Friday, October 31, 2008

How NOT to Convert Me to Your Religion

I've run into a lot of fundies in my day. So many have gone through the same paths that lead to the same dead ends. Recalling an extended troll roast that originated with him going off-topic, I don't feel like repeating myself as often, so I'm just going to link to this entry. I know a lot of my fellow skeptics and atheists feel much the same way, so feel free to direct your trolls here.

This list is mostly directed towards Christians, but some parts will go for just about any religion.

1. Do not threaten me with hellfire, especially not in indirect manner with artful euphemisms and efforts to dodge the fact that your deity is responsible for the invention of that purposeless torture chamber or inaction in its face. Torture is wrong. The most you could hope for in that instance is converting me to a maltheist: Someone who believes in a deity and believes he's evil. I don't respond well to threats, and the whole Hell thing sounds like a protection racket.

2. Do not bribe me with heavenly cookies to condone the evil of Hell or the evils you might ask me to perform. I like to think I'm not a very selfish person. Don't appeal to my selfishness.

3. Do not list famous people of your religion. There's no need for name dropping. List their arguments for believing. Being famous doesn't make your opinions more valid. The same goes for scientists: Great scientists are built on the evidence they collect and the accurate predictions their hypotheses make. Greatness is earned through work, so show their work.

4. Do not talk about how popular your religion is. Last time I checked, truth was not determined by democratic vote. Besides, I don't think we can currently tally any sentient aliens that might be out there in distant galaxies (and highly unlikely to be visiting us). American Idol is not a valid form of epistemology.

5. Do not tell me you were some evil atheist who went through something nasty and converted. Those stories always smack of insincerity, especially given the lack of understanding of atheism. The closest these conversion stories ever seem to get to atheism are theists who become emo maltheists when something goes wrong.

6. Don't tell me how much happier you are. Some people are happier when drunk, but that doesn't mean anything about the accuracy of their drunken thoughts. Also, the whole Hell thing tends to destroy the viability of me being happy, thinking people are being tortured forever for bad reasons.

7. Don't presume that I live some immoral, criminal life of crazy sex and that I need to reform. I'm probably blander than you are, with the possible exception of my videogame and TV selection.

8. When I ask for evidence, do not randomly label things as "supernatural," "immaterial," "metaphysical," or "transcendent" in an effort to make them allegedly beyond science. If it does stuff, it's within the realm of science. The only ways out of science are to claim it doesn't do anything or to claim it's completely and utterly random.

1 comment:

King Aardvark said...

Wow, this completely sums up everything I've had to face in the Alpha Course I'm doing. Except for #7 - they've been surprisingly good about not thinking that atheists are immoral.