Failed Conversion

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This topic contains 173 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  jakelafort 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #3223

    David Boots
    Participant

    This one time at band camp…

    But really – I, like most atheists I imagine, have been the subject of many failed conversion attempts over the years. When I was younger I used to encourage theists to give it a go. I wouldn’t argue or try to make them feel bad. I was always a little impressed that this person could be bothered. Didn’t they have better things to do? And why would I join a group that would want me to join?

    I am still genuinely curious as to how people can maintain a delusion in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. It is sort of like the last remaining kid in the class who believes in Santa Claus.

    My most patient effort was receiving a solid three hours of one on one enthusiastic proselytizing by a muslim convert. I had gone out into the sticks to buy some materials for a DIY project and the guy turned out to be a born again muslim.

    This was back in the days before anyone where I came from knew anything about any religion but christianity. And not much about that either. His enthusiasm and zeal were impressive and I know I ought to have been more impressed but I just couldn’t grasp the whole concept. We parted, and he promised me that if islam was for me, allah would send me a sign in the next 24 hours.

    So I sat around looking at everything to see if it was a sign. I looked. I waited. I gave it a shot. Unfortunately allah mustn’t have noticed me. So I gave it another 24 hours just in case. Still nothing. I clearly hadn’t been chosen. In fact you couldn’t have chosen a more boring uneventful two days in my life at that time.

    It was only years later that I appreciated how powerful this ‘you will see a sign’ technique is. For anyone unhappy enough or desperate enough they could read a pattern or sign into almost anything.

    Does anyone else have memorable encounters with theists they recall fondly?

    • This topic was modified 4 months ago by  David Boots.
    • This topic was modified 4 months ago by  David Boots.
    • This topic was modified 4 months ago by  David Boots.
    #3228

    JadeBlackOlive
    Participant

    In a word…..no. Revolted is closer to it than ‘fondly’.

    #3229

    Davis
    Participant

    Since I’ve become an adult, I usually tell such people that it is incredibly rude and innapropriate to start pushing an unsolisited existential world view on people and that they should respect other people’s personal intellectual space. If you must, then ask first if they are up to having such a conversation, if they say no, then fuck off.

    None of them ever agreed with this. I tell them to fuck off. They leave feeling sad for me and my eternal soul.

    #3230

    JadeBlackOlive
    Participant

    My life, or death, is nobody’s business but mine.

    #3231

    Some people play golf or go watch football at the weekends. I debate theists. I have various cults attempt to save my soul on regular occasions. I am having ongoing debates with Catholics, several Jehovah Witnesses over the last eight years and about three times a year, with Mormons. I have de-converted many of them.

    The JW’s often bring a newbie along so that they can learn to debate with a “real live atheist”. I make them feel welcome and it often gets to the stage where after 2 hours or so they start looking at each other and try to think of an excuse to leave. “Are you sure you don’t want another coffee”??

    I am relentless and insist on keeping the debate on matters of faith and refuse to give them free science lessons (until at least visit number 3).

    I sometimes man an atheist table in various locations around the country. If a Christian starts trying to convert me I invite them to my house which initially confuses “the hell out of them” and then they see it as a challenge that they assume they can win.

    Over the years I have helped to cull their numbers. I don’t have an exact figure but it is now in treble digits. After 35 years of doing this I am yet to hear a definition of god that makes any logical sense. I am seriously thinking of writing a book about it.

    Once, about 30 years ago, when waiting for a bus, a scientologist asked me to take one of their tests in the office next to the stop. At the end of it she asked me “Who or what would you like to be if you could be reborn”? I answered that I would love to come back as “exactly the same person I am today”. This knocked her out of her “sales pitch”. I whispered to her…”you are too intelligent to fall for any of this”. She stared at me for a minute, stood up, said “Yeah, fuck this” got her coat and we left the office together. Sometimes it is that easy but I enjoy the long debates too, once I know that the “DOUBT” is niggling away at them. I even have an ex-Catholic priest on my list. The reward is all theirs.

