Conversations with a True Believer.

This is a very lengthy entry consisting of a series of emails I’ve been exchanging with yet another True Believer™ hell-bent on my conversion. Rather than post his emails in their entirety followed by my responses I opted to just use my replies as they generally contain the full text of the email I’m responding to. It was an attempt to cut back on the length, but it’s still ridiculously long. My would-be enlightener goes by the name John Donnelly and I actually feel sorry for the poor guy in some ways as it seems this has been a very frustrating experience for him. He doesn’t appear to be well-equipped to engage in serious religious discussions and it shows in some of the approaches he takes.

It all began with the following email and my short, but terse reply. All of John’s text is colored red to make it stand apart from my replies.

    john donnelly wrote:

    LES, IVE MET HOVIND AND TOOK HIM DOWN A PEG OR TWO WHEN HE WAS IN IRELAND A FEW YEARS BACK. He actually listened to me and has even become more mellow in his approach. Hard to believe! The guy has his probs like us all. But the message from a scientific point of view does have its good points. Dont just stick to Hovind cause he gets up your nose. Go to answersingenesis.org and youll find more info . They dont agree with Hovind on everything. I suspect some “christian” did you wrong a few years ago and now you are paying back in kind. That is how most of us react. If im wrong i apologise right now, unreservedly.Thanks for replying to me anyway. I did not expect anything at all!

    [A whole bunch of crap about radiometric dating deleted because I’ve heard it all before and it’s a flawed argument]

    Conclusion
    There are many lines of evidence that the radiometric dates are not the objective evidence for an old earth that many claim, and that the world is really only thousands of years old. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have the sure testimony of the Word of God to the true history of the world. Answers in Genesis.org

    There’s nothing in what you provided that in anyway supports your stance that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. I’ve been to answersingenesis.org and I go back often whenever I need a good laugh. My problems with Hovind aren’t because some “Christian did me wrong” in the past, but because Hovind is an idiot who makes a lot of stupid claims and then whines when someone shows him what an idiot he’s being. Issues with radiometric dating aside, he’s made all manner of preposterous claims over the years that illustrate perfectly what it means to be delusional. Seriously, if you’re going to convince anyone you’re going to have to do better than cutting and pasting from large sections of a website most of us consider laughable at best.

    Les

Ironically, I never responded to John’s comment on the Kent Hovind entry, though elwedriddsche and decrepitoldfool both did, yet he assumes that the automated notification he received from SEB came directly from me. This is my first clue that I’m not dealing with the brightest of individuals here. The other clues would slowly creep in as he continues to try and bring about my change of heart and avoids every big question or quandary that I pose to him. I kept my original reply rather short and dismissive in hopes that it would be enough to get him to go away. This works on 75% of the folks who send me emails like this, but John isn’t among that number. He replies:

    john donnelly wrote:

    at least you are still looking Les at the Answers in Genesis web site.

    Only on the odd occasion these days when, like I said, I need a good laugh.

    I dont see how you can laugh.

    It’s easy with material that funny.

    I dont even laugh at the atheist position. Ive done atheism it sucked and dragged all the life blood out ofme.

    That’s a shame. Atheism has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve never been happier or more successful. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you stop relying on invisible playmates.

    Can you show me something which comes from nothing?Thats what most evolutionist,nihilist,humanist believers think.

    Says you. I’ve yet to hear a single Evolutionist, Nihilist or Humanist suggest such a thing.

    Hey if you can get by on that then you are a better man than me.

    I’d already figured as much.

    You know all the arguments and nobody will convince you because your will is not into real change from the inside.

    Now you supposedly know what my will is about. You seem to know an awful lot about me from having received a single email. Are you psychic?

    Les youd still be greater working from our side of the fence-cause you have an indomitable spirit.I wait and hope for the day.

    You’ll be waiting a long time then. Get in line, there’s a lot of folks out there praying for me. So far to no avail.

    Once the seed is planted Les it will grow.

    Had the seed at one point, but you wouldn’t know about that as you’re working from assumptions about me rather than actual knowledge of me.

    God will not let you go now Les.

    God doesn’t exist to have a choice in the matter.

    Even though you have all your answers. Live true to your real self ,the one that is seriously searching. You will find.

    I’m always true to myself. It’s how I came to realize that there are no Gods.

    Even John paul Sartre believed in God at the last moment. They dont want to publicise that too much though.

    Even if he did, who cares? I’m not John Paul Sartre and nothing that man ever said had anything to do with my being an atheist. Lots of people go from being atheists to believers, lots of believers become atheists. Some go back and forth throughout their lives. For every last minute conversion there are hundreds of thousands who never started believing in the face of death. Regardless, none of that has any impact on whether or not I’ll buy into an idea.

    By the way you cannot do away with a lot of the evidence simply because you dont like it or it is “flawed” acc. to you.

    Sure I can. If the evidence is flawed then I don’t accept it as being true and it becomes of less value than non-flawed evidence.

    e.g. Christ was a historical figure who walked the earth but most only believe he was a great teacher.

    I don’t believe he ever existed. The only real evidence for him is the Bible. The evidence tends to show that most outside references were fabrications by the early church.

    That wasnt His claim. He claimed to be God and to answer the most basic need in men. Ive experienced Him. He was the bread of life for me-still is. im unashamedly a believer because ive seen so much hurt and pain ,yes, even pain caused by religion,Catholicism,Protestantism,unchristian fundamentalism. Christ wasnt out to create a new religion but to have people believe in Him solely. I know He is the only one to have kicked deaths ass.

    Yeah, I’ve heard all of this before. You’re not the first person to make this speech to me. There’s a guy on my street who’s been abducted by aliens. He swears it’s the truth. Has little bits of oddly shaped metal to show as proof. Claims they’re implants. He’s experienced the aliens so he knows they’re real. He’s just as sincere as you are, but I don’t believe him anymore than I believe you. Tell me why I should believe your story over his story when he can actually produce what he claims is physical evidence of his experiences whereas you cannot?

    Ive seen people blown up in Belfast my home town-my own aunt-and there is nothing to heal her 7 kids or at least give them hope—except the Person of Christ.

    Wow, those kids are fucked then.

    Death isnt going to get a hold of me Les.

    Bully for you.

    It nearly did when I didnt have anyhope at one stage of my life and tried to kill myself.

    You don’t need Christ, you need a shrink.

    To cut a long story short I found friendship first with a good Catholic priest who wasnt like the thousand of other abusers and he brought me to Christ.

    Are you sure? Talked to his alter boys about it have you?

    I was at the end of myself. When I asked Christ to come in I changed-overnight! Yes miraculously-and miracles dont happen do they? Those feelings of death went.

    Wow, one little pep-talk from a Priest and you’re cured. Or at least deluded into thinking you are.

    That was 23 yrs ago! Ive had some terrible ups and downs since but all in all there is nothing like the real Life inside me.

    That’s swell. Maybe they’ll turn it into a LifeTime Very Special Movie of the Week.

