Holding intelligent discussions about religion

#1
It is a rare but very nice occasion when I find people who can have polite intelligent discussions about religion even when they disagree. I have found that when having theological discussions with someone who has very different beliefs than I do, they often get very defensive, even when I am in no way attempting to push my religious beliefs.

Have you encountered this phenomena? Do you like having intelligent discussions about theology with people of different faiths? Does it bother you?

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.

Adri
 

Chaos

Epic Gamer
V.I.P.
#2
Yes, I've had many discussions on religion and theology, and much of the time people do get pretty aggressive in their beliefs, or indeed, their non-beliefs. Even atheists seem very keen on pushing their idea's into other's, especially if their victim is religious.

I always try to keep a steady, neutral position in discussions, but sometimes it's hard when confronted by someone set on converting you, for example.

I like both heated discussions as well as cool, calm ones, because you get to see different points with different people on different topics.

I'm an agnostic - I'd like to believe there is something out there, but I'd also need proof of some sort before I set my belief on something. I like agnostic discussions the best, because instead of arguing one point consistently, they're able to see both sides of the coin, as it were.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#3
I have witnessed (and participated in) intelligent religious discussions with athiests, Jewish, Christians, and Buddhist. I've enjoyed them. :nod: Often, the participants were open-minded, can express themselves clearly, can keep the discussion mature, and have no intention to convert others, LOL.

I don't care much for the person who is very knowledgeable (I've read this and that; BTDT) on religious matters but is also be a bore or pain in the arse to discuss with. This includes people who think that the discussion should end with someone being right and the other absolutely wrong. Then there are some who like to talk in long vague expressions...as easy to understand as Nostradamus' quatrains.
 

Jakey-D

Registered Member
#4
Watch out for a guy called Mickiel on these boards.

He seems adamant of the idea that he is eternally right and that he somehow has some higher knowledge that us simpletons do not.

I had a raging argument on here with him about the way he put himself across which was very demeaning and ignorant to others views after which he disappeared and I haven't seen much of him. This was just on Saturday.
 

Chaos

Epic Gamer
V.I.P.
#5
Yeah, he's posted some contradicting arguments and such, and when called out on them, he spouts bibliographic text's and stuff, as though that nulls your arguments :lol: If you're not careful, he might call 'fire and brimstone' upon you :lol: And his grammar isn't the best either :heh:
 
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Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#6
It's a simple equation:

The stronger faith someone has, the less likely you will get an intelligent discussion about religion because stronger faith = more solid belief that what they believe is true, thus not warranting any further discussion.

People who are able to talk about religion civilly are usually agnostic, atheist, or very open minded (meaning that almost none of those people will be highly faithful).
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#7
It's a simple equation:

The stronger faith someone has, the less likely you will get an intelligent discussion about religion because stronger faith = more solid belief that what they believe is true, thus not warranting any further discussion.

People who are able to talk about religion civilly are usually agnostic, atheist, or very open minded (meaning that almost none of those people will be highly faithful).
Not sure it's quite fair to generalise that the stronger one's faith in his religion, the lesser his capacity for intelligent discussions. I know that happens, but I also have met people who are firm in their religious convictions but can still carry an decent conversation/discussion.

For one thing, those who are really secure in their beliefs don't feel the need to convince others (they listen to you, can respect your point of view and leave you alone). They aren't threatened by your disbelief.

I think some people just pose as "strong believers" but aren't really that secure so when you try to have a conversation with them, they tend to put down everything else different from what they believe to feel good about their own. Same people who get really defensive when an opposing opinion is stated.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#8
Not sure it's quite fair to generalise that the stronger one's faith in his religion, the lesser his capacity for intelligent discussions. I know that happens, but I also have met people who are firm in their religious convictions but can still carry an decent conversation/discussion.
Isn't it true though? How many strong believers (we're not talking Christmas Christians here, we're talking church everday, prayer before meals, etc.) do you expect to get a serious intellectual discussion about their religion going? Almost none, because intellectual discussion requires reasoning and analyzing, something religion is not at all comfortable with.

It's a fair statement, the stronger one's beliefs, the less likely you're going to get a good discussion going because it requires someone to be open with their beliefs or else they'll just get pissy and defensive.

For one thing, those who are really secure in their beliefs don't feel the need to convince others (they listen to you, can respect your point of view and leave you alone). They aren't threatened by your disbelief.
That's a serious generalization. By "really secure", what do you mean? Because to me, someone who is "really secure" varies greatly. Security in beliefs is not what I'm talking about anyways, I was talking about the strength of their beliefs.

I think some people just pose as "strong believers" but aren't really that secure so when you try to have a conversation with them, they tend to put down everything else different from what they believe to feel good about their own. Same people who get really defensive when an opposing opinion is stated.
You also have to remember that a lot of folk who have a strong level of faith were taught it from a young age, so that kind of conditioning is almost irreversible. It's like trying to convince a man that he's really a dolphin, it goes against everything they were taught and raised by.
 

Jakey-D

Registered Member
#9
It's a fair statement, the stronger one's beliefs, the less likely you're going to get a good discussion going because it requires someone to be open with their beliefs or else they'll just get pissy and defensive.
I actually agree with you there Cons. If someone is really strong in their religious beliefs or anything for that matter then it is very hard for them to accept the idea that they may infact be wrong to some extent which leads to them clamming up and dismissing your views instantly.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#10
Isn't it true though? How many strong believers (we're not talking Christmas Christians here, we're talking church everday, prayer before meals, etc.) do you expect to get a serious intellectual discussion about their religion going? Almost none, because intellectual discussion requires reasoning and analyzing, something religion is not at all comfortable with.

It's a fair statement, the stronger one's beliefs, the less likely you're going to get a good discussion going because it requires someone to be open with their beliefs or else they'll just get pissy and defensive.

That's a serious generalization. By "really secure", what do you mean? Because to me, someone who is "really secure" varies greatly. Security in beliefs is not what I'm talking about anyways, I was talking about the strength of their beliefs.

You also have to remember that a lot of folk who have a strong level of faith were taught it from a young age, so that kind of conditioning is almost irreversible. It's like trying to convince a man that he's really a dolphin, it goes against everything they were taught and raised by.
I guess we just have a different definition. My view is that people who have "strong faith" are those who are secure in their beliefs that they don't need to convince anyone. Those who aren't secure in their beliefs don't really have a strong faith because their strength depends on how others accept their beliefs (and that's why they get pissy and defensive). By this definition, those who have strong faith are capable of carrying intellectual religious discussions.