I hope that this website and my future book encourage active and productive interactions.
There will be some long arguments, some short arguments, some quick questions, some weird and interesting questions, some brief stories, some conversation starters, a bit about arguing in general, a bit about tactics...
How I hope the people who read it make use of it and report back on their experiences.
It should go without saying that being a quick and logical thinker to begin with is an indispensable tool in the belt of an able conversational debater.
This website will be a “learn by example” method where I will use particular arguments to give you the thought processes behind choosing between various ways of wording questions, phrases and arguments.
I will also give you a number of arguments. Many of these arguments will be fairly unique, or at least use a unique approach.
The main point of this website is not the arguments in particular; although by themselves it should be an interesting and useful repository -- especially if you are just starting out.
It’s useful to have an outline of the thoughts already written out for you, but I’m not looking to make clones of myself with everyone parroting the same exact arguments. Feel free to use as many arguments that you find useful or interesting as often as you like.
The point is to give you the skills, methods, thought processes, and tactics to handle arguments as you encounter them -- AND TO GO OUT THERE AND ENGAGE PEOPLE.
What do I hope to accomplish with this website for Conversational Atheists? The essay "Why I Engage in Religious Debate" explains, in part, the motivation that I have to engage people with certain beliefs.
I also explained that I feel the best hope for progress on this front is what I've termed 'conversational atheism'... So, let me now explain what I mean when I say conversational atheist.
A conversational atheist is a person who engages and challenges people -- that he both agrees and disagrees with -- in an effective way.
A conversational atheist takes the time to understand what "the other side" really thinks and why.
A conversational atheist can clearly explain his own thought processes to himself and others.
A conversational atheist is a person that can engage in a compelling and thought-provoking encounter without the interaction devolving into a fireball.
Look, atheists, and other people who seek to engage religious folk, tend to honestly care about the nonsense and very bad things that flow from superstitious thought: religious and otherwise. While this is great for motivation and spurring action, this mindset is less useful for holding a productive conversation. The holders of beliefs that you find dangerous and absurd most likely honestly hold those beliefs with good intentions. This is an important point to continually remind yourself this fact if you want to be effective, it helps to keep you calm and focused.
This does not make the beliefs any better or more worthy of respect, or, for that matter, any less of a target. If the goal is to be effective and have an impact on the world, engaging people you disagree with as though they are complete idiots is less than useful.
So, how do you state things in ways that forcefully attacks the ideas without attacking the person?
Begin with the Getting Started information, but after that, peruse at your fancy.
There are a number of different things available with more coming all the time.
Here are a few essays (a few more will be posted), adapted from my upcoming book.
Why Engage in Religious Debates
Why Does It Matter What People Believe?
Matthew's Outrageous Resurrection Account
Ridiculous Ending to the Gospel of Mark
Slavery in the Bible
Apostasy in Islam
Slavery in Islam
The Koran's Rules for Wife-Beating
Mohammad: Sex with 9 year old
Mohammad: Executioner via Amputation
Responses to things you may encounter:
An Effective Response to “Hitler was an atheist!…”
References that you may find useful:
Church & Ministry Endorsers of Prop 8
And I've started listing a few Tactics in how to maneuver in religious discussions.
I'll be posting more essays, tactics, and general references in the near future.
If you are interested in information about my upcoming book, please add yourself to my mailing list by using the form to the right.
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