armed with a degree in theology, over the years i have come up with specific questions to ask of christians.
indeed i even attend "alpha courses" (introductory courses to becoming a christian) and put these questions to the hosts (usually under the guise of "well i'm thinking of becoming a christian but i have some questions...)
confrontation and causing offense gets you nowhere. also being impolite just reinforces their smug assertion that atheists are angry.
the question i have had most success with at putting people on the spot goes like this...
"a priest rapes a choirboy. the choirboy becomes depressed and traumatized, rejects jesus and the church (understandably), turns to drugs, dies young and spends an eternity in hell, unsaved and condemned by god.
the priest repents on his deathbed, embraces christ, is forgiven and spends forever in heaven.
by what measure can we consider this to be justice?"
i'm hoping that this question might one day become a meme, so that anyone who brings up the subject of christianity is immediately reminded of this question and has an answer demanded of them.
i have many other questions like this that cannot be simply swatted away with theology, mystery or dogma.
i'd be happy to share them with anyone who is interested.
thanks for reading, let me know if it has an impact on anyone you ask.
Teleological in its broadest definition means a narual process, a phenomena or a concept aims towards a certain end or goal or achievement.
You claim that part of this drive to love is in the aim of us realising what this love is. Realising this love...as you define it...unlocks what you call spiritual qualities, a sense of joy, a sense of understanding the world, awakenning, embracing the love. It works wonders. It enlivens you. It is a magical natural process. It informs you about humanity. It reveals truths. Its as though loving is a force that aims towards an end...loving and understanding love.
Yet this is a cold...non-supernatural...fully material thing. Do you see how something here doesn't compute?
I guess that's a good point. You could say the same about your body - it's a material biological machine, yet you experience the full rich range of being a human being.
"Its as though loving is a force that aims towards an end..."
- the end that it aims at, is to make you better off.
@Trevor. I totally get what you say about your profound experience of God in your daily life and how it gives you joy. Atheists have no problem with that. At least I don’t. For me what you are describing is a personal but entirely subjective experience.
What you are telling me is that you believe that you can communicate with the Creator of the Universe. I find that “unbelievable”. You are telling me that you are an immortal and will exist “forever” with the Creator of the Universe. I also find this “unbelievable”.
If you have nothing against “reasoned argument”, if it is “a good thing” as you say it is please engage with us by explaining why we should believe what you are claiming. Tell me why I should not find those things you claim to be “true” to not be “unbelievable”. Why should I believe you? If you can show me something that I can believe in that is not just not your subjective opinion then I will believe it. If that is not clear enough please ask me to explain it further. You will have my undivided attention. I would love someone to tell me why it should not be “unbelievable”.
Sadly, there is no argument that will crush a Christian apologist. They've already read the Bible, which is the strongest proof imaginable in favour of atheism - trust me, I know. I'm an ex-Christian - so they already know that their religion is false.
But they won't ever acknowledge that.
People of 'faith' cling to their beliefs, not because they actually believe them, but because they believe all their friends do, and if they tell anyone of their doubts, they will be ostracised. In short, they 'believe' because the alternative is to lose all their friends and watch their marriages disintegrate (and never to be allowed to visit the children).
I believe I have an understanding of what motivates them to try to convert others too.
Those of us who have smoked - yes I'm an ex-smoker too - will have encountered people who are trying to quit. They immediately start telling others they should stop too. They get pushy. They get almost religious. They go outside with the smokers and, while their friends light up, they preach.
Then, less than a week later, they start smoking again, and everyone is relieved.
Religious people are just the same. They doubt - indeed, they know they are wrong. But they can't admit it.
So they follow the atheists around and try to convert them. In reality, they don't care any more about what the atheists believe than I care about what the Christians believe. They aren't trying to convince us.
They are only trying to convince themselves.
If they truly believed they were right, they wouldn't need to tell anyone. Indeed, if they really were right, it would be self-evident and would need no discussion.