If you’ve ever considered yourself an atheist activist, maybe you’ve wondered how many minds you’ve changed, and which arguments were the most effective.
But then you read stories like this one in the Bangor Daily News by Abigail Curtis, and you realize it doesn’t always take much to have an impact on how someone thinks.
Kenneth Copp was raised in the Pentecostal faith before joining the Mennonite and Amish communities for several decades. He was married at a young age and had ten children — two things that aren’t out of the ordinary for those groups.
He lived in Missouri and planned to move to Maine, so he and his wife went to get their passport pictures taken. (That’s okay in their faith.) The conversation he struck up with the photographer changed everything.
“I was a person who was always concerned with other people’s spiritual welfare,” he said, adding that he probed to find out what his new friend believed about God. “He was a great guy. And he said ‘I just don’t believe in anything.’ Well, how could an atheist, a person who in my book was going to hell, be so kind and nice?”
In Maine, Copp was allowed to have a phone in a shed situated away from his home, just like the other Amish people here. And sometimes he would go to the phone shed to call his friend in Missouri, and the two would have friendly debates.
The photographer was kind and admitted he was an atheist… and that was a huge deal.
Their debates were fairly basic, but any argument pointing out how religion is illogical can be mind-blowing when you’ve never been exposed to it.
“We got on the subject of evolution, and every time I argued with him, he’d turn it right around,” Copp recalled.
Then his friend posed a stumper of a question: Who created the creator?
“And that was a question I couldn’t answer,” Copp said. “That’s what got me thinking. I began to realize I really didn’t have a good argument for creation.”
Seriously. Someone asking Copp “Who created God?” and that was his tipping point.
The rest of the story is fantastic (and, at times, depressing). Definitely worth a read.
But it just goes to show you that anyone who’s an out atheist (and a decent human being) has the ability to encourage people to shed their religion. You never know when that opportunity will come. You may not know what impact you have. All the more reason to put yourself out there when you can.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)