Recently it was asked: ”Why?” Why do we discuss with Christians?
At the moment, I do it because I enjoy it. I like the discussion; they won’t come here—so my only other choice is to go to them. The reasons have changed over the years since my initial deconversion.
I recall freshly abandoning Christianity and desiring to talk with other Christians regarding what I had discovered. Tried it in real life—epic fail. My main internet spot (iidb) was inundated with other deconverts and non-theists waiting to pounce upon any poor Christian that wandered into the lion’s den. I was one voice among too many—this was not satisfying.
Off I trotted to another forum, and thus began a pattern of discourse continuing to today. I approached it with naiveté. I thought if they only knew what I had discovered—they, too would reconsider their position. No, I didn’t expect them to immediately deconvert upon my appearance or first post. Nor my second or third. I did think they would be as interested as I was to actively engage the conversation and perhaps…just perhaps…realize there were viable and robust reasons Christianity may not be what they thought it was.
It was like discovering a new Mexican restaurant tucked behind the Post Office very few people know about, and despite its 1950’s styling, the cook is so extraordinary, one taste of his food and you could never deign to enter any other Mexican restaurant again.
Of course, I quickly discovered many theists were not as interested in the subject as I was. That it was too hard to discuss with a skeptic. That they had already made up their minds, and were sufficiently satisfied with any justification that might tend to support their conclusion. I discovered other theists that certainly did want to discuss the subject—but only in attack mode. No matter what I said, it must be wrong because of who said it—not the content.
I have continued conversations because of concern with lurkers. I certainly recall during my deconversion process (and have heard similar tales from other deconverts) lurking and lurking and lurking. Reading entire threads, and every link and every link from the link, absorbing the various positions. Ordering recommended books from Amazon or the library, and pouring over them.
Remembering those days, I can’t help wonder who might have wandered into some blog, forum or facebook note I happen to comment on, and they desire to know more about my position. It would be a shame to abandon the blog entry, when the lurker is yearning for more.
One thing I learned—if you go into these conversations with the expectation…no…the NEED…to have the person agree with you—you are doomed for disappointment. Best acclimate to such disappointment or you will have ulcers within weeks.
The other thing I learned is there isn’t one “correct” style. Think you may have been too harsh in your response? Doesn’t matter—I’ve tried nice and it doesn’t make a difference. Think your story is “too emotional?” Doesn’t matter—I’ve tried intellect, cites, books, authors, websites, etc. They still look at me quizzically and proclaim, “You deconverted because of sin.” Or the wrong intellectual reasons.
For me…now…the reasons are pretty simple. If I see a topic interesting to me—I will comment. If the person is not convinced…*shrug*…not my department. If they want to accuse me of some ulterior motive, I may ask once for a method to determine motive—but sheer proclamation doesn’t move me much.
Oh, noes!—some Christian thinks I’m wrong!
I would love to see American become less engrossed with religion. I would love to openly state “I am an atheist” only to elicit the response, “Yeah…so what?” However, after watching the tea-bag party, and the interviews with protestors over the Health Care reform; I see little intellectual pursuit in other areas to determine what is true, let alone in religious fields.
So I discuss because I want to.