I get confronted by a ton of theists every day. Some of them are kind and genuinely curious, asking questions about atheism and how I discovered it. Others are outright rude, dismissive and really try to press on my last nerves. Admittedly, I don’t always respond the way I ought to. I try very hard to be patient and to rise above even when they insist on dwelling in the gutter, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I get flustered. Sometimes I can’t find the right words. Sometimes I say things I regret.
Talking about religion at all is a fairly new thing for me. It wasn’t until about 2013 that religion really became something I read about consistently, and 2014 until it was something I talked about and wrote about consistently. I’ve never had a religion and never known very many people who took their religion too seriously. It never really came up all that often. But now that I write Godless Mom, it comes up, expectedly, multiple times daily. I find myself navigating new territory often because I simply have no solid background in discussing religion at all.
So, yesterday when I downloaded the new Atheos app from Peter Boghossian and the Richard Dawkins Foundation and fooled around with it for way too long, I felt like it was a godsend… #NoHoly. It’s not just taking me through common conversations that I get frustrated with frequently, but it’s also proving, with each step further into the app, that you can deal with these conversations and questions diplomatically.
Most of you know, if you’ve watched me debate on Twitter or listened to my podcast with @MrOzAtheist, that being kind, welcoming and non-confrontational with believers is very important to me. I think it’s ridiculously easy to get a believer’s back up when it comes to their religious beliefs, and once that back is up, the conversation is pretty much over. They’re no longer going to be considering anything you say. I know that the best way to keep the conversation going is to avoid that. It’s not always possible, but I try to avoid coming at theists too strong, so they will stay open and receptive to the questions and ideas I’m putting across to them.
The Atheos app seems to embrace this, offering responses that are Socratic, calm and reasoned to common questions and assertions.
I’m only partway through the app and already I’ve learned so many new ways to respond to believers. If you love to debate and converse about religion, you’ll love this app. If you find yourself wishing you knew what to say when people question your atheism, you’ll love this app. There are a lot of atheists out there who won’t necessarily agree with the approach the app is putting forth, but I’d be willing to be even those atheists will find the app interesting. Plus, you can leave comments on each question – a perfect place to present your alternatives.
It’s a great app, and for a first release, the lack of bugs seems almost… well, miraculous. You get a small portion of the content for free, and then have to pay for premium content, but it’s only $6.99 (at least for us Canucks, it is).
Here’s a quick overview:
You can grab it for iOS here: Atheos
Grab it for Android here: Atheos
And find out more about it, here: Atheos
Have you tried this app? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!