Folks often ask me about the kind of conversations I get into, so I thought I’d begin a bit of an on-going series involving one. With B’s permission, I am reprinting parts of our conversation. My question to you is how would you respond to B’s questions and the issues he brings up? (Be warned, I’ll probably make a blog out of the more interesting responses).
I am the atheist, B, that you met last Friday evening at the InConjunction session titled “Religion and Science – Can there ever be peace between the two?”
You had told me during the panel discussion last Friday, and then again when I bought your book, that I’d like Wrath. And I assume I will. I would like to meet Mr. White or see him in action in your suggested “debate” type of event. But, at the risk of always focusing on the negative, I’m a little surprised at what you and he both write in the foreword and afterword of your book.
You write, “We’re both men of faith.” This would be a major insult to me as an atheist. But it’s not for Mr. White? I think that’s surprising given the atheists I know. I find that Christian believers are constantly trying to bring the atheist down to their level when it comes to standards for establishing the truth of our reality. You did the same during the session last Friday by saying atheists have “faith.” I do not have “faith” according to how Christians use the word. I’d like to think that if you give me solid evidence to the contrary, I’ll back down on even the propositions that I hold to be the most certain. Please try to understand that my attempting to maintain an open mind is not the same as lacking certainty.
“We each are on our own spiritual journey…” I consider myself spiritual in a loose definition of the word, but it’s not the definition for the word “spiritual” that believers in the supernatural use. Again, I’m surprised that you feel comfortable in describing Mr. White that way – inferring that he accepts this.
And then, in the afterword, Mr. White writes “Or, we could do the honorable thing and admit that neither of us know anything about these big cosmological questions with anything approaching absolute certainty…” This again brings me back to the panel discussion last Friday where persons repeatedly tried to infer that we, as humans, cannot know anything with confidence or “certainty” thus putting religious propositions on equal footing with known physical realities. Is that honest?
I’m ready to state that after my investigations, I am certain the Christian God and Jesus as “Christ” are not realities. There is no practical evidence that the Christian God participates in our reality. There’s no practical evidence that a man can lie dead and decaying for 2.5 days and be resurrected. Nature, as shown through science, doesn’t provide for these things to have happened. In addition, the known history of the world, of mankind, of religions in general and the history of Christianity, in particular, shows that it’s very common that man creates god and that people, for their own reasons, buy into it. The history of the Christian Bible, the history of Christianity, shows man’s fingerprints, not God’s.
And the human race has only been around for a very short time compared to the history of the universe, the history of the Earth and the history of life on Earth. And a lot of what is known today, wasn’t known very long ago – especially in relation to the history of the human race. Galileo only publicized that the Earth was not the center of the Earth in 1610. Newton published his theories of motion and gravity in 1687. Einstein published his theory of relativity in 1917. Hubble “discovered” the universe outside of the Milky Way in 1930 when he”saw” less than a handful of galaxies. Now we can “see” billions of galaxies, with an average of 1 billion stars per galaxy. It’s only been in the last 10-15 years that the human genome has been mapped and compared to other animals. We now have genetics to show the underlying processes that result in the evolution of life. Genetic analysis in combination with archaeology has given us some good information on the migration of the human race around the world (everyone alive today shares a common male ancestor who lived some 60,000-80,000 years ago in Africa). Only recently has the background microwave radiation of the universe been mapped to help show the pattern of the universe’s formation and its development. And research into quantum electrodynamic mechanics is helping to describe the mechanisms that provide all matter and energy.
Amid all this, Christians expect the Bible, a collection of letters and stories written by men thousands of years ago (The first independent evidence for the NT gospels is Justin Martyr in 150AD) to supercede what we know as the truth of our reality – the truths we know about nature. I won’t pretend that we “know” everything. I won’t pretend that some of what we know may need refining and maybe some of it is just plain wrong. But we know enough with enough confidence that I know the Christian Bible is wrong about God and Jesus as “Christ.”
And we haven’t even touched the subject of human psychology and human motivations that result in “belief” despite the evidence to the contrary. If the Christian God does exist, then he’s provided me with so much proof that he doesn’t exist, it’s so completely one-sided, that I can’t possibly think he’s a reality without giving up my honesty and personal integrity or my sanity.
Just so you know, I don’t write all of this solely to be antagonistic – but rather, to provide you the ability to compare my perspectives to what you’ve gotten from Mr. White. And you seem to be open to at least hearing other perspectives. Perhaps, if the opportunity presents itself, I will have a role to play in future events involving Mr. White. I’m not much in the way of a polished public speaker, but I have studied and thought through a lot of relevant information.
to be continued …
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