Author Topic: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?  (Read 10393 times)

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Offline The Wannabe

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What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« on: September 19, 2011, 08:29:08 PM »
I see a lot of "what if god/satan existed" threads on this forum.  While i'm all up for presupposing the theist arguments to show them how truly ridiculous their beliefs are, is this the only way to prod the faithful into seeing the godless light?  I mean, why not try to come at the problem from a different angle.  What do you believe is the best way to argue for the merits of the agnostic/atheistic philosophy, besides the sometimes demeaning presuppositional arguments? 
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 08:35:14 PM »
Get them to actually read the entire Bible,instead of listening to their preacher of choice cherry pick every Sunday
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 08:38:37 PM »
Get them to actually read the entire Bible,instead of listening to their preacher of choice cherry pick every Sunday

I completely and utterly agree with you on that. :P  However my question boils down to: what is the best way to argue for atheism BESIDES focusing on the plethora of errors in religious dogma.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 08:45:47 PM »
"Evidence based" is the only way. Theism is more than Christianity; it's new age, superstition, politics, (and many more).
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 08:47:23 PM »
"Evidence based" is the only way. Theism is more than Christianity; it's new age, superstition, politics, (and many more).

I knew that, not sure if the monkey did or not  :laugh:
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline MMcNeely

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 08:48:44 PM »
In my opinion that is the best.  All theistic religions (to my knowledge) are based on perfect beings that have inspired perfect books.  If one flaw can be shown in their deity and or book then the foundation of their entire religion is called into question.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 08:50:46 PM »
In my opinion that is the best.  All theistic religions (to my knowledge) are based on perfect beings that have inspired perfect books.  If one flaw can be shown in their deity and or book then the foundation of their entire religion is called into question.

I don't believe the Buddha claimed to be "a perfect being".
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline Death over Life

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 08:52:55 PM »
"Evidence based" is the only way. Theism is more than Christianity; it's new age, superstition, politics, (and many more).

The big problem is, many Christians are indoctrinated to the point where not even that will work. They have become so indoctrinated, that they have lost the ability to critically think, and question, and only accept what their preacher has said as the only Truth. If you even think of questioning them, they will chew you up and spit you out, even if you do find evidence for them.

For these kinds of Christians, pretty much the only way to do away with these is murder, or wait until they die, not that I advocate either of them.

The rest of the bunch will indeed work, especially those who have a Truly open mind.

The theme overall though, is that there are some who are permanently gone, till death. For these, just play the silent treatment, and pretend they didn't even exist to begin with.

Offline MMcNeely

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 08:54:32 PM »
Still, with your major theistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) God is perfect and his words are perfect.  Proving a lack of perfection will cast doubt in the believers mind.  Get them to question one thing, and you'll probably get them to question another.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 09:07:55 PM »

For these kinds of Christians, pretty much the only way to do away with these is murder, or wait until they die, not that I advocate either of them.

The theme overall though, is that there are some who are permanently gone, till death. For these, just play the silent treatment, and pretend they didn't even exist to begin with.


For one, i don't think murdering people because of their faith (or lack their of) is morally justifiable.  Secondly, i really don't think that humanity can afford to play the silent treatment when it comes to superstitious beliefs.  Here are the facts of the matter; you can either be an atheist in regards to all religions except one, or you can draw the conclusion that they're all full of shit.  Those are the only two logical stances.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline fungusdrool

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 09:39:23 PM »
This site.  Wait for them to come. That is all.

I for one never hope to convince.
One does not become a theist naturally.  One is indoctrinated.  Or one sees no other explanation for their questions.

Coming here, at first, I thought: well, here's a group of people who believe what I believe.
But the more I see, the more I learn.  And theists will as well.


Offline jetson

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 10:00:18 PM »
Topics like this will surface repeatedly, and fizzle out after plenty of interesting ideas and conversation.  And in some way, each idea has merit, and can work given the right circumstances.  Some will go for a more abrupt and somewhat dispassionate approach, while others would prefer to engage people, and show them that atheists are good people, and that there is no reason to think that people cannot be good without a god.

In the end, its going to take the full combination of approaches, I think.  We need it all.  We need sympathy, and we need spite.  We need to marginalize the believers, and we need to embrace them.  After all, they are only human, and humans do not respond identically in such circumstances.  More importantly, in my opinion, we need to find ways to get the youngest people to think for themselves.  We need to find ways to nurture independent thought, and critical thinking at very young ages.  And not about gods or religions, or even science - but about everyday reality!

I think about my nine year old son, who has been teased in some ways from Christian friends.  He has never had to defend himself, but they ask him what Church he goes to, or some other mundane religious based thing.  He changes the subject, because he knows it will hurt feelings, and he also does not want to feel alienated by his friends.  It's his life, but I encourage him to stretch out a little more each time, and take a small risk.  I'm waiting to see when and how he might choose to do this.  Will he offend a friend, or will he simply say that he is not ready to decide what he believes, and let his friends babble on in their brainwashed state (as if a child has any way to defend their god beliefs).

