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?

#81  Postby pelfdaddy » Feb 02, 2011 11:33 pm

In two years of life as an atheist, I can easily count 8 people who were formerly born-again fundamentalists that I have successfully de-converted, and several others who are now staring into the black gulf of decision.

The process has involved their obervance of the fact that I have changed somewhat, that I behave differently, speak differently, etc. They become curious and wonder why.

I tell them that at one time I would have been afraid to question my beliefs about God, the universe, and salvation, but that I realize now the importance of objectivity. I tell them I think it is important to know whether we are right about things.

They sense that something profoundly non-Christian may have happened to me, but they are unwilling to be unfriendly, and so communication remains open. They have noticed that I have not been stricken with a deadly disease, at least not yet.

Personal conversations are then easily turned toward large questions about "what really matters", and "how the world really works". I lace these conversations with comedy at which they cannot not resist laughing, like: "We know the stars are huge and far away, but ancient people thought of them as lights ensconced in a kind of domed ceiling, so...did you ever notice that after everything else is 'created', the Bible says 'He made the stars also'? as if they were an afterthought? Of course, He did think it was important to tell Abram to cut off the end of his dick, so maybe the thing about the stars isn't all that stupid." They do not wish to be thought stupid, and they cannot help recognizing an absurdity when they hear one, so they think about it for a few days.

They read books by Christian apologists in an effort to help me, but they are also unwittingly trying to reaffirm that they are not crazy for believing. They start asking me deep and challenging questions designed by apologist writers to give them an opportunity to help me to seeThe Truth, but the responses I give are not the cardboard cutouts or the straw dogs that the apologists destroy in their books. They then begin to ask questions more out of curiosity and interest.

I remain friendly and just keep pouring on the humor, obviously enjoying my freedom to make fun of God.

One day a serious conversation will erupt and I will take time to ask them, "Imagine you live in a primitive tribe six thousand years ago..." during which I invite them on a journey through the evolution of a religion, pointing out how very much identical in nature is their God to all the obviously false gods in which they have never believed. "The need for a prieshood is a hallmark of a god who cannot speak without one..." for example.

Before long I begin to notice in them the one thing that will pry a person away from religion most effectively; an angry reaction against it. Lots of personal empathy ("hey, I've been where you are--I used to believe this stuff") combined with hilarious observations that cannot be effectively or easily dismissed, can cause them to--one by one--rethink the stupidity of minor, individual aspects of the thing on which they are wasting their life.

One day they start laughing about it too.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#82  Postby Durro » Feb 03, 2011 12:26 am


!
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Similar threads merged

It's all part of the friendly service around here folks.

:beer:

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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#83  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 03, 2011 1:55 am

Some people quite literally have never thought about questioning such a fundamental principle, and when it comes up in conversation over dinner, they are surprised that another person can eloquently defend a position that is contrary to their own. In real life, I fairly frequently run up against the god belief, not because I set out to, but because being a white guy in Thailand, everyone assumes I am a Christian. When I say I am not, they immediately assume I am Buddhist. Thais, like many people on the planet, just assume that everyone has a religion like everyone has a nationality. I've had some really interesting conversations here where people have said that actually, now they come to think about it, they don't really believe in a lot of Buddhism, but it's just what they've done ritualistically since they were kids.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#84  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 03, 2011 2:49 am

Loke wrote:So, how many people have you successfully de-converted from their old beliefs, ideas or religions? Any?
I can say I have de-converted a total of zero people.
:doh:

(Poll runs for 14 days- I'm aiming for at least 50 votes!)


Since the thread topic is "How many people".............

I have deconverted quite a few. Although not single-handedly of course but as part of a team effort.

Once the people I have deconverted realize that their belief system is such a small minority view compared to the rest of humanity and that their faith lacks the supportive elements of other belief systems (such as monotheism with its Torah, Bible, regular organized weekly assembly, etc) they begin to open up.