    Perhaps you are not at the end of yourself yet Les. Yeah you dont need to be. You are self sufficient. You seem to have it all figured out.

    I’ve never claimed to have it all figured out, but enough so that belief in some self-contradicting God isn’t necessary.

    Only dont shoot the message if it gets under your nose.

    This sentence makes no sense.

    I couldnt care if you murdered your sons in their beds.

    Don’t have any sons nor would I have any reason to murder them.

    Moses was a murderer and yet he still found God. It doesnt matter what youve done in the past. There is forgivenes and all the seemingly sentimental words that go with it in Christ. Hell take you wherever you are at. Youve already admitted youre an evil bastard- so how more evil can you get?

    See, there you go with the assumptions again. The title of my website is actually a contradiction and has nothing to do with how I view myself as a person. Had you taken the time to actually read much of the site you’d already know this and you’d also know why the site is named as it is, but you’re so self-assured in your delusions that, much like Kent Hovind, you go with what you think the face value of something tells you must be the case without bothering to look further to see if you truly understand things like you think you do. Instead, you rush off to judgment and start telling other folks how misguided they are before you even know anything about them and you end up looking like a clueless twat in the process. If you had even a tiny chance of convincing me you were right you just ruined it by showing how incredibly clueless you are. The only person here who thinks he has it all figured out is you, but you just ably demonstrated that you don’t know jack or shit.

    take care and think about what ive said.

    Not much to think about. You’ve still said nothing I’ve not heard before. I get emails like this all the time. “I was a terrible wretch who was about to kill himself until some kindly clergyman showed me Jesus and I was changed over night! It’s a miracle!” Right. Heard it all before. Try a new approach. Something original. And take the time to be sure you know what you’re talking about before you start telling people what their “will” is like or what they’ve already admitted to being.

    Les

At this point it’s clear that I’m annoyed with this fellow and I’m letting my sarcasm run rampant. I expected the terse tone of this email to finally put him off enough that he’d go off in search of easier converts, but I once again underestimate the determination of these guys. In the next exchange I actually take the time to expound upon some of my statements:

    john donnelly wrote:

    It is not funny. I really dont see how you can laugh. seriously. I like laughing at good jokes but at website!!sounds like mockery. But maybe im wrong 

    I imagine that if you actually buy into the nonsense on that sight that it wouldn’t seem funny to you, but to those of us who recognize the baloney for what it is it can be highly amusing. They do a good job of dressing up their arguments and the site is certainly professional enough, but reading the attempts at debunking everything from Genetics and Evolution to the intelligence level of cave men makes for more than a few chuckles to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the material these folks are trying to tear down.

    Succesful at what? are you really happy Les.? God isnt my play mate! Now youre insulting my intellect.Its ok i get mocked at all the time. I dont mock back

    At life. Yes, I’m really happy. About the only thing I’m missing is a little extra in terms of funds so I could buy a house, but I’m working on landing a new position that will pay enough to make that a reality. I’m healthy, I have a loving wife and a wonderful daughter, I’m still employed when many I know are not, I have plenty of good friends whom I enjoy spending time with, my car still starts on the first try and my payments are current. Life isn’t perfect by a long shot, but I have plenty to be happy about and overall I’m content.

    As for God being your playmate, it was a reference to the invisible playmates many children make up when they’re younger and are afraid of the dark.

    Come on man!They always say something like the world appeared at the big bang or life came from random chance processes.

    Your ignorance is showing again. Evolutionists don’t say anything about the “Big Bang” as the study of Evolution has nothing to do with Cosmology, which is where you’ll find the theory of the Big Bang. Someone who studies Evolution may or may not accept the idea of a Big Bang and there are plenty of people who accept Evolution who reject the theory of the Big Bang. It’s also worth noting that the Theory of Evolution isn’t based on a random chance process. This is a common misconception of folks who didn’t pay attention in Biology class or who buy into religious dogma rather than study up on just what the scientific theory actually says.

    Neither do Nihilists talk about the “Big Bang” as they would reject the idea that such knowledge is even knowable. Do you even know what a Nihilist is? It’s patently absurd to suggest that a true Nihilist would argue that anything is possible. That alone was good for a belly laugh.

    As for Humanists, well, there are all kinds of Humanists. It is possible to be a Humanist and still believe in God(s) as is evidenced by folks who practice Christian Humanism. Then there’s Philosophical Humanism, Renaissance Humanism, Religious Humanism, and Secular Humanism. I’ll assume you’re speaking specifically about Secular Humanism as that’s the one that tends to get religious folks’ panties all in a bunch. While the Secular Humanists do tend to believe that the Theory of Evolution is true, they don’t tend to say a whole helluva lot about the Big Bang nor do they say a whole helluva lot about Evolution beyond that they accept the idea.

    It doesn’t help that Evolutionists are a type of scientists while Nihilists and Humanists are a type of philosophical outlook, but it’s not uncommon for folks like you to mix these things up.

    Im not psychic. But you have made a choice -you cant be born a believer or an atheist so you made a choice along the way somewhere. Thats your will, Les. Im not judging. I judge no man , Les. Cause i know what im like deep down.

    Everyone is born an atheist. We are taught to believe in everything from God(s) to Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy. None of these beliefs is present in a newborn. I did eventually make a choice, in fact I made several over time, but in the beginning there are no beliefs to choose from until they are taught to us.

    I never claimed you were judging me, what I did point out is that you seem to think you knew what my “will” was, as if you had a clue. I believe your exact words were: “You know all the arguments and nobody will convince you because your will is not into real change from the inside.” Again, this appears to be a common failing among those of your ilk as it happens all the time. You presume to know how willing I am to change after reading a single email. You know nothing of my history or what changes, if any, I’ve made in my lifetime and yet you have the arrogance to tell me that my “will is not into real change” as though you could read me like a book. I’m willing to bet that you don’t even realize just how presumptuous and insulting that makes you sound.

    Les. Some say they pray for you and they do, no doubt. I know the great hound of heaven wants your conversion. I wont bring it about . I dont convert. God in his time does that.

    Perhaps, but if this is so then he’s taking his sweet damned time about it. Of course if you knew anything about my past then you’d have to wonder why he let things go as far as they have. You’re still making assumptions about me.

    But ill hang in there for you Les not in a wishy washy weak Christian” sense. Youll get a lot of that.Do you answer all of their emails?

    Not sure what you’re hanging in there for if your goal isn’t to convert me. No, I don’t answer all of their emails. Some aren’t coherent enough to make much sense out of to provide much of an answer. It really depends on how motivated I am at the time.

    You must be really wanting to persecute their asses!oops only joking Les. Take that last comment with apinch of salt. Ok?its not meant to hurt or evoke hatred.

    Actually I have no desire to persecute anyone. I leave that up to the True Believers as they do plenty of that already. Nothing you’ve said so far has hurt my feelings or inspired any feelings of hatred, why should it? At worst your emails might be considered annoying, but annoyance is not something I tend to hate people over. At best they’re mildly amusing. You seem like a well-intentioned, if seriously misguided, sort so I have no reasons to feel animosity toward you.

