This really depresses me. I came on here because I've just been having an argument with a similarly irrational person, although not about religion, and I hate not being able to get through to these people. It's like they simply don't know how to think! You have been much more composed than me, I can't stand it when they go off on tangents or completely ignore what you say and replace it with some straw man bullshit. I lose my temper and swear at them and then I feel bad about it. It's so frustrating and I hate living at a time when so many people are wildly delusional. You see it most clearly in text form, when what comes back bares no resemblance to the rest of the discussion. These people are insane, but is there a cure?
How should we talk to people like these? How can we get them to think? I have a theory that giving them evidence is no good, because they think we are simply trying to impose our beliefs on them, they don't understand that we are asking them to review the evidence for themselves. They have never been taught to question.
To answer your question, of course it's not a fucking miracle! Treating it as such is a call to ignorance, it's implying that there's no reason to study this phenomenon because it's inexplicable, what a disgustingly defeatist and unscientific attitude! If something really weird happens then we investigate, if we find something even stranger and harder to explain then great, we keep going. I don't see the use in ever declaring anything a miracle.
Thank you for the kind words here. To answer your question regarding "how", I must say that patience is a virtue. One of my professions is teaching. I work with kids - sometimes very rebellious, snotty, unmotivated, and stubborn ones. So I am used to it. But what changed my mind from being just like Ven and Nate were people like yourselves who were willing to take the time to correct me over and over. It took 5 long years until the tipping point occurred but it did happen
. For me, it's fun. I truly enjoy getting to hammer them over and over. Sometimes it's really hilarious watching them squirm (like I used to!) because I know what they are going through mentally and emotionally when they are being challenged. I doesn't feel good but it's necessary.
Screwtape, these are not my friends. They are people I used to know and (for those who allow) I keep all of them on my Facebook so that I can have opportunities such as this to lay into them about their irrational beliefs. The way I think about it (and the way it worked for me) is that once they have heard good sound reasoning (which of course refutes their belief) they can't go back. They cannot undo what they have heard. And what they have heard will stick with them, even if it doesn't show for years. It will be there, like a splinter in their minds. The way I know is because it happened to me and many others I know here in southern California. In fact the Clergy Project is another testimony to this change that is happening. I feel it is my duty to society to continue doing intellectual battle with this credulity and superstition (for the betterment of everyone).