Sunday, February 05, 2006

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.


At 10:45 AM, Blogger Dan Dufek said...

I agree with the objective for this dialogue. Although I would prefer an email exchange however based on what you said here:

"so that the curious and undecided will have to work to reach a decision."

Perhaps the dialogue would be better if done in a more public forum.

I will post my intial comments (within a day or so) on what I perceive to be the rational basis for Christian faith. As far as I am concerned we can keep this public.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

An e-mail exchange is Ok with me. I had that in mind. If anything interesting were to develop, I thought that I might ask your permission to publish. I can go either way on this, so I leave it up to you.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Dan Dufek said...

I have posted what I consider opening comments. I decided to ask you a couple of questions regarding morality prior to publishing comments on the rational basis for the Christian faith.

This will give you time to respond to my comments while I prepare the aforementioned comments.

You can find the comments at I know you have been there before but this is a just in case.

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Dan Dufek said...


You may use any of my comments as you see fit, provided they are used in context. In return I will give you the same courtesy and unless I hear otherwise I will assume that I have your permission to cut and paste your posts for interaction with them. Agreed?

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Rev. Barky said...

I have long given up having this discussion with those who identify themeselves as Xtian. The reason is that every one I have met has a personal reason for believing in a higher power that they strongly desire to hold on to despite that there is nothing truly logical about it. There is only a pretense of logic that soiund more like a convenient but elaborate excuse to me. I have even heard people state in effect that they know there is no such thing as a god, - but they believe anyway! That's a pointless discussion in my book.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Dan Dufek said...


I responded to your post on your blog. You have comment moderation on so my comments have not showed up yet.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Dan Dufek said...

What happened? All of a sudden your article disappeared?

At 2:38 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Indeed, my post has disappeared. why? Your guess is as good as mine. Thought police? Some nimrod that thinks they have a copyright on a copy of a cartoon that has been in the Public Domain for at least a quarter century? Disney's copyright extensio for the Mouse is not retroactive. I will investigate.

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