Anglican Samizdat

January 17, 2010

Pious Atheism

Filed under: Atheism — David @ 3:29 pm
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An organisation associated with Richard Dawkins called Non-Believers Giving Aid is collecting donations for Haiti. This is a good thing, of course, since Haiti needs all the help it can get. A side benefit for atheists, apparently,  is that not only will their donations be god-free, but also they will help to dispel the vicious rumour that atheists are a heartless bunch who care only for themselves:

2. When donating via Non-Believers Giving Aid, you are helping to counter the scandalous myth that only the religious care about their fellow-humans.

It goes without saying that your donations will only be passed on to aid organizations that do not have religious affiliations. In the case of Haiti, the two organizations we have chosen are:  Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières),  International Red Cross.

This goes to show that these ‘non-believers’ do actually believe in something: that the suffering of their fellow-man should be alleviated. Since atheists are convinced that the universe is one with at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference, I can’t help wondering why they have at least this one not particularly rational belief. And why does an atheist wish to present an appearance of being less callous than the universe that he claims begot him?

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55 Comments

  1. Greeting David, Well it seems I have ha

    Comment by Renshia — January 17, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

  2. opps,

    Greeting David,
    Well it seems I have have the great fortune to be the first to try providing an explanation for you. I have held atheist beliefs for a years and have had the opportunity to confer with many others, so I don’t mean to speak for all, but I think a some will agree.

    “You’ve asked; why does an atheist wish to present an appearance of being less callous than the universe that he claims begot him?”

    It is not that we “wish to present an appearance of being less callous than the universe”. First off I think you miss understand what we think of the universe. We see the universe as neutral. Is isn’t cold and hard, it isn’t unforgiving, it isn’t a world that doesn’t care. It is the platform in which life exists. NOTHING, emotional in it’s out pouring, so to speak.

    So, we don’t think it is callous or see it that way. That is simply your assumption because of a lack of information.

    What we do believe is that the world is what we make it. That caring and giving is part of the experience that is life. That by doing these things, we enrich the life of others and by doing so enrich our own lives. We don’t need to find an excuse in imaginary being, setting arbitrary standards, with make believe punishments. We understand that this earth is our home and the people on it are ALL part of our family. When we help and people benefit, it benefits us all. It benifits the survival of the specifies. Which is a good thing. Why? you ask. Life is valuable. We only have for a short time, the opportunity to exist, it only happens once and to live it to the fullest is the way we express our gratitude. Gratitude to who? No one. Why? Because we want to. Simple as that. We want to contribute to the species, make it a better place for our family, for our immediate family, and our global family. We don’t need some kind of spiritual excuse to do it. We value life.

    Now you can debase this belief as being selfish, however, We find it more debasing to humanity, to think that the only important reason to do these things would be because of a gods decree and the punishments for not doing so.

    The reason atheists wish to make it publicly known that atheists can be generous to, is to try and break down the lies that religion has created, by proclaiming a monopoly on morals. To let people see that caring is a human thing to do, not a spiritual thing. That you don’t need an god, to justify being good. Now if your the type of person that needs that kind of mental bondage to control yourself, then more power to you. However, we are not all like that, some of us don’t need to be slaves.

    You said; This goes to show that these ‘non-believers’ do actually believe in something. Of course we do, Atheist means not believing in gods. It doesn’t mean not believing in anything. We just don’t need religion to find the value in life. We believe life is enough.

    Comment by Renshia — January 17, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  3. Renshia (#2), I believe that most atheists are “good” people who are compassionate and care for their fellow man. Some may be “better” in this regard than those who profess belief in a Christain God. They are, after all, created in the image of God. Atheists cannot, however, logically defend such a position. Your comment is full of logical inconsistencies, and I think many “hard line” atheists would be embarassed to identify with it. The bottom line is that you have no logical underpinning by which you can justify the statement, “We value life”. This statement is full of value judgements that are inconsistent with atheism. Thankfully, very few atheists can live in accordance with the logical outcome of the position they hold and don’t need laws to restrain them from eating their fellow man instead of caring for them.

    Comment by Warren — January 17, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  4. “”Warren
    This statement is full of value judgments that are inconsistent with atheism””

    Really,….. Then maybe you can tell me what “the value judgments” of atheism are?

    You know just to clarify…..

    Comment by Renshia — January 17, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  5. I’ll second that: What are the “value judgements of atheism?”

    You are doing exactly what so many others are doing: Equating athism with nihilism. Atheists do not believe in the existence of any gods. Atheism is not a thing that has “value judgements”. Atheism is not a thing, it is a lack of a thing.

    Atheism does not, by itself, have any tenets, “value judgements”, or anything else.

    Many athiests, however, are compassionate, caring individuals who don’t like suffering of others any more than anybody else. They don’t need a deity to tell them to be kind and generous to other people, that’s all.

    We value life because as far as we know it is the only life we, or anyone else, will ever have. That makes it a precious thing indeed.

    Your post seems to be implying that atheists must heartless creatures because they are atheists. This is a bizarre picture of us that far too many believers have of us. The reality is, as Renshia has just illustrated, quite the opposite.

    Comment by Scott M — January 17, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  6. Renshia (#4), my point is that you can’t be a consistent atheist and have values. As David pointed out, everything ultimately has no purpose. You can’t logically argue otherwise without sawing off the branch you’re standing on.

    This is a conversation I would love to follow up on, but my wife and I are heading for the airport in a few hours to attend my dad’s funeral and I have a lot of stuff to do (it would also be interesting to talk about our respective views on death). Pastor Gene Cook, from Unchained Radio, has likely logged hundreds of hours debating atheists, and my thoughts would closely follow his. If you’re interested, this is the web site (I’m not sure how easy it is to access his podcasts, though, as I’ve always downloaded them via iTunes):

    http://www.unchainedradio.com/

    Here’s an example of a discussion with an agnostic:

    Although is often at complete logger heads with callers, he is usually able to keep the conversation very civil.

    I like Paul Manata too:

    If you want to intellectually challenge yourself on the validity of the beliefs you hold (by faith I would argue), there are a ton of resources out there to explore.

