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Atheist Experience
Combatting bias and defense mechanisms

Heya. I know this is a sleepy little forum, but I like that more than those where most threads have 10 pages. The *point* is after the line, skip to it if you like :D

I watched a BBC report about Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist church some days ago. Apart from many other things, I wondered after a while, wether protesting with hate-signs and yelling at people would actually be the most effective way for them to reach their goals.

I can understand protesting against government decision, which (at least sometimes) can be effective. But "God hates Gays"-signs appear to be... rather inefficient. If I hated zebras, I probably wouldn't draw "God hates Zebras"-signs.

Then that thought fermented in my head for a while. I thought about this article http://tinyurl.com/35l3tlo that I read a while ago.

The Atheist Experience is mostly aimed at people who haven't made up their mind on theism, in the hope that they will see that Atheist arguments are stronger (or so I heard in one of the episodes), since actual believers most likely won't change their minds whenever they are confronted with facts that don't match their beliefs.

Examples of that can be found each week on the show of course. You can almost hear how often, thoughts just don't want to fit into people's minds, and I assume a psychology student could tick off the mental defense mechanisms that are being applied by callers for easy practice.

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So, what I'm wondering is: Are there *no* known ways of battling bias and defense mechanisms? Should debating atheists try to find ones - or just give up on decidedly religious people?

I feel that satirical humor might have that ability (when you surprise someone with the truth, by through the backdoor of your awareness). An example would be the story of Hank, who gives you a million dollars when you leave town ( http://tinyurl.com/lonlt ) - do you have thoughts on that?

Oh, and I definately don't want to suggest that the westboro baptist church should get guns.

Many people have been programmed almost from birth with extreme religious indoctrination. Debate and reasoning works with very few of them, but even they could be influenced into a less abusive religion I would consider that a success.

The people that have not been exposed to extreme indoctrination or severe programming do have a better chance.

Brainwashing works because it defies reason. Information debate and reasoning usually won't change a thing. Giving them information doesn't usually work because they are kept in fear and taught to put up barriers against any other message. They are getting mixed messages constantly of fear and peacefulness. They are kept on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and in a state of uncertainty. You need us, without us you would be burning in hell. You will not live forever in heaven if you reject us. This type of thing is constantly reinforced, along with other powerful tools like rejection and love. These people never realize that this kind of enslavement and mental torture could not possibly be coming from anything good. That type of coercion wouldn't be required to receive blessings from a good God. It is required to force religion on a population so that it can be kept under control. It's not good it's totally sick and evil.

Sometimes I feel sorry for them when I'm not in their presence. It's not until I have to deal them that I realize how destructive to themselves and others they really are. Sick and revolting!

A "Manchurian Candidate" is hard to reason with because they would first need to be deprogrammed.

It's just amazing!

There are some people, who will not listen to a word you say.

Just recently, I was discussing Fred Phelps..

Christians commented and said these kind of Christians were terrible and they don't represent the whole. (Protesting Gay Funerals, Thank God for AIDS etc..)

I commented saying the problem is you don't do anything about it. You say its terrible and then support them(albeit indirectly) by voting against Gay Rights.

The response I get is that for every extreme Christian there is an extreme Atheist trying to take away our Christmas Trees.. and you have to remind them they just compared "hate speech" to "complaints about decorations"

Which spirals down to a comment attacking Evolution and making a comment about the founding fathers being Christian.. and then they tried to be smart and say "Oh right they were Apes." and then you explain that Humans are Apes... and then they ask "If we evolved from Apes, why are there still Apes?" completely ignoring what I told them.

In that situation there is nothing you can do but try and force them to acknowledge what you said.

Matt O'Neill said, "There are some people, who will not listen to a word you say."

Yes indeed, some people may not want to "listen to a word you say" and they have that right, but I think that the original post was about theists who call the atheist program and then they do not listen to the atheists response to theists questions or comments. The difference in "just not listening to a word you say" is the fact that theists do not have to listen to the atheist program if they don't want to. In contrast, if theists call the atheist program and then do not listen to a word they say it's disrespectful. The reason they call and ask questions, but they never listen to the answers they get is because they didn't call to listen to an atheist answer anyway. They called to proselytize. Many people are programmed with biases to reject any information that is contradictory to what they already believe. It is practically impossible for them to learn anything new. Using the brain to figure something out is not required to just believe something that you have been indoctrinated to accept as the truth. Programming is not reasoning or learning. Constant lectures or repeating tedium is not learning to reason. Religion was designed with the intention of creating a class of people that would be basically slaves. Every religion uses coercive tactics. Any form of controlling of thought involves some form of brainwashing. It is utterly and completely evil.

