Thursday, November 1, 2012


I’ve been playing the strangest game. It’s not “fun” in the traditional sense. In fact, it's quite frustrating, especially at the end, which I’ll get into later. I’ve clocked in enough play time that every new game results in the interactive equivalet of a re-run. Funny thing is, it didn’t take much play time to realize I was in for this kind of monotony. There’s a term for what this game is lacking--replay value. I’ve basically been playing a remedial Street Fighter. There is a button to jab, kick, block...and that’s it. There’s no cool button combinations, no hadouken, I just grind until the anticlimatic end. There’s no knockout, just an end. Game over, roll credits...I lose. Inexplicably, the game says I lose--even though the game’s difficulty is stuck on easy, my score progressive rises, and my opponent never lands a punch.

This is how I feel debating theists. It’s always the same debunked arguments and empty rhetoric, easily blocked and parried. I can not concieve of any flaw in my logic, yet I’m told it is faulty. I see myself as the clear winner, and yet I lost to apologetic eyes. I ask (often) why I seek out this conflict. Is injecting a little rational medicine into apologetic sites and forums my version of missionary work? Yes, I believe we’ll all be atheists one day, but I’m tired of waiting. I want to be the catalyst...but the meds don’t take. Their brains reject it. So why bother?

An afterward for atheists reading this post: I know, I know, I’m planting a seed in their brain that may one day grow into a sanity tree. Or maybe someone more "on the fence" in regards to religion is watching my seemingly fruitless debate and sides with me. I can dig it. It’s still fucking frustrating.

An afterward for theists reading this post: I know I’m not making any points here--for those, check my other posts. The analogy presented doesn’t represent these debates, just my subjective feelings about them. Basically, I’m venting. I’m sure you get frustrated too. Just...consider that you could be wrong. Please? For me? After you’re done considering, we can debate again another day.


  1. Took me too long to realize you weren't talking about a real game.

    Not "fun", frustrating. Dark souls?

    realized it was repetitive early on, that could be almost anything, diablo 3 maybe?

    jab, kick, block? no moves? Must be some indie fighting game or something.

    anticlimactic end without a knockout, it's just over, WTF?!? Oh shit, he's talking about debating theists.

    I think my brain might not be completely awake yet

  2. I've been thinking about this a lot recently. It can be extremely frustrating. I wonder if there is any value in it sometimes too. But it does at least refine my own debate skills, if nothing else. That helps in real life applications... aside from dispelling fairy tales.

    I count a "battle" victory as any time I see the other side at least thinking about what I've said.

    But when I don't see any thoughtful consideration, I lose interest pretty quick. I realize no matter how strong my argument was, it was not being received. Claiming a victory in that kind of situation is like George W. Bush on an aircraft carrier... Mission Accomplished!

    So now I'm trying to come up with some different approaches, some different strategies, to get people to think beyond their paradigm. Talk about a challenging game...

  3. To the actual point of your post, I agree, it can get quite frustrating at times. I tell myself that I am trying to plant a seed, I tell myself there might be bystanders watching, but it is hard sometimes when you hit that brick wall. It reminds me of when I was reading that apologetics books and doing a series of posts in tandem with an apologetics blog that was reading the same book. I figured it would be a good place to engage with the other side and have some interesting conversation, maybe even see some new arguments. Of course that's not the way it played out, same old arguments, same terrible logic we've all seen before. The people on the other blog would post about how inspiring it was, I'd point out the biggest flaw in the argument and would usually be ignored. I only made it half way through that book, talking to those people seemed to be a huge waste of my time.

    Did I plant a seed over there? Maybe, but I doubt it. As TWF discussed, sometimes your arguments are not heard, I think that was one of those times. Sometimes you just need to cut bait and go somewhere else

  4. I have heard from so many former religionists that the sort of conversations you describe played some role in their finally abandoning their silly superstitions. I suppose that it reason enough to keep at it. But do take regular breaks, as the frustration does build up after awhile.

  5. At least I never think I lose, so my self-esteem is doing fine.

  6. Heh, like the Bush reference. It is kinda like that.

  7. Sounds like you're the gamer. You might have noticed I made a link to my analogy posts in the sidebar. I'm trying to do more of these since I read the book Bad Astronomy. The author says how he'd explain why the sky is blue to a kid by comparing blue light to leafs which stay in the air longer and other colored light to acorns which fall quickly out of trees. The sun is the tree in this case. The author also gives a more accurate, detailed explanation as to why the sky is blue, but I liked the analogy. Carolla uses them a lot to get his point across also. It's a good skill I'm trying to build.

  8. I agree analogies are really good to use, I should probably use more as well. It's funny, my post for tomorrow has 2 analogies in it, which I wrote before I read this response. It could be a coincidence, but I think this post just put the general idea of analogies in the back of my head.

  9. It really can be frustrating. I find, that like you, I am glutton for the punishment of "getting nowhere". I do take solace in the ideas that I may be "planting seeds" and that some readers who may never speak up will benefit, but who knows. What I do know is that I am tired of not speaking my mind. Even if I get nowhere, I often do feel better knowing that I left their argument in shambles.

    What sites do you comment/debate on? I am curious and would like to check them out.

  10. Learning some more psych and using it would be more practical for actually causing deconversions. Rational argument is best for inoculating the non-exposed, not for deconverting the brainwashed, who usually have to break out on their own (no 'deprogramming' system has ever been that highly effective).