    Comment by Warren — January 17, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  7. Hmmm – interesting how the conversation veers away from logic. Of course, what is the basis of logic in a meaningless universe? Scott – the concepts of “heartless”, “caring”, “compassionate” should be void of meaning for you – if you’re consistent with what you claim to believe. But, atheists can’t be consistent.

    Unfortunately, this will have to be my last post here for a few days.

    Comment by Warren — January 17, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

  8. That is simply a lie, to make you believe that the only way to value something is to think that value must be derived from a higher power.
    This is a sick debasement of humanity. and is signs of a demented perspective of humanity.

    As Dan Barker once said, ” you are not inherently evil, you are inherently human.
    I value life I do not believe in a god of any kind, I find no need to. The two are completely insinc with each other.

    Values are a matter of choice, you just use religion as your excuse for the choices you make. I just don’t need the unnecessary baggage to make that choice.

    Comment by Renshia — January 17, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  9. Renshia (#8), I should be in bed (I have to leave for the airport at 0330), but I can’t help making one last comment. You don’t sound like an atheist at all – are you sure you’re not holding back on us? Still no sign of logic, though.

    Comment by Warren — January 17, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  10. A few points:

    First of all the quote that the universe is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference is from Richard Dawkins, “God’s Utility Function,” published in Scientific American (November, 1995), p. 85. This is the assessment of an atheist and it is an honest assessment for an atheist.

    Renshia [#8],
    I am sure you do have personal values; however, with no absolute reference, they are simply that, personal values. If your values clash with mine, there is no rational way to determine whose values are right or better. Various atheists have tried to address this without much success; the most consistent were the existentialists like Sartre: he recommended adopting a value system – any value system – and acting as if it has meaning even though it doesn’t. He himself didn’t have much success with that approach in his own life, though.

    Renshia and Scott:

    Why is being a caring person better than being a callous one? How would you rationally prove to me whatever your answer is?

    I can see that being an agnostic – someone who does not know whether God exists or not – is not an irrational position, but as Bertrand Russell said, to be an atheist cannot be entirely rational since you cannot know God does not exist unless you have at your disposal all knowledge. That makes atheism an act of faith, not of rationality. Why would you not say you are an agnostic?

    Scott, you insist that atheism has no value judgements then you say life is precious – a value judgement. Where does that come from – it can’t come from a universe that pitiless and indifferent, surely? Is it simply something you choose to believe as Renshia says? If I choose the opposite value, that life is worthless, what makes your view better than mine?

    Comment by David — January 17, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  11. You keep speaking like there is a definition of atheism I do not understand. atheism doesn’t define me. It is simply one belief I do not hold. That I do not believe in a god. This is not the sum of my belief system, nor is it a core part of it. It is just one insignificant part of a myriad of things that when asked if I believe in I don’t, just like my no belief in the tooth fairy, or my non belief in astrology. So I think you have piled a lot of other beliefs into your mental picture of what the atheist label means.
    Just as a little inside secret for you…. There isn’t any kind of a atheist creed one must live by to qualify using the label atheist. The only thing the label means is no belief in a god.

    Outside of that statement we are free to believe anything we want. Yes, we tend to gravitate all towards other beliefs. But, there is no law saying we can’t hold onto any beliefs we decide to. Yes, without the belief in a god, whole belief systems held by many people become irrelevant, and yes people who accept the label of an atheists spend and a preposterous amount of time defending this change of perspective. You must remember that all were trying to do is shake off the effects of obsolete beliefs systems.

    Really, after you give up the concept of god existing all the rest of it is just stories and concepts, and a part of the evolutionary development of our human mind. The basis of it is something we couldn’t understand at the time, so we gave it a label and based our development on it.
    So anything outside of the single and only point that defines an atheist, the statement, “I don’t believe in a god” is open to ones interpretations as they see the world through their experiences. As a collective we are now able to communicate to a greater degree, finding larger schools of thought that collide with our non belief in a god. We see value in our development as a species in the experiences that religion has forged for us as a society. Now through our development we have come to understand that god is just not a rational belief system. We understand it is time to move on to new and better things.

    So, atheists that argue the point of whether jesus was the son of god or not, or whether or not the gospels were or were not written by the people who’s names they adorn is all just entertainment to fill time. A moment to share perspective. once you don’t believe in god, then the rest is just filler.

    Now show me your god. I see no evidence of him. forget all the other trash. show me your god. He can’t be found. He can’t be proven. He’s a modem of the times that helped in the development of humanity, but it’s a custom who’s time has come. It is time for humanity to take responsibility for it’s own existence. To quit relying on some outside source to solve our problems for us. For six thousand years we have be inundated with a concept of gods ruling our lives, Look at the sick mess it is in. You religious folk, and yes I was one of them to for many years, act like this god thing is a new idea profusely denying the mess this system of belief has created.
    Look around you, this is not the result of a lack of a weekend revival. This is a mess caused by six thousand years of primitive thinking, of looking to some magical force to solve our problems. This is when humanity needs to accept the we are responsible for our action not some slippery little snake. We have control of our destiny, and are responsible, for the morals we set, the values we choose, and the success or failure of our species.

    If we had not let enter the stupid concept of some white knight in shinning armor coming to take us to the promise land expecting an escape from all the evils. maybe we could have comprehended the consequences of our indulgent behavior before now. Instead we waste it on faint hopes of salvation from a invisible being.

    So your right I do not believe that some god is listing the standards by which to grade the things I place value on, I don’t need it. I look around and see the effects that such a system produces, six thousand years of it. What good has come of it? No, there is not some scientifically proven test that bares evidence to the need to give to those in need. I see the results of helping others and see the benefits of it and that is good enough for me. I choose, just like you choose. I just choose to take responsibility for my decision.

    Comment by Renshia — January 18, 2010 @ 1:21 am

  12. And once again we have people who know nothing about atheists or atheism trying to tell a couple of atheists how they should think or feel, and evidently imagines that we are either nihilists or unemotional Vulcans.

    Atheism has no set of agreed-upon “value judgements”. That does not mean WE don’t have them. Many atheists subscribe to a kind of secular humanism for lack of a better decriptive. Try looking that up. You might be surprised. Otherse who are more spiritually inclined lean towards Buddhism, and some simply go their own way. No divine creator is needed to come up with a decent set of values. Athiesm is a lack of belief in deities…that’s all. No faith involved or needed at all. Our values and morals are molded by our upbringing and our social groups.