    Im just stating that i wont be threatened by you or anybody else.

    That’s good—seeing as I’m not threatening you.

    I dont know you Les. I would like to . Hey thats not said with sentimental tpye of Christian love man.

    You can know quite a bit about me just from reading my webpage. Something that would have served you well had you done so before you started this chain of emails. It would have helped in avoiding some of the presumptions you appear to be working off of at the least.

    But I really believe that we are very good for each other.Youve probably had this type of email before.

    Quite frequently. It’s enough to make one feel there’s been a bounty placed on my “redemption.” Most aren’t as committed to it as you appear to be, however.

    its hard to talk to hard man.

    You’re assuming I’m a hard man. My family would giggle endlessly to hear you say that. Appearances can be deceiving. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

    But you are welcome in Ireland anytime . Just come on over to,Jigginstown Park, Naas ,south of Dublin and you can stay for as long as it takes to reconvert me back to atheism!oops only joking with those last 5 words.

    As much as I’d enjoy a visit to Ireland the last thing on my agenda of things to do while visiting would be to try and convert you back to atheism. I’m not one to deny someone their security blanket if it lets them sleep at night and helps them to be a better person. You could believe we’re all the result of a huge galactic sneeze by a hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue that wants us to wallow in our own snot three times a day for all I care as long as you don’t try to force me into participating or believing the same nonsense.

    Les. Im forty. have one child(girl( .married to a good woman. Been divorced once. That was hell in itself. Been through some terrible times. It gets better though knowing Christ.

    I’m 36 about to turn 37. Happily married one time, no divorce, one daughter of almost 14 years of age from a previous relationship that look headed to marriage, but didn’t happen. I’ve had my share of troubled times, bad relationships, loss of close friends including the death of my best friend of over 23 years last summer, all managed without relying on a belief in Gods or Tooth Fairies. No worse for wear and with a largely positive attitude.

    What seed did you have that was taken away Les? Is that too personal. Sorry but we all have areas where we sometimes dont want to go.

    The very seed you claimed would eventually be planted that would being me to belief. I believe you said: “Once the seed is planted Les it will grow.” What makes you think I wasn’t once a believer? Again, had you read my website you wouldn’t be making this mistake as you’d already know.

    I know this that there is justice, judgement at the end. It is coming and Im not fearing it

    Or at least you believe this to be true. I accept that you believe this, but your belief isn’t reason for me to accept it as a truth. It’s great that you believe this so much that you feel it’s a certainty, but so what?

    Again I point to the fellow I know who feels he’s been abducted by aliens and experimented upon. He knows the truth of his belief with the same sort of passion that you feel you know the truth of the statement above. If that alone were reason enough to accept the idea as true then I’d have to accept that this fellow has been abducted by aliens, but you’ve made it clear later in your email that you think he’s delusional or is possibly possessed by demons. His claims are no more outlandish than yours, yet you readily reject them even though he has more physical proof of his claims than you do. Why should I accept the idea of a God with the power to create everything by mere force of will who has set up a kind of meta-physical popularity contest with an evil being he’s directly responsible for creating in the first place as being any more rational or true than the idea of aliens from another world traveling billions of light years to a remote planet to abduct humans to perform experiments on? Just because you really and sincerely believe that your God is real? At least I know this other dude, I don’t know you from Adam’s cat so what point is there in you making all these big statements about how you “know” that there will be judgment in the end?

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: I don’t fear it either because I don’t believe it’s gonna happen.

    I dont dismiss the parts of the bible that can irritate ,like hell, judgement, armageddon.

    I don’t dismiss parts of the Bible either. I dismiss all of it. It’s bunk. Full of fables and fairy tales and the occasional bit of good advice, but no more reality than anything The Brothers Grim ever wrote. Though often just as horrifying in it’s depictions of violence and perversion in the name of your “loving God.”

    Yes hes a God of love and we are in a time of grace. But there will be a reckoning with those who refuse to bend the knee.Although thousands of my own crowd still proclaim the judging God of the Old testament. I dont like their way of saying things cause they havent experienced the real love that can change a person.

    I thought you didn’t dismiss the parts of the Bible that irritate? Yet here you disavow your fellow believers who buy into the idea of a Judging God as defined in the Old Testament—in effect dismissing the Old Testament as not being an accurate representation of your belief of what God is like. Still, if your Jesus is such a loving character then perhaps you can explain Mathew 10:34-38? I quote: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

    Yeah, that Jesus fellow is all about love… so long as it’s love of Jesus over all others. He’s here to turn families against each other (talk about family values!); not to bring peace, but conflict. What a self-centered, egotistical, spoiled ass. That sort of thing will change a person, but I’m not sure that it would be a positive change.

    He does exist and He is waiting for you to cry out with all your might to “show yourself”

    Been there. Done that. He never showed up. Perhaps he had an important Dentist appointment to attend to? Of course when I point this out to other believers they tell me I shouldn’t expect God to answer just because I cried out. So who should I believe? Them or you? That’s the problem with you believers, you’re all making contradictory claims about what God wants, what he’s waiting for, and what I need to do to “find” him. Once again I’ll ask: Why should I accept your claims over anyone else’s?

    There is nothing i can do to convince you Les.You will not buy into an idea. you said it yourself

    No, what I actually said was: The fact that some people change their mind on whether to believe in a particular idea has no impact on whether or not I will buy into that idea. I’m not resistant to changing my opinion when there is good reason to do so, but it has to be some impressive reasons beyond merely saying “But I know that He exists!” You’ve yet to provide any solid reasoning that I should accept anything you say as more than just your sincere belief.

    “i ‘ll not buy” into an idea. It is a matter of will after all. Im not being smart . im not going to convince you by argument.

    Not with the argument you’re putting forth, at least. Of course you keep claiming that you’re not trying to convert me which makes me wonder just what it is you are trying to do then. It sure sounds like you’re trying to convert me.

    You decide then if its flawed or not. Doesnt sound objective to me. of course its hard to get objectivity

    Of course it’s not objective! We’re talking about personal beliefs on things that aren’t even falsifiable. The irony is you reject the idea of Evolution in spite of all the objective evidence in support of it and then you have the gall to criticize my lack of objectivity on a God that by definition is unprovable? You’ve offered nothing so far that is even remotely objective in terms of your feelings on the nature of God—every statement is a highly biased and highly subjective statement based on your interpretation of the Bible—and you’re going to criticize the fact that I’m making my own decisions about how flawed the evidence may be??

    Could you possibly be any more hypocritical?

    But there must be some objective truth Les.

    Explain to me why there “must be” some objective truth. It’s an easy assertion to make, but a hard one to back up. But I’m game, prove it.

