In other words, people will only convert for precisely the wrong reasons.

You can't talk people out of something they weren't talked into.

7orthonormal8yPeople already have plenty of evidence; they just need a social reason to change their filter. What I'd say is different between conversions and de-conversions is that the social incentive for religious conversion often takes the form of peer pressure or wanting to belong to a particular group, while de-conversion seems to just require evidence that you won't be completely cut off from good/cool/interesting people if you turn atheist. I should say that the main evidence I have here is my own history (one data point in each set) as well as a few observed de-conversions in my friends (and one aborted de-conversion from a person who couldn't imagine letting go of his devout family and friends). And I've known people who converted (before I met them) to religion for reasons that sounded more like an innate yearning for deontology.
15Cthulhoo8yAbsolutely true. If they were ready to accept the correct arguments, they would have become atheist on their own. The probability for a given person to have developed a skeptical mind, have overcome the possible brainwashing effect of a religious education and all the possible correlated biases/fallacies (sunk-cost, belief-in-belief, etc.) and not having heard a compelling anti-religious argument is very low. Therefore, you can convert them either following the long, hard, but certainly more rewarding path of making them skeptical, if not rational, or you can bombard them with emotional nukes to demolish the emotional concrete walls that protect the religious belief.

How can people be actually converted?

by yttrium 1 min read5th Feb 201294 comments


Have you ever convinced a religious person to become atheistic? How did you do this? How long did it take? Were the people in some sort of life crisis, or were they just living along?

This is probably a quite difficult task of persuasion. So stories how people were successful at it could be very interesting to improve ones' persuasion abilities.

Relatedly, it might be interesting to know what religious groups have gathered on techniques to convert people to their religion - are there some manuals/techniques floating around?