I have a Homophobic Christian housemate. Well, not so much of a “mate” actually, he is a 50 something year old moron with almost no brains to give his rants even a bit of coherency, but that tends to be his strong point: Having no brains can make the best bully out of someone. I’m an openly Atheist gay man, and therefore obviously a target of much stupidity, however; I do not engage with such people, because a “bull”y is only capable of using its horns, not brain.
Now, what was I going to say? These kind of people are totally incapable of critical thinking. This means, when somebody (no matter who) is able to make them believe in something (no matter how obviously wrong), it’s impossible to convince them that thing is wrong. They always appeal to their “holy” books, or their religious leaders, and think they have won the argument; then they put their hands on their ears, and keep it shut from the filthy “Reason” that is trying to reach them!
I was thinking, how many ways do we have to convince someone that an idea is wrong? I believe two ways: Either reason (based on logic), or appealing to authority. Now, the second one is a fallacy actually, but it also could be a legitimate way because we are only human, and none of us knows “everything”.
The only thing we should remember when appealing to an authority is, that authority has to have good reasons for believing what he or she says. If I “think” that I have cancer it might be because my doctor told me so, but I do not have cancer because my doctor says so, I have cancer because I have cancer. My doctor thinks that I have cancer, because there are good reasons for it, that he understands with his speciality, not me; and of course there are other doctors that understand him as a specialist.
To convince others, we can use reason (if they have brains!) or we can appeal to a legitimate authority, who has good reasons for what he or she says. And even in this case we must be very careful to whom we appeal.
Now, Is God a good authority? Well, for religious people yes, but for a sceptic mind, of course not. The fact of the matter is, it seems for the most part, God either has no reason, or if he indeed has one, and a good one nonetheless, nobody in the world knows it or understands it! God is not a legitimate authority, has never been, and can never be.