On a car forum I moderate on, a religion thread was started. It wasn't long before the zealots came out to praise one another and then the resident Atheists chimed in. There was one theist in particular that was heading up their side of the discussion and is the main party I replied to and debated in the thread. There were a few moments that make you go 'huh?', like when someone claimed that Christians were the minority. That was quickly dispatched with a brief providing of actual statistics.
But this one guy was full on proselytizing and calling the other Atheist debater 'Satan', 'Lucifer' etc etc... But he was also making some very poorly reasoned comments (surprise) and committing logical fallacies (double surprise) regularly. The thread was started by a theist asking about clarification of a Biblical passage contradiction (on a car forum?) and if people read the whole Bible and if they could suggest a version. I'll list a few of the general discussion points as we go along:
I told my story about how I read the Bible, am an Atheist and that the verse contradiction is due to the books being written by different people at different times. Obviously I feel the book is a load of rubbish, but I choose to put it as respectfully as I could. Well cue the zealot!
Zealot: He basically ran off the regular argument that reading something doesn't make you an expert in it and that of course I still didn't believe it since you went in with a preconceived notion.
Me: I Agreed that just reading a book does not automatically make you an expert at the subject matter, but reminded him that it is a two way street. I also reminded him that he is likely not reading from an unbiased view point and informed him of one important factor he didn't consider. That fact that when I read the Bible cover to cover I was still a believer.
Zealot: He came back with the expected no true Scotsman fallacy. That I couldn't have been a true Christian if I lost faith in Jesus. No real believer could leave after reading his holy word...
Me: I called out his fallacy and assured him that I did truly believe in and accepted Jesus at that time in my life, thus making me a Christian. I also relied to a tangent he made about morality by stating that I actually feel that I am more moral now, because I have since shed prejudices that were part of my former faith. I also pointed out that no religion has a monopoly on morality and that we can be perfectly moral like everyone else.
Zealot: Ah ha! You told on yourself! No true Christian would ever judge another. You were never a true Christian. That's why you lost faith.
Me: In response to that and previous judgments he made of me earlier in the discussion, I replied as such, "Earlier you keep repeating that my disbelief in the Bible told you more about me than anything else. You also said before that a true Christian never judges anyone. So I ask, should I share you a seat next to me in Hell? After all, you are guilty of judging me. Someone you have never met. Someone who anyone that ever got to know me has praised as a great and thoughtful person. I bet if we got together we could probably kick back and have a good time, share some pints and shoot the breeze. Yet, without knowing me you judge me based on a single fact that is irrelevant to the type of person I am."
I have yet to receive any reply even though he's been online.
During the conversation I also asked this question of the theists. "Are you as a believer open to the possibility of the Bible (and the god in it) not being the love everyone all the time, and forgive all type of story that it is often made out to be. I ask you this because I am 100% open to hearing arguments contrary to what I feel to be true. Quite simply, I thirst for knowledge and am more concerned about if my beliefs are true than if they are reassuring, promise reward, etc. I read Theist arguments open to the possibility that I could be wrong. I feel quite secure in my stance, but I will freely admit that not one person has ever known everything, and I'm no different. So I ask, are you open to the possibility that you could be wrong, and do you read the arrguments of a non-believer or member of another religion with the same honest open minded attitude as I?"
His reply? "you also asked if I am open to the possibility of christianity being wrong...... Absolutely not. Not because Im closed minded, but because denying Christ would mean I would have to ignore the countless times Christ has saved me, healed me, showed me mercy etc... I cannot deny what I have experienced in my life. That would be insane. Literally insane.." *facepalm*
Of course I informed him that he was being the very definition of close-minded and reminded him that no matter what he feels he experienced, there is always an alternative explanation. Never mentioned again...
And finally he kept going on and on about how 'we may not believe in Satan, but he believes in us', 'we're doing Satan's biding', 'we are under Satan's control', 'Satan is deceiving us' etc etc. But he kept coming back to the statement that we may not believe in Satan either, but we are unknowingly under his power and fighting for his cause. It was odd that he kept stressing that that we were 'unknowingly' serving Satan... He set himself up far too well for me to not throw this argument at him.
Also, you like to constantly repeat that us non-believers (and presumably members of other religions) are unknowingly following Satan and doing his will. So I ask of you; what about the fact that the very same can be said of you? You base your entire world view on the presumption that Christianity is the absolute truth. But what if the true god is in fact Horus? He is said to be in eternal battle with Set, god of darkness and chaos. It is possible that you are unknowingly being used by Set in his battle with Horus. Creating the Christian creed and doing good toward you in the guise of Jesus/God of Abraham in order to lead people from Horus. If I would never know that I am serving Satan as you suggest, then it is equally plain to see that you would never know that you are under Set's control.
It probably isn't to surprising that I have not heard word one from him since. It seems obvious to me that he simply doesn't have an answer, since he was more than willing to comment before. But this isn't new for me on discussions there and elsewhere. Trap them with their own words and logic and they simply run away and hide. I guess it's a sign of victory, but part of me always wishes they imply didn't run away without at least acknowledging what was said.
Oh well. Just thought I'd share. If anyone else has similar stories, feel free to chime in.