Some People, You Just Can’t Reach… 31

And your point is that….?

As self-explanatory as this meme is, I suppose my decision to share it here deserves some explanation. 

I was recently invited to join a discussion group (on a certain social network) where “atheists and theists” could openly discuss their views on the question “Does God Exist?”. I knew what I was getting into, but I decided to join just to confirm my thesis that for some people — certain types of people — open discussion simply is not possible.

That all depends, of course, on what a person thinks “openly discussing their views” means.

I always find that militant atheists like to rant, not intelligently discuss topics in a polite and civil manner, in cases where they take a strong atheistic stance. They always begin with the prejudiced view that Christians are naively dumb. Then they back themselves up with straw man arguments that are usually vulgar, insulting, and tasteless, illustrating their inability to engage in intelligent discussion on the matter.

Note that I specifically chose to use the term “militant” atheist. I’ve known people who do not believe in God or who simply admit they cannot affirm or deny whether God exists. They are usually decent people to entertain a discussion with. They do not consider themselves to be the militant type of atheist.

The militant atheist is as dogmatic and irrational as the naive, fundamentalist straw-man he paints all believers out to be. Any attempt at reasoning with this type of person is like arguing with a stop sign until it turns green and says go. It ain’t gonna happen.

I am not going to share some of the offensive memes that were posted on this “discussion” page, because it would just infuriate my intelligent, good-willed readers. I will however share two things. First, I am sharing my opinion on this matter with the discussion group — with fear and trembling, mind you. I’m probably foolish for expecting anything less than a hostile response from the militant crowd (though I’ve observed that not everyone who participates in the “discussion” belongs to the militant crowd).

Second, I’d like to share a poem by Howard Nemerov that immediately came to mind this morning when I saw the meme I embedded above. Just something to chew on, not that it will lead to any intelligent discussion. Besides, it’s just a poem.

Angel and Stone, by Howard Nemerov

In the world are millions and millions of men, and each man,
With a few exceptions, believes himself to be at the center,
A small number of his more or less necessary planets careening
Around him in an orderly manner, some morning stars singing together,
More distant galaxies shining like dust in any stray sunbeam
Of his attention. Since this is true not of one man or of two,
But of ever so many, it is hard to imagine what life must be like.
But if you drop a stone into a pool, and observe the ripples
Moving in circles successively out to the edge of the pool and then
Reflecting back and passing through the ones which continue to come
Out of the center over the sunken stone, you observe it is pleasing.
And if you drop two stones it will still be pleasing, because now
The angular intersections of the two sets form a more complicated
Pattern, a kind of reticulation regular and of simple origins.
But if you throw a handful of sand into the water, it is confusion,
Not because the same laws have ceased to obtain, but only because

The limits of your vision in time and number forbid you to discriminate
Such fine, quick, myriad events as the angels and archangels, thrones
And dominations, principalities and powers, are delegated to witness
And declare the glory of before the lord of everything that is.
Of these great beings and mirrors of being, little at present is known,
And of the manner of their perceiving not much more. We imagine them
As benign, as pensively smiling and somewhat coldly smiling, but
They may not be as we imagine them. Among them there are some who
count


The grassblades and the grains of sand by one and one and one
And number the raindrops and memorize the eccentricities of snowflakes.
One of the greater ones reckons and records the times of time,
Distinguishing the dynasties of Mountains, races, cities,
As they rise, flower and fall, to whom an age is as a wave,
A nation the spray thrown from its crest; and one, being charged
With all the crossing moments, the coming-together and drivings-apart,
Reads in the chromatin its cryptic scripture as the cell divides;
And one is the watcher over chance events and the guardian of disorder
According to the law of the square root of n, so that a certain number
Of angels or molecules shall fall in irrelevance and be retrograde.
So do they go, those shining creatures, counting without confusion
And holding in their slow immeasurable gaze all the transactions
Of all the particles, item by atom, while the pyramids stand still
In the desert and the deermouse huddles in his hole and the rain falls
Piercing the skin of the pool with water in water and making a million
And a million designs to be pleasingly latticed and laced and interfused
And mirrored to the Lord of everything that is by one and one.

Annex:
To test the waters, I shared this quote on the discussion page:

Atheism deserves better than the new atheists whose methodology consists of criticizing religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, ridiculing, caricaturing, and demonizing religious faith and holding it responsible for the great crimes against humanity. Religion has done harm; I acknowledge that. But the cure for bad religion is good religion, not no religion, just as the cure for bad science is good science, not the abandonment of science.

— Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

and here is a sample of the response:

My point, again, was: Some people, you just can reach…

31 comments

  1. It puzzles me how an athiest, militant or not, can believe that creation, nature, the universe has formed from the random meeting of particles….and where did those particles come from anyway……..There is great order in the universe, as the poem explains, and order is planned. It isn’t a random chance event. Good luck in the discussion group. As my late father-in-law used to say: you know you’ve won the argument when the other fellow throws a punch (verbal or otherwise).

    • It’s a good question, Terry. Many of them will fall back on science and accuse the one who refers to God as the cause of order of appealing to the God of the gaps fallacy. They will then accuse the believer of being unscientific and even against science. Science, however, cannot ultimately explain the order observed in the universe; although it does seek a cause, it cannot find a unifying cause. At least, it has not done so yet. And to suggest that given time it eventually will is an unfounded faith claim, which is itself, thoroughly unscientific.

      I would like to suggest that science does not have to find the underlying cause of everything that exists in order to be legitimate within its own realm, and the fact that it cannot do so does not discount anything we’ve learned or discovered through science. Science does not deal with God; so why should they refer to science as if it could possibly give us evidence that there is no God?

  2. I too tried my hand at this type of “dialog” which became worse than most political name calling bouts. If interested, it caused me to write a post about arguing with atheists here: http://servusfidelis.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/conversing-with-atheists-about-god-is-difficult-at-best/

    I think anyone taking this on should be commended because the conversation does nothing more than disturb by peace of mind and heart. It is a difficult undertaking. God bless you for trying. You’re a better man than me.

    • You are right that it is worse than most political name calling bouts. It can get down right ugly, and then deteriorate further from there. I checked out the post you linked to. It looks like a good read. I will get back to you on it when I’m done reading it. Thanks for sharing the link. God bless!

  3. A wonderful poem! I tip my hat to you in your endeavour.
    What started out as a random comment about a Marriage Encounter weekend my husband an I enjoyed not too long ago, grew into an almighty ‘debate’, (with me having to endure mud-slinging , name-calling, profanities from my longest standing ….militant atheist…… friend.) We agreed not to discuss religion ever again. This saddens me greatly as God is at the centre of my life. I learned the hard way, there are some people that just WON’t hear.
    Good luck. Can’t wait to read the report afterwards.

    • I know exactly what you mean. As evidence, I annexed to this post a screen shot of a conversation (childish banter) that ensued after I posted a rather benign thought on the page. You can see it by scrolling upward.

      Thanks, for the comment, Catholic Salmon! And keep swimming up stream!

  4. Thanks for posting this. I have regular conversations with an atheist in my family. Thankfully he is not disrespectful and I try not to be, also. But it is so hard to remain calm when it feels like they have a blindfold on… So I’ll just keep on praying and loving him. God can pull that cover off his eyes. I sure can’t!

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Praying and loving him is the very best thing you can do, Wendy. Love and friendship do more than we realize, until we think about it. Every person has to feel and know that they are loved. Without that experience of love, how can anyone relate to God? And when someone wants to open up, who will they open up to besides a friend? And of course, prayer is essential, because our words, even if they do not fall on deaf ears, are not the ultimate cause of conversion. God has to open and transform the heart.

      Thanks for your comment, Wendy, and God bless!

  5. I am glad that you are brave enough and articulate enough to take this on, because somebody has to stand up to it with love and reason . . .
    I’m a coward and have avoided (so far) the issue despite little digs and remarks. I pray for more courage and the right words, and pray that for you as well to continue your fight. Some will not hear–at least they won’t admit it, but God might be working in their heart, bit by bit. You never know.
    I wonder how much pain is behind the vitriol in an individual’s story. Pain and despair emboldened by the anonynimity of the Internet and the encouragement of a reckless unthinking culture.

    Blessing and prayers to you.

    • “You never know,” is true. I would not go so far to say that you are a coward, by the way. There is a lot to be said for wanting to maintain peace both externally, in relationships, and internally for your own good and the good of people who need you. Besides, you never know what your good example does for people who might just be looking for signs of goodness more than convincing arguments with words. Not that the strong desire to speak out and say something is not also good, but sometimes it is more prudent to be patient and not engage in discussions we had a better mind not to get involved in in the first place. So maybe you are exercising the right balance of virtues and I’ll bet courage is part of that balance, along with patience and faith.

