Why can't you discuss religion with religious people?

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Joined: 26 May 2014
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26 May 2021, 8:13 pm

My guess is that in most cases, religion isn't like string theory. It's not an abstract thing which, unless you're actively researching it, is largely meaningless in your day to day activities. Religion is, for most people, a foundation for the culture they grew up in or live in now. Questioning that means questioning the foundations of every day behaviours, often down to the level of trivial things like food or clothing choices or family traditions.
And for a lot of people, it's annoying to discuss why they have never even tasted bacon, or why they are going through christmas dinner every year, even though they kinda hate it.
And yeah, maybe the things are without any justification, but that just means you now have to think about everything. - traditions etc.take away a lot of cognitive load in your daily life - which you are burdening people with by discussing the foundations...

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Snowy Owl
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29 Jul 2021, 5:56 pm

Although it has been a while since one knocked on my door (thank you pandemic), the Jehovah Witnesses used to come by regularly. When I answered the door they would ask me, "...if I would be willing to have a discussion" to which I would respond thusly:

"Let me ask you a question, first."


"Is there anything I can say that would ever change your mind regarding your beliefs?"

"Certainly not!"

"Ah, then this would not have been a discussion; this is a sales pitch, and I'm not buying today. Have a great day!" and then I would close the door.

For some folks, honest debate and discussion is possible. These people did not fall into that category. There's a saying, often incorrectly attributed to Saint Francis, but it is an awesome quote: "Preach the gospel unceasingly, and if absolutely necessary, use words."

In other words, if you live your faith, you don't need to sell anyone anything.


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29 Jul 2021, 6:46 pm

thinkinginpictures wrote:
Why can't you discuss religion with religious people?
In my opinion, which is derived from personal experience and observation, and is therefor subjective...

• Religious people are certain of their beliefs.  This certainty is indicative of their absolute faith.  Anything less than absolute faith is apostasy.  Apostasy is sin.  Asking questions, especially the "wrong" questions (which vary with the wind), demonstrates doubt, which is the opposite of certainty, and which indicates the questioner's sin-filled nature.  You are supposed to silently and meekly submit to their religious teaching and believe everything they tell you regarding the doctrine of their particular religion, and do so without question.

• Good health, a whole body, a sound mind, and material prosperity together all indicate their god's favor.  Lacking even one of these indicates their god's disfavor.  You are supposed to show good favor with their god before they will consider you worthy of standing in their presence.

• Being useful to the religion, and especially to the religious leaders, means that they can exploit your services for their benefit.  If you lack marketable skills, artistic talent, and an attractive face and body, you are of no use to the religion, and especially to the religious leaders.

So, when an unemployed aspie wearing the latest fashions from Goodwill stumbles in and starts asking questions, those deeply religious people are likely to suddenly "remember" something else that they really, really MUST deal with right now.

But, like I said, this is just my subjective opinion, based on personal experience and observation ... 60+ years worth.

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Last edited by Fnord on 29 Jul 2021, 6:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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29 Jul 2021, 6:47 pm

Because non-believers often discuss other people's religions like they're just another fantasy series.

the problem with capitalism is that eventually you run out of other people's resources and cheap labour to exploit