These people I have deconverted eventually admit that their previously narrow-minded, short-sighted belief about divinity, the soul and the afterlife is far too restrictive for minds such as human beings have. (A bit like having a Ferrari to take for a test drive and being told you mustn't exceed 10 miles per hour and can only drive in a straight line).
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#85  Postby Durro » Feb 03, 2011 2:59 am


!
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LionIRC, the context of this thread is about helping people move away from religions and other belief systems towards a rational, atheistic point of view. I've already split off a new thread where you are quite welcome to talk about converting people to your particular brand of faith. I suggest that you take your discussion there. But please don't derail this thread further.

Thanks.

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Re: How many people have you converted to atheism

#86  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 03, 2011 3:36 am

OH.
Sorry. :oops:

I thought it was about converting people in general.

Maybe a new thread title is needed. (same discussion of course)

How many people have you converted to atheism.

So...that being the topic I would like to post a comment which I think is relevant.

How come, the more time I spend reading and listening to atheists who, as you quite correctly observe, want to convert people towards an "atheistic point of view", the LESS inclined I am to convert to atheism?
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#87  Postby Durro » Feb 03, 2011 3:50 am

You can lead a horse to water....it's up to you if you want to accept what you're shown or not. Many people have spent time trying to articulate reasoned arguments and discussion with you and other theists.

I do note that sometimes the attitudes of some atheists do come through negatively in their posts and may be somewhat of a hinderance to persuading people about letting go of their superstitions. But I'd hope that some theists would be able to see past the superficial tone and appreciate the underlying arguments.

It's your life...only you can decide what's the right thing for you, Lion.

BTW, I'm happy to engage with you on a number of issues in a polite manner, so let me know if/where you want continue this.

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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#88  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 03, 2011 3:51 am

You are always polite. :cheers:
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#89  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 03, 2011 10:54 am

Lion IRC wrote:
Loke wrote:So, how many people have you successfully de-converted from their old beliefs, ideas or religions? Any?
I can say I have de-converted a total of zero people.
:doh:

(Poll runs for 14 days- I'm aiming for at least 50 votes!)


Since the thread topic is "How many people".............

I have deconverted quite a few. Although not single-handedly of course but as part of a team effort.

Once the people I have deconverted realize that their belief system is such a small minority view compared to the rest of humanity and that their faith lacks the supportive elements of other belief systems (such as monotheism with its Torah, Bible, regular organized weekly assembly, etc) they begin to open up.

These people I have deconverted eventually admit that their previously narrow-minded, short-sighted belief about divinity, the soul and the afterlife is far too restrictive for minds such as human beings have. (A bit like having a Ferrari to take for a test drive and being told you mustn't exceed 10 miles per hour and can only drive in a straight line).



This is already in the dictionary as 'conversion' rather than 'deconversion'.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#90  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 03, 2011 4:19 pm

Belief or lack of belief is something that individuals must decide for themselves, based on their own interpretation of the support for or against a proposition and their interpretation of the veracity of that support. As such, it is impossible for any of us to have converted anyone from any view to another. This is something that everyone does for themselves. At most, we can help others see the benefit of a more rigorous assessment of the support for a proposition and help inculcate in them an understanding of rational argument.

If my assessment of the situation as stated above is true, then I cannot accept any claims of conversion in this thread; nor do I hope ever to be able to make such a claim myself.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#91  Postby Fallible » Feb 03, 2011 4:46 pm

Nice to see you back, SS. :cheers: I think I agree with that. All one can do is provide information which may or may not join other information to cause an individual to find their beliefs untenable. It is a process they go through and I don't think anyone else can take the credit for it. The individual has to be in the right frame of mind to begin with in order to be able to critically assess what they are being told - we can all think of examples of people who have heard argument after argument against the existence of a god and who have not shifted one iota in their beliefs.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#92  Postby King David » Feb 04, 2011 5:42 am

I don't know that I ever "deconverted" anyone, but I did bring my dad out of the atheist closet so to speak, and I believe my criticism of religion has liberalised my mother's views of religion to some degree. I can certainly tell that she is much more willing to criticize fundamentalists and dogmatists these days. I think she still "believes in belief" though. She still goes to church periodically and doesn't want me to criticize religion in front of my younger high school aged sister when I'm at home. My mother's religiosity doesn't bother me though as she is the most liberal and kind Christian I know.

