This post is a continuation of the Unitarian Universalist re-framing of the discussion questions at the end of Hemant Mehta's I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes. Hemant is also the author of the Friendly Atheist blog.
The discussion questions for the book's Introduction can be found here:
UU Discussion Questions For "I Sold My Soul on eBay" (Part I)
The discussion questions for Chapter 1 can be found here:
UU Discussion Questions For "I Sold My Soul on eBay" (Part II)
The discussion questions for Chapter 2 can be found here:
UU Discussion Questions For "I Sold My Soul on eBay" (Part III)
Chapter 3: Getting to Know an Atheist
(1) When you were reading this book, did you consider skipping over chapter 3? If so, did you feel you already know what atheists think? If you did read chapter 3, were you surprised by any of Hemant's descriptions of atheists and other nonbelievers? What surprised you? Do you know any atheists or other nonbelievers in your Unitarian Universalist congregation? If you do, did you see any differences between your experiences and Hemant's descriptions?
(2) One of the author's goals is to help Christians develop a more accurate understanding of atheists and other nonbelievers. Do you think that Unitarian Universalists could be influenced by stereotypes about atheists and other nonbelievers? Have you witnessed any examples of this in Unitarian Universalist settings?
(3) The author shares a parable involving the Wind and the Sun which makes the point gentle persuasion has more power than coercion. Can you think of situations in which someone tried to pressure you to change your mind, adopt a new belief, or agree with his/her position? How did that approach make you feel? At the time that it happened, did you give in to the pressure? What does this suggest to us about how we should do Unitarian Universalist outreach?
(4) Hemant reports that when he was a student at a state university, "it seemed that most religious organizations on campus were out to convert me by coercion. When you were in high school or college, were you ever approached by Christians whose evangelism tactics offended you? If so, what was it about their approach that was offensive? What does this suggest to you about how we should do Unitarian Universalist youth, campus ministry, and young adult outreach?