Arguing Religion
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Atheists and agnostics love to argue with the religious.  They try so earnestly to persuade, but accomplish nothing.  Because they constantly, constantly make this mistake.

They argue against religion using logic.

Religion is irrational, they say.  Religion can’t be proven.  There are many disparate religions, yet they all stole from each other.  Religion is instilled by family and society and only seems normal and reasonable because a certain amount of people follow it.

All that may be true.  But you will never convince a religious person with those arguments.  Because they did not choose religion for its logical qualities.  Religion is an emotional choice, not a logical one. 

People choose religion because they need an explanation why.  Why the universe?  Why people?  Why suffering?  Why love?  What is the point, what should I do, what will happen to me when I die?  Is anyone there to comfort me or watch over me when I need help? 

These are not logical questions, like, how does gravity work?  These are emotional questions, directly and deeply related to how we cope with the world around us and our existence.

Religion fulfills the emotional need that asks those questions.  An emotional need that atheists and agnostics have to answer through self-discovery and the development of their own, personal, philosophy.  But those who are sated by the canned food that is religion…feel no desire to cook up the steak of self-sufficiency.

So how do you get a person to lose religion? 

Really, I think you don’t.  I didn’t quit Christianity because of an argument, or anything I read.  I quit Christianity because, at fifteen years old, I couldn’t reconcile my own feelings and thoughts with the faith I was supposed to have.  I quit Christianity when I went to the Baptist Church down the road, listened to the preacher, and decided it didn’t make any sense after all.  And after that, I had to battle the emotional and philosophical hole it left—first and foremost, the question of what would happen to me when I died. 

If someone had tried to convince me Christianity was irrational, while I was still struggling to maintain it, I probably would have argued with them, even if part of me wanted to agree.  It took my own emotional doubt to lead me to look for a  more rational worldview.

Perhaps if I had read a story like this back then, though, I would have related to it on an emotional level, and gave it some thought.  Try that, next time.  “I know how you feel…I know how comforting religion is to you, it was to me too.  But let me tell you the story of how I quit religion, and see if it resonates with you at all.”

Don’t tell them it’s not logical, though. That’s like telling them their car is stupid because it doesn’t fly.

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