Friday, March 28, 2008

Patience with the incompetent

Recently I attempted to debate a Christian on someone else's blog. I'll say attempted because there was no format of actual debate. He commented some dimwitted nonsense on the blog to which I offered a comment in rebuttal. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought that he may have just skimmed the blog post or missed a particular part of it because his initial comments demonstrated that he hadn't quite gotten the gist of the post. Once I offered my rebuttal, he demonstrated for a second time that he was unable to comprehend what he had read because his reply to me didn't even make sense in the context of what I had written. I replied to him several more times, each time restating my point to him in a way I thought he might be able to understand (interspersed with an insult at his mental capacity here and there) and he still never got it. How is one to have patience with people like this? If they can't even understand the simplest of arguments.

I was also debating another Christian recently over facebook. He was actually fairly intelligent. It was a strange debate, though because he agreed with most of my logic, but DESPITE the fact that he agreed with it, still remained a Christian. How does that work, exactly? I wonder. Maybe he is more on the fence about it than he is willing to acknowledge? We are in the Bible Belt and he does seem to be close to his family. Maybe he's too afraid of the consequences of taking stock in views that actually make sense as opposed to religious nonsense.

I must say, though, that I prefer to debate with the latter. Even if I never convince him, at least there's an actual conversation taking place rather than me beating my head against a wall. I suppose that's why I'm polite to DR. Even if he's a lying, manipulative guy he at least gives something that you can respond to. I suppose being exposed to the clearwooters and the jimmys of the world makes me more grateful for the DRs and the Johns of the world.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Materialism and Relationships

I must admit that while I've been an agnostic for quite some time and only last year made the switch over to atheism, my life has made much more sense than it did before. Of course being an atheist doesn't mean that one is necessarily a materialist (for those of you not familiar with the materialism philosophy, and no it's not the desire to hold lots of material objects in one's possession, please see here:, but my science background and same search for the truth that led to my atheism also led to my materialism. This is all anecdotal, of course. I'm sure that there are atheists who feel more lost than ever after the realization that there probably isn't a god(s). But for me, it has simplified everything so much more.

I think one of the things that goes hand in hand with the Christian faith is that people believe that God has one single person that they are intended to be with or "the one". I think the concept of "the one" complicates things beyond what might initially seem to be the case. If you believe that you are destined to be with only one person, all of your actions with regards to relationships are guided by this notion. For instance, if you're in a relationship that you're having second thoughts about, rather than logically assessing the problems of the relationship, you end up trying to figure out what to do based on whether or not you think he or she is "the one". This leads to all kinds of confusion. "What if I break up with him and he was 'the one'?" or "If he's the one, everything will work itself out" or "If he's 'the one' we'll be together when we're meant to be together" and so on ad infinitum (also see ad nauseum). At any rate, it leads people to take a passive position in dealing with relationships rather than an active one. If you believe that there is "the one" then you most likely also believe that things will work themselves out as a result of this destiny or fate. When you hold a materialistic world view, you can let go of all this nonsense and begin to take an active position in your relationships and make better decisions and more clear decisions. If you aren't happy in a relationship and you feel that it has become unhealthy, it's easier to let go of it if there isn't some "the one" nonsense clouding your judgment.

Just to be clear (even though I included the link above), materialism is the view that everything can be explained physically without the need for invoking things like a soul and that consciousness can be explained in purely scientific terms . If one doesn't believe that there's any existence of a soul, then there isn't any need to believe that there's such a thing as a soul mate or "the one", to be consistent in my phrasing.

Not that there are really that many people who actually read my blog (especially since I don't actively promote it), but I can hear the protests about how depressing a materialist world view is. If you think it is, I will ask you why? Love and positive relationships aren't any less real and we don't feel them any less if this is the case, so why do you think this is depressing?

I'll leave it at that, today.