    You want a coldly rational reason for nurturing a sense of compassion? A caring person certainly has an advantage over a callous one: Humans are social animals. We depend on one another to survive. Someone who feels empathy, compassion, or just simple caring about another’s well-being is far more likely to be acceptable by the social unit they belong to. A callous one is generally not as accepted, and a sociopath is sooner or later turned on. There is a saying: “He who helps the world helps himself.”

    Just because the universe is an indifferent place doesn’t mean human beings have to be. In fact, it’s in our better interests to not be. It’s also in our better interests to be rational, but that’s a lot harder.

    “Meaningless universe?” We give ourselves meaning. We determine what “meaning” our lives are going to have. Why is a magical sky fairy essential to give “meaning” to anything?

    And here’s the part that galls so many theists: I don’t need an imaginary sky daddy looking over my shoulder telling me to ‘behave or else’ in order to behave. I don’t need to think I’m pleasing some invisible genie to be charitable or to feel empathy. I don’t need some “absolute source” to tell me that treating my fellow human beings well gets me treated well in return.

    Comment by Scott M — January 18, 2010 @ 2:22 am

  13. ” at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference”

    But this is correct. the universe is neutral. It is simply your slanted interpretation that turns it into being callous. But call it callous it the negative connotation’s make you more comfortable in rejecting what he says, but that is not what it means.

    “This is the assessment of an atheist and it is an honest assessment for an atheist.”

    No, this is Richards way of explanation of the neutrality of the universe. This is also an observation that Richard used in making, or reinforcing his decision not to believe in a god. It is a explanation that many that have studied the universe also believe. But it doesn’t define atheism. These are two separate things.

    “If your values clash with mine, there is no rational way to determine whose values are right or better.”

    Well.. that is true, that is why we banded together and created laws and exercised our mind and looked around and saw what things did and didn’t perpetuate society, and used that to set a standard. Maybe we did invent some invisible guy to lay down a standard to start by, maybe some bright guy a long time ago saw this dilemma and created this god concept to give us a starting point, a foundation to build on, I don’t know.
    Whether you choose to accept we as a society choose and we choose as individuals what values are important and which or not, doesn’t change the fact that is what we do. just because you choose not to believe it, or deny it is possible doesn’t change the reality of what is happening.

    That is why so many of our laws and beliefs are surpassing those barbaric laws of religion. We can see the evidence of our actions and the evidence of others actions towards us and see what are the better values to hold. This is also why we have disagreements about those values.

    “Why is being a caring person better than being a callous one?”

    This is an irrelevant question. Being caring and being callous are necessary under different circumstances. Under which particular circumstance are you referring to?

    For instance if my buddy down the street is stuck it may be good to be caring. however if my buddy is drunk and stuck may be be better to be callous.

    So tell me exactly exactly how your god explains why being a caring person is better than being a callous person?
    Does he allow you to be callous?
    Are you ever callous?
    How does your god make the distinction of when he allows for the exception?
    How can you be sure when the the exception falls into play?

    “How would you rationally prove to me whatever your answer is?”

    I would rationally prove to you by the evidence of the results of my actions and the results to the other effected party.
    The concept I would use to make that decision, would be to try and find the best possible solution for all involved.
    Why would I choose this concept as my guide. Because I choose to. I feel it is the best concept for perpetuation of my life and the species.

    How does you god do it?

    “If I choose the opposite value, that life is worthless, what makes your view better than mine?”

    Who said my view is better? It is what I choose for myself.
    It is your life and your view. You have to make those decisions yourself.
    Our opinions are simply those opinions if you choose to use them as a guide to making yours then do so.
    It is your choice. don’t make us responsible for your decisions. Take responsibility to make them for your self.

    Out of curiosity which would you choose?
    That life is valuable, Or life is worthless?

    Comment by Renshia — January 18, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  14. - And the Haiti disaster caused lots of death, which is quite important to the evolutionism that is central to the Dawkins-like world-view; and reduction of world population is central in the extreme forms of ecologism/environmentalism. It’s only us sad believers in the valuing of all human life that should be dismayed.

    Comment by John Thomas — January 18, 2010 @ 5:34 am

  15. Renshia and Scott, I shouldn’t, but I’m making a quick note as I get ready to head out the door for the airport. I don’t have time to challenge individual points, but, in summary, you have jumped into the “debate” far down the path. Your comments are rife with unstated presuppositions (many of which I suspect are unexamined) and you use many value-laden words (in a Judeo-Christian sense even) without even attempting to define them. You both appear to have a strong faith; but place it in something diffent than I do. Rather than an intellectually honest and rational denial of the existence of a God, I sense a lot of anger at God (I think the latter is better than the former). Sorry I can’t say more at the moment. Hopefully I’ll have a chance later.

    Comment by Warren — January 18, 2010 @ 5:42 am

  16. I think Renshia and Scott have been quite clear in the definition of ‘atheism’. To re-iterate, atheism is a declaration of non-belief in a god or gods and by extension, a non-belief in any superstition, supernatural ‘event’, miracle, divine intervention, effect of prayer, magic, faith-healing, etc., etc.

    As Renshia said outside of that anything goes. We can have different beliefs in all sorts things: in ones doctor, in human ingenuity, in science and many others. In fact one could also use the word ‘faith’ to describe these attitudes. That does not mean that because we may use the words ‘belief’ and ‘faith’ in these contexts, they are somehow ‘connected’ with something supernatural as theists are fond of deliberately misunderstanding in an accusative manner: “Hah! Hah! You have a belief, blah, blah, blah…”

    As you may have guessed, I am an atheist with a non-belief in the existence a god or gods.

    I have a second non-belief. I have a non-belief in the ability of any theist to actually understand, intellectually or emotionally, what on earth I and other atheists are talking about!

    Comment by Alan B — January 18, 2010 @ 8:34 am

  17. John Thomas, do you have any citations for this remark of yours or did you just pull it ‘out of thin air’ without giving it any serious thought?

    “And the Haiti disaster caused lots of death, which is quite important to the evolutionism that is central to the Dawkins-like world-view; and reduction of world population is central in the extreme forms of ecologism/environmentalism.”

    By the way, “evolutionism” is a derogatory term invented by right-wing theists.
    There is no such thing as “evolutionism”.

