Hey, hi-ya, what’s up (a Soul Eater a reference for the one other person who has watched it)? My name is Ryan (@RAtheistH on Twitter). I had a guest post on this site a while back and I thought I would write a follow up with more structure, I guess you could say. Since the last article, I have moved from rural Pennsylvania (the mini-Bible belt) to a suburban area in western Florida and moved up a grade (I’m a sophomore now). Now, despite living in a rural farm area for fourteen years I never became a “country kid”. The internet and the science channel made sure that I grew to more of an intellectual suburban kid, much to the displeasure of the more evangelical students. As I mentioned before, I wanted to add more structure to this article so I decided to, as you may have guessed, write about the differences in the education and religious communities in Florida and Pennsylvania. Maybe throw in the arguing tips I use.
Now, one of the clearest differences between the two states in aspect of religion is that there is a lot of variety in Florida and just different flavors of Christianity in Pennsylvania. Here I’ve actually had the chance to meet Jews and Muslims, something almost impossible in rural Pennsylvania. The other obvious difference is that there are a bunch more people here. Now with this aspect and the hypothesis that city people are less religious, I expected a smaller amount of religious influence here. In the three months I’ve been here, I have witnessed the same, if not more, amount of religious factors in the society, at least based on my experiences at school. It may be because the worship of the Christian god was just an unspoken but know thing in Pennsylvania or people here just want their faith to be known. I have had three noted debates with theists here while only debated with my friends back in Pennsylvania. I started none of the debates here and I knew none of these people well. I just said/did something roughly pertaining to Atheism or they saw me reading an Atheistic article.
Contrary to the larger percentage of open theists, I have also found more open Atheists. There were four that I knew of at my old school over the course of fourteen years (mind you, I was not a “popular” kid) and in three months here I have found closer to ten. That is four out of five hundred compared to ten out of seven hundred. That is a sizable increase and mind you, I have only been here for three months and there are bound to be more! Based on my current observations, you will meet more open Atheists in suburban Florida than in a rural town but you will also meet much more opposition. But hey, if your argument is good enough then you should have no problem metaphorically smacking them upside the head with a physics textbook!
Tips for Arguing Theists:
Now, every person trying to defend a claim has to have an argument. And when you are arguing alongside a large group of people, it’s best to share ideas to create a sort of cohesive hive mind. So here are some of the tips and arguments I use when I battle theists.
-The Big Bounce
Now, I am a terrible scientist for using this to explain things. I’ll admit that. But it provides an excellent end to the “What happened before the Big Bang?” and the “What created the Big Bang?” questions that we see a lot. The proper answer is “We honestly have no idea, but we are working on it.” This does not fly well with hardcore theists. They want definitive answers and if our responses are open-ended then they can easily use them against us. Note, what they do won’t make our argument less viable, simply rally more people to their side. The Big Bounce answers their question. Essentially, the universe undergoes a Big Bang and then falls on itself due to gravity when inflation stops. All of the energy and mass is pulled into a singularity, inflation takes over, and the Big Bang happens again. Now any scientifically literate person will see that this theory is flawed as the expansion of the universe increasing, not slowing. And yes, that is right to what we know… but the theists don’t know that. This is one of the few times to stretch the truth in an argument. Only use this when you absolutely must and try to phrase it like it is a hypothesis. Then you won’t technically be wrong. But seriously, only use this on persistent and idiotic theists. You didn’t hear this from me…
-The Universe has always existed
If their god has always existed, then why couldn’t the universe? It is as simple as that. No one has a good argument against this question. It’s nice to flip to a more arguable topic. Try to use it after the “What created the Big Bang?” question instead of the Big Bounce.
-Why are there so many different religions?
Why are their beliefs the correct ones? How do they have more claim than our friends the Pastafarians? Jesus, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (praise His noodley goodness), Zeus. They all have/had people that believe in them. And why does the real creator depend on what you were told as a kid so much?
We all understand evolution here, but our adversaries don’t. We’ve had to explain it to them time and time again. I like to use this scenario to explain it to them. “You have a single species that is spread over a large area. Suddenly, the area is split in half and their climates and ecosystems change dramatically. Over time, the members that were part of the same species will adapt to the environment. Say one area becomes a desert. Members of the species that are better fit to live in dry areas will survive and those who can’t die off. Those who live have kids that can survive. Over time, the two species adapts constantly until they seem like two different organisms. The two separated species look very different, but they share the same initial species.” From this, you can better explain the “If humans come from monkeys why are there still monkeys?”
“If you haven’t read any holy book, where do you get you morals from?” This is not an uncommon theistic question and it can be a bit hard to answer for those who are unprepared. My personal response and hypothesis is that morals arise in a population in order to keep direction and ensure the future stability of the race. It’s all a product of our evolution. Why don’t you see squirrels murdering each other in the middle of the street? They have evolutionary morals that developed to protect the species.
And with mentioning the nonexistent squirrel fight club, I’m going to take this article to a close. Thanks for reading! I’ve saved a few stories, namely the debates I’ve encountered here, for a later article. This is Ryan signing off, good day to you….. Hail CERN.