Tolerance is an interesting, and often effective message with younger people, but it has to go both ways, and we have to find ways to teach our youngest that if tolerance is not afforded to everyone, it is not tolerance.  That seems to be the biggest problem I see with religiously brainwashed kids these days - and they get them very young.  These kids have no way of defending their "beliefs", because they did not arrive at those beliefs on their own (typically)...

I could go on...but I will take a rest and see where the conversation goes.

Love this topic.

Offline Death over Life

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 10:21:15 PM »

For these kinds of Christians, pretty much the only way to do away with these is murder, or wait until they die, not that I advocate either of them.

The theme overall though, is that there are some who are permanently gone, till death. For these, just play the silent treatment, and pretend they didn't even exist to begin with.


For one, i don't think murdering people because of their faith (or lack their of) is morally justifiable.  Secondly, i really don't think that humanity can afford to play the silent treatment when it comes to superstitious beliefs.  Here are the facts of the matter; you can either be an atheist in regards to all religions except one, or you can draw the conclusion that they're all full of shit.  Those are the only two logical stances.

I agree 100% on every single letter posted.

I am discovering just how much of a nut job, the nutjobs will be. I could use the examples of Westboro Baptist Church to show off just 1 stream of fundamental extremeness, where it doesn’t matter how much of anything you preach to them, you are either gay scum to the lowest degree, or you bow down to their beliefs. There is no logic, there is no reason, there is no way to win, only you are scum, or you bow down.

These kinds of people are the definition of close-minded. No Truth will ever break them. So then, how do you take care of such fanaticals? The only logical or reasonable way I see is through the 2 I said above, but that I agree is a stupid reason to go out and commit atrocities. At the same time though, what other options do we have since anything that does not require barbarianism or ignorance, is instantly not only shunned, but thrown back into your face?

Thankfully, the majority of any religious belief does NOT fall under this. There are many who come close, but they can be reached. Then there are the majority, who are simply cultural social tools where Christianity means nothing, just a tag to be social and accepted. I am only speaking of the extremist fanaticals. Those people, won’t stop preaching, and they can still get new converts despite evidence contrary to their dogma.

How does one suggest we deal with them without ignorance, or barbarianism?

Offline jetson

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 10:24:57 PM »

How does one suggest we deal with them without ignorance, or barbarianism?

The extremes are easy...go after their base, the moderates!  If you marginalize Christianity into what it really is, pure mythology, then the base gets eliminated, and you're left with the total nutjobs.  And then society ignores them for the nut jobs they are.

Offline Death over Life

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 10:27:41 PM »

How does one suggest we deal with them without ignorance, or barbarianism?

The extremes are easy...go after their base, the moderates!  If you marginalize Christianity into what it really is, pure mythology, then the base gets eliminated, and you're left with the total nutjobs.  And then society ignores them for the nut jobs they are.

But it goes exactly as I said though, through ignorance, being 1 of my 2 original ideas on how to get rid of them. Pretty much means that marginalizing/ignoring and murder are the only ways.

Although it is what I am saying, we still agree exactly on getting rid of the nutjobs!  ;D

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 10:31:08 PM »
But it goes exactly as I said though, through ignorance, being 1 of my 2 original ideas on how to get rid of them. Pretty much means that marginalizing/ignoring and murder are the only ways.

How can you justify murder even coming to mind?
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline fungusdrool

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2011, 10:41:44 PM »
How can you justify murder even coming to mind?

You can't.  Belief is nothing more than thought.  Thoughts come and go and none are worth grasping.

Tolerance is necessary.  Dogma is for the religious!
To promulgate violence is the anathema to rationality.


Offline MMcNeely

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 10:42:41 PM »
Just saw Westboro's website and I am shocked... There are really no words to explain how I feel.  Just disgusted.

That is only an example of what kind of hatred that religion is responsible for.  Yes, they are definitely on the extreme side, but God's hatred for homosexuals is well documented in the Bible.  I grew up VERY conservative Christian, and I could say that I hated homosexuals.  I used to believe that they were all going to hell where they would burn forever.  Now that I have "converted" to Atheism there is no reason to hate someone for their sexual preference.  To do so is just stupid.  I have many gay and lesbian friends and they have been more accepting of my new found atheism than most of my family is.  Religion, in my experience, is the great divider of humanity.  You can hate someone for their skin color, hate them for being gay, hate them because they have a different eye color than you, even hate them for worshiping a different god than you do... and it's all "justified" because your god says so.

