The No True Scotsman and Christians’ Version of Atheism – Regarding Christian Deconversion
I have been thinking about doing a post – or series of posts – about deconversion from Christianity.
I do not identify as an atheist, but am somewhere between being a Christian and being agnostic (or possibly a deist).
I see Christians routinely mishandle how they discuss or talk to people who have left the Christian faith (or who may be considering leaving it).
One of the most common – and annoying and disrespectful – approaches they use when talking to or about someone who has left the faith is to say the person was never a “real” Christian to begin with.
This may or may not be accompanied by the No True Scotsman Fallacy, where an ex-Christian or a doubter may point to all the hypocrisy or abuse committed by self-professing believers, and the Christian will retort by saying “thus and so was not a “real” Christian,” or, “so and so who is now an atheist was never a ‘real’ Christian'”
Here is a blog post, hosted on an atheist or agnostic blog, about this (there are maybe one or two points in this essay I am not in complete agreement with, but most of this is spot on):
by Captain Cassidy
…Everyone, Meet the Scotsman. He’s Very True.
The No True Scotsman is a logical fallacy. Technically, it’s an ad hoc reinterpretation of a situation to prevent contradictions and refutations of one’s position. As that link reveals, it’s also a circular argument.
Christians adore it. Within their own culture, it’s a devastating way to quickly negate a fellow Christian. They also use it to dismiss and invalidate ex-Christians.