It has occurred to me that perhaps some of you out there could help me.
I have appreciated the opportunity afforded me by this website to express my opinions so freely, being the opinionated sort that I am. However, my enjoyment is somewhat dampened by the fact that, in this environment, I am largely “carrying coals to Newcastle” - “preaching to the choir,” as it were (if I may wallow in metaphor); and it therefore robs me of the full sense of triumph that would accrue if my missives were doing mischief within the camps of the enemy. The trouble is, those encampments I have attempted to infiltrate are stoutly fortified to discourage such sacrilegious vandalism. I have tried several times to locate a Christian website that supplies a forum accessible to contrarian points of view. But, so far, the obstacles strewn in my path have proven too daunting to permit entry. One site even explicitly warned that it would not tolerate skepticism, much less evil atheism to breach the portals of its inner sanctum. So my question is: can any of you help me by suggesting a Christian blog that allows such freedom of dissent as is available here?
I admire Jessica C., who has courageously, boldly, even charmingly engaged us infidels with such intelligent and thoughtful candor; and I envy her the opportunity we have given her. So far, she has, with good humor, endured the barbs some of us, myself included, have slung her way. I would think that, if anyone knew of any Christian websites that would welcome me as much as we welcome her, it would be she. So, Jessica, if you are reading this, any suggestions? Anyone else?
I think in a couple of cases you were arguing at cross purposes. I think some of the people you are debating with are confused by the way you phrase your question. (I've noticed you have said "what god" rather than "which god" a few times; the first is questioning existence, the second is asking which selection of (purported) gods is correct.)
One guy was saying of course his god is the one true god, because all he has done is define god as "the creator of the universe" (and he doesn't even claim to be sure such an entity exists). He accuses you of trying to force a particular dogma into the question
In fact you are basically for purposes of this argument granting the existence of a being defined this way and wish to know how you can be assured that a particular dogma about that being (including it's name, preferred form of worship, which people are genuine prophets, etc) is correct.
Thanks, Strega, I did check out “Debating Christianity,” but I was disappointed. I maneuvered as best I could among the multiplicity of topics presented, but I felt like a mouse in a maze. And whenever I managed to find a question that posted comments, they were all severely truncated and the apologetics were usually Bible-based non-sequiturs, amounting to circular reasoning that is unresponsive to logical argument, i.e., “The Bible is true because it says so in the Bible.” End of debate. Or in response to the question of who or what created God: “God always existed because He is not constrained by time.” What a mealy-mouthed explanation of something so profoundly existential. Aside from the obvious evasion, that is not a distinction granted by religionists to the material universe. In other words, they want it both ways: the universe was created, but God wasn’t. That’s it! No more questions, please.
And it’s certainly not the wide open forum that “Think Atheist” is - not a real-time back-and-forth exchange. It seems to be nothing more than an insulated compendium of pre-sorted, stock questions accompanied by off-the-shelf answers. Nowhere did I see any polemic screeds of the sort in which I like to indulge.
I also find the frequent references to being “respectful” unacceptably restrictive. My brief perusal of the site tells me that ANY question posed that the site administrator deems too daunting and/or can’t be dismissively addressed with a Bible quote would be rejected as disrespectful. Besides, I have no intention of being ostensibly respectful to something for which I have no respect whatsoever. That’s one of the points Richard Dawkins often makes - that religion a priori DEMANDS respect for no other reason than that it IS religion. Science MUST justify its claims with empirical evidence; religion, by contrast, is exempt from such stricture by dint of some kind of holy entitlement. To my way of thinking, the very fact that it is a preposterous mythological construct and not accessible to science or reason strips religion of all claim of being deserving of respect. In short, I’m looking for a site where I can be as disrespectful as I wish to a thought paradigm that is based on nothing more than blind faith, bronze-age superstition and fairy-tale fantasy.
My guess? No such site exists.
Dale, I'm totally with you. I just went looking for something that might satisfy your criteria.
I prefer Stephen Fry's take on respect and offense. 1.38 minutes of joy :)
Sounds perfect... I'm gonna check it out
There is a website called www.godfmtv.com
In order to gain access you have to create a profile and state whether you are "guide" or a "seeker" (or something similar to that). I created a profile as a "seeker" and I very politely asked a series of questions. As the difficulty of my questions increased it took longer and longer to get a reply. Eventually if they did reply, their answers were nonsensical or totally irrelevant.
After a few days, I gave up on getting any meaningful information from them.
We were on the topic of "Original Sin". I mentioned that my 6 year old grandson had stolen a cupcake and then lied about taking it. He had broken two of The Ten Commandments. I asked if he was going to burn in hell forever. After a while one guy said children weren't responsible for their sins. I asked for a Biblical reference for that statement but I never got one. After a long time someone replied with a New Testament scripture that stated that If the father or mother of the house are believers then the whole household, including the children will go to heaven. I've never heard that doctrine before. Then I asked if my Christian mother would cover for me - she's 85 and I am 60 years old. I never got an answer for that question.
This might be slightly off-track, but it is a video of a reporter interviewing people at a Republican Party convention. The reporter approaches people and asks some "easy" questions. But when the questions become serious, most of the people have no idea what they are talking about. The title of the video pretty well sums up what is shown - "Retarded Right Wingers Rally For Romney".
I joined one as a non-believer. I was not there to amass “blessing points” or “seek the Anointing” whatever that means. I can brush off that nonsense. I joined to enter a debate about “can evolution and faith co-exist”. I was totally respectful but anything I posted was met with abuse. I really only got as far as saying the TOE did not explain or try to explain how life on Earth started but only how it evolved after it had begun. I was warned by the Mods to be less aggressive even though these xtians were insulting me personally and never addressed any point other that say I, like all godless scientists was wrong because the bible said so.
When I asked if that was the case why did the bother to start a debate in the first instance. That brought about warning number 2. I then said I would forgive them for the abuse which really upset me (not) and that I would be prepared to turn the other cheek. I had my account revoked without a word and the discussion was deleted within five minutes. This kind of weird freaky christian science….
Depends, are you an apologetic?
Hi Jessica - I suspect that you and Reg will agree on most points. It's my understanding that Deism (and some forms of liberal Theism) are compatible with evolution and the point that Reg was arguing is that the theory of evolution does not comment on first causes or abiogenesis. BTW - I haven't communicated directly with you before, so welcome and thank you for spicing up the debate.
RE: "I wouldn't consider myself a Deist." - she probably read one of your older posts, and didn't realize that your life as a Deist only lasted a few hours --
Yep - that's about right. I can't say that I've followed everything. Not enough spare time at the moment.