      You certainly hit the nail on the head here: “Pain and despair emboldened by the anonynimity of the Internet and the encouragement of a reckless unthinking culture” — very, very true! It also goes to show, there is a lot we just don’t know. But we can still plant seeds and hope they will sprout and grow.

      God bless, and Thanks for your comment, Reinkat.

      • Good comment, Reinkat. What is seen by Jesus when he looks at those who reject His existence? What is the condition of their spirit? It is possible to be filled with great sadness at the lack of truth and knowledge they are exposing. Hosea 4:6 NKJV – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

  6. It puzzles me how antireligionists can accuse us of “forcing” our beliefs on anyone simply because we talk about our beliefs. Who is using force, exactly? Who is imposing on others? In general, they are. The part about recovering addicts…??? We have to speak but we don’t have to get through. Because some people just aren’t listening. Yet anyone might suddenly turn around and have a change of heart.

    • The part about recovering addicts is a shot at the 12 steps recovery program, which has helped countless people struggling with alcohol, drug, and pornography addictions. Note that anti-religious person, who cannot tolerate religion in any form, will attack it anywhere he sees it, denying the good that it does, by reducing it to a crutch, and therefore, an unnecessary weakness that is to be done away with. Where there is no recognition of the good that is really present, you have to ask who’s really the one that’s in denial.

      • Exactly. Though some people have been harmed by badly-run recovery programs, that usually happens when the religious basis of the steps is forgotten, when “your higher power can be the doorknob.”

  7. SOME PEOPLE YOU CAN JUST REACH…

    Unfortunately, as usual, you leave out the numerous “hell” threats we get, linguistic gymnastics used so they can intrepret he bible anyway they want it to be. You say we place strawman arguements on the believers and we are irrational.
    Wel lets have a look, Some atheists are not scientists, Atheism is a diverse paradigm. Unlike me i do however study science and have a “good grasp” of it.
    Atheists like me can be reasoned with if you actually present a reasonable discussion, not dancing around questions and making assertions and assumptions. It is hypocritical to cherry pick the bible to fit your view and spread the story of “love and peace” and forgiveness, but when an atheist like me comes along and quotes the atrocities that god has done and commanded, well then, its open to interpretation, thats being hypocritical and dishonest.
    Science cannot answer for everything, we scientists know and accept that, we loudly proclaim it. But believers like yourself present us scientists as big know-it-alls that reject and ignore any hypothesis that could come into use, and unfortunately the God hypothesis has no use.
    The bible, jewish torah, the islamic Quaran and bhagvad gita all proclaim to be the word of the one true God and everyone else is deceived, Christianity is no different to the present religions. The only difference is that christians are absolutely convinced that the bible is true and the rest are wrong.
    Discussions, arguements and opinions presented in the 21st century about the proof of god are no different than the bronze age explanation, “we cant explain this so god did it”, the track record of that mindset and method has proven false; eg lightning and thunder are from god, demons cause diseases, earthquake is gods anger etc.
    The god of the gaps argument has no place in science, by sitting around and indulging in mental masterbation on “what was before the big bang?”, “how can we account for the complexity?” etc. We must move forward and leave the bronze age understanding in the bronze age, NOT in the 21st century.
    If there is a God, great, but i doubt its going to be the one depicted in any of our man made doctrines. If god was going to write a book or communicate with us it would be through mathematics, physics and chemistry not assumptions and assertions by the layman without any knowledge of the world around them nor any understanding.
    This is why the Picture was posted about how the believers cant understand 4 basic disciplines of science but yet by verbatim know exactly what this God wants, a God that would be far more complexed beyond human understanding.

    So before you post another childish banter about how atheists wont agree with your world view, read a science book, research anthropology and above in my field ‘psychology’. You would get a better understanding of the big picture and you’ll realise you are not a lab rat living in a paradigm of living in fear of hell and being fed assumptions and assertions.
    Science has rock solid evidence to back up their claims in evolution, age of the earth, Dinosaurs and the heliocentric universe.
    Religion has nothing but linguistic gymnastics, ego affiliated metaphors, interpretations to suit their own idea with out a shred of proof to back it up.
    The “arguement from ignorance” campaign has long dissolved into nothing but a fiction character in desperate creationist book.

    Educate yourselves, its bigger than you think

    • Thanks for your comment, Shaun. There’s a lot to answer here, so pardon me if I just let your comment stand as testimony to your position. It’s there for people to read and judge for themselves.

