as atheists (~10 so far), their reflection always began for emotional reasons, and then they find that rationalizing their newfound position is far too consistent for them to be able to go back. In order for that to happen, they need both the emotional and the logical reasons as to why they should deconvert. Without the emotional reasons, they won't be roped out, and without the logical reasons, they won't find the consistency that keeps them out.

We've already monopolized on logical reasons, but what consistutes an emotional reason to leave christianity? You might be surprised! The key question to ask yourself is, what do they have to gain from deconverting? Avoid answering with things they wouldn't understand, such as cognitive consonance or guilt-free orgasms. You're more likely to win them over using simple desires, desires that anyone could understand, such as the attention of a nonchristian boy or girl that they like, or to avoid being laughed at by peers whose opinions they respect.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#68  Postby Made of Stars » Jan 15, 2011 10:19 am

Brain wrote:By now, I've given up on trying to deconvert Christians, but I wonder if anyone has successfully attempted to do so?

Yes. Me. :)

Brain wrote:If you have deconverted a Christian, how exactly did you do it?

Keep asking the questions they can't answer. Or where the crap answers just don't work. The problem of evil, bad shit happening to good people, and so on. Another good line of discussion is - if they're a liberal or moderate Christian - keep asking which parts of the Bible they believe, which they don't, and why there's that difference.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#69  Postby Nebogipfel » Jan 15, 2011 5:28 pm

To the best of my knowledge, no.

I don't really see the point of trying to "deconvert" people, purely for the sake of deconverting them. Get them to take a rational, skeptical, scientific view of the world, certainly, and point out where their beliefs have baleful social consequences, certainly.

But the Christians I know tend to already take a largely rational view of the world, and don't see that cherry picking scripture or treating parts of the gospels as allegorical should invalidate their private faith in any way.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#70  Postby Denny » Jan 15, 2011 8:59 pm

Nebogipfel wrote:To the best of my knowledge, no.

I don't really see the point of trying to "deconvert" people, purely for the sake of deconverting them. Get them to take a rational, skeptical, scientific view of the world, certainly, and point out where their beliefs have baleful social consequences, certainly.

But the Christians I know tend to already take a largely rational view of the world, and don't see that cherry picking scripture or treating parts of the gospels as allegorical should invalidate their private faith in any way.


I don't like to confront the ordinary Christian and debate them for the sake of deconverting them either. I draw fire with religion itself and the people who perpetuate it's lies. That's about it. If people want to believe in a particular religion, that's fine by me. Just keep it away from our schools and don't indoctrinate one's own children to hold such a belief. Which I firmly believe is child abuse.

I quarrel with your use of the term "cherry picking." For one thing, the foundational texts of a religion are the only pieces of "evidence" creationists claim to have. Therefore, it's perfectly justifiable to subject it to the brutual scrutiny of the scientific method. Which it fails miserably. Lastly, I think cherry picking inaccurately represents the number of fallacies and other nonsense located in scripture. I don't have to search the book up and down for bullshit. In the Bible, for example, genocide, misogyny, homophobia, racism, adovcation of slavery, ect, can all be found. If someone's faith is built around this type of foundational text than I think it's more than fair to point this obvious nonsense out.

It's actually they who do the cherry picking. They avoid all the mean and nasty quotes and merely promote the nicer sounding ones. This is nonsense.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#71  Postby AlohaChris » Jan 15, 2011 9:07 pm

No, but I'm working on millions of them!
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#72  Postby CIS » Jan 21, 2011 8:27 pm

Sort of.

I've had a lot of religious discussions with my mother, and frankly, I don't think she believes in Christian (Roman Catholic) doctrine anymore, but she still attends church. I think she does it for the sense of community and sense of purpose. I hail from a very rural area where religious belief is still strongly tied to superior morality. She still hangs on to the whole "Jesus" thing, but I doubt if she really believes he was a magic man with a creepy evil invisible father.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#73  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 22, 2011 11:19 am

Is it more that people have utterly different languages, and it is a matter of teaching a new language? People assume they understand science and maths and evolution and atheism, but it has been taught to them by people who are not fluent either, but are fluent in goddidit.

The comments above about evidence are worrying examples of goddidit.

Remember cause and effect. If a god did create the universe there would be clear evidence, equations which had "god" in them, theories that would fall apart without the god factor.

But we are well able to construct theories with no gods, and with Hawking they are now more or less complete - we are looking at universes based on quantum fluctuations, a huge borrowing on nothing.

I don't think it is an individual matter of conversion, but an issue of fluency.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#74  Postby Clive Durdle » Jan 22, 2011 11:28 am

And on gnostic atheists, that is the only logical position. I know there are no gods because our knowledge of how the universes work is more than sufficient for gods to have shown up, if they were there and there are scientific explanations in neurology, anthropology etc of why we invented gods.

All this pathetic postmodernism about we don't know the sun will rise tomorrow is ridiculous, especially as the sunlight we see is eight minutes old and we would not know if this universe has already ended because the effects of it won't have reached us yet!
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#75  Postby Slydog » Jan 25, 2011 6:52 am

I don't usually go starting arguments with Christians, usually because it ends up with me banging my head against a wall. I've done it a couple of times on Facebook because I get irritated with their constant god praising on there and I end up saying something.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#76  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 25, 2011 8:05 am

Brain wrote:By now, I've given up on trying to deconvert Christians, but I wonder if anyone has successfully attempted to do so?


I never tried, but apparently I managed to a few times on RDF as I got PM's from a number of people who had started to question their faith.

The thing is that the label 'Christian' is really a very stretchy one. My mother identifies herself as a Christian, but she doesn't believe in the Christian myth, just a god concept that happened to first be introduced to her by the Christian culture she grew up in, and a set of morals that were hijacked by Christianity centuries ago and foisted off as possessed solely by them.

Someone like my mum is easy to deconvert from Christianity as she really only uses the label as a convenient term to state that she believes in some higher being. Decouple them, and she's not a Christian anymore.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#77  Postby Simon_Gardner » Feb 01, 2011 10:43 am

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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#78  Postby Primate » Feb 02, 2011 4:22 am

Never deconverter any hardcore religious people, but I have watched many Facebook statuses go from agnostic to atheist after hanging out with me for some time. I have had some people come out and thank me for the Facebook posts I make, and that it has really helped them off the agnostic wall. I think I can count at least 6 or 7 people that I know I have influenced greatly enough to have them identify as atheists.

I have also made some religious people start to doubt a bit. I used to be the VP of a freethinkers club at college, and had many a debate with religious people. Some started sitting with us just to listen to us debate with others. Some even came to out freethinker meetings, and also science club meetings, just to hear what we talk about. I don't think we converted any of them, but we got them to think very hard about their beliefs. I wish I could see their Facebook statuses now, maybe I have converted a few. I don't know.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#79  Postby jaygray » Feb 02, 2011 9:48 am

'Convert' to atheism? I don't think so. A religious person becomes an atheist because he / she changes her mind on the matter. 'Conversion' is not involved in such a process, so the description of it as such is at best a mistake and at worst a willful distortion of what actually happens.

As for the reasons why people change their mind regarding religion, they are personal to the persons concerned and I fail to see why anyone should be interested in them.
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Re: Has Anyone Deconverted a Christian?

#80  Postby Durro » Feb 02, 2011 11:00 pm


!
MODNOTE
The derail into converting atheists has been split off and can now be found at
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... ml#p697547

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