A New Method of Engaging Believers

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A New Method of Engaging Believers

Post  LonghWynn on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:23 pm

Tell them that you are a follower of Zeus. This will usually get the response "Are you serious?" to which you shall act with the utmost seriousness as to shock them in disbelief. And then start provoking them in the same manner with questions like "How dare you oppose his mightiness? or How can you not acknowledge his existence? Clearly, we have evidence to support his presence"

When asked for evidence, simply cite any argument you want that you have heard them use in the defense of God: Argument from design, ontology, etc. Trust me, it frustrates them to see their argument used against them. If they bring up the Bible, simply bring up all the biblical arguments against it. Then (I've done this a lot, can't you tell? Very Happy ) bring up your own holy texts: We have the Homeric works, and we have the Metamorphosis. If they point to any silliness, simply say that it's meant to be taken metaphorically. Surprised

Oh, and other evidences: There was once a 40 ft statue of Zeus. CLEARLY they would have not made it unless there was such a being (I know, I know. But hey, it's not like their line of evidence's any better, right? If they can respond to this one, point to the fact that they rely on similar lines of arguments to support their God). We also have the Olympics, which originated as the games to honor Zeus. How can he not exist? cheers

The point of this whole exercise is to use as many arguments you can think of that you have heard them use as possible against them. The problem with most of them is that they apply so vaguely that any God/dess can be applied. If they disagree with the selection of Zeus, figure out why it is their conception of God that is necessarily correct. Now, the point is not that we revive Zeus to prominence, but it would be funny (I go around and tell people about Zeus all the time just to see what would come up in conversations Razz )

Enjoy! Or comment if you wish to praise/chastize me

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Re: A New Method of Engaging Believers

Post  Nicholas on Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:12 am

Yeah, that's a good one, though not really new. Wink

It's basically a "remove God and insert Zeus, Ba'al, Poseidon, or whatever deity tickles your fancy and use the same arguments Christians use against them" approach. It works in that it'll piss off whomever you're talking to to a certain degree. Will they gather from it the absurdity of their own arguments and justifications for their beliefs? Probably not.

And believe it or not, there are actually a number of people who still believe in those old gods ( neo-pagan re-constructionists, for example). Just make sure you don't try the Zeus argument on a follower of Zeus, as it might take the wind our of your sails when they start agreeing with you (and inviting you to their next gathering!) Wink

Actually, I wouldn't try this on any polytheist in general, as they work under a very different frame of mind when it comes to theology. Much more pluralistic, much less dogmatic. And thus, a bit harder to argue with.

But anyway, good post.
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Re: A New Method of Engaging Believers

Post  Nathan Barley on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:23 am

I think they wouldn't be bothered by your ontological argument etc. They'd say, 'No, I'm not asking you why you believe in any God at all - we're both agreed that THAT is a no-brainer. I'm asking you why you believe in Zeus in particular'.

And then they'll tell you all their reasons why the Christian God is the right one. You would in fact have made it easier for them. Normally they're pretty frustrated that they don't get to use their 'here's why Jesus is Lord' argument, instead being bogged down in the first hurdle of getting you to admit that there's any kind of God at all'.

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Post  LonghWynn on Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:52 pm

You're right, I might have exaggerated on the "new" part a bit, my bad. Fortunately, I have yet to meet a Zeus believer who's serious, but the point you raise is relevant: this line of argument rarely will go well against polytheists as opposed to monotheists. I live in Michigan though, so here it does me wonders against Christian Reformed members and whatnot Very Happy

As to Nathan's point, I'm not too worried about that can of worms, because it is an opportunity to show them why their specific arguments fail. You're very observant that they generally don't get a chance to use these arguments often, but these are the ones that I think should be disarmed precisely because it can sow doubt into their own faiths, that the arguments holding it up is fragile. After we turn them into New Age, spiritual-hippie believers, they'll fall for *gasp* critical thinking a lot more quickly Razz Not that I'm arguing you can't have faith and be a critical thinker, but that species is rare in and of itself, and faith + critical thinking sounds almost counter-intuitive together...but maybe not

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