What is curious about those at the extremes of the God debate is how little either is learning from either…
I think it’s hard for either side to even listen.
For one thing, it is an either-or proposition, and there is little room for compromise. I mean, there can’t be half a god. Either the God of the monotheistic religions exists or he doesn’t. Agnosticism is not really a compromise either, is it? It’s simply a decision not to choose one or the other based on lack of evidence.
For us God-believers there is a price to pay for not believing. I think that’s why we tend to get “worked up” about the issue. It’s also why we tend not to listen very well to our detractors. I think some of us have doubts and are frightened that a really smart atheist might talk us out of our convictions.
For some atheists, not all, their atheism came after years of “brainwashing” by God-believers. For them I think there is a strong emotional reaction to what they perceive as more “brainwashing.” I think they also tend to think that they have become more enlightened and have reached a superior conclusion than those who are still stuck in their “deliusion.” That is not conducive to thoughtful engagement.
There are two types of argumentation: One which you seek understanding, and another where you seek victory. Religious discussion, since so much is on the line (the souls of the participants), the ladder is more often the case.
It is precisely because neither side is willing to listen – much in the mode of thought introduced by your last post. An atheist usually feels that they cannot even sit down at the negotiating table with a religious person. The difference is not merely that of thoughts and ideas, but how one arrives as their thoughts and ideas – hence its not just an epistemology (what do we know) but something deeper (how we know what we know). Likewise the religious feel that making a concession, even if it is only to ‘entertain’ the thought, is a sin of moral consequence. To deny God’s existence, even out of pure intellectual gymnastics, borders on heresy, and furthermore is pointless, because any ‘knowledge’ or ‘education’ gained from such mental trickery cannot be applied to an existence within which one believes God to exist. This of course amplifies as both sides grow more fervent about their primary principles.
Ironically, and as a side note, I find the fanatical atheist is EVEN MORE hell-bent (pun intended) on converting believers than the religious fanatic is. I don’t know what exactly motivates them; pity for the ‘fooled’ believers? pride in the ‘salvific’ power of science \ logic \ reason? Anger at the ‘brainwashed’ (see above)? Or is it a belief that truth, no matter of what kind, must be defended with zeal?
For my part, I enjoy discussing the peculiarities of both sides to pick one to defend.
wow, long explanations.
mine’s short. like mah irish lowball.
it all makes baby jesus cry.
if it’s real.
I will be back and respond later…Thanks for all you comments.
RG – Agnosticism is not a compromise, and for me it is not a position of vacillation between atheism and theism. I simply do not know how to define the un-definable – a tag word like god doesn’t work for me – I state this with no disrespect to you or your faith.
I will never try to talk you out of your faith. That would be extreamly disrespectful…however I will challenge your thinking.
Dame – remember the good old days when all I did was write poetry…oh for the good old days. however I have let the cat out of the bag – I also THINK!
veritasexnihilo – very nicely said…I almost agree, which is nice…
I will have to give some thought to you observation “Ironically, and as a side note, I find the fanatical atheist is EVEN MORE hell-bent (pun intended) on converting believers than the religious fanatic is”
I think I could easily go contrary to this…but perhaps another time.
When I think of those who are at those extremes the image I always have in my mind is of someone yelling, eyes closed, hands over their ears. That could explain why. 😉
Alicia – Are you writing about me – or someone else…? 🙂
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