      You know, you really assume a lot, by the way. I don’t discount good science. I think Dawkins is a brilliant scientist. I read his books and I’ve attended some of his conferences and I am generally impressed — as far as his science goes.

      I know my anthropology and have a fair grasp of psychology. I probably know better than you do about how the mind works — maybe just an assumption on my part, but I’m willing to bet.

      You throw a lot of accusations at me that just aren’t founded. But that’s okay. I threw the first snowball.

      I never said that atheists were ignorant or uneducated. My point is that you can’t really dialoge with many of them. Does that assertion apply to you? If not, why are you here if not just to prove my point?

  8. No, i was using you as an example, you placed yourself in the position by assuming and asserting in the first place.
    I can assume a lot because i have dealt with a large number of christians, and my assumptions are based on my experience with them and i think i am able to extrapolate from what i have seen and heard.

    Nonetheless i am open to anyone that differs from what i have encountered and i will listen to their point of discussion.

    “I always find that militant atheists like to rant, not intelligently discuss topics in a polite and civil manner”
    Theres a generalisation in which you think we rant unitelligently, maybe some do, but usually i will rant if i have been provoked by ridiculous assumptions and assertions.

    like your little assertion of ” I probably know better than you do about how the mind works — maybe just an assumption on my part, but I’m willing to bet.”. Go right ahead.

    “Then they back themselves up with straw man arguments that are usually vulgar, insulting, and tasteless, illustrating their inability to engage in intelligent discussion on the matter”…

    This claim is worrying as christians use strawman regularly in attempt to make a claim that does not exist, this quote is generalised across the board either religious or atheist, i have seen many strawman arguments,, unintelligent discussions and insulting posts by christians so you cant play the militant card when its only people projecting themselves.

    I am here because you have generalised and basically presented a false testimony, i would have been fine if you stated “the atheists i encountered”.. but you generalised. I have come to rectify that.

    • My generalizations go as far as yours, my friend; based on experience from which I extrapolate my conclusion.

      All you seem to be saying here is that it goes both ways. If we are accusing each other of the same thing, then why are we not guilty of the same thing and what makes my testimony more false than yours?

      As for your last statement, clarifying why you are here, you overlooked the fact that I did qualify my statement in the original post. There are plenty of atheists that I’ve met that don’t fit the mold I described. The ones that do are militant atheists. Prove me wrong.

      • Well yes i would agree we are both guilty of generalising conflicting paradigms. We have both claimed that the opposition are generally obtuse, irrational and insulting, so theres no point trying to defend “my testimony is better than yours”.
        I guess in this respect, in this blog, only time will tell if we percieve each other as so.

        Theres really not much to say on this blog as a reply, only that you have blatantly only asserted your own opinion, its quite fair you are entitled to it, but thats all it is.

        This blog wont serve any purpose except for the reason that you came across a group that you found offensive. I know you havent been there for long for i have been there since it started.
        Your opinion and assertions about atheists are subjected by your short observation, i am of course speaking of the group you are blogging about.

        Im sure if spend more time and get involved in some discussions you’ll find that theres more to atheism than just science, rejection of gods and ridicule.

        You are quite welcome to post questions, heck you can even message me if you find that your question is not getting answered.

        Just remember, theres a human behind title

        Christians are not always christ like
        Atheists are not always militant

      • Shaun, thanks for continuing with the discussion.

        I should probably make an attempt to clarify a few things. I’ll start by saying that it was rude of me to just “walk into the room” and blurt out what came across as all atheists are bullies — although I never said that, and I hope that’s clear at this point… Is it?

        I’ll admit, that was a nasty way of introducing myself.

        Now that I’ve introduced myself. I’ll come out and admit to some things that may raise more objections; just putting my cards out on the table.

        First, bear in mind that my generalization was applied to only a specific group of atheist, which I always referred to as militant. This ought to imply that I was already mindful that, as you say, atheists are not always militant (and having lived in my own skin for all these years I am far more aware of the fact that Christians are not always Christlike — a noteworthy observation, on your part, by the way).

        Second, I did not just stumble upon a group and observe “OMG! Everyone’s mean in here!” I’ve had the experiences with discussion groups before, some were reasonable and intelligent, others were, let us just say, militant. I am aware of the fact that there is more to atheism than just science, rejection of gods and ridicule — although you will probably admit that there are ample examples of all those things.

