Because Nobody Reads Long Youtube Comments:

Here’s one I posted to a video by atheist Jaclyn Glenn, on her video . As a nota bene, I watched a few of her other videos, and so make references to them in an effort to be more persuasive. I believe the comment can stand on its own (just ignore personal references) so here it is.

Hello Ms. (?) Jaclyn Glenn! I am sorry to hear you didn’t sleep well the other night. I think we can all sympathize!

I absolutely understand the frustration in hearing a smart person say dumb things. I would like to point out, as I am sure you know, that all people in all camps are prone to this sort of behavior, but it is especially grating coming from people of whom you have reason to believe should know better. May I suggest that this is the best time, then, to consider avoiding an amygdala hijack and ask the person to clarify their meaning? (Obviously Twitter isn’t a great forum for that, so I’m not trying to fault you, just being rhetorical ^-^)

These catch phrases about “Atheism requires Faith” are just as silly as the atheist catch phrases, which you rightly pointed out (in your recent video on converting Christians to Atheism) are bad form in a genuine debate or outreach effort. While both sides think that their catch phrases are a true, if exaggerated, characterization of each other, I think if we could all calm down, we’d realize that we both know the issues are more complicated than “God has no more evidence than the FSM” and “Atheists have blind faith.” Let’s just unpack these two examples:

With regards to the “God has no more evidence than the FSM (or fairies, or Santa, etc)” I would hope most atheists are well aware of the distinctive differences, so I will briefly point out the long tradition of belief in God vs. FSM, a long history of rational argumentation in favor of a God (argumentation which you may consider to be flawed in aspects, but it nevertheless exists, and is convincing, and was sufficient proof for many men of substantial intellect and experience) vs FSM, and the relative lack of evidence we would expect to find of fairies etc. vs. what would expect to find of God (I recognize this last one is controversial, but I am simply trying to illustrate differences, not engage in the debate as such – I appreciate everyone’s understanding, and perhaps we can debate some other time).

As to unpacking the “Atheists have blind faith,” meme, I think most Christians (and religious people) will intuitively recognize that the “faith” they here accuse atheists of is of a mightily different character than that practiced by religious folk. I think no religious person is confused enough to think that atheists are praying to Not-God that He doesn’t exist, as you and others have parodied. I believe most people, when questioned on this, would suggest the “faith” (perhaps better termed “acceptance”) displayed by average Atheists that creation could come ex nihilo, or by random, indescribably unlikely chance or by some mechanism that we have no understanding of – anything BUT a Creative God. Moreover, the “faith” (again, perhaps better termed “acceptance”) that the average atheist has that anything worth knowing or understanding can be “seen”, measured, quantified, and known empirically. This, I believe, is more the position of “materialism” than strictly defined “atheism” but there has been significant overlap of the two in my experience, and I imagine many people would agree. In this respect, atheists are “blind” to the existence of all unquantifiable, immaterial phenomena. As a brief example, you described in a recent video (about religion and bad relationships) your feelings vis a vis security, love and heartbreak. But materialism would tend to indicate that these are merely chemical phenomena, evolutionary adaptations, and nothing more. While atheism is not strictly the same as materialism, most Christians recognize the two often go hand in hand, just as you rightly indicated in your video about Feminism that, while the dictionary definition of feminism says one thing, the practice of feminism is often quite different.

Now, I might personally add another element to that of the “blind” nature of this claim, but I am not sure my correligionists would agree, so please take this as simply one person’s perspective. It has been my experience, particularly with regards to PopSci, that many people, atheists and theist alike, will “take on faith” any claim made with reference to science, without taking the time to verify it. So, when one reads on article on About.Com, HuffPo, USAToday, or whatever popular source, it is rare they will then go on the check and verify the citations, see that what the article claims “studies show” is, IN FACT, what the “studies show,” consider the methodology, the quality of the study, the sample size, the quality of the study and its peer reviews, etc. I have been guilty of this myself.

Please consider, how is accepting such studies, based on the overarching claim of “It’s science!” after they have been “translated” for common consumtion from the original information, to technical scientific journals, to less technical scientific publications (i.e. “popSci” materials and shows) and finally to general materials, which are then posted in summary form to your facebook wall, where you read half the original article – how is this vastly different to the criticism that Christians are dumb or misinformed for accepting their Bible on faith? Both these scientific claims and the Bible are “peer-reviewed”, both circumstances trust “wiser” authorities to have already gone through the arduous verification process for us, to have “done the math” and “checked the details” for us, and we generally trust that the translations of science and the Bible have been made faithful (ie with respect and fidelity to) the original source, and both are based on claim to supreme authority (the authority of God, which has been misused by people seeking power, and the authority of Science, which has also been misused by people seeking power).

I say this with no intention to “debunk” science: it is abundantly clear that science has been effective in many of its claims. I only wish those on the “science” side of the fence could be equally generous in recognizing the vast civilizing and stabilizing force that many, if not all, forms of religion have been.

Atheists are right in pointing out that many (not all) religious people have been very lax in their understanding of their world and their faith, but I have seen the same sort of willful avoidance of truth or reason in atheists as well. Many atheists, whether they mean to or not, hide this with a smokescreen of claims to greater rationality or IQ, but the fact of the matter is that many of them are arguing the same old points that philosophers going all the way back to Plato have wrestled with, without making any reference or acknowledgement of this history – they act is if no one has ever considered the “problem of Evil” before they brilliantly suggested it, and, to our great shame, most modern Christians have not been properly equipped to handle these ancient, but by no means unconsidered philosophical questions. We ALL need to be better educated on our own history and the nature of our world so as not to stumble against these challenges.

TL;DR: Christians should stop being dumb! Atheists should stop being dumb! There are answers out there to hard questions if you would just take some time to look!


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