@CestMoiTom has a tricky situation with one of his friends:
@LawrenceMills My Atheist friend going Christian...
@fyreflye Not sure how much of an Atheist he was. Maybe he was only acted a strong one because he wanted to be better friends with me
@LawrenceMills I'm not planning to go along. But I will stay friends with him, he's a cool guy and hopefully I'll make him rational.
What do you think about these words: “Not sure how much of an Atheist he was.” and “…hopefully I’ll make him rational.”?
One of the mistakes I make when discussing individuals in this situation is questioning the validity of their atheism before the conversion. It’s a gut reaction. We all dislike seeing our friends accept things we find foolish.
How often do you hear an evangelist or preacher say “I used to be an atheist, but then I met Jesus” or something eerily similar? How often do you think, “I doubt he was really an atheist” or “Atheists would never believe what he does now.” Regardless of the speaker’s intent, I suggest we re-frame how we think of former atheists. When we accuse them of being disingenuous or invalid, we are usually displaying perfect examples of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
Newsflash: Assuming an atheist is always (or even usually) making decisions based on reason is naïve.
Atheists don’t believe in a deity. That doesn’t mean we never will–or that we cannot–buy into the beliefs of religions someday. It means that at this moment we do not believe. Period.
Atheism is our default from birth. It does not require work, critical thought, conversion, decision, or any other action. All theists were one atheists. they were just trained, taught, and convinced that theism was true.
When someone feels the desire to think and reason about what they believe on the topic of deities and the supernatural, then we can judge how they make their decisions.
Atheism and rational thought are not synonymous. Atheism and intelligence are not synonymous. Let’s get off our high horses and admit that we’re humans like everyone else: fallible, emotional, and sometimes bone-headed arses.
Try not to say “no true atheist would _____.” If you’re baffled at why someone turns to Jesus, Allah, cults, Vishnu, astrology, or any other woo-full belief, just remember that in order to be a “true” atheist, all that’s required is a lack of belief in a god.
“True” freethinkers, however, are another story altogether 😉
Lesson of the day? Even atheists can be idiots. Encourage everyone to think reasonably and make free, educated decisions!