The world would be a lot better if there were no religion.  In the immortal words of Mr. John Lennon:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Offline curiousgirl

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2011, 10:43:36 PM »
Tolerance is necessary.  Dogma is for the religious!
To promulgate violence is the anathema to rationality.

Exactly.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."-Carl Sagan

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2011, 11:41:09 PM »
Just saw Westboro's website and I am shocked... There are really no words to explain how I feel.  Just disgusted.

That is only an example of what kind of hatred that religion is responsible for.  Yes, they are definitely on the extreme side, but God's hatred for homosexuals is well documented in the Bible.  I grew up VERY conservative Christian, and I could say that I hated homosexuals.  I used to believe that they were all going to hell where they would burn forever.  Now that I have "converted" to Atheism there is no reason to hate someone for their sexual preference.  To do so is just stupid.  I have many gay and lesbian friends and they have been more accepting of my new found atheism than most of my family is.  Religion, in my experience, is the great divider of humanity.  You can hate someone for their skin color, hate them for being gay, hate them because they have a different eye color than you, even hate them for worshiping a different god than you do... and it's all "justified" because your god says so.

The world would be a lot better if there were no religion.  In the immortal words of Mr. John Lennon:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

John Lennon was right on the money.  The sad thing is, the christian church fears a one world government.  Like others raised in a conservative christian home, i was force fed the whole revelation apocalypse scenario since i was a kid.  It seems all the forward progress made by secular society is directly opposed by the right wing, religious crazies that dominate the GOP.  This is why i feel the question of "how do we best de-evangelize theist?" is important.  Once humanity can agree on a global set of values, we will see drastic improvements in culture, technology and overall well being in countries across the globe.  If America follows the example of Sweden and countries like it, we may be in for the most drastic cultural revolution in human history.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline fungusdrool

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2011, 11:51:23 PM »
Once humanity can agree on a global set of values, we will see drastic improvements in culture

Do not cling to idea.  That is where trouble starts.  That is religion.
Be open.  Be tolerant.  No human is wise.  No idea is complete.
Attachment causes suffering.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2011, 11:58:47 PM »
Once humanity can agree on a global set of values, we will see drastic improvements in culture

Do not cling to idea.  That is where trouble starts.  That is religion.
Be open.  Be tolerant.  No human is wise.  No idea is complete.
Attachment causes suffering.

So, is it wrong that we cling to the theory of relativity?  What about Newton's law of gravity?  Maybe we should teach highschool kids the controversy surrounding the flat-earth/round-earth debate.  That would be the most open minded and tolerant thing to do, no?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 12:02:52 AM by The Wannabe »
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Offline DP86

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2011, 12:06:30 AM »
Religion, in my experience, is the great divider of humanity.  You can hate someone for their skin color, hate them for being gay, hate them because they have a different eye color than you, even hate them for worshiping a different god than you do... and it's all "justified" because your god says so.

I think the boys over at Rooster Teeth said it best in their season 5 finale

"You don't hate a person because someone told you to. You have to learn to despise people on a personal level, not because they're black or white, but because you know them, and you see them every single day and you cant stand them because they're a complete and total douchebag."

 ;D

Offline fungusdrool

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2011, 12:44:39 AM »
So, is it wrong that we cling to the theory of relativity?

If you do not understand it, yes.  If you take a simple concept and use it beyond that for which it was conceived, yes.

What about Newton's law of gravity?

Again, yes.  If you cannot understand it, out of hate or anger, then please, leave it to the less biased interpretations.  And, please, relativity is a refutation of newton!  Can an informed rebuttal use both as cause?
 
Maybe we should teach highschool kids the controversy surrounding the flat-earth/round-earth debate.

Of course, let them make their own decisions. Push neither your truth nor your bias on the young--nor anyone else. Only present the facts.   Do not present your judgement.

That is my objection to your supposition.  The arrogance of absolute understanding is the first cause.  Violence can have no other.

If you presume you are right, what distinguishes you from the theists?
Tolerance is the key to understanding--not violence--not rigid insensitivity.
I understand you choose poorly.  I have degrees in both math and physics--and use each daily. 
Choose better next time and you'll catch me off-guard.



Offline dloubet

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2011, 01:11:54 AM »
Well, since many religious arguments are emotional appeals, I'm guessing that emotional appeals work on theists. Therefore it would behoove us to present some arguments based on emotional appeals.
Denis Loubet

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2011, 02:55:30 AM »
Of course, let them make their own decisions. Push neither your truth nor your bias on the young--nor anyone else. Only present the facts.   Do not present your judgement.

That is my objection to your supposition.  The arrogance of absolute understanding is the first cause.  Violence can have no other.

If you presume you are right, what distinguishes you from the theists?
Tolerance is the key to understanding--not violence--not rigid insensitivity.
I understand you choose poorly.  I have degrees in both math and physics--and use each daily. 
Choose better next time and you'll catch me off-guard.



