Theists and atheists alike: Do you believe you can sway someone by insisting they are wrong?

Can you see that it is impossible for someone to 'un-believe' something? Wouldn't it make more sense to provide positive reasons for accepting a new position?

25 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    The way I see it is that the harder you push someone to no longer believe a certain way of thinking, the harder they will push back. There is a lot to be said for that old saying... "Actions speak louder than words." When someone tries to "sway" me to believe or to discontinue believing a certain way and they are very persistent and even, in some cases, rude, I ask myself... "Do I want to be like this individual?" The answer is always no. However if I see an individual has a good attitude I tend to ask myself what makes them that way. Was it the way they were raised or are they aware of some divine knowledge that I am not privy to, etc?

    Basically, the answer to your question is no. I do not believe someone can be swayed by telling them they are wrong. There are two sides to every story. I could very well be the one who is wrong and they right. Or we could both be wrong. I do my best to not put my foot in my mouth whenever possible. Too many times I see someone tell someone else they are wrong to later find out that the accuser was the one who was mistaken. Best to keep my shut and mind my own business when it comes to certain topics.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    No. I do not believe you can "sway" someone by insisting they are wrong. Hammering someone with why they are wrong, ignorant, wayward, incoherent, etc fosters animosity and a lack of interest in what the person is saying. Worse, it can create hatred for the message being delivered (and/or the deliverer).

    I also believe the positive communication is not a 100% guarantee to "sway" an individual too. You can present politely facts from a source, beliefs, history, but it's ultimately the person's decision.

    The Spanish Inquisition comes to mind (conversion of the believers in Judaism and Islam to Catholicism.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Of course. Telling someone they're wrong is a conversationally the same as saying NO! to a child, it makes them feel bad, defensive, and probably will not alter their behavior positively. Offering information that is better/improved over the the information that the other person has is the best and most likely way to change someone's position.

  • Corey
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    If someone shows the other how they're wrong, then yes. I used to be a Christian, and I was swayed into applying critical thinking to my superstitions.

    "Wouldn't it make more sense to provide positive reasons for accepting a new position?"

    Appeal to consequences is a logical fallacy based on appeal to emotion.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Someone CAN "unbelieve" something. I was a Christian for about 30 years before I came to the realization that I could no longer believe the lies. Now I'm an atheist.

    I'm not interested in "swaying" or "converting" anyone, I'll leave that to the religious fanatics. I simply want people to start using their brains and think about things.

  • maupin
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    i'm likely not truly a range of people you're actual in contact in, yet very few questions will reason me to opt to hypothesize a position opposite to my cutting-edge atheist perspective. sometimes a question makes me imagine about something in yet differently yet usually the questions geared in the route of asking atheists to contemplate the existence of God keep on with very old arguments that i have already seen and brushed off. For me, and that i anticipate many different atheists, the path to atheism got here about by hypothesizing the alternative and by 'information by contradiction' determining that atheism makes maximum sense. actual I must have said 'overwhelming information by contradiction' as i will't actual instruct no god exists, yet with any success you get the point. One position I do discover puzzling to hypothesize is that if God exists and he truly does anticipate me to worship him or spend something of eternity in a burning hell. The logical area of me says that all people so effective would certainly not torture a actual sturdy man or woman for eternity because they don't bow right down to them, yet the variety of being would have an mind more advantageous than mine and therefore would have reasoning i will not fathom. for that reason i'd could verify on between doing something that seems unnecessary (praying and praising) or conflict through eternal discomfort (and that i'm truly not a fan of discomfort). This project is one i truly conflict with and easily wish that if i'm incorrect and God *does* exist, that he's not the ornery, fickle SOB the bible describes.

  • 9 years ago

    It is not impossible for a person to un-believe something. Many atheists were believers at one time. I used to be a believer in christianity, but then I actually read the bible in its entirety.

  • 9 years ago

    I've been doing that for years now......but I do not insist on anything. I give them arguments which they have to think about. In my classes they are free to disagree, and are not graded on whether or not they agree or disagree. They are graded on their argument, and how well they formulated it and how they respond to counter arguments.

    As a professor, I get to "profess"....this is my job. On average, at least 3 students/class "convert" from theism to atheism. Approximately 80% are left questioning their beliefs..... And the small percentage that is left are close minded and nothing gets them out of the "cave"

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Yes, I talked one theist friend out of his beliefs. He was however a rational person. He just needed someone to force him to look at his beliefs in a rational way. That would not be true of many theists.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I hope that people who are "on the fence" see the validity of my arguments and reject religion. I realize hard-core theists aren't going to change their minds, but they are useful to argue against to demonstrate how bankrupt their beliefs are to the people who might be considering religion.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.