The honesty, the humility, the relief, and the release I feel when I say the words: I was mistaken.I Was Mistaken
This blog has been quite for a while, but my podcasting continues, I am still active in atheist / Christian dialogue, but it tends to be in places other than this blog.
Recently I had the opportunity to host two conversations with the apologist Jonathan McLatchie. His media locations are available here:
You can listen to those conversations here:
The second conversation was a hosted conversation, where I was not actively engaging with Jonathan, instead I invited a friend of the podcast Brian Blais to have a follow up conversation with Jonathan. More about Brian can be found here:
The second of the podcast conversations has prompted a blog post which I feel the need to respond to. I replied over on the blog itself, but sadly my comment has not (yet) made it through moderation. I have no idea why, it could easily be an oversight.
The blog post can be found here: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2020/05/mclatchie-vs-blais-on-miracles.html
I shall now respond to the essential points raised in that post:
- This wasn’t a debate, it was a conversation. Conversations meander, which is good and I encourage conversations on my podcast for that very reason. Conversations enable free exchange of ideas and foster understanding in a way that debates do not. Debates create a tribalist “my man won” culture. I dislike the debate format for this very reason. I do not host debates on my podcast.
- Yes, I was hands off during the discussion (it was not a debate!) , I made my intention clear from my opening remarks. During editing it did become obvious that Brian spoke more than Jonathan, this wasn’t obvious during recording and with hindsight it is something I could have managed better. Though I am not sure it hurt the conversation flow.
- I reject the gish gallop suggestion. I host conversations because conversations meander and go places. Conversations are good for this very reason.
- If the points Brian brought up for not novel, and there are reasonable responses, how come the points are still barriers to belief? I am happy to host any Christian who wishes to press any point.
- I support Brian’s expectation. If testimonial isn’t good enough for you to believe someone was abducted by aliens, then it’s not good enough for me to believe a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago.
- Events that don’t meet our understanding of physics require additional support in order to be taken seriously. Complaints that this excludes an person’s precious belief state will not get any sympathy from me. Bring the evidence or go home.
I haven’t told many people about my gradual deconversion from Christianity to something (I am still uncertain if I can really give myself the title Atheist yet…). But I have been thinking a lot about why I am so reluctant to talk to people about my loss of faith in God.
I think it comes down to the following emotional reasons:
I am worried that they will reject me. I am worried that I will be thought less of. I am fairly sure that I would have to change my job (Christian charity worker here) and I am certain that I would lose friends as they gradually pulled back from me.
I think it also comes down to these philosophical reasons:
Morality is still too big a subject for me to ‘put to rest’ on pure chance and evolution. The historical evidence for the life, death & resurrection of Jesus…
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My guest this week is David Johnson, the co-host and creator of the Skeptics and Seekers podcast and blog. David is a former Church of Christ member and a pastor’s kid. He was baptized at 7, leading the church in song at 7, preaching at 12, the youth leader at 15 and assistant minister at 21.
Was I the real thing? Pathologically so.
His deconversion process began as he examined the Church of Christ’s doctrine against musical accompaniment in worship. He says “the little things, were the big things.” And if the little things were wrong, what else might be wrong?
You know, I think we might be wrong about that [instrumental accompaniment].
And that was hard for me.
It was hard in a way that I am not going to be able to express.
For me, if we were wrong about musical instruments…
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Your questions have probably been asked before.
It has taken me a while to realise that with everything I am going through, someone else will have been on a similar journey. Where we end up could, of course, be different but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take the time to stop and understand who else has been asking the very questions that I am engaging with.
Imagine that you have been dropped in a new part of the world, the landscapes are unfamiliar and you are essential lost. You can push forwards, try to understand where you are by moving forwards and reflecting back when you can later on, or you can ask those who have been in this world before you, to reflect on their experiences that went ahead of you.
Take my journey of doubt as an example. Everything I am going through feels raw and new, nothing…
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Books have different impacts upon you depending on the season you read them.
As I read this book (July-August 2019) I am well on a journey of deconversion out of Christianity.
I am searching for community and answers, and thus I have read and listened to a whole host of resources. I want to begin to face up to my wavering faith in the Judea-Christian deity and engage in tough and honest questions.
Over time I have become a regular listener of a podcast called Unbelievable? – a Christian podcast, but one that engages very well with other worldviews and asks the sort of questions I was wanting to dive into. Through my time listening to this podcast I came across the host’s (Justin Brierley) own book: ‘Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian’.
(A side note – I would whole heartily recommend both…
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This week I guested on a podcast to discuss miracles and why I don’t accept that they happen.
If you do listen to it, I’d appreciate any feedback.
Well, it has certainly been a long time coming, back in November of 2019, I had a Round Table discussion on the topic of Miracles with 3 Atheists, including Matthew Taylor (from the Proscenium/Ask an Atheist Anything & Still Unbelievable podcasts); let’s just say that the convo did not go according to plan and neither Matt nor myself were satisfied with how the discussion turned out (see that Skeptics and Seekers Podcast here = https://skepticsandseekers.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/the-plausibility-of-the-miraculous-refuting-the-skeptical-presumption-of-scientism-naturalism/ ).
As both Matt and I were not pleased with how things turned out, Matt reached out to me to do a Round 2 in the hopes of having a more substantive and productive conversation, this time around we were joined by Robert Lee White (from The Robert L. White Show podcast) and this time, I believe we have finally achieved what Matt and I set out to do…
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This is the introduction chapter where Justin tells us the why of the book and the show. He talks about how he saw the light at age 15 how he met the woman who would later become his wife and all.
I almost feel like I should stop reading at chapter 1. He has dropped in names of big wigs among the popular atheists and theologians I am left wondering what new argument or point will I raise that has not been raised already.
Since Justin’s book is about encouraging conversation, I will attempt in my reviews and comments to avoid snarky comments. But where I can’t help it, let us hope my humour and sarcasm will take us through the book.
Get ready with your popcorn. It’s a short book anyway. So we will not be here for long.