• Yes, I Am Out To De-Convert Religious Believers

    throwing_away_religionReligious believers send missionaries all over the world, they go door-to-door, they have pamphlets, t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc. They are out there trying to “save” non-believers and make us believers. But then they get offended when atheists start to spread the facts about reality and try to de-convert religious believers.

    Oddly enough, some atheists have also jumped on the anti-de-conversion bandwagon. Many times I have watched an atheist on Fox News or read a blogger back down and try to reassure people that we aren’t out there trying to de-convert anyone. I disagree; we shouldn’t apologize for trying to spread our ideas.

    My issue with religious proselytizing isn’t that they want to spread their message; it is that they are trying to spread their message dishonestly and to those who are not equipped or in a position to think critically about religious beliefs. I also take issue with that fact that they are proselytizing bullshit, but that’s another issue entirely.

    The point is that I don’t see why trying to educate people who are in a healthy situation and have the ability to think critically is a bad thing. Religious believers brag about how they love to proselytize, but atheists have to dance on egg shells around the concept of trying to persuade people that their beliefs are not only false, but are patently ridiculous.

    Atheists need to stop apologizing for trying to de-convert religious believers. Yes, de-converting religious believers is what I am about. That is what I am trying to do. I am trying to de-convert religious believers and I will do it honestly through well-reasoned arguments and by helping people to think critically about what they believe. Unlike the religious, I will not try to indoctrinate kids who are not able to think critically. I will not bribe the starving with food, clothing, medicine, etc. in exchange for preaching to them. I will not harass someone when they are sick or in an emotionally vulnerable state of mind. I will not see someone’s misfortune as an opportunity to spread my message. I will not try to trick people with phony dollar bills or other gimmicks. No, I want people to be in the best mental health state possible so they can think about my arguments as critically as they possibly can. Assuming they are in such a state, I will try to de-convert them. No apologizes!

    I’m an atheist and you should be too. There is no evidence for any deities so people should not believe in any deities. There are plenty of reasons to reject the concept of deities all together and people’s lives would be much better if they had less faith and more reason. People should be skeptical of all ideas and beliefs; they should use the scientific method to help determine a claim’s truth-value.

    Step 1: Teach critical thinking skills.
    Step 3: Atheism.

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    Category: AtheismAtheist ActivismDe-ConvertionfeaturedSkepticism


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.


    1. It’s fascinating the way so many atheists have swallowed the meme about not proselytizing. In fact, it has more than a little to do with atheists being so misunderstood.

      I have always welcomed visits from missionaries, even filming our discussions. You never know whose mind may be changed by something you say.

      The notion that holding what is arguably the most informed opinion is somehow cheapened by actually >>presenting it<< whenever the occasion allows is absurd, & self-defeating.

    2. Some Australian comedians did it – went to Utah and tried to convert Mormons to atheism – and filmed the results. Quite funny, but often not that pretty.

    3. I totally agree: atheists need to spread our message as well. I have been filming my encounters challenging street preachers here in San Antonio for the past few weeks – hit me up on Twitter @magnabosco if you would be interested in seeing the currently-private videos and I will send you a couple of links. Additionally, if you are really serious about this, I highly recommend Peter Boghossian’s new book ‘A Manual for Creating Atheists’ and the Street Epistemology Facebook page.

    4. P.S. Did you intentionally mean to list Step 1 and 3, but no Step 2? Not sure if this was an oversight or a humorous point.

    5. Staks–I linked to this in a chess.com discussion forum (I’m “MindWalk” there). As you know, I want people *not* to believe in God without good reason, and since I think I can show there is no good reason, I want people not to believe in God at all. I thought this was a rather good post on why we should proselytize nontheism.

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