Talking to Christians was Re: To CYeats was Re: a quick query

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Mon Aug 14 21:37:17 MDT 2000

Greetings Comrades,
    Jon Farr's remarks were quite interesting to me.  When I was twelve I
converted from Christianity to Atheism.  I then often argued with Christians
about their beliefs.  But after a period of time I, like Jon saw there
wasn't a point to such arguments.  Why?

One source of this sort of inquiry I have found in a book called the "The
Rise of Christianity, ..." by Rodney Stark, Harper Collins, 1996.  Stark, a
Christian sociologist assets a special insight into the growth of sects in
Christianity, Stark asserts that recruitment to successful sects is not
about the arguments but about the networks.  This is important to Marxist I

Let's take a typical Christian sect, but this is true of other religious
cultures and customs also, Mormons have missionaries.  These people go to
door to door.  But the primary recruitment to that sect is not the door that
sect members knock on, but the network of friendships that arise.  If you
query new converts they say I was "looking for something" and they give you
the church line.  But if you ask them before conversion they weren't
looking.  Critically then this information tells us about how we arouse the
working class, not through arguments but the social structure that pulls
people together.  See Chapter one of the book above, Conversion and
Christian Growth. pages 3 through 28.

What this point tells us, very much like what Jon says is that rational
argument is not what makes a great movement.  People are not recruited to a
movement because they have listened to the arguments about Marxism (even if
these are important as it was to Marx).  Rather and this is where the
Marxism is very important, what people respond to is their social networks,
and how class oppression needs answers (practical rational arguments) and
social structure in order to resist the capitalist exploiters.  Religious
sects offer a warm and fuzzy social environment with rules of behavior that
once accepted become "looking for something" as the converts seem to say.
But in reality, the rules that are made come from a dialectic in successful
mass movements much like the debate we have here of serious thinkers we have
here on this list.  Many voices deeply saying their best and over time
making the social network broad, deep and strong.
Doyle Saylor

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