It can be frustrating to talk to religious people, and Z at It’s the Thought That Count isn’t sure how worthwhile dialogue is:
If everybody else gets to express their side, I want to express mine. At the same time, the dialogue seems futile. Nobody’s going to change their mind, and it doesn’t even feel like we’re speaking the same language. It just makes me exhausted and depressed, and obviously that’s no good either.
He has a point. Neither side is going to compromise on beliefs.
What has kept me relatively sane in the matter is that I try to focus the conversation on things we can agree on.
I talk about the need for separation of church and state, the importance of teaching kids to question their beliefs and seek out their own answers (Christians, of course, think this will lead them toward faith), the lack of politicians who represent our constituency, why we need to keep forced religion out of public schools, the myriad cases of discrimination against atheists, etc.
I talk about the need for them to take those ideas back to their churches and pastors. They have a hard time saying no to those ideas above. So that’s where I keep my focus.
It’s more important to me that Christians get on board with those ideas than whether they believe in a god or not.
If I’m talking to someone who already is with me on those issues, only then do we get into the godtalk and debate how much sense it makes to believe in the supernatural. At least that way, it’s not a total loss if I walk away frustrated.
What advice do you have for talking with theists?