Behind Enemy Lines

82nd Airborne Division behind enemy lines
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I’m curious how many bloggers and internet forum members in the atheosphere actually visit the “enemy camp” so to speak. Either overtly or covertly.

I moderate at several internet forums where religion is a hot topic, one of which is a science-based forum where the Religion section is dominated by atheists. Yet I see regular postings by Christians and Muslims at each of these forums where it seems their only goal is to provoke and argue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. I think they’re a valueable addition to the forums in most cases (some are just mindless trolls) and I think argumentation and debate in this manner is a fine way to both learn and educate. I’ve observed several Christians and even a couple Muslims soften their religious beliefs or even abandon them altogether (I’ve yet to see the atheist become a Christian or Muslim!).

Lately, however, I’ve taken to visiting the other side. Checking out Christian blogs and forums and even posting here and there. My most recent interactions were at ChristianPost.com, a Christian news site that actually has some interesting stories. They’re not as wacky as World Nut Daily or AFA, so much easier to tolerate (before reaching “punch the keyboard” stage).

I linked two stories on Twitter (follow me on one of the sidebars), but here they are: OnTaking Atheism Seriously, and Religion on the Brain.

The first is a blog entry by Randal Rauser, a professor of theological history who quotes Romans and states, “[s]o the question: is someone who affirms the proposition “There is no God” de facto godless and wicked?” My reply was: Most rational atheists hold that proposition provisionally, citing the lack of good reason to accept the positive claim that a god exists. Certainly that makes them godless (but then so are all humans from the atheist point of view since a god is probably non-existent), but it would be both ignorant and dishonest to label them “wicked,” which is defined as “deviation from morality” by Webster. I could have gone on, but perhaps in the back of my mind I was thinking, “be nice. You’re in their house.

The second story, Religion on the Brain, is an interesting perspective of an article that ran in the USA Today recently on the sociobiology of belief where it’s argued “that religion can be a force for good or for evil, depending on the conception of God that is the focus of belief.” My comment there was not directed toward the article itelf but one of the other commenters, tipique1, who made some very fallacious arguments about atheism and atheists in general. Here’s my entire comment, which will give the gist of the fallacies.

tipique1,

Your opinion of atheism appears to be one in which you have come to a conclusion and seek only to pidgenhole atheists into it. Your opinion is utterly and completely wrong when you state “atheism affirms a negative.” Atheism is merely the state of being that we are all born into before we become indoctrinated by the cultural memes of religion. If one is lucky enough to become enlightened after this indoctrination, or if this indoctrination isn’t complete, the believer may one day return to that state of refusing to accept the positive claim of theists.

I, like most atheists, state that there is no good reason to accept your theistic claim. A lack of understanding of the universe, claimed by most theists is a terribly fallacious reason to accept a god. Indeed, even if I were to accept that a god were needed in the universe, that hardly gets me from there to your particular notion of a god. To accept such a god would be a massive non sequitur.

On the subject of logical fallacy, I note that you’re quite familiar with them. You’ve made an attempt to poison the well by associating Richard Dawkins‘ well-argued “mind virus” analogy of religious indoctrination to Adolf Hitler in a manner that would make Godwin proud (google Godwin’s Law). But your argument is doubly fallacious in that even if Hitler et al did see religion as a virus more than a tool for genocide as they did, it doesn’t imply that religion does not behave like a virus.

You say atheism is evil. You fail miserably at demonstrating this claim but succeed in showing a certain measure of expected bigotry.

-Yenald Looshi

I fully expect that this one might get deleted, but I am, afterall, experimenting a bit. I noticed one other atheist commenting in that story as well as a liberal theist.

Anyway, I’m going to have a poll up for a while regarding “going behind enemy lines” to post, comment, or just read. I’m curious about the interactions and experiences of other atheists that do this.

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