    Comment by Alan B — January 18, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  18. Alan B [#16],
    As a definition, I don’t think that is good enough. Indulge me by looking at this from here:

    The exact meaning of ‘atheist’ varies between thinkers, and caution must always be shown to make sure that discussions of atheism are not working at cross purposes. Michael Martin, a leading atheist philosopher, defines atheism entirely in terms of belief. For him, negative atheism is simply the lack of theistic belief, positive atheism is the asserted disbelief in God, and agnosticism is the lack of either belief or disbelief in God. This suggests that negative atheism, the minimal position that all atheists share, divides neatly into agnosticism and positive atheism. It is worth noting that the ‘positive atheist’ need not have certainty that God doesn’t exist: it is a matter of belief, not knowledge.

    This understanding of atheism is fairly commonly accepted by other atheists, although some theists complain that ‘negative atheism’ is trivial or evasive. William Lane Craig argues that Martin is ‘redefining’ the term to argue for the presumption of atheism, and it is certainly clear that atheists involved in these debates tend to be positive atheists. As well as the claim that it represents the etymology of the term, atheists tend to favour this definition because it treats atheism as the ‘null hypothesis’, and seems to clearly put the burden of proof on the believer. Martin is clear that defence of negative atheism merely requires refutations of theistic argument, while defence of positive atheism requires reasons for disbelief to be given. One criticism of Martin’s definition is that it is not what is commonly understood by ‘atheism’, and may therefore be confusing and unhelpful. As well as Martin’s acknowledgement that dictionaries tend to define atheism positively, many surveys have shown that far fewer people identify as atheists than lack belief in God. For example, Greeley’s 2003 survey found that 31% of Britons did not believe in God, but only 10% considered themselves ‘atheist’. Martin’s appeal to etymology does not necessarily make his definition more helpful if it is not how the word is understood: and his use of agnosticism to be a question of belief rather than knowledge sits uneasily with this etymological approach. Putting to one side the question of what atheism ‘should’ or ‘really’ means, the positive-negative distinction is certainly useful in philosophical discussions as a shorthand for different sorts of atheism.

    So, a “positive” atheist would say the following statement is true, a theist would say it is untrue, an agnostic would say he doesn’t know whether it is true or not and – as an aside – a logical positivist would say the statement has no meaning. A “negative” atheist would probably evade answering the question:

    “There is no God”

    I take it from what you have said that you fall into the category of “negative” atheist and would not say the above statement is true?

    Comment by David — January 18, 2010 @ 9:38 am

  19. Ah so I see now those that believe in god not only think they hold a monopoly on morals, they also think they hold a monopoly on belief.
    If I hold no belief in god, I as an atheist can’t hold a belief in anything else either. Well thank you for clearing that up.

    Now aren’t you all high and mighty on yourself. It seems within this ignorance you have all the answers I sorry that I infringed on your monopolies. It would seem I am not a real atheist after all. I haven’t become the Blank slate you claim I must be.

    To bad your so full of all the answers to hear those that are given.
    Just reminds me of this quote:
    “”The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Have a good day.

    Comment by Renshia — January 18, 2010 @ 11:22 am

  20. I see you have also evaded all the questions I asked of you. So Tell me what does that say about you and your beliefs?

    For the record I say the statement is true. There IS no god.

    Cod is simply a concept developed to keep the simple minded in under control.

    Comment by Renshia — January 18, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  21. David.
    Meanings of words change over time and usage. To insist upon an out of date meaning to suit your own belief and your erroneous concepts will not work – I will tell YOU the meaning and usage of the word ‘atheist’ because I am the atheist here, you are not. Accept it!
    And quite honestly I couldn’t really care what Martin says about ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ atheists – I am not beholden to any philosophical musings about my state of ‘non-belief’. That is the advantage of being an atheist – no doctrine, no ‘bending the knee’ to someone’s philosophy or belief and certainly no acquiescence to any manipulative false reasoning designed to suggest that my ‘non-belief’ is really a ‘belief’ in disguise.
    As a non-believer (in the existence of a god or gods), I do not (indeed I cannot) assert whether or not a god exists.

    I had an uncle whose family nickname was ‘Gay’. Now what do you make of that? Meanings change.

    Comment by Alan B — January 18, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  22. It has taken 21 comments to reach the final stages of witless mental entropy. That is faster than usual even for an atheism thread.

    Comment by David — January 18, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  23. Now we are hurling insults. I think there is a saying somewhere about losing an argument if you start calling the opponent names.

    Comment by Alan B — January 18, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  24. Alan B

    How nice of you to provide us with your personal definition of an Atheist. And to think we were all stuck with an “out of date” understanding.
    I personally will be sure not to typecast any other Atheist in the future.
    Peace,
    Jim

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — January 18, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

  25. I did not take the time to read all of the comments already posted, so forgive me if this was already covered.

    Why is this Godless organization placing their seperation from all things religous ahead of the needs of those in need of help? Surely if they were “good” people they would be more concerned about the aid getting to where it is needed as soon as possible, and less worried about how.

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — January 18, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  26. Ampis..

    The answer to that is simple.
    1. We do not want to support any organization that would put effort in proselytizing people to beliefs we do not support.
    2. We do not want to support an organization that would put religious conditions on there help.
    3. We do not trust that the funds would go fully to the needed and not be funneled into a churches coffers.

    We do not trust that a religious organizations would be good stewards of the money. Way to much greed and deception involved in the church to trust it.

    Comment by Renshia — January 18, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  27. “And the Haiti disaster caused lots of death, which is quite important to the evolutionism that is central to the Dawkins-like world-view; and reduction of world population is central in the extreme forms of ecologism/environmentalism. It’s only us sad believers in the valuing of all human life that should be dismayed.”

    Spoken exactly like someone who doesn’t know a thing of what they are talking about. This is exactly the typical attitude that I’ve been criticizing: The assumpion that atheists are somehow bordering on sociopathic.

    First: There is no such thing as “evolutionism.” You might as well call Einstein’s theories about gravity and space “Space-time-ism.”

    Second: If you bothered to do more than a cursory scan of Dawkins’ writings with an eye for finding things to get huffy about, you’d see that mass death and destruction of human beings are not seen as a good thing. Dawkins himself regards human life as precious at teh very least because it is the only life that we have as far as we know.