    Dont give me the “there are no absolutes ” retort. I know that one. There are truths. Truth by its very nature is one.Therfore absolute. “both “and” philosophies dont work on me either. It has got to be “either” “or” with me. When im crosing the street its either the bus or me. You have chosen atheism. It is either God or no God with you. Christ stands alone as the objective truth since he existed and proved He was God. which leads me to the next point

    Ah, so you take a strictly black and white view of the world. Sorry, I’m very much a shades of gray fellow myself. What’s ironic is that you’re assuming I’m the same way suggesting that it’s either “God or No God” with me when it’s possible that there could be many Gods and you’re just as wrong as I am. But that’s the dangers of black and white thinking: lack of consideration for possible alternatives. Tell me, at what point in the scale of saturation does the color blue become no longer the color blue? At what point during the morning dawn does it stop being “night” and become “day?” It’s either/or with you so there must be a definite point you can say that it’s no longer one thing, but now another. Where do you draw the line?

    Tacitus was a Roman historian who wrote about Christ.Ist century AD. Suetonius and Josephus(a jewish historian) in The Antiquities. were certainly not Church men. There isnt one classical scholar who doubts the existence of Christ. Go to a good library Les and dig out the writings of these guys.Read for yourself-if you dare! Also the manuscript evidence is astounding

    I know all about Tacitus and I dared to read him for myself years ago. Again, had you bothered to read more of my website you’d already know this as well as the rebuttal of this claim of “proof” that I’ve provided when it was brought up in the past. This isn’t anything new to me, you’re just ignorant of how much research I’ve done on this issue. Tacitus’ account is largely regarded by even Biblical scholars to be his reporting of what the Christians themselves had told him as opposed to a study of Roman records as claimed. Hell, Tacitus can’t even get Pilate’s title right and you expect it to stand as proof?

    Josephus writings regarding Jesus in The Antiquities is open to debate as to it’s authenticity and is largely regarded to be a later insertion by Christians wishing to provide proof of third-party accounts of Jesus. Many Biblical scholars reject the Testimonium Flavianum in its entirety as an attempt at Christian revisionism, though some scholars do think Josephus was originally writing about Jesus, but the passage has been corrupted by Christian copyists intent on expanding and making the reference more favorable for Jesus. Few Biblical scholars consider it to be completely authentic at any rate.

    Suetonius makes mention of an event in The Lives of the Caesars about someone named Chrestus inciting the Jews to causing trouble until they were expelled by Emperor Claudius. However it’s unlikely this is an actual reference to Jesus as “Chrestus” is correct Latin form of an actual Greek name and obviously not a misspelling of Christus as is claimed, the passage implies that there was actually someone named Chrestus in Rome at the time which would rule out the possibility of it being Jesus, and finally even if Suetonius is referring to Christians in Rome this only confirms the existence of Christians, not Jesus.

    Contrary to your claim there are plenty of scholars, even Biblical scholars, who either question whether Jesus existed or actually claim he did not. I have plenty of books on my shelves from various theists that argue for both sides of this issue which puts the lie to your assertion otherwise. In fact, Canada’s best known religion writer and former Anglican priest Tom Harpur wrote a book called The Pagan Christ which asserts that not only did Jesus not exist, but that all the myths about him are “borrowed” from older religions. Which is obvious to anyone who’s undertaken religious studies of various Pagan religions in addition to Christianity. Hell, the whole Jesus “virgin birth” myth is nearly a point-for-point rip-off of the Mithra myth.

    Herodotus for example wrote in 488-428 BC. The earliest copy we have is from AD 900 a time lapse of 1300 yrs. We only have 8 copies. Caesars Gallic Wars written about 58BC ,the earliest copy is AD 900 which leaves a time gap of about 950 years and we have only 10-12 copies extant.TNe New Testament written 40-100 AD-earliest copy pre 70Ad(Magdalene Papyrus)-hardly a big time lapse. There are at least 5000 Grek manuscripts, pre 350 Ad plus 10,000latin 9300 others pre 900 Ad. The authenticity of the Scriptures is not in doubt.Even classical scholars admit as much. They come from a lot of non Christian colleges.

    I have plenty of books that would argue otherwise by many “classical scholars,” as you put it. Not sure what Herodotus has to do with this considering he’s pre-Jesus by a few centuries, but whatever. Doubt about the authenticity of the Scriptures is only absent among the True Believers.

    Do you really believe the alien guy. ARE we on the level or what? Yes he is suffering from some delusion or he has demons. The devil is a person and can inhabit people. I dont know maybe he was abducted .what did these aliens look like?Id like to ask the guy.You got his email address?Id like to talk to him.

    You’re avoiding my question: Why should I believe you over the alien abduction dude? Why is he wrong and you right? Why is he delusional or “demon possessed” and you aren’t? If the devil is such a master of lies then how do you know he hasn’t tricked you into worshiping the wrong God?

    That is a non sequitur argument because by the same token you implicate that you are screwed!!Those kids are grown up now .they have some hope

    It wasn’t an argument, it was a statement of opinion. You need to learn the difference it seems.

    The above could have hurt me years ago but not now. You are cynical. but why not cut that out for a while and lets see where we could agree on something?

    That wasn’t cynicism, it was sarcasm. Give me something worth agreeing on and I’ll agree with it. So far you’ve yet to do this.

    The God of Jesus Christ is not self contradicting.

    Sure he is. I pointed out a perfect example of this earlier in this reply.

    He is personal and He does care about Les Jenkins.

    So does the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and all of those guys had more proof of their existence in my life than your Jesus Christ ever has. Yet they were all myths.

    Les be honest. Is there something that happened a long time ago which turned you off religion or what happened.

    Yes, I read the Bible completely. Front to back. Of course, you’d know this if you had read more of my website. This is a recurring theme in this email. I wonder if it’s sinking in yet? The answers to every question you’ve asked me so far are right there on my website if you’d bother to spend the time to check it out. But no, you’d rather have me rehash it for the umpteenth time just like every other True Believer who has ever bothered to try and talk to me about my errant ways.

    And then you wonder why I get sarcastic in my reply. You have simply repeated the same crap the last 100 people who wanted to engage in me an honest dialog about my “misguided views” went over. You haven’t said a single original thing yet outside of your name. Not even an inkling of a new argument or idea that might be worth pursuing. You’ve coughed up the same tired “proof” that’s already been long debunked and covered on my webpage. It’s almost like a clone army that’s been preprogrammed to say the same things over and over again.

    I dont know you man but Id sure like to try because you matter. I dont want to sound so stupid. Cause there is something tetchy about the way you react. That might frighten some people.

    If I’m tetchy it’s because I’m tired of the same old arguments and appeals to emotion you guys always engage in. I’m tired of you folks always trying to tell me how wrong I am without anything in the way of a decent argument to back up your claims with. I would love to engage in a good discussion about issues of religion and belief with someone who is capable of coming up with new viewpoints and considering the alternatives without trying to claim his stance is the only correct one. In fact, I do exactly that with some of the people who visit my website. People like JethricOne whom I know in real life and is a good friend and a True Believer and yet we can discuss religion all day long without him once telling me I’m wrong because he recognizes something that you and a lot of others from your herd do not. Your belief is just that: a belief. Not a fact. Not an unquestionable truth. A belief. No more valid or invalid than my own. The only way to prove it is to die and I’m willing to bet you’re not in too big of a hurry to do that just to find out, which is ironic if the Heavenly reward is as wonderful as you guys keep claiming it is.