Most other people I associate with are either atheists, agnostics, or vague liberal theists who don't often talk about the matter. I don't really hang around with fundies, though there are plenty in Alabama to be sure, for the reason that we have next to nothing in common.

How would one know if he had deconverted someone or not? Usually in debates people are not willing to change their minds on the spot, as that would cause them to feel defeated. They might think about the issue later and then change their mind, but I wouldn't expect them to come back to you and say "thanks for shattering my illusions with your ironclad argumentation."
If I actually cared about deconverting people I suppose I would take a softer approach which wouldn't immediately polarize the person against me, but I don't usually make a point of inquiring about people's religious views and trying to change them. I'll leave that to the fundies. Religion rarely comes up in conversation with most people, so I don't usually press the matter.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#93  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 10, 2011 2:59 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Lion IRC wrote:
Loke wrote:So, how many people have you successfully de-converted from their old beliefs, ideas or religions? Any?
I can say I have de-converted a total of zero people.
:doh:

(Poll runs for 14 days- I'm aiming for at least 50 votes!)


Since the thread topic is "How many people".............

I have deconverted quite a few. Although not single-handedly of course but as part of a team effort.

Once the people I have deconverted realize that their belief system is such a small minority view compared to the rest of humanity and that their faith lacks the supportive elements of other belief systems (such as monotheism with its Torah, Bible, regular organized weekly assembly, etc) they begin to open up.

These people I have deconverted eventually admit that their previously narrow-minded, short-sighted belief about divinity, the soul and the afterlife is far too restrictive for minds such as human beings have. (A bit like having a Ferrari to take for a test drive and being told you mustn't exceed 10 miles per hour and can only drive in a straight line).



This is already in the dictionary as 'conversion' rather than 'deconversion'.


Suppose you have an atheist - who was born that way - but subsequently converted to theism and who later de-converted back to atheism, insofar as the scope of this thread is concerned, but then changed their mind as a consequence of proselytyzation and became a theist.

What would be the correct word for that Spearthrower? un-deconversion? counter-reconversion? :scratch:

You have to remember that I think atheism is a (form of) religion so its all "conversion" of people as far as I am concerned - from one world view to another. Polytheist people, monotheist people, atheist people....

I think atheism is a religion for the same reason that people like Mr Dawkins would accuse me of being an atheist in respect to Zeus. A person who believes there is no god still has a "belief" in respect to divinity.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#94  Postby LucidFlight » Feb 10, 2011 3:26 am

Lion IRC wrote:These people I have deconverted eventually admit that their previously narrow-minded, short-sighted belief about divinity, the soul and the afterlife is far too restrictive for minds such as human beings have. (A bit like having a Ferrari to take for a test drive and being told you mustn't exceed 10 miles per hour and can only drive in a straight line).


Oh dear. A car analogy.

Damn it. I... can't... resist... urgh....

De-converting someone to atheism is a like finding someone who believes they're driving a Ferrari, taking them by the hand, pulling them up onto their feet, and showing them the cardboard box they were sitting in.

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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#95  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 10, 2011 5:26 am

So you admit there IS a cardboard box.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#96  Postby Spearthrower » Feb 10, 2011 6:44 am

Lion IRC wrote:

Suppose you have an atheist - who was born that way - but subsequently converted to theism and who later de-converted back to atheism, insofar as the scope of this thread is concerned, but then changed their mind as a consequence of proselytyzation and became a theist.

What would be the correct word for that Spearthrower? un-deconversion? counter-reconversion? :scratch:


It would still be a conversion, but you could add the prefix "re" to show it is happening again, if you so desired.