    Third: The mass death of human beings is not an ideal that any but the craziest and most downright fanatical environmental loons advocate. A simple search of the mainstream evironmental movements will reveal advocacy of responsable and careful use of our environment with an eye to protecting what we have left.

    Fourth: How typically arrogant to imagine that only believers have any kind of conscience, ethics or morals at all, or that only believers care about human life. How dare you, sir. To call this accusation insulting is to woefully under-describe it.

    AMPisAnglican: Our donations are going to groups and organizations that we are certain do not take the opportunity to preach and convert while they are “helping” or make help provisional on conversion: The Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and so on. There is nothing interfering with the aid getting to where it is needed, so what skin is it off your conceited nose that we no longer pretend to not exist?

    Comment by Scott M — January 18, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  28. Scott,

    How typically arrogant to imagine that only believers have any kind of conscience

    John didn’t say that only believers have a conscience. He said It’s only us sad believers in the valuing of all human life that should be dismayed. which is rather different.

    That being said, please don’t call another poster “arrogant” simply because you disagree with what they said.

    Comment by David — January 18, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  29. Phase one of the trip went well. Only time to skim read, but I’ve concluded that none of the atheists attracted to this thread have any desire to delve into logic and explore the rationality of what they’re saying. I suppose the the same criticism could be made of many Christians. I have much interest in going back to first principles and starting the discussion there. Starting anywhere else just leads to endless circling and personal criticism – as is happening on this thread. Oh well, I know there are other atheists out there willing to tackle the hard questions head on. I’ll check back in in couple of days.

    Comment by Warren — January 18, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  30. “John didn’t say that only believers have a conscience. He said It’s only us sad believers in the valuing of all human life that should be dismayed. which is rather different.”

    No, it’s not. The “Us” he’s talking about can only refer to people whom he regards as fellow believers. His previous sentence stated that “Darwinists” and environmentalists actually should be approving of the disaster in Haiti. If you can’t see the insult and self-righteous arrogance implicit in those words, then there’s no point in even discussing it. It’s an attitude that has been thrust into my face too often for me to count.

    Contrary to his delusion, atheists, agnostics, people who accept the theory of evolution as the most valid explanation we have for the diversity of life (which include many theists, BTW), and environmentalists in general *do* believe there is value in human life. (In the case of atheists, we do not have to be told by an imaginary deity to believe so.) Just like most other people do, though I realize he will be utterly unable to accept that notion.

    There is no ethic or morality connected to the theory of evolution, contrary to his post. The theory is a description of a process that has been observed and verified throught testing. That is all. No system or morality is inferred from it or by it. There is no “Darwinist outlook” or “philosiphy.”

    Comment by Scott M — January 19, 2010 @ 12:19 am

  31. I guess I should have seen this from the beginning. You weren’t really asking the question to get an answer, you were asking the question to get a response.
    Warren you are very correct. it is impossible to “to delve into logic and explore the rationality”. When you ask a question and the first response offered to you guys reject it out of hand. Your not interested in hearing a different perspective you already think your right. You twist what we believe to fit your agenda and don’t even consider the responses. I not pointing at you necessarily, but all the Christians that have posted here.

    Your fellow readers offer quotes much out of context, attribute it to something it doesn’t and project it as a reasonable assesment. You profess to understand Richard Dawkins world view, But you have never taken the time to hear it. You to full of judgments to listen. Your omly hearing what you want to hear.

    You left some links, some of which I have went to the others I will get to as I have time. I challenge to do the same. here is a video of Richard Dawkins talking on “There is grandeur in this view of life”. Take a few minutes to get the information from the horses mouth before you you let others filters make your judgements for you.

    This is a link to the video. http://richarddawkins.net/articles/4629
    Go see for your self then we can talk.

    I willing to discuss this rationally, but rationally is not dismissing what we say without even putting any thought into it. As has been displayed all the way through this conversation.

    If you really didn’t want to hear the answer maybe you shouldn’t have asked.

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 3:04 am

  32. The basic problem here is the inability of the ‘Believer’ (in God) to put themselves in the shoes of the ‘Non-believer’ (in God), for to do so they would have to deny their belief.
    The atheist, on the other hand, has no such qualms or restrictions since many atheists are ex-believers and know full-well from experience the burden of faith that they were indoctrinated into following.

    Believers will never, ever, be able to argue convincingly with a non-believer unless they ‘experience’ actual non-belief. And we all know that will never happen…
    Atheists can argue from both perspectives, theists cannot.

    The other advantage atheists have is that they do not have to stand on the shoulders of others: each atheist is unique in the sense that they are free to engage in critical thought without fear of condemnation from any ‘authority’ that might say “you can’t think like this” or “you can’t think like that”.

    Atheists are free to disagree with such luminaries as Dawkins, Hitchens and others whereas theists dare not go against doctrine that has been developed from some ancient ‘holy book’, which to criticise would be a heresy.

    (It is refreshing that Bible quotes have not been used in this thread – so far.)

    Theists cannot win this argument for to rely upon a belief that there is a ‘God’ that ‘does’ everything in the universe and for which there is absolutely no evidence, is, in itself, an irrationality.

    The only position to take is an atheistic approach while awaiting evidence (of some supernatural entity) to present itself. This evidence can only be searched for by those that assert that this ‘being’ exists.
    In the meantime we atheists will just sit back and watch the comedy.

    Comment by Alan B — January 19, 2010 @ 5:11 am

  33. In response to Renshia 26.

    I take your response to mean that not supporting the possible conversion of people to religious beliefs, and also that avoiding religious conditions on the acceptance of your offers of help, are more important than actually helping countless thousands of people who are now suffering from a horrible disaster, and that many of these people could die if help is not provided soon.

    In short, I am left with the impression that your distaste for anything religious is more important to you than saving human lives.

    Additionally, your lack of trust that you raise in your 3rd point is both presumptive and cynical. I could say the same thing about the United Way, that I do not trust it not line its own coffers, or to funnel some of the money to other causes that it supports (but I do not). Your 3rd point also completely ignores the fact that several religious organizations were already in Haiti (such as the Salvation Army which has been providing humanitarian aid for decades). This also ignores that such an organization is already in place, and best placed to provide the best help the quickest.