    Like I said tetchy.You have no need to dismiss my story like it was nothing . It did happen. Yes there are abusers out there but this priest guy wasnt one of them. The catholic church has its terrible corruptions. Has hatred got to you somehow in this short life?

    Yes, I’m tetchy and I think I gave a damned good reason why I’m tetchy. Stop making assumptions about what I’m like and what I think and I won’t have any fucking reason to be tetchy. Whether or not your story happened they way you describe is immaterial. Everyone has their story of how they came to believe and everyone likes to repeat it like it means something more than “Hey, some guy convinced me this was true!” Great! You’re overly credulous. That’s wonderful! I’m very happy for you.

    Now you’re assuming I’m full of hatred because I’ve gotten annoyed with you. Man, you sure do like to jump to conclusions on the flimsiest of evidenc…. oh, that’s right. You’re a True Believer. It doesn’t take much evidence.

    No new approach will be coming les.

    Yeah, that much is obvious.

    If I have got to you im sorry.

    You’ve annoyed me by regurgitating the same tired stories with the same tired claims. It’ll pass as soon as I finish this email and go off to play a video game.

    Its the truth that I know and once again I dont judge you only your words. Allow me at least to comment on your words.

    It’s not like I could stop you if I wanted to.

    Miracles do happen but that depends on your outlook .

    Never heard that one before. [Note to the Sarcasm Impaired: That was sarcasm.]

    Im not calling you a murderer . all im saying is that all of us do bad things. I still do but i also have the wonderful freedom to stop. The sex abusers by and large dont. Man without Christ doesnt know how to stop sinning/doing wrong. Thats because of the law.In Christ there is no law only fredom ,true freedom .it is real.

    This has to be the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in awhile. The one obvious glaring flaw in this argument is that I was discussing Priests who abused children. Men of God who would supposedly have the same freedom to stop that you do because they “have Christ.” Yet they apparently chose not to stop and the Church, instead of turning them over to the authorities like they should have, covered up the issue by shipping these Priests around from parish to parish with the full knowledge of what they were doing and paying out hush money to the victims to keep the scandal from being exposed. And yet there are plenty of Atheists out there who, without the “wonderful freedom from Christ” that you talk about, manage to not molest children. Never have, in fact. Now how is it that these Godless men are capable of something many Men of God are not?

    You judge me by saying i dont know jack ..So you dont like judgement. i havent judged you once.

    I never said I don’t like judgment. Judging things is how we survive and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. We praise those of us who exercise what we consider to be “good judgment” and one has to be judgmental in order to have good judgment. Again, you’re trying to read what you want into my words instead of what they say.

    And you have judged me. You’ve accused me of mocking you, of being unfairly dismissive, of being cynical, of being afraid, of being hateful and angry, and of being tetchy. Of those things you got one of them right. One. It’s hypocritical of you to claim you haven’t judged me once when the evidence to the contrary is mere paragraphs above your claim.

    I have discerned what you say. dont take it to heart. im not getting at you. I take you where you are at Les.But i get the sense of anger and hatred coming across!am i wrong?Tell me if i am.

    You’re wrong. It is, as I’ve said, annoyance at worst. Mild amusement at best.

    Meanwhile tell me about your family life. What makes you tick as a man? What is your will really like?You obviously have values which you uphold to the limit.Im interested genuinely… not to convert you. Remember I dont convert people.Im just a voice.

    All those answers are right there on my website. There’s that theme again. The whole reason I put up that website was A) to vent my spleen when I need to and B) so people who for whatever reason are interested in what I’m like will have a place they can find out.

    Les

In a turn-around from the normal way these things go, it seemed like the longer reply where I posed questions to John did the job of getting him to go away as it took longer than usual before I heard from him again. When he did reply he tried taking the same approach that Hires did by cutting and pasting an essay into an email titled: “Les, if you value critical thought you should read this:”

    john donnelly wrote:

    The presumptiousness of atheism

    [All of Paul Copan’s essay deleted from the reply]

    You know you really should credit the people you’re taking your material
    from. I’m already very familiar with Paul Copan’s essay. It’s flawed in
    that it misrepresents Antony Flew’s argument. Seeing as you’re letting
    others do your talking for you I’ll do the same and provide you with a
    link to Jeffery Jay Lowder’s rebuttal of Paul Copan’s essay:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/copan.html.

    Regardless, I have what I consider to be valid reasons for rejecting the
    idea that God(s) exist. Not the least of which are the argument from evil,
    argument from incoherence, and the argument from non-belief. I’ll leave it
    as an exercise in search engine usage for you to look those up if you
    wish.

    It appears you are unprepared to do the thinking necessary to come up with
    a new argument on this issue, though I confess coming up with a new
    argument is probably going to be very difficult for you. You should
    probably consider the fact that I’ve spent many years studying the various
    arguments put forth on both sides so sending me cut-and-paste emails from
    4 year old essays is probably not the best way to engage me. Chances are,
    I’ve already read and considered it.

    Surely you can manage to come up with some form of valid argument on your
    own?

    Les

It’s clear in the next exchange that John is getting a tad bit frustrated with me. He drops all pretense of using reason and goes full-bore for the appeal to emotion and sincerity of belief approach:

    john donnelly wrote:

    rebuttal in brackets-better read the whole first before dissecting it .

    OK, I have read the whole thing before starting this response as you have asked.

    (im not getting into a battle of who is better here -me or you.so i can use who ever i want)

    Never said you couldn’t use him, I said you should credit him instead of making it appear that it was your own original work. We had a fellow by the name of Hires who posted a whole mess of comments which turned out to be total cut and paste jobs from some of C.S. Lewis’ arguments because he couldn’t come up with anything reasonable on his own. Needless to say that doesn’t go over terrible well with those of us who do take the time to formulate our own arguments.

    (which isnt really a flaw-just another way of arguing or critiquing.allow him that! but i take your point)

    How is misrepresenting the original argument not a flaw in trying to rebut it?

    (point taken-but i did it to see how you would react to quite a good argument in my view-i dont take credit for Copan)

    It annoyed me to receive yet another cut and paste job rather than an attempt at your own thinking on the issue. This is a common trend among the True Believers. It leaves me to wonder if you guys ever try to figure this stuff out on your own or just rely on others to provide your justifications for your beliefs.

    (quite good and does just about enough to keep theists on their toes but really,we can argue the flawed nature of Copan into the night and not get anywhere,the issue still remains. If you have an absence of theistic belief which I believe you do have then there is still a burden of proof upon you.