        Third, I am guilty of being a provocateur. I walked into the room and threw a snowball. Was I so naive that I did not think I would get a reaction? Apparently, some might think so. Well, either way, shame on me. I hope that you are not further insulted by this or my opening up to it, but look at what it accomplished. All the cards are on the table, and now we know each other, for what it’s worth.

        If you were to go back and read this blog post again (not that you really need to do that) you might see where I was coming from all along, and notice that I was anticipating some reaction, and wanted to see where it would lead. So far it led us to here. Not so bad, really.

        Anyway, sorry for being a jerk, and if more apology is necessary for intentionally being a jerk, I’m sorry for that too. Best, James.

  9. Biltrix, you missed the boat on Atheism.

    On all levels of understanding.

    I have to agree with Shaun. Me to, I will rant if I have been provoked by ridiculous assumptions and assertions – so here goes:

    First lets get rid of any assumptions: Forget _who I am_ as that is irrelevant. Also my “belief” or “psychological” state/system is also irrelevant.

    I am going to talk about all the elephants in the room. And the only way to do it – is to do it in a way where people will get offended. Because everyone has the right to be offended, as well as the have the right to free speech. This is not hate speech. And I am sure we can all agree that hate speech is not cool. Period. I know this will not be read with an open mind – so there is also no point in holding back:

    Stripping everything down to the most rational and logical view:

    You cannot argue with an idiot, they always win.

    Also anyone who could possibly take any religious doctrine seriously must have something wrong on a psychological level somehow.

    Seriously:

    Noah, giant boat, big flood, rainbows doves and crap.

    ** I am not going to bother to quote anything – remember. We are keeping this to plain simple, no pseudo intellectualism-isms… **

    SERIOUSLY?

    SO that is what “militant” atheists struggle with in conversation. It’s not that they are coming from anywhere wrong, usually because the way of thinking is not based on belief but probably a good fundamental logical and rational thinking system built from years of reading, writing and thinking for themselves. Anyone can do it, just most people who choose to remain ignorant must be generally lazy.

  10. Ooops some of my writing did not post. – After SERIOUSLY: it was supposed to say:

    I want to compare this to: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny.

    Maybe you want to call them “straw man” etc. But lets think about it rationally.

    If we took everything we were told as children seriously. We would be building shrines to santa claus. If there was doctrine written about him would we running around “PRAISE SANTA”

    • Thanks for the comment and for clarifying, Jennova. To be honest, I am still trying to wrap my head around it. To be honest, I did not find anything offensive in what you said. These weren’t the straw man arguments I was referring to. There is a tendency to caricaturize “religion” as if it were this Platonic instantiation with images that I don’t identify with as a religious person. I don’t think that the analogies are always very rational. It seems like childish jeering to me. If you want an example of what I am talking about, here’s what you might see in on a page that is supposed to be for discussion between believers and non-believers [WARNING: FOR THOSE WHO ARE EASILY OFFENDED DO NOT CLICK HERE] : click here.

      Now what is the sense in that?

      Did I Really miss the boat by all that much?

      Come on! Please, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that polite, civil discussion is still possible among people who see things differently. I would like to believe it is. Or is it more reasonable to believe in the Easter Bunny?

  11. I will need to add in something about me to make more sense of my point which was not my intent:

    I will admit personally Yea I am ignorant about certain religions. But I would rather spend my time being ignorant to religion and spend my time actually learning about what I can see, touch, smell,and enjoy and experience and explore in the world around me.

    Those experiences have lead me to conclusions of my own. Good solid facts that I can grab on to.

    Leads me to thinking wtf. Why walk through life in a daydream when facts are all around you. Logical facts. Rational answers. Things we can understand, can comprehend.

    Those things make the world so much more amazing than EVER before.

    When you spend enough time daydreaming about that – THEN you understand what it is to be “Atheist” or “Militant”.

    Atheism 101:

    #1 Atheist’s do not “BELIEVE” in anything.

    #2 Atheist’s use rational and logical thinking to get to these
    “beliefs”.

    #3 Belief and Knowledge are not at war with each other.
    Knowledge is TRUTH. However much we hate it. The Truth always wins.

    #4 Knowledge is acquired by observation, and replication. If it is replicable many times over, it MUST be fact.

    Logic says – it cannot be anything else.

    I am not saying and any other atheist is never trying to say that a religious person is stupid, or and idiot or not a good person etc.

    BUT atheists are most likely probably more well read, and grasp a better understanding of the world/universe/ how shit really works.