    But you would rather let people die than risk even a little bit of you money going anywhere else.

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — January 19, 2010 @ 8:20 am

  34. Renshia, although it is not, an argument for God there are many times in life when holding to an atheist position is not very “comical”. The tragedy that started this thread is a good case in point. As strange as it may seem to you at this point in your life, I strongly doubt that people of faith in Haiti whose lives have been completely devastated have less hope in their lives right now than those who believe that their is no ultimate purpose and everyone who died simply ceased to exist and that’s the end of it. Mind you, if, because of your atheist position, you can truly laugh at tragedy, yours and others, and sleep just as well when it occurs, then I guess I need to take back what I’ve said. Phase two of the trip starts in a couple of hours. I’ll check back later.

    Comment by Warren — January 19, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  35. “I am left with the impression that your distaste for anything religious is more important to you than saving human lives.”

    Yes, I see that your assuming this.

    However my counter is that there are secular organization there that do not make slavery in a belief system a requirement for help. And my desire to give is not overridden by my understanding the what I give will have a longer effect than just this immediate emergency. For instance If I give to the Sally Anne. and then some good hearted Christian takes advantage of this “poor soul” As we all know it is at moments of weakness that you all like to latch on. He may convert him and now this poor soul. Who may have missed this life of bondage now spends his days as a slave to an imaginary being. So I understand my action have consequences beyond today.

    Second I don’t believe in just giving willy nilly to the loudest crier. If I am going to give my money, then I want to do as much as I can that those in need get the best bang for their buck. I feel a responsibility to do my best with what I can. I do not have an imaginary friend to lift my burden of responsibility for me, I prefer to carry that myself, Thank you very much.
    Why do I feel like that, Well lets just say I would rather do all I can to protect those funds and ensure they they get there (to the best of my ability), than have them end up paying for prostitutes in old hotel rooms, while the recipients us the meth they have bought. Just as one example.

    You see you miss the point, I don’t give because the sky daddy says I should give. I don’t give for the tax receipt. I give because I have a responsibility to help my fellow man. And I feel because it is my money that I worked hard for, that I want it to make the biggest impact with the greatest positive long term effect. I do not see that happening within a religious organization.

    “Additionally, your lack of trust that you raise in your 3rd point is both presumptive and cynical”

    Yes it is…. but it doesn’t make it less true.

    So while your emphasis is to give, mine is to give responsibly. I believe in taking responsibility for my actions.

    It’s not the giving that is important it is the helping that is, I want to help the best way I can.

    May you need to put a little thought into your giving as well.

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  36. Warren you are absolutly right;
    “I strongly doubt that people of faith in Haiti whose lives have been completely devastated have less hope in their lives right now than those who believe that their is no ultimate purpose.

    However, It is not HOPE that is going to put the people of Haiti’s life back together. Instead it will be those that know that sitting around HOPING and PRAYing in some invisible god to intervene is not doing anything productive. It is at times like this when people need to get off their knees and do something. So I am not interested in giving hope I am interested in actions cause that is what will make a difference.

    Seems to me like hoping and praying at this point is a little like closing the barn door after the horse has left. We all know that your god already just sat around on his hands while thousands of people suffered and died, Little hard to believe he is going to do anything about it now.

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  37. Yeah Warren… Fear monger me……”Mind you, if, because of your atheist position, you can truly laugh at tragedy, yours and others, and sleep just as well when it occurs,”

    do you see me laughing and joking….. I guess you just need to believe this because your head can’t compute that an atheist cares…
    Shitty, when ones actions turns your beliefs into lies.
    That’s okay, your religion teaches you well how deny what is in your face reality. no need to stop now.

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  38. Warren’s comment about an atheist position is not very “comical” was probably in response to Alan B in #32, where he said:

    In the meantime we atheists will just sit back and watch the comedy.

    Comment by David — January 19, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  39. Yes of course, Alan B, Scott, there is such a thing as Evolutionism (as opposed to evolution). Many, many people base a whole philosophy, world-view, value-system, whatever, on the the pure scientific idea of evolution, which they go far beyond. They are generally people who (sometimes by their own ready admission) know nothing, and care much less, about birds and bees and finches beaks; to them, it becomes a “theory of everything”, and can be applied to history, sociology, even completely unrelated things; it has become an “ism”. Scientists, however, often just conentrate on pur evolution, and forget the philosophy etc. Yes, evolutionism can be used derogatorily, but not necessarily. And this suggestion that theists are “right wing” is of course derogatory; it is suggesting there is indisputably something disreputable about being right wing, but some moral superiority in being, well, left wing (which is not true).

    Comment by John Thomas — January 19, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

  40. Further to John’s comment [#39], there are many articles on evolutionism, for example, here, here, here and here.

    Comment by David — January 19, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  41. That’s right I know he was referring to that.
    So he takes The comedy of people arguing about different beliefs and twists it into me thinking the earthquake tragedy is a joke….. ask’s me if I sleep well at night.

    See this is what everyone of you have done in this conversation instead of reading it and thinking about what is said, you so busy thinking up retorts, you don’t even comprehend what is said..

    Comes back to my other ignored question… if you don’t want to hear the answer why ask the question?

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  42. Warren, the whole of my post #32 was about the comedy of theists convoluted logic that is used to to justify their irrationality. It was absolutely nothing to do with the Haitian tragedy. For you to twist the ‘comedy’ sentence to suggest that atheists view this tragedy as a ‘comedy’ is specious and insulting. The following paragraph from that post is reproduced here. Read it again and inwardly digest and tell me where there is any mention of Haiti.

    “The only position to take is an atheistic approach while awaiting evidence (of some supernatural entity) to present itself. This evidence can only be searched for by those that assert that this ‘being’ exists.
    In the meantime we atheists will just sit back and watch the comedy.”

    Do not arrogantly assume that only God-believers are privy to the desire to help those in need and that those that don’t believe are somehow less human and lack compassion.
    Trying to score childish points like your ‘comedy’ remark does nothing to this discussion.

    Comment by Alan B — January 19, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  43. John Thomas #39
    Your remark:
    “And this suggestion that theists are “right wing” is of course derogatory”
    is without foundation.

