Debating ‘true’ Believers – why bother?

I’ve been having some online fun today by playing my usual game of “debate the believers”. Now, least you ponder the thought, “Whats the point?”, well I have a couple of reasons. First its entertaining, especially when they come out with some jaw-dropping insanity that leaves me rolling on the floor, but also because I find that it can be educational for myself. Often I need to look into something to get the facts, unlike the believers who can simply parrot the made-up facts they buy into, and so I learn new stuff and gain new insights. Sometimes I find that I might have been wrong about something, and so I learn something new and change my mind.

The best description for what happens as all this plays out is that it is akin to a game of whack-a-mole, as soon as you nail one topic, they pop back up with a, “Oh OK, then what about xxxx”, and completely change the topic under discussion. You know you will never win, and yet occasionally you actually get somewhere. I had a Muslim a few weeks ago who finally caved in with “You know what, your right”, but I suspect that when he woke up the next day he probably thought, “That was a silly thing to say”, and was back on track.

OK, lets take an example from today. We have a chap called Bob in a Facebook group who jumps in with …(put your coffee down now) …

scientific method are you serious. You are entitled to think wat you want.If you cant smell it ,feel it, taste it, see it etc then science says it dont exist. Thats because science cant see faith.Evolution were all a fluke insulting!! if we came from apes why ar there still apes????

That is simply hilarious, and it is also oh so tempting to reply with “Are you truly that stupid?”, but best not to, and so I calmly replied by explaing that we and the apes have a common ancestor, and also that science is quite capable of measuring things beyond our five senses. So what comes next? (You can almost predict it)

when i have seen God work in my life and in others, people healed not tricks healed deaf hearing people walking who couldnt before thats evidence of our God but your bound to diss this as science cant explain it

If he had seen my blog posting yesterday, I guess he would not have written that. Anyway, off we went on that topic and I carefully explained how easy it is to be fooled, and that there are no certified cases of any miracles. Then before you know where you are, we have jumped to a completely unrelated topic and are debating prophecy and the accuracy of the new testament (as I said, its a game of whack-a-mole). Actually to be fair, he was picking up an earlier thread that somebody else started, here is what he jumped in with:

historical evdence shows census took place and the funny thing is they had to go to birth place so if you are say born in texas and now lived in alaska would you take your house nit picking no dilema no two choices one truth

So after nailing that one, we then suddenly switch topic with this …

what did darwin admit on his death bed

And so off we go on that topic, I gave him the references from Darwin’s son proving that to be a complete myth. Once done … guess what … yep, you got it, we change topic once again.

He has stopped for now and taken a break. Its Sunday morning, he is UK based, so I guess I’ll be the main topic in some prayer meeting somewhere, and no doubt we shall carry on in the afternoon once he has completed his weekly wash and spin-dry of his irrational beliefs.

The folks for whom such dialogs do make a difference are not those who take part such as Bob, but rather those who lurk on the sidelines listening in. These are the people who have not nailed their colors to the flag post in the town square, and are often prepared to change their minds when presented with a reasonable argument. Because there has not been a public declaration for a crazy position, they have no emotional investment and need not save face by switching to a more reasonable rational position. Bob will quite clearly stick to his position because he is heavily invested in it, however I did note that several others on the side clicked “like” for my postings, and not for Bob’s.

1 thought on “Debating ‘true’ Believers – why bother?”

  1. I agree with what you say about those who lurk on the fringes, watching but not taking part. I also agree about the learning process. Although I have been an atheist since my teens, it is only with the advent of online blogs that I have started studying religion, on the basis of “know your enemy”. What I have learned about the bible so far has astounded me! If you study it without prejudice, you soon discover some amazing inconsistencies in the “Word of God”.

    How people can say that they get their moral guidance from it is beyond belief! Radko Mlavic could easily find justification for ethnic cleansing in Numbers 31. Basically, god commands the Israelites to slay all the men, boys and married women, and keep the virgins for themselves. I find this story useful in morality discussions with xtians ;-).


Leave a Reply