You want them to change their minds.
You want to “save” them from their errant ways or in less religious terms, you want to help them or the greater good – and they just don’t understand this.
This is a hard situation.
And, yes, I get the irony of giving you “a reasoned, rational approach” for a situation in which reason and rationality don’t work.
Let’s start by talking about debating.
Debating. It doesn’t work.
My simplest proof is usually to ask one question: “When was the last time you were convinced in a debate?”
I have found very few people (actually, no one) who can tell me about the last time they were involved in a debate and changed their minds as a result of it.
Two questions about debating
- If you’ve never been convinced in a debate, why do you do it?
- If it doesn’t work, why do people do it at all?
I don’t have an answer to the first question. Why, if you know that you have never been convinced by a debate, do you continue to argue and debate with people? You’ll have to answer it for yourself.
He found is that conversion is done with warmth, kindness, and love.
You convince people with attraction, nothing more.
If we look at the modern Lubavitch (Chabad) Jews or Mormons, we can learn how they get people to leave previous ideologies and give up bacon, caffeine, and cigarettes.
Love more. Do you want to convince people of your way of thinking? Love them.
What appeals to people is not strict logic. Instead, it is the softer virtues, the ones often associated with women and femininity, that appeal to people: congeniality, humility, kindness, and gentleness. These virtues are not weak at all. They are the basis of love.
It is only once an affective bond is formed that thoughts will be effected and minds can be changed. For institutional religious group, it means practicing what the Unification Church in the 1970’s called “love bombing.”
Be friendly; be a friend. After that, those with contrary opinions might come around to your way of thinking. (And, while you wait, at least you are friendly.)
If you want someone to change, they have to like you. That is the key. There is an old adage all teachers know: they don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Make certain that those you might want to influence know that you care – and, for most folks, attacking them with logic and arguments is not a way to show that you care.
So show the world that you care. Be a bastion of love, not a fortress of logic. Nobody changes their life for logic alone. If that were the case, most people who suffer from a heart attack would change their diet; the fact is that most people who have heart attacks go right back to their previous lifestyle. People change their lives because the mind follows the heart.
This is yet another reason for me to tell you, “Go and be loving.”
What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t change their minds and you love them anyhow.