"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Helping Theist Arguments

Edit: Ironically, I made a conceptual error in my comments here. Please see my comments here addressing that issue.
Sometimes, when I talk to theists, I am surprised at their ability to provide me with challenging arguments. I really value those moments when a theist says something to me which actually stumps me.

Other times, theists aren't able to stump me or surprise me with their arguments. It's not because they're dumb people, but rather because a lot of religious people have never spent any time trying to defend their religion. Perhaps for them, religion is about inspiration, mystical experiences, or values. When this happens, I can't do anything but feel bad for them. Feeling sympathetic to their plight, I tend to put aside my own opinion and try fix up their own arguments. If anything, it gives me something more interesting to argue against. And I value critical thinking more so than my own opinion; in some sense, I feel morally obligated to help them provide a more rational defence of their own religion.

This happened recently on the r/Christianity subreddit and I wanted to provide it here as an illustrative example.