Monday, March 28, 2011

Atheist charts and hearts

Well, I've got to hand it to them. Those Atheists have gone and done it again. They've come out with a really good chart called "Rational Debating". Their motivation is to show how non-rational Christianity and other religious foolishness is (see original article here), but I personally actually really like the chart as a guide to rational discussion. Have a look: (or the full size chart here)

Obviously, I DO believe in God, and don't go for Atheism, but the 'sharpness' of this sort of thinking is good in any human discussion or debate. A word of warning - don't try this out on your partner at home or members of your family, if you know what's good for you.

My one point of contention with the chart, as good as this chart is in theory, I'm not sure how well it actually works in real life when discussing 'god' or 'non-god'. I don't know about you, but any conversations I've had with Atheists do not start with -either party; not me Christian, or them the Atheist - asking ourselves in all honesty "Can you envision anything that will change your mind on this topic". I don't think that is "reality". An Atheist has already declared that they have no intentions of believeing in God by calling themsleves an Atheist; so how can they approach an argument envisioning anything that will change their mind on the topic? I find that a bit rich. If an Atheist really truly came to me with an attitude of 'maybe I can learn something new from Christianity', well that would be a first for me.

The other problem I have with the chart is that in reality, rationality is not everything. We live our lives in complex relationsips with other people, our enviroment and indeed ourselves. I applaud rational thinking for keeping some sort of sanity in the world - and don't get me wrong, rational thinking is ...very, very, very... important, but - and this is where we most likely part ways - rational thinking is not everything. What do I mean? Well, this is where some will roll their eyes but I'm asking for a bit of honesty:

Deep down inside of us is somone or something - whatever you want to call it, the real you -who feels strongly, who has passions, who has intuition that 'knows' things without being able to explain it in 'rational' ways, who has a sense that there must be 'more than this', who feels joy and sorrow who longs for connection and a strange feeling that they are actually worth more than a pile of transitory dust...

Some will balk at this as sentimentalism and being delusional. Leave this to church freaks and old ladies and their myths... But then again, when -you - are alone during those quiet times with no distractions, no other people around, no noise - what is your deepest heart of hearts telling you? Surely we are not all brain and no heart? What's going on in your heart? Do you ever sense something going on in there that can't be explained in dot points and diagrams?

Finally, Christianity is not ultimately a rational argument - it is about a relationship: From The Bible (1 Corinthians 1:20 - 24) "What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn't God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him. Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. Our message is God's power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else. "

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