Following on from the post yesterday, which was shared on social media, I was asked if I could provide further background and pointers on how people can support those down the rabbit hole, and hopefully encourage them back out.
This is my response:
The change for me came through personal life experiences. As I started traveling and thus my world view grew, as I raised kids, as I saw shitty stuff happening in the world and could no longer justify it with blind faith, I became more open to other views (or at least, became more open about my inner views...).
I now find any dogmatic view very uncomfortable. In terms of pointers, I think those responses like 'that's interesting, I'll consider it' and so forth, give people with strong views a sense of validation, but you are also keeping boundaries around what you will and won't' take on. Moving from a strong view comes with grief as another poster mentioned. In the case of deconversion from Christianity, (there's more on this elsewhere on my blog - search 'Christianity') I have heard this described as more painful than a divorce (from people who went through both). Understanding that a belief system, be it a religion, a mindset, or subscribing to a particular conspiracy theory comes with its own culture, language, and community will help.
The person who is embedded in these things is being challenged on every level and that is scary. If it's faith-based, then showing science won't make a difference - it's more likely to push the person further towards their belief, regardless of it's through fear or actual believing. As in any cult-like behaviour (and yes I am aware that there is a very wide spectrum, I'm just generalising for simplicity), a gentle, prolonged, and non-judgemental approach is the only way to move people from one belief to another. And they need to have a personal interest or impact to want change, such as (in the case of Covid say) getting sick and experiencing 'the other side'.
Hope this helps.