    There’s only a burden of proof if I wish to convince you that my viewpoint is the correct one. Honestly, I don’t give a shit if you think my viewpoint is the correct one. You are the one coming to me to try and tell me that I am wrong and that puts the burden of proof on you. Now, had I come to you and tried to tell you that you were wrong then I agree that there would be a burden of proof on me to back up my position. As I’ve said, though, I don’t really care if you believe in God(s) or not so providing you with any proof is both unnecessary and pointless as I don’t think you’d accept the reasoning even if I tried.

    Which brings us to the difference between us. I recognize your state as a True Believer and I realize I’m not going to convince you otherwise with the reasoning that I have so I don’t bother trying. You’ve admitted many times throughout this chain that you can’t convert me—are in fact not trying to convert me—yet you keep carrying on trying to get me to admit to feelings and desires that you seem to think I have someplace “deep down” inside me. I have no problems accepting the idea that you believe in fairy tales, but you have some sort of problem with me not believing in them so you keep trying all the while denying that you are, in fact, trying to convert me. This is pretty amusing from where I stand.

    If there is absence of belief then at some point you will have to say why there is no belief or you could say you dont know which would make you an agnostic, It is like my presence of a theistic belief, I have to argue at some point why I have my belief. Of course both of us do not necessarily have to believe-we are agreed on that at least. But I have no more to offer you.

    Agnosticism is just a weak form of atheism where the person refuses to draw a conclusion either way. I’ve never understood why this is somehow considered preferable to some people as opposed to someone who decides, based on the evidence he has at hand, that there are no Gods.

    (third time you have said/intimated my usage of others arguments,which leads me to say that there is an awful lot of pride in both of us.

    Actually what I was intimidating there was the suggestion that I wasn’t going to bother to repeat the arguments for you so if you cared to learn anything more about them you should make use of the resources available on the Net to do so.

    As for my sense of self-pride, I’ve never really considered myself to be a overly proud person, but then I’ve never seen why pride is considered such a bad thing by believers. I’m certainly not ashamed of myself and I am proud of the accomplishments I’ve managed to make in my lifetime, but by no means do I think I’m anything particularly special. I’m a human being and I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to had my bad days, that’s just part of being human. To me the fact that I screw up isn’t whats important. It’s what I do afterwards that’s important. I’m proud that I’ve learned that lesson at a relatively young age and that I manage to remember it when the shit hits the fan and take personal responsibility for my decisions and actions. So, yeah, I’ve got some pride in me, but then I don’t see that as a bad thing.

    On the question of evil I’ve studied theodicy till the cows came home and it didnt shake my belief. You have read and read . Les lets quit this “battle of minds” and to a lesser degree “semantics”.

    You’re the one who brought forth Copan’s essay, not I. There wouldn’t be anything to stop if you hadn’t started it.

    It really is about wills and I cannot convince your will. I have my will you have yours.

    Then why do you continue to try?

    Both of us have a certain amount of pride although I believe I left all my pride behind when I acknowledged I was a sinner before God.It does flare up from time to time especially during these arguments but Im not much of a man Les.

    Not sure what pride has to do with this other than perhaps to explain why you are unable to let me live with my beliefs as I am you with yours.

    Im not much a good person either but I know this that theres a man who stands in my place,in the gap as it were and He declares that Im a Son of God,that Im pure ,that Im ok ,that Im righteous before God-not righteous in myself.

    That’s not a man, that’s a crutch. You seem to have a driving need for external validation of your own worth and when you can’t get it from your friends and associates you decide to believe in a fictitious God to provide that validation for you. Unable to see the good in yourself you turn wherever you think you might be able to find it whether real or imagined. This wouldn’t be a problem if you really accepted the idea that this God you believe in considers you to be of worth, but even you aren’t capable of escaping the nagging contradiction inherent in your religion of choice: That the only way you can be worthy of your supposed God’s love and mercy is by reveling in how you’re supposedly completely unworthy of said love and mercy. If you’re as bad as you believe you are then why would a being of pure goodness have anything to do with you? So you have to demonstrate to yourself the rightness of your beliefs by trying to convince others to join you in your delusions. No matter how many people you manage to convert, however, you’ll never be free of the nagging doubts and so it goes.

    Whereas I, silly and stupid as I think your beliefs are, am quite content to let you have them if it makes you feel better. I don’t need to convince you that I’m right in order to validate my own sense of self-worth. I don’t need your approval or acceptance or even respect. I’m perfectly happy to leave you be to practice whatever rituals you want to practice and pray to whatever God you want to pray to and think whatever poor thoughts of me you wish to think. You can think I’m a heathen, a heretic, a pervert, an asshole, whatever. It doesn’t matter because I know what kind of person I really am and I know what kind of worth I really hold.

    God Les Ive done some bad things . Ive broken all the commandments -well the only one i havent broken is the one about killing.but hey perhaps i broke that one in my heart somewhere along the line. ill know that later on…(im sitting here actually crying -stupid)

    So you’ve broken almost all the commandments. So what? You know the rules: Sincerely repent, try to do better next time, and your God will forgive you. What’s there to cry about? You’re human, even your God supposedly expects you to break the commandments. You’ve got a method for atoning for it. Not sure why you’d still be beating yourself up over this. True Believers love to carry on about how imperfect man is and how incapable he is of avoiding sin and how lucky they are to have a God that’s willing to forgive them, but you all act like you don’t really believe he’ll hold up his end of the bargain. That’s pretty funny when you think about it.

    I dont have any more to give Les.If its about arguments Les you win. I dont care.im not trying to convince you anymore.

    You claimed you weren’t trying to convince me in the first place. Looks like you’ve broken another commandment.

    I know this that the heart grows cold so quickly without love .Its not just the love of a woman or family. theres something more. Without the love of Christ I couldnt go on.

    That is a weakness I don’t share with you. I’m considered by people who know me to generally be warm, friendly, generous, and loving. My wife seems to think I’m the most incredible and thoughtful man she’s ever known and she tells me every day how grateful she is to have a husband that other women are envious of. The last word most folks would use to describe me is “cold,” but then I don’t look to outside sources for my sense of self-worth or validation. I’m confident in the idea that I know who I am and I know what my failings are. I try to improve where I can, but I accept the idea that I am only a human being with all the failings that come with it and I make no apologies for that. Nor do I attempt to be what I cannot be: perfect. As a result my life has never been better, happier, or more worthwhile.

    Perhaps you can explain why it is that someone like me can be doing so well without a belief in “the love of Christ” while someone like yourself seems to think that the only reason you can go on is because of that very belief? Considering how miserable you make yourself sound why on Earth would I want to adopt your beliefs? To me that’s like stepping backwards. I suppose misery really does love company.

    Im appealing to you , Les, you are at a crossroads-youve stuck with me a silly Christian “fool” for the last few days .

    I’m also known for an incredible amount of patience. It’s part of what makes me such a good PC Technician. Besides, when this is all said and done it’ll probably make for a great entry on my blog.

    As for the crossroads, I left that crossroad behind years ago and haven’t looked back or regretted it since.

    There is a call from without that is shouting at you right now but perhaps you dont want to hear it.

