Blaming religion for war is like blaming medical treatment for injuries. Religious doctrine, at least as it pertains to war, is just a psychic bandage meant to make the participants feel better about what they're doing.
Any Argument Aimed At An Individual
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There are gigantic and urgent problems with organized religion. The appalling damage it's done and continues to do to reproductive health. The literally incalculable fortunes hoarded by tax-free repositories like the Vatican. (I was raised Roman Catholic and still think they have the wrong answer to "Would Jesus prefer billions of dollars in paintings or feeding the poor?")
"For Dad's sake, it's not like I'm short of paintings."
Religious exceptions to laws resist progress. In my country, women die because they're denied basic medical care by religiously-motivated laws, and children can be excluded from their local schools for not swearing their souls to the correct faith, and my country is in Western Europe. We have to break down these bulwarks against the modern world. Which means not wasting time whining about nativity displays when people are dying.
Part of prying the ancient religious death grip from society's throat is providing alternatives. Atheism helps with this. The existence of other religions also helps with this. People are increasingly seeing religion and its associated texts as suggestions for voluntary moral improvements. It's a personal thing, and not subservience to a central human authority.
You have no idea how someone uses their faith. Maybe it's a comfort in the face of the infinite. Maybe it's a way of dealing with past trauma. Maybe they just like the idea that their dead loved ones are still around somewhere. As long they're not sacrificing victims to a resurrection shrine, it's not a problem. You only need to move against them if they try to apply their rules to anyone else. If someone's screaming against marriage, or trying to carve out your heart as a sacrifice to Huitzilopochtil ...
This is a good time to get personal in your attacks, or leave the debate altogether.
... then you do need to stop that individual person. Otherwise, work on the wider picture. Atheism is growing as a natural result of increased access to information. Atheism doesn't need to "beat" anyone. All atheism needs to do is exist, and not be such a total dick about it.
Luke has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.
Find more mindful discussion with 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can (and Must) Agree On and 4 Things Both Atheists and Believers Need to Stop Saying. For more atheist arguments that don't work, check out 5 Ways Atheists Argue Their Cause (That Aren't Helping).
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