Matt O'Neill said, "Just recently, I was discussing Fred Phelps.. Christians commented and said these kind of Christians were terrible and they don't represent the whole. (Protesting Gay Funerals, Thank God for AIDS etc..)"

Some theists may think that exploiting someone's funeral in order to proselytize is terrible, as well as, making ignorant misleading remarks. "Think god for AIDS," which implies that only gays have AIDS. However, many theists who are opponents of change do not support real sex-education, they want abstinence only sex education, which is keeping people ignorant about sex, and is another form of manipulation. It is indoctrination through emotions, which they do not understand. People who are held in ignorance are not empowered or protected. Intelligent people chose to empower themselves with the truth. Gays have AIDS and so do heterosexuals. Medical workers have become infected with AIDS from coming in contact with contaminated blood. Patients have gotten AIDS from blood transfusions and other procedure. The very late start in the prevention of AIDS and the spreading of AIDS was because of the misinformation put out in the 80's that only druggies, prostitutes and gays would have AIDS. Nobody should be that ignorant today, but that is what happens when religious ideologies take the place of real education. The only thing the people who want funding for programs like that care about is keeping people ignorant. The emphasis is on the religious philosophy of punishment for having unmarried sex and not protection through education. I don't think it is moral to ignore the fact that unmarried minors are getting pregnant and the numbers have gone up, so they are having sex. So, why place ideology above protecting people against pregnancy and a disease that can kill.

After all, some people who reside on such a lofty plane, and who are delighted that gays are dying of aids, believe that only bad people will get AIDS. It's a punishment from their "Gawd." Plenty of people who are not gay have died from AIDS, and many of them were children. Some of the radicals who stirred up a shit storm over homosexuality for years, so it seems, are themselves gay. I guess it slipped their minds. I guess it also slipped their minds that gay people cannot get married, so abstinence only would be pretty meaningless to them? It is also a violation of Separation of Church and State to fund religious education programs of any kind, especially one that has failed miserably, but they are still funding it.

Matt O'Neill said, "I commented saying the problem is you don't do anything about it. You say its terrible and then support them(albeit indirectly) by voting against Gay Rights."

The less tolerant theists do believe that homosexuals should be denied their Civil Rights, but not all theists agree with them. The higher the education the less they agree with them.

Matt O'Neill said, "The response I get is that for every extreme Christian there is an extreme Atheist trying to take away our Christmas Trees.. and you have to remind them they just compared "hate speech" to "complaints about decorations"

These are ignorant, god-fearing, bogus claims. Theists are always being persecuted it's biblical. However, Separation of Church and State is not an exclusive atheists issue. All kinds of people support Separation of Church and State. Christmas decorations in government buildings are a Separation of Church and State issue. They are not just decorations; they are religious "decorations" that cannot be displayed in government buildings. Nothing stops them from "decorating" private property. Where I live Christmas time looks like Christmas threw up all over it.

Matt O'Neill said, "Which spirals down to a comment attacking Evolution and making a comment about the founding fathers being Christian.. and then they tried to be smart and say "Oh right they were Apes." and then you explain that Humans are Apes... and then they ask "If we evolved from Apes, why are there still Apes?" completely ignoring what I told them."

They mixed two separate subjects and came up with two wrong conclusions? Most conservative Christians do claim the Founding Fathers were Christians, which is false.

James Madison is thought of as the father of the Constitution. Madison gave a very disparaging account of Christianity in his Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments: "What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."

Creationists famously ask, "If we evolved from Apes, why are there still Apes?"

That question is about what that person does not understand. We are another species of apes. They do not understand that each species has a unique series of common ancestors linking it to the original common ancestor. Man and apes are branches of the same tree. The ancestral line for modern humans diverged from the ape tree. Hominoids, or apes that includes orangutans, gibbons, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Hominidae consists of all species on our side of the last common ancestor of humans and living apes. Hominids are included in the super family of all apes, the Hominoidea, the members of which are called hominoids.

There is nothing in evolutionary theory stating a source population must go extinct in order for new species to evolve. Apes and humans evolved from a common ancestor.

Matt O'Neill said, "In that situation there is nothing you can do but try and force them to acknowledge what you said."

Forcing people "to acknowledge what you say" or to do anything indicates bigger problems than the one who doesn't want to listen. That is exactly what is wrong with religious extremists. The extremists do not teach they try to force or indoctrinate others with what they believe. All anyone can ever do is give information to people who are willing to listen. After that it is out of your hands. What they do with it is up to them.

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