    There is true beauty in knowledge, when I look at the stars every night. It blows my mind more than any man made gods ever did.
    That is the truth about a militant atheist.

    And for them, there is no reaching some people. But there is pure enjoyment and fulfillment of life they wish they could share, but some people JUST DON’T GET IT. Be a psychological default or genetic default how your brain is wired. Or well I just cant explain why anyone would cling to religion after knowledge steps in.

    To Biltrix – Now you know atheism. I think me and Shaun have summed it up quiet nicely. You can join us any time and we won’t judge you, either way.

    • Again, thanks for clarifying. You are a lot softer in your stance than someone I would typically label as a “militant” atheist. There are still some things you said here that I have to disagree with.

      First, take your point # 4 above, for instance:

      Knowledge is acquired by observation, and replication. If it is replicable many times over, it MUST be fact.

      Well for many years every swan a European observed was white. One could validly conclude from that repeated observation that white swans exist. Some would invalidly infer that all swans were white. When black swans were discovered in other parts of the world, it became clear that not all swans were white, despite the previous replicable observation many times over up to that point.

      Logical so far?

      Now could it not be that many things you believe MUST be a fact are actually not factual? Could it not be that there is a black swan out there, which you have not observed, that serves as a counterfactual to you supposed belief. Of course you would not know, because from your standpoint, your supposed fact is not a belief but a fact; whereas in reality it would not be a fact, and based on your own assertion, you would not have knowledge, nor would you have truth.

      Still logical?

      So it’s just bad epistemology and bad logic to claim, as you claimed:

      Knowledge is acquired by observation, and replication. If it is replicable many times over, it MUST be fact.

      … unless you want to qualify that further. Qualifying it further, by the way will weaken your position, but at least it might make your position more logically sound.

      Second. I know plenty of Christians and people of other denominations who are very intelligent people who love science and they see the world of science and nature in a way that integrates with their faith-filled worldview. Just because you can’t see your way to taking the time to understand how that could be possible, does not mean that there is not an alternative way to see the world that where science, reason, and faith don’t contradict one another, but rather compliment each other. You might not have met anyone like that, but that does not mean that they don’t exist.

      I’m not saying that they could convince you to see things their way. It’s just that there may be a lot of well-read, scientifically minded, logically thinking Christians or people of other faiths out there that you have not met. I have met several.

      Okay, I’ll take your word for it. Now I know atheism. From what you’ve said here, there’s nothing more to it really than what I already knew.

  12. I know where you are coming from. I am defending the psyche of the “militant” atheist. Everything they said is correct. Its the elephant in the room people do not want to own up to. The whole point of you getting other people on your side of this particular article is just to reaffirm your own beliefs. Even getting my reaction is to reaffirm your own beliefs. Unfortunately what militant atheists do is this, they keep feeding the militant religious. Personally I usually let those people be the master of their own lives and it doesnt bother me so much – it is no loss to me, it bothers me on a global level, but I expect all current religions to die out like the ones that came before them. It just bothers me when great all assuming view on something that an author possibly couldn’t comprehend from no actual real experience of (A life path lived of atheism) has such a strong opinion on the matter, when clearly there is no knowledge on the subject at all. Like I said I am owning up to my ignorance on religion, but at least it is a rational reason for being ignorant.

    • Actually, this article was aimed at being provocative and at getting the other elephant in the room to tone down his pitch. I tossed it into the forum of non-believers anticipating the result that I predicted in the article.

      By being provocative in this way, my aim is to generate some real constructive dialogue, kind of like what you are offering here. What I was getting elsewhere was not rational at all. This might seem like an unorthodox approach, but it seems to be producing the intended effect. We’ll see.

  13. It has been said that it takes more faith to be an athiest than not. With evidence all around us that shows intelligence in design that is a greater intelligence than we possess at the present it is hard to deny the presence of a greater intelligent being, whatever one chooses to call it. Debunking one another’s arguments takes us nowhere and serves only to muddy the waters of understanding. We are told: those who argue over words are “… proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,…” and the comments which follow the original post are clear examples of that.

    • Thanks, Gracie. I know I’ve taken a risky venture here. Thus far, I have not aimed at debunking any arguments. I’m just testing the potential waters of dialogue. My intended approach is that we [believers and non-believers who are interested] might be able to understand one another better, if we would soften our approach. I think there is something to be gained through that understanding. Again, it’s a risky venture.

      Thanks for your comment!

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