This is an absolutely amazing post on perhaps the most important issue facing atheists today: how to deal with religious moderates (especially friends). You care for your friends, and you don’t want to push your views on them, but at the same time you don’t want them to believe in unfounded concepts such as life after death, castles in the sky, virgin birth, chupacabras, or teapots orbiting Mars. It’s a dilemma. How do you deal with it? How do you point out to a friend or aquaintance that this stuff is silly without being an asshole? Here’s an excerpt:
Certainly, religious moderates themselves don’t silently tolerate the obviously unsubstantiated views of others. Just listen to religious moderates speak up when they hear others publicly espousing beliefs in such things as Bigfoot, the existence of ESP or astrology. Imagine a public official talking about his use of astrology at a press conference. Can you imagine an audience of religious moderates staying politely silent, thereby broadcasting the false idea that there was nothing inappropriate about the official’s belief in astrology? It encourages continued bad mental hygiene to fail to speak up when others make claims that aren’t based in fact. Failing to speak up harms society in yet another important way. Allowing each other to utter baseless things without protest degrades the quality of relationships. It erodes our trust in each other. Consider this true-life example. Many years ago, an acquaintance I’ll call Karen had a tumultuous break-up with Joe, her boyfriend. She was deeply hurt by Joe’s refusal to see her anymore. For several years after that break-up, Karen repeatedly told me that Joe hadn’t really broken up with her. She held to this bizarre conclusion despite the fact that Joe completely stopped calling her and never tried to see Karen again. She held to her bizarre opinion despite the fact that when Karen took the initiative and called Joe, he repeatedly told her such things as “I don’t ever want to see you again” and “I’m dating someone else now” and “I’ll call the police if you don’t leave me alone.” She admitted all of this to me.
Wow, I’ve been working on a post like this myself, and this guy pulled it off beautifully. Thank you, Erich Vieth for saying what needed to be said. I will reference this piece for a long time, and will try and supplement it with my own thoughts sometime soon.:
[ Link: How To Deal With Religious Moderates ]