    For your edification the sentence from my post #17 is reproduced here:
    “By the way, “evolutionism” is a derogatory term invented by right-wing theists.”
    No way can this be misunderstood, as you have, as ‘all theists are right-wing’. You should learn to understand the sentence structure before posting.

    I still stand by my remark about ‘evolutionism’. You only have to watch Fox News and the drivel from the Creationists to figure out that there isn’t a ‘left-wing theist’ amongst them.

    Comment by Alan B — January 19, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  44. Everyone:

    You are all free to post and say pretty much what you want within what I think are reasonable limits. I have asked that you do not ascribe to other posters, their actions or their comments epithets such as “arrogant”. If you persist in doing so your comment will be deleted and your subsequent comments will be moderated before they appear.

    Comment by David — January 19, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  45. “Yes of course, Alan B, Scott, there is such a thing as Evolutionism (as opposed to evolution). Many, many people base a whole philosophy, world-view, value-system, whatever, on the the pure scientific idea of evolution, which they go far beyond.”

    Who?

    “They are generally people who (sometimes by their own ready admission) know nothing, and care much less, about birds and bees and finches beaks; to them, it becomes a “theory of everything”, and can be applied to history, sociology, even completely unrelated things; it has become an “ism”.”

    If you are referring to some kind of idea of “social Darwinism”, it is a long ago-discredited idea that was used to jstify inequalities in power. No one in their right mind takes it seriously, any more than anyone takes seriously the notion that any one race is somehow superior to any other. Evolution is about one thing: The explanation for the changes in allele frequencies over time. Nothing more.

    “Scientists, however, often just conentrate on pur evolution, and forget the philosophy etc.”

    Repeating: There is no philosiphy that has anything to do with evolution. Evolution is a theory about the changes in life forms through mutation andf natural selection. Any “philosiphy” connected to it or extrapolated from it is purely made-up.

    “Yes, evolutionism can be used derogatorily, but not necessarily. And this suggestion that theists are “right wing” is of course derogatory.”

    If you had been paying attention you would have seen that I was referring to “right-wing theists”: Conservative theists with a tendency towards such dogmas as Creationism and the notion that anyone who isn;t a Christian is a) misled or b) outright evil.

    “it is suggesting there is indisputably something disreputable about being right wing, but some moral superiority in being, well, left wing (which is not true).”

    There is certainly something disreputable in smearing a legitimate scientific theory, transfroming it into a “philosophy” that does not exist, and assuming that atheists automatically subscribe to this “philosiphy” you made up in your head.

    Comment by S Mooney — January 19, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  46. I cannot believe that anyone could cite the conservapedia with a stright face.

    Comment by S Mooney — January 19, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  47. “Many, many people base a whole philosophy, world-view, value-system, whatever, on the the pure scientific idea of evolution, which they go far beyond’

    there is…. you know I just don’t think that is true, Not at all.

    There are people, scientists, biologists, people that are curious about how it all fits together and they pursue careers in field of work that will help them find the answers. Then there are those like me who are curious about it, That want to understand the truth of what the evidence says. And we are not afraid to look from a different perspective. That when presented with the evidence seems to make a lot more sense.

    You know your….. just missing the point. It not about monkeys, it’s not about creationism, or about natural selection or any of that That stuff.

    It’s about Life. It’s about a love for life. It’s about being grateful for the chance to live it, to the best of MY ability. It’s about understanding the value of one kick at the cat. When you give it up to a god, you give up everything. You empty yourself. Because your giving up your life. Your responsibility to yourself to create something of it.
    Because we see the value in no second chance we see the value in life. This is why we don’t need a decree form a higher power to set a values standard. We get it… It’s precious. We only get one chance to make our mark on this life. We see it’s value for what it is really worth, Not just another soul pumped out by the god machine. Were precious… we get it.

    Why can’t you see our values come from our freedom. Yes, we are free to choose any values we want, but… We get it, life is precious. It’s an amazing process that leaves us in awe, This is why atheists reject the dogma, it’s just baggage to weigh us down in our one journey through this world.
    We don’t see the journey through this life simply a diversion of the next big gig. But as the final performance. You might think what would be the point then? But that is because you don’t see it as the end. That is the point. It is a one shot deal. Can you really see your self running around getting drunk and killing a bunch of people if you knew you were going to die in a week and it was the end. Is that really who you would become…really? Would you waste that last week by going on a rampage… really think about would you? Or would you really want to just give the best of yourself to those you love and care about… and those you don’t. That’s a human feeling, not a godly one. We feel it to, it’s part of our nature. We getit… it’s precious.
    Most of us wouldn’t turn to that either.

    But we also understand it is a choice. You don’t seem to understand that. We all make the choice, you do it for your reasons. I do it for mine. But whether you want to accept it or not we all make the choice. You can’t say your is the only way. because in spite of your cries we are all doing it. You can’t cage us up in your make believe dogma, we won’t fit.

    Comment by Renshia — January 19, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

  48. S Mooney/Scott M [#46],

    Please stick to one name or it gets even more confusing than it already is.

    I cannot believe that anyone could cite the conservapedia with a stright face

    My face would be a lot strighter if you could check your spelling before hitting Submit. Firefox’s spelling checker is very good.

    Comment by David — January 19, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  49. David,

    The owners of Conservipedia are well-known cranks and their entire wiki is filled with long-debunked canards…not to mention outright insanity. They have even gone as far as to express the desire to rewrite the Bible so that it fits “conservative sensibilities and values.”

    Of course that’s nothing new, really, but let’s move on.

    “The Big Bang” is not a “dead theory” except in the eyes of Creationists. There is no “stellar evolution”, no “planetary evolution”, no “chemical evolution.” There is no such thing as “macro-” or “micro-evolution”. Evolution has nothing…*nothing* to do with any of the above. It is Creationists and Creationists alone who have created these catagories in an effort to try to throw out not merely biology but planetology, geology, astronomy, chemistry, and even basic physics (indeed, any field of science that defies their literalistic reading of Genesis) under a straw-man they call “Evolutionism”. This poisonous nonsense has for some reason spread beyond the ranks of the YECs into other less literal but no less hostile-to-science sects.

    I don’t know how many times it needs to be said: Evilution does not deal with the formation of the bloody universe, nor the formation of stars, planets, or life. It only describes the process by which life changes. *Period.*

    *None* of which has to do with what is happening in Haiti.

