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How to Alienate a Nonbeliever in 10 Easy Steps

By GodlessGrrl --

Dedicated to proselytizers everywhere, especially of the Born-Again Christian stripe.

IMG_4813.JPGImage by V31S70 via Flickr
Hey proselytizers! Ever been confronted with a stubborn unbeliever who just won't listen to your witnessing? Pump up your efforts to convert them by adopting these 10 simple steps! With this guide to witnessing technique, you'll have them eating from the Lord's hand in no time!

Step 1: Don't actually listen to them.

You're on a mission: your job is to spread the Good News. You should be concentrating on leading them to the Lord, not enjoying the pleasures of a chat with another interesting human being. Don't quite talk to them - talk past them. Don't take anything they have to say seriously. It doesn't matter what they bring up: their personal history, their own opinions, logical arguments, probing questions - an unbeliever just doesn't understand God the way you do, so they don't know what they're talking about. Don't listen to what they believe or think, tell them yourself! (See Step 5.) Besides, if you listen too closely to what your intended victim has to say, you might be led astray from your own belief in God - you might start to rely on your own intellect, which is a sure road to arrogance (and, eventually, apostacy). Don't let the devil tempt you into thinking for yourself!

Step 2: Blame them for their unbelief.

If an unbeliever tries to explain their lack of faith, dismiss their reasons out of hand. Keep in mind that your god is perfect, belief is a choice, and faith is an act of free will. If they refuse to convert, accuse them of hating God. If they were once a believer but gave it up, accuse them of never having truly believed in the first place, or of still believing but not admitting it, or of not having enough faith. If they are happy with their life as an unbeliever, accuse them of being a selfish hedonist living only to rebel against God, and loving their life of sin. Remember, someone's lack of belief is never the fault of your all-powerful deity. Use holy scripture to back you up, where necessary.

Step 3: Do everything you possibly can to dismiss their reasons for their unbelief. (See Step 1.)

Just because an unbeliever is standing there telling you highly personal things about why he or she does not believe your religion does not mean that they actually know what they're talking about. After all, it isn't as if people know themselves better than anyone else. Even if they did, your god knows even better, and as his agent, so do you! So when nonbelievers provide you a list of reasons why they don't believe, just put a knowing smile on your face, and remind yourself of their real motivations. Heck, tell them about it, while you're at it. Cite your holy scriptures where possible to back up your assertions.

Step 4: Slam them with every tired, overused apologetics argument you can think of.

When nonbelievers tell you that they've heard every apologetics argument in the book, don't believe it! You've got god on your side, remember? Rely on god to help you find the one argument that they haven't heard yet. Who knows, you just might be special enough to find it. If the unbeliever gets irritated with you, it's all part of being persecuted for your faith. They're not really mad at you, anyway, they're mad at god. (See Step 2.)

Step 5: Use the worst logic you possibly can, since belief is a matter of faith anyway, not reason.

Drag out Pascal's Wager. Build a veritable army of strawmen. Appeal to emotion. Appeal to popularity. Appeal to morality. Make sure your arguments are so circular that the unbeliever gets dizzy just thinking about them. Pay no attention to their refutations of all your arguments; either ignore them, or - better yet - explain to them why their refutation isn't really valid at all. Cite scripture where possible. Confound your intended victim with such an avalanche of bad logic that they give up trying to argue with you out of sheer frustration. When this happens, you've won!

Step 6: Completely mischaracterize their position, especially if they're an atheist.

This logical fallacy is so powerful it deserves its own category. If the unbeliever you're talking to is a theist of a different stripe than you, then you're already halfway there - they'll at least understand some of what you're trying to tell them. You'll have some common ground, and you'll know that the person you're facing, while not of the right religion *yet*, at least has the sense to believe in a deity of *some* sort. (Even a false one.) They'll probably have some idea of an afterlife, some concept of sin or wrongdoing, some idea of offending god, things like that.

An atheist, on the other hand, has no such baggage. Remember that they're a completely different species of unbeliever altogether. And remember all the stereotypes you've been taught about what atheism is *really* about, and what atheists *really* believe, and what they're *really* like. Refuse to believe that atheism is simply a position on the existence (or nonexistence) of god - this toxic godlessness is a lifestyle and a total worldview. Even if the atheist doesn't know it, you do. Don't forget it, and don't let them forget it, either.

Step 7: Get upset when they refuse to convert.

Threaten them with eternal hellfire, if necessary. After all, don't they understand what the consequences are if they don't believe in your religion?? Shake some sense into them with your righteous anger! Alternatively, get very sad and express pity for the unbeliever, since they're going to spend an eternity roasting in hell if they don't convert. Make sure you shake your head sadly and tell them that you'll pray for them.

Step 8: Remember that your holy scripture trumps reality.

It was written by God, after all. Cite your holy scriptures freely and often. If you are a dedicated literalist, be as legalistic about it as possible. Cling to your dogma even when pesky things like "facts" and "ideas" try to rear their ugly heads and get you to consider another point of view. Make sure that you deny, minimize, or ignore scriptural errors and contradictions (especially if you're an inerrantist). Amazingly, some 8 out of 10 believers know hardly anything about the holy scriptures they claim to follow. Could your friends be among those misguided 80%?

Step 9: Remember that you understand your holy scripture better than unbelievers do.

It doesn't really matter if the unbeliever in front of you has read the entire thing, or if they've studied it for years, or if they went to seminary, or know several ancient languages and have translated portions of your holy book. It really doesn't even matter if they've read and studied your holy book more than you have - because you have GOD on your side! An unbeliever might have read your holy book, but of course they don't understand it properly: they don't have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, guiding them to interpret things correctly. But you do! Good thing you're there to straighten out all their misguided beliefs about what your holy book really says.

Step 10: Remain completely unaware of how rude and arrogant you are.

In fact, assume that the person you're talking to is arrogant themselves, especially if they're an atheist. Fail to realize how arrogant it is to claim exclusive knowledge and understanding of the divine workings of the universe and the nature of god. If necessary, use convoluted, contradictory explanations to to assert that claiming exclusive knowledge is in fact a form of humility.

BONUS: Demonstrate a complete cluelessness about why this list was created.

If you are religious or dogmatic in any fashion, assume that this list isn't about you. Because of course it couldn't be. You've never done anything on this list in your life, and you never would. Seriously.