REPLY #53 TO|
Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).
(R) As for whether there's a God or not, I can't explain it for you to understand, but I've always known that He's there.
(MB) Do you "know" this or do you just "feel" this? There is a significant difference, you know. You can easily explain it to me if there's anything definitive to be explained.
(R) Some of my earliest memories are about God and just knowing that He's there.
(MB) I also remember being toted to church and to Sunday school at a very early age. At that age, children accept whatever they are told -- whether that be stories of God, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or anything else. The idea that they might be getting bogus information isn't even a consideration for young children. Sure, I believed it at that age, too, and I was inspired to read and study the Bible. However, the more I read and studied, the more it didn't make any sense. Consequently, I know the Bible better than almost anyone who still blindly believes in it and have absolutely no doubts that it's nothing more than a collection of stories.
(R) That's what faith is and it can't be explained by science or math. I wish it could, because then maybe you could find Him too.
(MB) Like I said, I've already done my homework and have concluded that there's nothing to find. Sure, it makes many people feel better to believe, but it should be obvious that questions about whether or not anything is real are not decided solely by their emotional appeal.
(R) I take exception to your statement about how you consider yourself an agnostic and, therefore, that makes you a neutral person in your opinions about religion.
(MB) Why? It's a truthful statement. I am neutral because I don't have any presuppositions that any particular religion or deity is superior to any other. That means that I am free to examine them all objectively and reach conclusions based upon the available evidence.
(R) The rest of your essay is spent telling why you don't think there is a God. I didn't notice any statements about why there "might" be a God.
(MB) Since my conclusion is that God does not exist, why would I argue otherwise? Notice that by referring to myself as an "agnostic" instead of an "atheist", I am saying that I haven't completely discounted the possibility of God's existence (any version of God). It's just that in the total absence of hard evidence in favor of the existence of any God, skepticism is the more rational position.
(R) You defend your position (that you're agnostic and not atheist) by saying that an agnostic can't prove it either way.
(MB) That's correct. But, one doesn't have to definitively prove a proposition in order for it to be stronger than its opposite or for it to be generally acceptable to a high degree of confidence. That's why I properly call myself agnostic, but still have confidence in the skeptical position.
(R) A true scientist would at least attempt to give a reason why there "might" be a God.
(MB) I have done that in my replies by stating what sort of evidence would show that God exists and by stating that I am willing to believe in anything for which there is compelling evidence. That is the scientific method of inquiry.
(R) You immediately take yourself out of neutral by stating your opinion!
(MB) My opinion is not neutral -- no opinion *is*. It is my method of inquiry that is neutral since I have not presupposed any conclusion. My conclusion is based upon the results of my studies. In an open debate forum (like my web site), one begins by stating his opinion on a given issue and then invites others to agree or disagree and present any evidence they have for any side of the issue.
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