Well fungusdrool, i assume that you presume you are right, what distinguishes you from theists?  I'm impressed that you have degrees in both math and physics, great job on that. 

The only thing i want to say in response is, i believe that the truth of our reality is out their regardless of whether we perceive it or not.  I do not absolutely understand anything and i will never force my opinion on another.  Now with that said, can you blame me for trying to discover and comprehend the truth to the best of my evolved ability?

EDIT:  And if i reach a conclusion that i honestly believe is sound and factual, am i in error if i assert this conclusion as a fact?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 03:08:54 AM by The Wannabe »
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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2011, 03:02:24 AM »
"Evidence based" is the only way. Theism is more than Christianity; it's new age, superstition, politics, (and many more).

Agreed.  The sad thing is, theist will for the most part always turtle shell into their relative experiences of this being called "Gad" instead of open mindfully weighing the actual facts and evidence.  Being completely stonewalled by a believer's "personal experiences" is beyond frustrating.
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2011, 03:27:07 AM »
The big problem is, many Christians are indoctrinated to the point where not even that will work. They have become so indoctrinated, that they have lost the ability to critically think, and question, and only accept what their preacher has said as the only Truth.

They can think critically, but it's always directed at someone else.

I know a few trenchant new age types, who hold to all that is new age, without ever admitting that the stupidest beliefs may have some problems. Take astrology, you could momentarily get them to admit that something was questionable about it, but then a friend of theirs will meet someone who can apparently guess people's sun signs by looking at them. It's not possible for them to dismiss astrology after someone at a party has just guessed 7 people in a row. How did they do it? Luck? Prior knowledge? It must be real! But such anecdotes are the fabric which legitifies irrational beliefs. We might try to duplicate the feat under controlled conditions. They would fail, of course, and then blame negative thoughts of others. (Critical thinking.)

Here's a thread with a load of sincere people who believe that they can guess star signs by various moronic rules
http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070219061236AAYAapd
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080721182154AAQBE6s
http://www.nodeorama.com/printthread.php?tid=2690

To do this, they will live in a perpetual state of correcting their theories when they are wrong, and like gamblers, always believing that their new rule or system will work better, but always works about 80% of the time.

To be a rational skeptic, you basically have to ignore certain anecdotal information that you come across.

What is missing from science classes is
(1) teaching people that they need to be critical of things that they WANT to believe
(2) an understanding of exactly how much data is needed to prove something is a legitimate theory

There seems to be this big blurry grey area where people can get away with being a pseudo-scientist and thrive off other people's confirmation bias. Though in Christianity, there isn't much science in it, so a few priceless bits of bullshit go a long way.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 03:29:31 AM by Add Homonym »
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline screwtape

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Re: What's the best way to push theism into the minority?
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2011, 07:45:47 AM »
IWhat do you believe is the best way to argue for the merits of the agnostic/atheistic philosophy, besides the sometimes demeaning presuppositional arguments?

This has nothing to do with the title of the thread.  If you want to marginalize religion socially and politically, then you are not going to do it by arguing with people.  You need a plan to change society.  It is difficult and will cost billions of dollars, but it can be done. 

The Jews did it successfully and there are about 1/3 as many of them as there are atheists in the US.  Of course, they have the advantages of having an identity (for organizing) and of having been persecuted by the Nazis (for sympathy).   Notice what a terrible thing it is to be called "anti-semitic"?  The gays are doing it now too.  We should take a look at their playbooks.

One of the first things we can do is be "out".  That was critical for the gay movement.  Step 2 is we have to be seen as moral, contributing members of society.  I think atheist and humanist organizations have to be represented at every social function they can - street fairs, parades, sponsoring blood drives, charity events, etc.  I think we also need some thugs for when the religious push back in non-legal ways. 




How can you justify murder even coming to mind?

I only know of a few people who can control what thoughts they have.  They can only do it for a few minutes at a time and they have spent years training themselves.

To answer your question, because it is the simplest, most direct and primitive solution.  How do you fix a problem with ants in your kitchen?  Get rid of the ants.  How about if you have mice?  Get rid of the mice.  What about butthole religious people who want to base your government on a 2000 year old anthology of hebrew myths?  Get rid of them.  It is not a real solution or a practical solution (mainly because we don't have the political power to make it happen) or a moral solution (maybe debatable).  But it is often the first thing that pops into our 250,000 year old monkey brains. 

History is full of this.  The hebrews wanted the canaanites gone.  The germans wanted the jews gone.  The bosnians, serbs and croats all wanted... someone[1] gone.  The israelis want the palestinians gone.  It is the way of talking monkeys.

 1. each other?  I was never clear on what their deal was, just that they were all kind of buttholes.
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