    It isn’t a matter of not wanting to hear it, it’s a matter of there being nothing to hear. It certainly makes it easy for you to reaffirm your delusions by insisting that if I’m not hearing your God then I must not “want” to hear him, but you have no way of knowing what I truly want. Why would I not want to hear from a being capable of doing anything, absolving me of my transgressions, and granting an afterlife filled with indescribable joys? Because I’d have to follow some rules? I already follow rules that I set for myself, many of which coincide with rules from your Holy Book, so that argument doesn’t wash. Because I’d have to admit I’m not perfect? I already admit that I’m not perfect, so that argument doesn’t wash either. There is no good reason for me to not want to hear from this amazing supernatural being unless I’m insane or the personification of evil, of which I am neither.

    But it sure is an easy way to dismiss my lack of ability to hear from him, I’ll give you that. Which is, again, part of the problem with True Believers. They’re too caught up in the easy solutions. Just believe and you’ll be saved no matter how horrible and evil you have been in your life. Hitler was a devout Catholic and still in good standing with the Church when he offed himself. By the rules present in the Bible as long as he came to realize the sins he had committed and sincerely asked for Christ’s forgiveness, even if he did it just before dieing, he’d be allowed into Heaven no matter what. You said so yourself that it doesn’t matter if you’re a murderer or whatever other horrible things you’ve done in your life, all it takes is acceptance of Christ and you’re in like Flint.

    Explain to me where there is justice in someone as despicable as Hitler possibly ending up in Heaven while millions of Jews who likely never accepted Christ as their savior (being Jewish and all) are currently burning in the fiery pits of Hell? By that explanation God doesn’t give a shit about justice so long as you believe in him and grovel a little. Hitler in, Jews out. Yeah, that’s a wonderfully loving God. You see? This is the sort of self-contradiction I mentioned earlier.

    I tell you that if you are willing to allow Gods Spirit work in you this very hour He will come in and He will convince you.

    Dude, I’ve been willing for 36 years now. At one time I thought it was true, but then I realized I was just fooling myself so I could be part of the group and feel like I belonged. It’s nice to be part of a group and it’s nice to feel like I belong, but not at the expense of common sense or engaging in self-delusions that provide me with a false sense of purpose or meaning. Again, it’s not a matter of whether I’m willing or not. It’s a matter of there being nothing out there to convince me.

    I believe you want to be convinced.

    Sure, I’d love to be convinced. It’s part of why I keep talking with folks like you on the off chance that you might come up with something original for me to think about that might prove to be convincing, but you guys don’t. You just keep rehashing the same old arguments and sending me the same cut-and-paste emails. Surely for something that is such a life-altering experience one of you guys would find a way to present it that would shine a new light on the issue.

    He convinces the world of sin ,of righteousnes(not mans righteousness) and judgement. He will give you abrand new life ,one spent in even more joy than you have now.

    Common promises, but I have more joy now than I did when I was a believer and I fail to see how wallowing around trying to earn validation from an imaginary being is in anyway going to possibly give me more joy than I have now.

    That is a matter of will.you could do that.

    Been there. Done that. Still have the souvenir Bible to prove it.

    It would cost nothing except your ego.

    You’re assuming I have much of an ego to give up. Unlike True Believers who tend to exhibit a behavior that implies they secretly feel they’re better than everyone else because they have the approval and love of their fictitious superfriend, I don’t think I’m all that and a bag of chips. I’m just your average guy with slightly above average intelligence and a tendency to shoot his mouth off.

    yield up your humanity and set before you the image of the cross. it is a simple image but it can transform in that it takes away all wrongdoing and gives peace because Christ was on it.

    Dude, I’ve got crosses coming out of my ass leftover from my time as a believer. It’s kind a hard to go anywhere in this country and not be surrounded by crosses. You’d think if it was such an amazing symbol there’d be a lot less miserable people in this world. Certainly doesn’t seem to be doing you any favors.

    It is a symbol of indescribable love which you can receive today if you open you heart.

    And if I order now God’ll toss in this handy-dandy book light shaped like a cross for easy reading of my Bible at night!

    The cross is a symbol of indescribable love? All this time I thought it was a symbol for a particularly nasty form of torture and death. I’m sure Christ said “Can you feel the love?” while he was hanging there. Only a True Believer would turn nailing someone to a tree into a symbol of indescribable love.

    You’ll see the love for yourself then which i can hardly convince you of,cause it is not mine to give.The new argument you are looking for is in the new life Christ can give.It is up to you.Dont let any pride get in the way-just open your heart to receive.

    Yeah, we’ve been over this already. I know all the promises and all the claims.

    (yet another argumentum ad hominem)

    No, an argumentum ad hominem would’ve been: “You’re obviously too fucking stupid to figure out how to tie your shoes without detailed instructions let alone come up with a new and reasonable argument for anything beyond why you shouldn’t stick your hand into an open flame and even that is probably beyond your limited ability to articulate without resorting to copying text from a third party.” What I expressed was my opinion on your willingness to think for yourself rather than rely on age-old arguments that have already been beaten to death.

    Though you are no stranger to argumentum ad hominem as that’s precisely what you’re engaging in every time you accuse me of “not wanting” to hear your God or open my heart. Unable to come up with a reasonable argument as to why I can’t hear your imaginary playmate you resort to attacking me by implying that I am intentionally trying to avoid hearing your imaginary playmate. Unwilling to accept the idea that there may be many reasons why I am not able to hear your God shouting at me you fall back on attacking my “willingness” to hear. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps your God does exist, but intentionally refuses to make his presence known to me as it is part of his “grand design” to have some of us as atheists to use as a means of testing the faith of the True Believers? Of course not, you’re a black and white thinker. Things either are or they are not with you, there are no other possibilities.

    (and you have made your choice but God is calling you Les,I feel it as sure as I exist Will your hear Him?. I want so dearly to engage you but I cannot. I cannot.Where I have failed He will have to supply the want.

    For being a mere mortal you sure seem to think you have a good clue as to what your supposed God wants and who he’s calling to. You remind me of that alien abduction guy. He’s pretty sure he knows what the aliens want and what their intentions are as well. He sounds a lot like you, only about aliens and not God. You still haven’t answered my question of why I should believe you over him.

    (Christs Holy Spirit will convince you Les .I dont have anything else.I have to rely on God.(Christ)

    This is probably a large part of the reason you’re having such a hard time with this. You’re relying on something that doesn’t exist to prove itself. If the past is any indication you’re probably in for more frustration as everyone else who has relied on Christ to convince me with his Holy Spirit has left disappointed in the end. I’d say this Christ fellow isn’t very reliable considering how many people he’s let down in this regard. But that’s the amazing thing about faith, no matter how many times you guys end up disappointed you manage to rationalize it away. Usually by blaming the failure on the subject of your conversion attempt rather than on the God that supposedly has the power to do anything but can’t convince an atheist unless he “wants” to be convinced. Hardly seems all-powerful to me.

