Click here for Part I and Part II. At this point in our conversation, I got the feeling B was talking at me or rather at the person he expected me to be. It was like he was engaging the Christian response he was used to getting rather than engaging me. But maybe that’s just my reading of his response:

I apologize for the “tone”. I’m continually criticized for having an attacking style of writing…but my primary goal is simply to be honest.

[“Cold embrace”] – yes, the laws of nature are indifferent to our feelings and emotions. However, people are not. I still have feelings. I have family I care about and who care about me. I spend a lot of time with friends. We grow, we learn. I develop attachments and affections. I continue to experience joy and sorrow because of life events. My life isn’t lifeless, very much the opposite.

[Are you left with only becoming a humanist or a nihilist?] I certainly don’t agree with nihilist attitudes. My life has meaning to me. My life has the purpose I recognize and that I choose to give it. There are things that are worth doing. There are still goals and challenges. There is satisfaction. I still empathize with others. I still want to lessen pain and increase satisfaction and happiness for myself and for others. I recognize the patterns of life. Doing things with friends is fun and is a good thing. Our lives are better because of our caring for each other and accepting each other. I don’t struggle with the meaning of life. I accept life.

[Humanism:] I don’t feel constrained by Humanism which seems to be what you’re inferring. Humanism is about having positive values and a positive outlook. Humanism recognizes the things I’ve been talking about in the proceeding paragraphs. But by itself, humanism isn’t limiting.

Non-belief is not inherently negative or sub-standard to belief which your “tone” of questions suggests. Non-belief does not preclude happiness or satisfaction or love…we’re all still human. But even if non-belief were less “joyful,” Are you going to choose to promote fictions because accepting the truth appears to be unattractive? How does integrity apply?

[Is telling the truth about reality just a “different precept?”] Consistently in your writings, you attempt to equate faith and belief as being equally dependable as the known truths of our reality. They are not on equal footing. As I have said before, no one can produce any practical evidence for the existence of the Christian God. I have plenty of evidence for the existence of natural law. The Christian God and Jesus as “Christ” easily fall in the category of human invention. Gravity is not a human invention. The Earth, the solar system and the Universe are not a human invention. Subatomic particles are not a human invention. The laws of probability are not a human invention. And there is solid evidence for all these things. The Christian God, by definition is “super-natural.” Yet, no practical evidence of a “super-natural” being, active and participating is shown. Human feelings, human desires, and human emotions don’t make the Christian God a reality – a truth.

[although i’m curious, i would think that being an atheist would be enough. everyone’s beliefs are their own and folks tend to get prickly with religious/social movements when they seek to convert. how is your “spread the message” about “what the truth is” make you any different from any other evangelistic religion except with differing precepts.]

“everyone’s beliefs are their own.” Really? That’s not the approach I see the typical Christian taking. How many atheists have come knocking at your door to preach atheism? I get Christians knocking pretty regularly. I find their leaflets in my front door. In my personal experience, dealing with Christian family and Christian friends, my non-belief is NOT considered acceptable, nor is it respected. For me to discuss anything that seems to contradict Christian teachings is “unseemly” and “distasteful” in these Christian dominated groups. And yet, all I’m presenting is presenting something that is part of our reality…the only reason it’s “unseemly” or “distasteful” is because of Christian teachings…which are based on what? Certainly not the hard evidence that shows evolution to be true…and by the way, when I talk about evolution, I’m talking about Common Descent. Christians like to argue about “survival of the fittest” and the relative merits of what steers evolution…but the key issue is really Common Descent. Common Descent has been shown to be a truth. We share common ancestry with other animals…to this point, no living entity can be ruled out as not sharing common descent with humans…maybe there is something, but to this point, we either find that a living entity does share common descent or it’s inconclusive. My point being that common descent is simply the way it is. Why does (public) school stop for an hour on Wednesday’s in my county for Weekday Religious Education? And why are children of non-believers separated out and sent to the library? Is it ok for the majority to isolate the minority socially? What ways are acceptable and what ways are unacceptable?

I was at the Brickyard 400 last Sunday. There was an invocation prayer given before the race that prayed to the Christian God and referred to Jesus Christ, lord and savior. Now, understanding my “take” on Christianity, it would be hypocritical for me to take off my hat and bow. Yet, that is what is expected of me by the Christian majority. We are on opposite sides of a gap…what is there to bridge that gap? I would say God if there were any chance that God were real. But God isn’t real. What’s left? The information that describes the truth of reality is what is left. Those things that show how nature and natural law really work…and they consistently show no involvement by the Christian God.

The reality is that people, in groups, discriminate against others outside that group. Are they justified? My interpretation of Christian teachings, and I think this is more than fair, is that if you’re a “believer” you’re acceptable to the Christian group and a “non believer” is unacceptable as a full and complete participant in society. The “non believer” is marginalized. As an atheist, if Christians on the whole were truly accepting of me and respected me, then I wouldn’t have any (meaningful) problem with Christians. I wouldn’t focus my attention on them. But that’s not the way it is. So I am fighting back and I’m fighting back with the truth of our reality.

Because, eventually, in the end, the truth of reality shows itself for what it is and, in my opinion, it’s the best possible common denominator for us to share. I’m trying to help that process along to what I hope is its inevitable conclusion. It’s very sad for me to think that humanity ultimately allows fiction to win out over the truth of reality. Humans don’t always put telling the truth as their highest priority.

-B

Any takers on responding to B’s points?

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