Facts don’t spread. Stories do.
It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads.
Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up.
Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization.
When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief.
Results Determine Reality
The thing is when we opt to bury our heads in reality we’re creating and maintaining a social reality we don’t like: the hegemony of Christianity over reasonability.
Me? I’m a results guy and for atheism to be relevant it has to touch people where they live.
When I tell a Christian that I don’t believe in her god, I’m also telling her (because of SPAG) that I don’t believe in anything she holds dear or values. It’s not unreasonable that she wants something to back that up. Christians have as much right to demand evidence for our assertions as we do to demand it for their beliefs.
But here’s the thing: They don’t want the sort of evidence we’re prone to give them. They don’t want evidence from science. They want evidence from life. They want stories.
I suppose we could sing the Bare Naked Ladies’ theme for The Big Bang. Or we could simply point to ourselves as evidence.
”It’s the stories you tell!” – John Winger
Remember in Part 1, I said that influential people are, among other things, successful and in part 3, that we can most easily influence others that are like us our would aspire to be like us?
When we become successful in our lives and are openly proud of our achievements, instead of crediting imaginary men for what we’ve done, we’re the walking atheist testimonials. That’s the sort of thing Christians like to hear.
(Of course, I’m not suggesting that it will make deconverting Christians a simple matter. Or that some won’t recoil. What I am saying is that being willing to talk about our own experiences and point to our own successes as atheists gives us an important inroad communicating with most sensible Christians. Finding the Relevant Argument is a full post series about successfully communicating with Christians.)
I’d like to start compiling an “I’m better off as an atheist because…” list and would love to hear your personal evidences.