    The amazement that theists seem to have in the face of atheists openly banding together and donating money and resources to help with a disaster is a sad thing. It strongly suggests that more Christians than I had imagined are astonished to find that atheists have morals, compassion, and empathy after all. Why this should come as a surprise is a mystery to me, as I have elaborated on in previous posts.

    Atheists have the same degree of empathy and humanity as anyone else. We do not need a deity or a church telling us that we have to feel compassion for thre unfortunate to feel it. So what if the universe doesn’t care about humanity’s well-being? So long as humanity cares about its well-being, we’ll manage. We are not the center of the universe, and we never have been. We have each other, and only each other to rely on.

    And that is why so many of us are banding together to assist in Haiti.

    Comment by S Mooney — January 19, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

  50. I don’t believe the universe is meaningless, but I think this thread is. I repent for my first comment (#3), which seems to have been entirely ignored (Renshia even said that my head can’t compute something I plainy stated – in reality, I can’t compute Renshia’s statement). As far as I can determine, none of the aethists commenting here have attempted to explain their logical rationale for “good” and “evil” or how these concepts came into existence (I grant that this is not an ideal forum for doing so). Without such rationale, however, many of the other statements that have been made have no logical underpinning. S Mooney (Scott?) says that “more Christians than I had imagined are astonished to find that atheists have morals, compassion, and empathy after all.”, but I bet he can’t find a single comment on this thread to back up his assertion (unless he takes it out of context). I’m neither astonished or amazed – it is what I would expect. Strawmen are thrown around with abandon.

    I think I’m going back to listen to The Narrow Mind podcasts where discussion and debate between Christians and atheists can often go on with some laughter and good natured banter. I’m quickly concluding that blogs are a lousy medium for such discussion and people just end up talking past each other (and insulting each other).

    I applaud all atheists who care and who are contributing to the humanitarian cause in Haiti. As I said in #3, I believe that most atheists are “good” people who are compassionate and care for their fellow man. I believe this about mankind in general. I also believe that all of mankind is sinful and idolatrous – myself included. My observations of mankind closely match my understanding of God’s Word, and this thread is no exception.

    Good night.

    Comment by Warren — January 20, 2010 @ 2:46 am

  51. Well Warren,
    I went back to #3 and I see no instance in your asking me to “attempted explain their logical rationale for “good” and “evil” in fact if you go back to your statement #3 you did not ask any questions at all.

    Nor do I see anything worthy of a comment from the statement; “This statement is full of value judgments that are inconsistent with atheism”

    Considering that atheism, simply means a non belief in a god. Like I have said before, You are heaping up judgments that are just not applicable.
    My value judgments are completely separate from this non belief and have no connection to what value judgments I make. The position will allow me consider different evidence and common evidence for my judgments differently, but it has little effect on my judgments.

    Maybe you can explain this in a way that a logical answer can be given?

    As far as a rational for good and evil, again I do not understand your question. Please explain. Are you asking my opinion on why good and evil exist? Again this question doesn’t make sense?
    Are you saying good and evil are things? Are asking me to reason for the existence of those two things?

    Now you said; “The bottom line is that you have no logical underpinning by which you can justify the statement, “We value life”

    Again I fail to see anything logical in this statement at all to respond to. I listed my reasons wear quite clearly, if you would take the time to read you would see them. Again I do not carry my non belief in a god around like an anvil that I need to pass over each judgment I make to see if it pasts some sort of test. So again Your question makes no sense.

    So if you just disregard my reasons for my value judgments well okay, but your refusal to accept them doesn’t make any difference, I don’t look to any god for approval in my decisions nor do I look to you for it either.
    Beyond that explain better, because what your asking for as your inferring it, is not something I can give.

    Comment by Renshia — January 21, 2010 @ 1:00 am

  52. This is tiresome Renshia, but let me spell it out for you slowly.

    In #3 I said:

    I believe that most atheists are “good” people who are compassionate and care for their fellow man. Some may be “better” in this regard than those who profess belief in a Christain God.

    In #37 you said, in reference to me:

    do you see me laughing and joking….. I guess you just need to believe this because your head can’t compute that an atheist cares…

    If you can’t plainly see the obvious contradiction and complete twisting of my words, then it is hopeless to extend this conversation. We are apparently speaking different languages and are unable to understand each other at the most basic level; quite apart from any discussion of Christianity versus atheism.

    Comment by Warren — January 21, 2010 @ 1:16 am

  53. So warren I guess you didn’t say this then in comment #34″

    “Mind you, if, because of your atheist position, you can truly laugh at tragedy, yours and others, and sleep just as well when it occurs, then I guess I need to take back what I’ve said”

    When it was not me that made any comment about comedy, or laughter, Which when you quoted it was out of context anyways.

    But this is not the point is it?

    This is why I was attempting to go beyond the last part of the conversation and go back to the beginning.
    But once again you ignore moving on with the conversation and wallow.

    Or are you just saying you do not want to talk anymore because I have hurt your feelings of self importance?

    Comment by Renshia — January 21, 2010 @ 1:37 am

  54. Two things, Renshia. First, there is an “if” in that comment. Second, the comment is also aimed at you, not atheists in general (who I don’t believe you represent well). Once again, we fail to communicate at a basic level (for which I accept some responsibility). This will be my final response on this thread.

    Ask David if he thinks my blog commenting track record (which he has observed for a couple of years on two different blogs) suggests I’m the type of person whose feelings are easily hurt or who is overly quick to abandon any discussion. Heck, I would probably even enjoy having a beer with you. If, at some point, David decides to start a new thread, focusing on basic questions of belief, perhaps I’ll be back. We could all use a fresh start – me included. Bouncing between this thread and writing my father’s eulogy for the service tomorrow probably means I have rocks in my head.

    Comment by Warren — January 21, 2010 @ 1:53 am

  55. Renshia [#53],
    I can confirm that Warren is not that fragile; he would not withdraw from a discussion because of hurt feelings.

    Warren [#54],
    I pray God’s peace for you and your family today.
    I did put up a new post in which I attempt to shed light on some of the basic assumptions of atheism. In spite of its scintillating logic, I am not optimistic that it will dispel the fog of confusion.

    Comment by David — January 21, 2010 @ 8:44 am


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