psyck0 wrote:Sure you can talk to religious people about religion. It just doesn't get you anywhere. You can have debates within or between related sects about trivial details and occasionally convince someone that the bible actually says that the trinity is all the same person instead of three separate people or some equally useless debate, and occasionally people even convert when you convince them that this other god really better represents their values, but the real meat of the subject that atheists care about is the validity and usefulness of religion, not that trivial crap. We say it is at best useless and at worst an impediment and a force for evil in the world, and no religious person will ever agree with that, so debate is pointless.
sigh. I don't know why we even have libraries. So few people seem ever to use them.
Just the most cursory, tiny, little bit of genuine research on your part and you'd disprove your thesis. Or at least be able to have an intelligent conversation on religion. My problem isn't just that your wrong, its that you so clearly know nothing about the issue, and would never make any effor to change that. People can change their minds about substantive religious issues (not just "trivial" ones) and, indeed, often convert to atheism, just as some atheists take up religion.
One of the better authors on this is the early work of Johnathan Israel, who is sort of like a Richard Dawkins guy who actually bothered to read a book on the subject he sounds off about and to do original research. He knows more about religion, reason and the enlightenment than any man breathing today, and you channel a great deal of what he says about the value of religion, or lack thereof (though he does it without contempt for his subject, and offers substantive proof and reasoning to back it up.)
Point is, he did a great deal of work on the Dutch Republic, and noticed how the biggest Libertines (practicing atheists, confessed Christians) were behind the hard-line Calvinist Party, particularily the House of Orange. He also noticed the incredibly turbulent intellectual life of this society, ever swaying between hardline fundamentalism and free-religion liberalism. The big debate of the time was over religious tolerance, and people ranging from atheist Spinoza to liberal Christians like Episocpus were able to greatly influence opnions in traditionally hard-line Calvinist areas, like Amsterdam and Zeeland, especially. The Universities of the Netherlands and "Illustrious" schools (fancy prep colleges) were hothouses of debate sorrounding the validity of the litteral truth of scriptures, the extent of religious and civil authority, the nature of revelation, the primacy and universiality of reason and even the divinity of Jesus Christ, as Newton did.
Basically, atheists, liberals and agnostics were able to 1.) converse with and 2.) radically change the minds of practicing Christians.
Heck, even the Catholic Church likes to preen over the radical shifts brought on by their wrestling with Aristotle in the middle ages. People don't know just how much "conservative" Catholic theology is a product of one of the most radical encounters and concilliations of an atheist/agnostic/diest and a theistic philosophy. The anti-Christians who brought in Aristotle were able to force the Church to radically alter their positions on a great deal of everything.
But did it ever occur to you that you might be wrong? I think that is the danger of conversation, in the end, people fear admitting they are wrong. You have so far shown very, very little evidence of putting any time or effort into understanding the subject upon which you so confidently pronounce.
Like the aristotelean, you see a superficial phenomenon in your everyday life, and decide you then have enough to build a system that explains everything, which, I believe, is one of the characteristics of religion you claim to detest.
Such standards might suffice in the classical world, but we live in a post-Baconian age (Bacon, you recally, was the Christian who successfully argued such trivialities as: 1.) Neither contemplative reason nor revalation can explain the workings of the natural world and 2.) The workings of the natural world and human society can only be ascertained by the exhaustive examination in detail of their phenomenon, looking for physcial evidence of how things work. I know. What dogmatic foolishness his religious philosophy is.) In our age, you have to do the grunt work, not just sound off a la Bill O'Reilly or X Southern politico, with no evidence, no research, no work and very little thought.
In place of intelligent reasoning and hard research, the best you can come up with is porn.
P.S. I know I come off as annoying. Throwing broadsides of facts at people, I'm told, is considered unfair by some. Sorry to all those who made the effort to trudge through all this stuff. I know its hard slogging, but this is sort of my thing.