Lion IRC wrote:You have to remember that I think atheism is a (form of) religion so its all "conversion" of people as far as I am concerned - from one world view to another. Polytheist people, monotheist people, atheist people....


Just because you think something doesn't make it so. When communicating with other people, you might think that the word 'blue' should mean 'pizza', but you're only going to cause confusion: best to stick to socially accepted signifiers rather than arbitrarily making up your own as you go along.


Lion IRC wrote:I think atheism is a religion for the same reason that people like Mr Dawkins would accuse me of being an atheist in respect to Zeus. A person who believes there is no god still has a "belief" in respect to divinity.


So you're reducing religion down to 'supporting something' then really, aren't you?

So liking a football team is a religion in your definition too, when you get right down to it. In fact, everything is a religion which pretty much nullifies the word.

Again, I point out to you that making up your own arbitrary definitions basically destroys any value to communication. It is widely understood that religions have a number of characteristics.

Here:

Tenets
Narratives
Rituals
Metaphysics/Cosmology
Truth statements
Symbols
Traditions
Divisions of sacred and profane
Hierarchies
Scripture/Dogma
Laws/Lifestyles
Values
Practices

Please explain to me how these relate to atheism. Before leaping in gleefully, remember that atheism does not equate to science, and that any claim you make to the above *must* fit *all* atheists, not just one out of one hundred. If you cannot, it would probably be a good idea to drop the ludicrously inept canard that atheism is a religion.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#97  Postby redwhine » Feb 10, 2011 8:28 am

Lion IRC wrote:I think atheism is a religion for the same reason that people like Mr Dawkins would accuse me of being an atheist in respect to Zeus. A person who believes there is no god still has a "belief" in respect to divinity.

Atheism is a lack of belief in god/gods. No belief necessary, thank you.

You lack belief in Zeus rather than have a belief regards Zeus.
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#98  Postby jamest » Feb 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Given that you all know absolutely fuck all, how many of you have felt guilty for 'de-converting' people?





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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#99  Postby Davian » Feb 11, 2011 12:23 am

Lion IRC wrote:...
Once the people I have deconverted realize that their belief system is such a small minority view compared to the rest of humanity and that their faith lacks the supportive elements of other belief systems (such as monotheism with its Torah, Bible, regular organized weekly assembly, etc) they begin to open up.

These people I have deconverted eventually admit that their previously narrow-minded, short-sighted belief about divinity, the soul and the afterlife is far too restrictive for minds such as human beings have. (A bit like having a Ferrari to take for a test drive and being told you mustn't exceed 10 miles per hour and can only drive in a straight line).

I love car analogies.

So this belief car you are trying to sell me - you say it is incredibly popular, that billions are hoping to get one. No point in signing up for one of those less popular beliefs cars. Or worse you say - going without a belief car.

You say it can drive on water? Like a perpetual motion machine, it never needs refueling? It will be the most perfect, wonderful car that I could imagine? Great!

Can I take this car for a test drive? Can you at least take me for a ride in it? Can I at least sit in it? Touch it?
What do you mean you only have the glossy brochure? A copy? You've lost the original? You don't even have the original brochure?

Wait a minute - do you have evidence that even one of these has ever been delivered?
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Re: How many people have you de-converted?

#100  Postby Lion IRC » Feb 11, 2011 5:21 am

Hi Davian,

Yes you can take religion for a test drive.

Thats the beauty of it - its voluntary. Nobody can force you. Nobody can stop you.

And if someone says you have to pay for it then what they are "selling" isnt God

Lion (IRC)
PS - Sorry about the "original brochure" thingy. Noah didnt have one either. Nor did Job. Nor did Abraham. etc etc.
But the reprint has been the most popular published book in human history and it consistently out-ranks books on the NY Times Best Seller list. A Tale of Two Cities has sold an estimated 200 million +
The bible has estimated sales of 100 million - per year.
Books related to the bible are consistently popular also.
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