This is the first post in a new series about the sticky situations you can get into after deconverting from Christianity. I’m hoping it will be useful for those who have recently deconverted as well as for theists who want to understand what life is like on the other side. 🙂
For new readers who don’t know my story, I was a preacher’s kid. My brothers and I grew up in a fairly sheltered home. One brother and I were home schooled by our stay-at-home mom for the first few years and our exposure to secular books and music was pretty limited. As a young adult I gradually deconverted and currently identify as Agnostic.
Today’s topic: debates.
As soon as it becomes widely know that you’re not (or no longer) a Christian there will be those who will want to argue religion with you.
Here are three things to consider as you decide whether or not to engage them:
1. Do you enjoy debating?
I don’t like it but I have friends who do! There are no right or wrong answers here. It’s as ok to love a fiercely friendly argument or correcting misconceptions about us as it is be ambivalent of or dislike this sort of thing.
Keep in mind, though, that you are not responsible for the stereotypes others believe about you. Taking the time to educate other people is great but it’s never something you’re obligated to do.
2. What do you hope to accomplish?
Sometimes debates (on any topic) turn into this:
Keep your goal in mind as the conversation flows, though. It’s easy to get sidetracked by arguments that won’t actually change anyone’s mind or enrich the debate. This leads me to my last point…
3. Why are you doing this?
Some people debate for the fun of it, others because they like the competition or want to convince the other person to switch beliefs.
None of these are bad reasons but a mismatch can sour a conversation (or even a friendship). Someone who debates for the fun of it could easily clash with someone who feels morally obligated to convert everyone else to his or her beliefs.
Non-theists: Have I missed anything? Is this something you do regularly?
Everyone: Do you enjoy debating your beliefs with people who do not share them? If you like it at least occasionally how do you decide when to do it?