    Forget whatever happened in the past.

    So you’re saying that I should forget that I ever read the Bible front to back? That is what started me down the path away from belief. How am I supposed to forget the thing that started me away from belief while at the same time relying on that very thing to guide me in my beliefs??

    He has brought you to this point where <>He is waiting for you to admit all things to Him-admit any wrongdoing admit your non belief ,heck admit everything.His yoke is real easy.He is always gentle ,never rebuking.

    You never addressed my question with regards to Mathew 10:34-38. That sure as hell sounds like a rebuke to me.

    You know your bible back to front.you dont need me to tell you about it.

    This much is true.

    I pray you’ll come- not for my sake ,or my pride or my glory or any other reason except the sheer willingness on your part.Why-because I love you too and it took me great courage to tell you that even though you dont believe me. what is it going to take Les?what on earth is it going to take?

    I don’t doubt that you believe you love me, but it’s a very twisted form of love borne out of your need for external validation. You keep claiming it’s not for your benefit, but it’s clear from your words and appeals that it’s entirely for your benefit. If your faith were as strong as you think it is then you wouldn’t be trying so hard that you’re crying while discussing the issue with me. You keep saying you can’t engage me and that you’ll have to rely on God to do so, but you can’t be too confident that your God will work his voodoo on me because you keep trying to engage me. You’re a mass of self-contradictions.

    May God really touch you this night ) Sorry for the emotion but I dont care anymore about reasons. the heart has its reasons.

    No need to apologize for the emotions. I don’t doubt that you feel strongly about this, it’s just a shame you can’t see the forest for the trees. You have a passion and energy in you that could do some great good in this world if you weren’t wasting it trying to convince people to believe in a fairy tale. Rather than try to make this world a better place, though, you spend your time worrying about the supposed world to come. You want joy? Go make a positive difference in someone’s life by being a mentor or helping the homeless or advocating for better environmental laws or any of the thousands of different things you could put that energy and drive towards that would make for a better existence for everyone right here and right now. If your God is the only one who can convince the non-believers then leave it up to him to do his job and concentrate on those things you ARE cap

15 thoughts on “Conversations with a True Believer.

  1. Ack! Looks like there’s a limit on how much text I can put in a field. Lost the last part of the reply and the follow-up that came after it.

    Oh well. It’s long enough as it is.

  2. Good thing you told me that.  Thought you may have gone off for a group hug and sing ‘Kum ba ya.’  Poor John.  You must seem like that great big, elusive catfish in the lake to all these evangelical Christians.  Your patience is admirable.

  3. You know, it seems to me that although they all claim to be happy and secure because of their faith, True Believers tend to be awfully INSECURE.  The more insecure they are, the less likely they are to give up trying to convince themselves and other people of the existence of their god.  They have to reinforce their own beliefs regularly, through debate, study and obsessive prayer—otherwise their faith evaporates without all that frantic shoring-up.

    Whereas the atheists I know can go happily for years without having to worry about the validity of their beliefs.  It’s amazing how long you can manage to live a god-free life without even thinking about it, as long as nobody’s in your face trying to bring god back into the discussion.

    (“rest”)

  4. GM: They have to reinforce their own beliefs regularly, through debate, study and obsessive prayer—otherwise their faith evaporates without all that frantic shoring-up.

    I just realized… Christianity is like Microsoft Windows!  You have to keep patching it…

    Geez, Les, you are amazingly patient.

  5. ROFL!!!  Yes, and no matter how much you patch it, it’s always going to be full of holes, just because of the shaky foundation it’s built on … (And there are a lot of well-known bugs that they’re just NEVER going to fix …)

    (“note”)

  6. Les,

    I’ve admired your many of your postings, but I am concerned by your response to John Donnelly.  In your reply, you wrote “I don’t doubt that you believe you love me, but it’s a very twisted form of love borne out of your need for external validation.”  It seems you are making an assumption of his reasons for believing, something you consistantly berate others for doing with regard to your atheism.

    Since you chose to reply to him, I’m just hoping you stick to the high road, Les.

    Because I like your approach in general though, I’d like to hear your critique of “God, Freedom, and Evil”, by Alvin Plantinga, a theistic philosopher.  Have you read “Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand”, by Leonard Piekoff?

    Regards,
    Richard

  7. My head hurts. I got to the point were I was just skipping his replies because they never addressed your points anymore. It seems towards the end that he kinda lost his mind a little. He wasn’t even reading your replies anymore and just decided to spew some pity for your poor soul. Funny as hell! (well, the idea of hell anyway).

  8. “May God really touch you this night”

    AAAAAAAA!  Bad touch!  Bad touch!  wink

    You have a lot more patience that I do, Les.  One of the reasons that I stick to geek issues on my blog is so that I don’t get email from the True Believers.  It’s bad enough when, after 38 years, my family still pesters me about it once in a while.

    D

  9. Don’t worry too much for Les. I think he likes talking to such folks. Even if he wishes they would just once come up with something new, he likes talking to these fellows…

    Thanks for a very entertaining thread, by the way.

  10. Wow. You are such a patient man les. By the 3rd or so email, I would have been telling him to shove it up his ass but if he really truly wanted to save me, I would allow him to pray on my behalf if it would make him feel better and able to sleep at night. wink

  11. The fellow has good intentions and I recognize that, my point in engaging him is to try and get him to think a little. Every time he shows promise of doing so, however, he gives up and resorts to the standard cliches.

    Ironically he mentions that it would be good to have me on their side as I have an “indomitable spirit.” Wouldn’t having one of those make it impossible for me to submit to God’s domination?

  12. Sheesh… this thing needs a warning about how long it takes to read!  All of a sudden it’s 4am!

    Still, it was one of the best impersonations of an ostrich I’ve seen in a while…..  Very amusing (if slightly tedious towards the end mid-way point). 8^)

  13. Good read. It reminds me of the questions I got when people I knew, found out I was atheist. “Did someone wrong you when you were a kid” and “I think that deep down you really believe, you just don’t know it”. Those sort of responses really crack me up. Especially when it is beyond them to comprehend the possibility that someone can have a different world view.

    Les, you are a logical and patient person. Kudos.

    -Todd

  14. Yeah, kudos on the patience Les.  Admirable once again.  grin  I would like to point out though that one of the things that makes conversations with Christians interesting is that they are so diverse.  You got people like Alvin Plantinga, who are just amazingly intelligent, and then you have people like the Creation Scientists, who are just as well intentionned… but not as gifted or educated (although, granted they can be intelligent, but I still think something probably went wrong somewhere along the way).  It’s kind of like Atheism really.  You have people like the pothead next door who doesn’t like to think about religion or philosophy, and who can’t have a coherent conversation, and then you have people like Les, who’ve done their research and are wonderfully engaging.
    Where am I going? I guess I’d like to suggest that people keep the door open to dialogue both ways, because you never know what unique person you’re going to get to dialogue with (eventually… once you’ve waded for years through the thousands of clones… I realize…)
    -Peace-

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