Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Arguing With Atheists

I don't.
The most I will do, usually, is just explain my reasoning for not considering myself one.
I have a conviction that the will to believe or disbelieve is one which is much, much deeper than intellectual argumentation. Some don't believe that, but I do.
At one point in my life I've been on either side of the fence in the God debate. My brief bout of atheism was brief because it was a violent reaction against the form of theism I was raised in, which formed the basis of my religious ideas at the time. (That form of theism no longer serves as the bedrock for my belief system.)
I have atheist friends and we get along fine. I respect their beliefs, am challenged by some of their more searching problems with religion (although I think most of them rely too much on cliches and stereotypes), and am pained to add that they don't seem quite so kindly turned towards my beliefs. In fact, I find the most dyed-in-the-wool atheists to be every bit as evangelistic and condescending as the fundamentalist religious believer.
There is in my thinking no room for an idea of God which has it that there is a single way to believe; that if one is unable to "find the right path" that person will damned eternally because of that inability. I have no patience with forms of religion that divides humanity and encourage hate.
There is another aspect of the way I think. I seriously doubt we humans are as smart as we think we are. Doubt is an ever present element of my thought processes. I'm reconciled to the fact that my best thinking may be in error, and I'm fine with that.
That being the case, why would I undertake to argue with atheists or, for that matter, any hidebound believer in a system of thought?
Atheism holds no fear for me. My favorite kind of atheists, however, are those who are also committed humanists. And with that variety of atheist I am more than willing to link arms and walk. So should any believer in liberal spirituality.

There may be more to existence than meets the eye and again there may not. Either way, that the human family is one should be obvious to all. I really don't enjoy arguing with my brothers and sisters.


  1. I don't like arguing either. I used to love a good theological debate, but now it just makes me tired. I'm also not what I once was but would not but the "A" label on myself, either.

    1. Arguing seems to me to be a waste of time. Once we believe so strongly we are going to argue (in the truest sense of the word), we are already so emotionally invested that we aren't listening any longer. Our egos are involved more than our intellect. I don't mind a friendly debate with an honest give-and-take and exchange of ideas. But how hard is that to pull off?!

  2. I can't believe you think we are not as smart as we think we are. :)

    Great post, Doug.

    1. Speaking just for myself, I had to live a while to figure out how ignorant I really am. LOL!

  3. So many thoughts surface.

    Atheism = peace for me. It wasn't sought out, it wasn't a deep process . . . it just was, well, simple as compared to a complicated salvation.

    I remember a former therapist being so curious . . . 'how can one go from believing and then not believing, don't you have a hole to fill, don't you need something, what is there now?' (A very good paraphrase of that moment.) I simply told him I have peace. My response left him speechless.

    I see the struggle with the word atheist. It reminds me of the struggle with the word Christian. A lot of Christians hated the term Christian as well.

    I find that I don't want to divorce myself from the term atheist because in practical terms all it means is, "I don't believe in any god(s) &/or God(s)." There might be one or two or more out there but I don't believe there are. So atheist is full-disclosure and open honesty for me.

    I don't want to argue too much either. I've been ripped to shreds by an ADMIN on an atheist forum where I was a MOD. Eeegaads! I resigned. He flipped out. Wanted to fight. I wouldn't. Ripped to shreds.

    The thing is, it's not about our labels. It's about who we are, our personalities. We can change what we believe, modify it or morph in other ways but quite often we just take our personalities along for the ride. Sometimes they change, sometimes they don't.

    1. You are so right: it's not about our labels. And you are welcome here (and would be in my humble home). as are all my atheist friends with kind hearts.

    2. Thanks Doug.

  4. " I'm reconciled to the fact that my best thinking may be in error, and I'm fine with that."

    I feel exactly the same! And I might add that I feel that NONE of us have the answers that we sometimes so ernestly spout to others.