The Atheist Truth Regime

My brother and I got together with an atheist friend from the CARM board. We found out that this guy lives in Dallas, so we started talking on the phone, then got together at a restaurant to discuss the existence of God. It was daunting because not being on a message board meant I had to listen to him prattle on and on. No, I'm kidding. It was great because we got a lot further into the discussion than we would have had it been on a board.

The thing is this guy still did the same atheist trick I have described before; trying to barrow the area of science as truth-finding technique and pretend that it rubs off on atheism via the atheist admiration or science. Everything I would say would be met by "that's not meaningful because you have to assume God to begin with." But of course I am assuming God, as the foundation of my belief system, in the expression of any belief that I want to disclose. I can't begin with the cogito and work my way out to God there in causal conversation. I might just as well issue a 1000 page book entitled "How to Converse with Metacrock," it could begin with the material in the Russell's Wittgenstein Pinckipa, (which establishes the basis in logic for doing the math problem 1 + 1--said to be the most complex book ever written) and then Wittenstine's Tractatus, which establishes the basis of logic in language, and finally wind up with Descartes' Discourse on the Method which demonstrates how to go from "I think, therefore I am" to proving the rest of the world. There just might be some who would find it a daunting task to read all these things just to hold a conversation with me.

In fact the atheist is still doing what I accuse him of doing; setting up a truth regime based upon the pretension that this world is established because he hitch-hikes off the credibility of science. Then he accuses me of arguing from incredulity by saying things "that can't be verified." Of course when pressed to verify his own position he resets to his own from of incredulity; denying that he has any need to verify the reality of the world or other minds or the meaning of life on the basis that it's not a meaningful question to question these because no one else does. Of course, the fact that the majority, the vast majority of world population accepts God as a valid starting point for knowledge isn't enough in his mind to justify assumptions about the divine, but it's far more established because of the larger community that takes these questions seriously.

He would not admit that finding my own experiences significant was enough of a reason to doubt them so, but did admit that a community of believers can't be dismissed merely on the basis of their belief because they do create a context in which belief is taken seriously. Well, so? Isn't this the same principles? There's nothing to privilege a position on if everything has to have a community of speakers to make meaningful statments to, then why is my community any worse off than his?

He couldn't answer that that's the way we left it.

It has now been over a year since I wrote this, maybe more like two years. This guy and I became friends and have talked many times. He's still an atheist but he has long since admitted that this conversation changed whole attitude toward religion. He did get the point I make above and has admitted "with your experiences and your understanding of how to place them with respect to philosophy no atheist could ever make you doubt." But I was changed by that encounter, and our subsequent encounters. I did not really come to agree with him philosophically but I came to realize a deeper respect for a dialog partner when I'm trying to be his friend and not "beat him" in an argument. So much for my truth regime.


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