How to out-Christian a Christian

atheist_debate

In my previous post, I referred to certain uses of the phrase “I’ll pray for you” as passive-aggressive. But being passive-aggressive doesn’t have to be a bad thing — it can be your friend when dealing with certain types of Christians, especially on debate boards but also in “real life” if you happen to be faced with a particularly belligerent person.

I’ve found that the best way to win a confrontation with a Christian is to out-Christian them — be a better Christian than they are. Be meek, mild, accepting — even loving — and non-judgmental and non-confrontational. Turn the other cheek, and all that.

The Christian(s) you’re arguing with won’t find your demeanor convincing, any more than they’ll find your arguments convincing — they never do. But when you’re arguing with a Christian, the goal isn’t (or shouldn’t be) to de-convert them and convince them that their religion is wrong.

Realistically speaking, that’s not going to happen even if you’ve got an airtight argument and the Christian’s got nothing. Dogma is a powerful thing. But fortunately, it’s also an obvious thing, to any lurkers or onlookers or other spectators.

When arguing with a Christian the goal is (or should be) to demonstrate to onlookers that you’re the one who’s right — or at least that you’ve got a valid argument and that the Christian’s argument has some serious flaws.

So, how do you out-Christian a Christian in a fight? It’s not hard, at least not if you define “Christian” as someone who follows Jesus’ instructions to his followers.

Jesus said (according to the Bible, anyway) that you shouldn’t be judgmental, and that you should treat everybody well, even those who curse you or do you harm. Jesus said you shouldn’t act like it’s your place to point out the moral failings of others, at least not until you’ve managed to get rid of all your own failings.

So when you’re arguing with a Christian, and you want to come off looking like the “good guy” while still winning the argument, don’t cast aspersions on the Christian’s moral character or motives — leave the judging and condemning to the guy who claims to worship someone who commanded, “Judge not, that ye not be judged; condemn not, that ye not be condemned.”

Don’t declare that there’s no reason to believe in any deities — just declare that you’ve been unable to find such a reason, and ask your Christian buddy for help. When he offers something he considers a good reason, don’t tell him he’s wrong, just explain your own logical (or other) objections, not as criticisms of his belief but simply as a personal “testimony” (Christians love personal testimonies) of why it doesn’t work for you.

Then ask him to clear up the logical (or other) problem you’re having with his argument. If he can’t, maybe you can ask him to help you out by supplying some other reason you should believe in his magical sky-daddy (although, of course, you don’t want to use the phrase “magical sky-daddy”).

And then repeat the process. Explain why his reason isn’t working for you (and make sure you phrase it that way, that it’s not working for you because of the logical contradictions — not that the contradictions invalidate the argument for any sensible person).

(Atheist Eve cartoon via Carapace)

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One response to this post.

  1. […] one way of talking about religious concepts, and I myself have been known (quite recently) to talk about what Jesus said (although I did specify that I was operating under the presumption […]

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