Trying to have a constructive, intelligent and meaningful conversation and/or even debate with religious people is impossible. It is more likely to be hit by a meteor than find a religious person capable of engaging in intelligent, meaningful discourse about religion, life and existence, and with that I mean not using fiction such as the Bible, god and Jesus, as the “back up” and back bone of their arguments.
Eventually such conversations take on the form where you see yourself educating a grown-ass human being with all their mental faculties intact on basic tenets of deductive reasoning and coherent thought, which, invariably, sounds condescending and patronizing, making the religious people feel like you are talking down on them or treating them like an idiot, which is certainly not intentional but merely what happens when you talk to someone who is the intellectual equivalent of a strawberry short-cake incapable of rational thought, or unwilling – the science is still out on that one.
The thing is, I do not look forward to putting religious people down and talk down on them or even come across as patronizing, they do it to themselves. After all, how do you have a conversation with someone who, upon being presented with facts about something, goes back to citing Jesus, the Bible and thus the kind of unbelievable crap that a fifth grader could disprove, as their “source” or “evidence”?
If you believe the things written in the Bible, and I mean everything, not just cherry-picked items you find convenient to believe in and adhere to – including that the Earth is 6000 years old, that a woman was made using a man’s rib, talking snakes that coax people into eating fruits that then get them banned and the myriad of other fairy tales and fables in the Bible – then that not only sets you up for being rebutted, ridiculed and utterly creamed in a debate – which in turn you find offensive, mean and harsh- but it also makes you an idiot.
If you believe that the billion-galaxy universe was just created for us, you are an idiot.
If you believe that a man can come back from the dead, then you are an idiot.
If you believe that a man can part a body of water through sheer will power, then you are an idiot.
If you believe that a virgin can become pregnant by some invisible being, then you are an idiot.
If you believe that a woman was created by taking the osteopathic tissue of a male, then you are an idiot.
If you believe that god answering the prayers of overpaid thespians and athletes while ignoring the plight of starving children in Sudan makes sense and is just a matter of god working in mysterious ways, and a matter of free will, the you are an idiot.
When you live in a world in which 26,000 starve to death every day yet you keep thanking god for the food he allegedly put on your table and thus for personally feeding you, then you are an idiot.
The list of such absurdities goes on and on and the religious person’s defense of them is always “free will”, “evil” and “faith.”
It is like this guy Ray Comfort who, upon being asked what he would do if he had indisputable proof that god, in fact, did not exist, responded that he would just go and pray to god to give him clarity while he contemplates that.
Really? You expect me to respect that?
Conversations with theists almost always take on the same form to the point where I can anticipate precisely what they are going to say next.
Usually it goes something like this:
1) Religious person makes some hateful or unfounded claim, and I say unfounded because said religious person’s source(s) for making the claim are almost always The Bible, god, Jesus – i.e. fiction (or whatever prophet and/or holy person the religious person is adhering to). Not all my conversations are with Christians. I have debates with all sorts of religious people and suffice it to say that the arguments, if one can call it that, they present are the same in essence with only the names of holy people and locales changed.
2) I respond with facts and referencing historic, biological, physical and anthropological realities.
3) Religious person responds with some more bizarre, incoherent babble, citing the Bible and Jesus and other works of fiction as the source for their ignorant, detrimental and often hateful claims, peppered with false analogies, strawmen and a host of other just factually wrong things.
4) I respond with some more facts refuting the ridiculous claim religious person makes.
At this point, my contempt and frustration is becoming more evident and surfacing. It is as if I was witness to a hilarious skit whose plot begins to slowly fade into the macabre and heinous and ridiculous and my smile fades equally as I am faced with the sad, baffling and horrific realization that I am talking to someone trapped in so much self-delusion and ignorance, nothing seems able to get them out of it. Reason, facts, physical laws, reality are all secondary when you deal with someone whose main reason for believing in humbug and fiction is faith, also known as wishful thinking.
5) Religious person then short-circuits and gets frustrated/confused/overwhelmed with all those facts presented to him or her and the nullification of their absurd claims, prompting them to grasp for straws, including playing the victim and whining about how unfair it is of us terrible, angry, mean atheists/critics to point out inconsistencies, injustices and a host of other detrimental acts of the church/bible/religion.
The same person that just spent the last hour telling us that gay people, for example, should not get married and thus be treated like second class human beings and citizens, suddenly begins whining, kicking and screaming about how unfair I am to them and how mean it is of me to not respect their beliefs and symbols and religious icons etc. etc.
Playing the victim is then quickly followed by something in the order of “Oh, my faith is strong so what you say doesn’t bother me” blah blah blah and such a proclamation is accompanied usually by various ad hominem attacks and disparaging “observations” about my person and personality: you sound angry, you sound bitter, you sound unloved, you sound like something bad happened to you and you never got over it, you poor thing, I feel sorry for you, I pity you, god loves you though, oh my dear I can tell someone has hurt you and you are speaking out of hurt, you are intolerant, you have no sense of humor, you have no hope blah blah yawn.
Every. Single. Time, this is the pattern. And this is the pattern because, at the end of the day, religious people have absolutely no backing of their claims. When you reference
Hobbits, goblins, unicorns, god, Jesus, Muhammad, the Koran, the Jedi mind shit, Gremlins and other fictitious characters and entities to make your point or worse, to make claims about life, existence and such things, you have no argument.
When you have no argument, other than the fictitious entities mentioned above and such things as “free will”, “satan” and “faith” – well that makes you quickly look like an idiot, which I can see, can be frustrating.
Case in point, the son in the Facebook conversation depicted here. His mother pisses and moans about his atheism and asks him why he has to share his terrible lack of belief with the world (which is darn rich coming from people who are always more than eager and willing to shove their backwards religious beliefs up everyone’s asses and vaginas, literally) and when her son responds by citing her her very own fucking Bible, she brushes him off with something patronizingly stupid like “Oh, at least you read it” obviously, and true to form, not having understood a single word he just said.
Note that how religious people behave now, feeling that their faith and beliefs are under attack – which is absurd because how can someone’s demands for equality constitute a threat to religious people – unless, of course, said religious person’s beliefs require them to hate – is the same line of arguing white supremacists used during segregation and the Civil Rights movement.
They, as the privileged and dominant as well as oppressive entity, suddenly claimed to be the victims who had to protect themselves against the blacks who had the NAACP on their side while those, poor white folks had nothing to protect them against the black man and his reefer but the KKK.
In reality, black people in this country wanted nothing more than equality and dignity instead of being subjugated, scapegoated, lynched and treated as sub-human.
Only in the minds of religious people is seeking equality “bullying,” as Michelle Bachman put it earlier this week when lamenting Arizona’s failed “right-to-discriminate” bill by stating that “the gay community have so bullied the American people” – as if gay people were not legitimate citizens of their own country but just these other disgusting, bullying entities pestering an entire nation with their calls for equality. I mean how dare they demand equality and infringe upon Michelle Bachman and other religious peoples’ right to subjugate, humiliate and discriminate against an entire marginalized segment of the population?
Yes, only in the diseased minds and hearts of god-loving, religious people are demands for equality “bullying”, while casually dismissing an entire marginalized population as illegitimate citizens of their own country is considered “traditional values.”
Of course, when – as an atheist – one points out such hate and inconsistencies, one is called angry, militant, intolerant and hateful. If religion and its followers are one thing, then it is sadly predictable and thoroughly harmful.