Christian-Atheist Dialogue


Uploaded by deathray32 on 02.12.2011

Transcript:
Hello, I'm a Christian and I understand you claim to be an atheist.
What do you mean, "claim to be an atheist"? I am an atheist, period. Why do you people
always say "claim"? Do you think you know me better than I know myself?
Well, let's face it, you know deep down that God exists. You are just rebelling against
him. The fool has said in his heart, there is no god.
So now you're calling me a fool? That's not very Christian of you, I would have thought.
And do you really think you can convince me of the validity of your position by insulting
me? Who's the real fool here?
It's not me calling you a fool, it's the bible, which is the word of god whether you like
it or not.
Look, it's you calling me a fool. At least don't be a coward about it. Don't hide behind
the bible. Why don't you read Matthew 5:22 and find out what Jesus says about people
who call other people fools. "Whoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell
fire."
That's metaphorical. It's not meant to be taken literally. It's in keeping with Jesus's
admonition to love your neighbor.
So the bible is to be taken literally when it suits you, and metaphorically when the
argument is going against you. I see how this works.
I'll make allowences for the fact that you are theologically illiterate and are taking
a crude reductionist view of scripture. But I feel sorry for you. Why do you hate god
so much?
Why do you hate Zeus so much? Or Thor, or Isis, or Quetzlcoatl? Why are you rebelling
against them?
I'm sorry to see how much anger is inside you. I'm sure it's because there is a god
shaped hole in your heart. Your life is empty without Jesus. If you deny the miraculous
and the possibility of salvation, then your life is narrow and gloomy, and ultimately
meaningless.
On the contrary, my life is much more meaningful and satisfying since I gave up religion. I
can appreciate the awesomeness of the universe knowing that it is billions of years old,
not six thousand, and that all life on earth is related, having evolved from a common ancestor
over hundreds of millions of years, instead of having to mindlessly swallow a bunch of
fairy tales. Also, I realize that it is up to me to figure out how to be an ethical human
being using my own reason, rather than rigidly following the shibboleths of some ancient
dusty scroll written by ignorant bloodthirsty savages.
Yes, you atheists are ethical all right. Hitler and Stalin were atheists and they killed millions.
That shows you what an ethical belief system atheism is.
There's so much that you're wrong about, I hardly know where to start. First of all,
Hitler was definitely not an atheist. He was a Christian, and embraced as such by the Vatican
and the German churches until the day he died. "Mein Kampf" is saturated with religiosity.
For example he wrote, "In persecuting the Jews i am completing the work of Our Lord
left unfinished by Jesus Christ." The SS wore belt buckles with the slogan "God with us."
The German churches held special services every year on Hitler's birthday. The "Origin
of Species" was on a list of books burned by the Nazis. Most of the ideas in the final
solution, such as segregating the Jews into ghettoes and making them wear armbands, originated
in Martin Luther's essay, "On the Jews and their lies."
But what about...
Secondly, Stalin may have been an atheist but he didn't kill people because he was an
atheist. He killed them because he was a megalomaniac who wanted to eliminate any perceived threat
to his power. He reached an agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church in 1943 and after
that he ceased to persecute them as long as they didn't oppose him. In any case he didn't
kill millions of people single handedly. He had an army, most of whom were from a religious
peasant background. Russia has a long history of autocratic rulers and it never made much
difference whether they were religious or communist.
Well then...
Finally, atheism is not a worldview in itself. It's a component of many worldviews from the
extreme left of communism to the extreme right of Ayn Rand's objectivism, so it's obviously
silly to identify atheism with communism. It seems to me that communism is as much a
religion as anything else, since it has a tradition of dogma and cult leaders who demand
absolute loyalty. Atheism, on the other hand, is simply a lack of belief in a god or gods.
It's not a system of morality in itself, any more than recognizing that the world is round
rather than flat is a system of morality.
So you admit that atheism cannot provide you with an absolute morality. You cannot be a
moral person without god. Humans are imperfect and sinners, so any man-made morality is subjective
and leads only to sin and damnation.
All morality is subjective and of human origin, and religion-based morality is the most subjective
and arbitrary of all. If you insist on blindly following a set of "thou shalt nots" without
using your own reason, then you are in the same position as Christine O'Donnell, who
said that if the Nazis knocked on her door looking for Anne Frank, and Anne Frank was
in O'Donnell's attic, then O'Donnell would hand her up to the Nazis and let her be killed
rather than tell a lie. That sort of mindless adherence to a set of commands is a slave
mentality and often a profoundly immoral one.
Besides, every religion, and even every denomination within a religion, has a different idea of
morality, and there have been countless holy wars over trivial differences in theology.
It's precisely because the differences between religions are arbitrary and subjective, and
there is no way to settle the argument by reason or evidence, that religious wars are
the bloodiest.
So you have no morality? You just live in an immoral way?
Well, if you define morality as divine command, then obviously you are begging the question
of God's existence. You need to understand the distinction between morality and ethics.
Morality is something imposed from above in a power relationship. Parents impose morality
on their children because the children are too young to figure out right from wrong by
themselves. On the other hand, professionals such as lawyers and doctors have a code of
ethics, not a code of morality. We have bio-ethicists, not bio-moralists. This is because, as autonomous
adults, we are responsible for coming up with a code of behavior, on our own or in conjunction
with our peers, and then committing to live by it. Expecting an old man with a beard in
the sky to spell everything out for us is a sign of immaturity.
Okay, suppose you are right, and there is no god. But then if you believe in him, you
lose nothing when you die. However, if he does exist and you disbelieve in him, then
you will lose everything when you die, because you will be cast into the Lake of Fire, to
scream forever in infinite agony.
This is a very old argument called Pascal's Wager, and it is invalid in many ways. Firstly,
it assumes that there are only two possibilities: no god exists, or the god you believe in exists.
But there are infinitely many possibilities. Perhaps there is a god who enjoys torturing
people who suck up to him, but respects those who honestly doubt his existence because of
lack of evidence, and rewards them with heaven. Or perhaps there is the Deist god, who created
the universe and then left it to its own devices, and doesn't care whether anyone believes in
him or not.
Secondly, this argument assumes that you can fool whichever god exists, by feigning belief
in him out of self-interest. Many people would say that a god who can be fooled so easily
is hardly deserving of our worship.
Thirdly, for many people, belief is not a matter of choice. They cannot choose to believe
something if there is no evidence for it or it just doesn't make sense, no matter how
pleasant it might be to believe in it.
Finally, genuine morality is about doing the right thing for its own sake, rather than
acting out of self interest. If you need the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell to
keep you in line, then you are not a truly ethical person.
You have an answer for everything, don't you? But in the end, atheism is just another religion.
That's silly. That's like saying health is just another disease.
Okay, we'll just have to agree to disagree. But I don't like your tone. My beliefs are
very precious to me and you should respect them.
I respect your right to hold your beliefs. I don't have to respect the beliefs themselves.
And I absolutely will not respect beliefs that promote bigotry and backwardness.
Very well. In that case, have a nice day. I'll pray for you.
Fine. I'll think for you.