    Come on, have a go, if you really believe you can save me 🙂

    #3232

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    It is sort of like the last remaining kid in the class who believes in Santa Claus.

    Except there are so few “last remaining”, because the majority still believes.

    We parted, and he promised me that if islam was for me, allah would send me a sign in the next 24 hours.

    Ah, so he didn’t know Allah as well as he thought.

    In fact you couldn’t have chosen a more boring uneventful two days in my life at that time.

    Wait, you don’t think that’s a sign!? 🙂

    For anyone unhappy enough or desperate enough they could read a pattern or sign into almost anything.

    Or energized or manic enough, etc. We humans are over-endowed with abilities to find patterns. It helped us survive. Then add cultural evolution of language and persistently imposed social pressures onto that, and MOST of us still go bananas on beliefs like God.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  PopeBeanie.
    #3235

    Strega
    Moderator

    We are a bit out of the way here, although Archaopteryx once managed to get me a visit from the mormons. Well, he tricked me into applying on line for a free copy of their book, which I did, and which was then followed up with said visit. (Short visit)

    As far as verbal blessings and stuff are concerned, I think of them as a sort of  Tourette’s affliction and try to be kind and look around them for real words.  Or I chuckle conspiratorially and leave them wondering what they just conspired to.

    #3238

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I remember the day I completely lost my faith. I had already been reduced to a deist and dabbled in the wiccan/new age stuff. I questioned the existence of God and religious dogma my entire life, but never really cared enough to call myself an atheist and well, eternal life certainly sounds better than non-existence.

    I gathered with fellow engineers for a beer after work. One guy was exceptionally bright. I was divorcing my wife who was very religious and she was brutal (very Un-Christian as they say) in the courtroom and I was complaining about it all. I don’t recall exactly what he said (something akin to “come-on man, wake up) but I do remember that it struck fast and from that moment on the old man in the sky went out the window. I think there are many like I was, not really believers, but why make that final leap? There is almost always an initial cost.

    #3243

    David Boots
    Participant

    She stared at me for a minute, stood up, said “Yeah, fuck this”

    LOL

    #3244

    David Boots
    Participant

    In fact you couldn’t have chosen a more boring uneventful two days in my life at that time.Wait, you don’t think that’s a sign!? 🙂

    On reflection it was a sign… a sign that it was not for me. And a very good point about these religions. They are terribly terribly boring. Not sure how they can stand it really.

    #3245

    David Boots
    Participant

    As far as verbal blessings and stuff are concerned, I think of them as a sort of Tourette’s affliction and try to be kind and look around them for real words.

    A personal pet peeve of mine: being blessed. Just stop it you deranged loons. The arrogance is breathtaking.

    #3251

    _Robert_
    Participant

    When President Obama said “god called his children home” after they were gunned down at school, I remember thinking…what kind of god is this that couldn’t think of a better way !!!!

    So many things just reinforce my deconversion from the catholic mind jail.

    #3256

    tom sarbeck
    Participant

    Robert, you can safely bet that Obama: 1) knew other ways, and 2) was pandering to theists.

    #3262

    JadeBlackOlive
    Participant

    My daughter has started talking that ”blessed” crap!

    Its all I can do to keep biting my tongue. We told them years ago when she married the brainwashed fanatic, that the religious topic had to stay off limits for us to get along.

    #3265

    Strega
    Moderator

    You could always answer that ‘blessing’ thing with, “I didn’t sneeze!” – another favorite of mine is when people say, “I’ll pray for you” which usually invokes my utter astonishment, as in, “Really?  You’ll really get down on your knees and pray to your god to intervene for me?  Will this be at bedtime with all your other prayers or will I get a special slot? You know, I’d probably prefer you to drink to my health – that’s a kind of win win for us both, isn’t it? “. Or variations on the theme.

    But genuinely, I find it really funny when someone offers to do magic for me.  It’s hard to hide the humor altogether, I’m sure my amusement shows, along with my efforts to smother a laugh.

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