Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

How to turn an agnostic

This is a tongue-in-cheek mini-tutorial for how one might go about converting an agnostic to some theistic religion. It may work on some atheists. It may not work on anyone. I probably won't ever try this since it probably falls under my category of abuse.

Step One: Stay away from mainstream religion, pick a relatively unknown one. This means no simple Christianity (Catholic, Protestant), no Judaism, no Islam. Acceptable alternatives include Mormonism (which is technically Christian but weirdly so, it's at such odds with the rest) and any far-Eastern religion.

Step Two: Pick some stereotype or misconception about the chosen religion and wash it away with Knowledge. For example, many people still believe Mormons practice polygamy. In fact, only an illegal sect does so, that is unrecognized by the official Church, and indeed the Church denounced such practices years ago. Also, there is a concept of "levels" in heaven. I can't remember the specifics, but if you're really holy and I think you may have to achieve some level of priesthood, you go to the highest level of heaven and you can then go off and create your own worlds. Pretty cool and futuristic-y eh?

Step Three: Study rhetoric. Seriously, you may have to argue a lot, and it's better you learn how to convince a crowd and manipulate your opponent using the established art of rhetoric, than having to nervously speak the truth against every single claim, your brain wearing down by refusing to let any opposing statement go unchallenged. Leave that to the die hard atheists.

Step Four: Okay, learn a little science. Or pseudo-science. Talk about how the ancient books predicted so and so, talk about how there is direct evidence the ancient believers knew modern things about medicine and diet, talk about how some guy observed a result that violated known quantum mechanics, but repeating the experiment exactly provided a different result in line with QM... Don't name names or cite sources unless it is beneficial.

Step Five: Anecdotal evidence, anecdotal evidence, anecdotal evidence! Just as there are tons of people absolutely certain they have seen UFOs or have even been abducted and anally probed, there are tons of people absolutely certain to have seen or heard or been inspired by God. There will be talk of medical miracles and other such things. Downplay natural disasters and mass death; only talk about happy stories. Explain how the Faith can make you feel more at one with your family and friends, even the Earth if the agnostic is environmentally leaning. (Though in that case you should go for some form of Wiccan rather than Mormonism.)

With these five steps, surely every agnostic must fall to the side of religion! Unless the atheists get there first. Above all, this is the bonus step six, infect them with a hatred toward non-believers, and a proud respect for others of faith. Bonus bonus points if you get them to crucify or stone or drown someone.

Posted on 2010-07-22 by Jach

Tags: atheism, religion


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