Points: 15

I agree with the thrust of your message. A little more humility within the ashiest community would go a long way. However, I might even suggest going a step further.  Can we even have a logical conversation with a theist without understanding why the person feels the need to defend his or her religious beliefs? Why is it important for the person that his or her beliefs are true? I would bet that if we ask the right questions and the individual is willing to do a little self-reflection, we would find the person is using the belief system to address an emotional need. Perhaps they are grief stricken from the loss of a loved one. Perhaps they have experienced some sort of trauma. Perhaps they’re simply afraid of something like death. Maybe the person is depressed and the thought of heaven brings hope.  Can we expect people to think logically as long as the emotional need remains unaddressed? I suspect, sooner or later, the person would experience what Daniel Goleman calls the amygdala hijack, and at that point, logic and reason go out the window. Furthermore, is it even morally appropriate for us to take the person’s religious beliefs away without providing a more suitable treatment for the underlying emotional need? We don’t know what’s going on in their lives. What if the person is sober only because of religion? What if the person is depressed and the only thing standing between them and suicide is this little fantasy? Obviously we don’t want people pushing their believes down our throats, but how will taking them away affect others? I think we (the atheist community) could afford to be a bit more empathetic as well.