Response to Streetapologist
I would be happy to start an e-mail dialogue with you. The lateness of this response should give you some indication of how busy I am right now. Between projects at work requiring research, the usual demands of New England Winter, and the IRS, I am not finding a lot of spare time. A few things you might like to know up front:
I don’t expect to change your mind about anything, and I don’t expect that you will change mine. My purpose for this dialogue is to better understand your position, and to see if a less adversarial coexistence is possible. If your goals are equally modest, then perhaps neither one of us will be disappointed.
My responses might be very long in coming.
If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that I am about exposing the tools of confusion, or how some people gain power or advantage over others and the price we all pay, or the self-empowerment we cede when we make these social bargains. Some social bargains are ethical, and some are not. Some fall into a gray area and there are supporting arguments for either position. This usually happens when there are both positive and negative consequences to said bargain. Evaluating the comparative worth of those consequences can be the subject of lively debate.
I would be a fool not to recognize the high value that many of my fellow humans place on their religious beliefs. All else aside, this is a traditional way of life with both real and perceived benefits that believers find helpful and/or comforting. It would also be insensitive on my part to deny another’s right to live life as they saw fit. Society places logical limits on this, I don’t have to. All I have to do is to voice my opinion if I think that the limits are going overboard in one direction or another. If enough people feel the same way, things change. Wherever the lines are drawn, it is important to leave some room inside them. If this were not true, then why are the most restrictive societies also the most brutal and violent?
Why do I argue for atheism if I do not expect to change the mind of the apologist? I argue to present an opposing point of view, so that the curious and undecided will have to work to reach a decision. “Religion, Inc.” presents a relentless infomercial upholding their point of view. The number of ways that people profit from, and reinforce superstitious beliefs is staggering. The world of the scientific naturalist is mundane by comparison and lacks dramatic appeal.
I am also interested to see if the communication barrier I perceive (see here and here ) is real and if it can be overcome. I also have a personal interest. One of my best friends no longer speaks to me, presumably because his Fundy beliefs tell him that I’m going to Hell (link). It might surprise some people to know that this godless atheist cares about a little thing like that and finds it emotionally painful.