Having not heard from our hosts for a few weeks, I was struck by how much pleasure I felt hearing their voices again. Though I’ve never seen their faces, nor ever even spoken with either on the phone, when I heard their voices tonight the sensation was very much like catching up with old and important friends.
While my criticism of what I see as problems with Scott’s belief system are often if not always blunt, I can’t think of anything I might say about a couple of guys doing a podcast that would indicate my admiration for both fellows better than that.
The Christian / Atheist alliance idea is fantastic! Lots of interesting practical and leadership issues raised by the concept, but even if a face-to-face expression of the idea doesn’t come off, I hope maybe just those of us here can do something together online, like maybe through Scott’s suggestion for a Kiva.org group? Count me in, in any event.
Regarding your sense of having “been there, done that” in terms of expressing your queries and views on the show, I suppose all of us, maybe especially on the non-faith side, feel your pain.
If the discussions on the podcast and the forum were roads, they would surely be covered in dead horses, beaten nearly to dust like a mashed squirrel on I-5 after a couple weeks of rush hours!
Still, there are always new and interesting angles, such as the maybe a series on “The Good Book” book – that sounded interesting to me. And some of those dead horses keep managing to get resurrected, too, or would that be “raptured?”
Most importantly, you do such a great job!
But as for your “Christmas wish,” I hope you’re not holding your breath. How many Bible verses are there that mandate rejection of the “wavering” which is to say the people who use their minds? That tactic, of course, is basic to all dogmatic power structures because it’s an excellent method of helping the goose-stepping followers to feel superior while keeping almost everyone else in line.
But I’m glad you raised the point. I’ve noticed that folks who were raised in un-religious or very mildly religious atmospheres really don’t appreciate the courage and integrity required for a person who has suffered a life-long immersion in dogmatic religion to stand up and say – even to him or herself - “This is a crock. I can’t play this game anymore.”
I was intrigued by your assertion, if I heard you right, that in your own Bible reading you found a body of material that emphasized hope.
I hope that you’ll speak further on this hope – maybe in an upcoming podcast if not here.
What sort of hope?
Would you name some verses in particular along this line? You seemed to feel that what you’d found had not been commonly known or focused upon properly, at least in your experience.
Which passages were you thinking of there?
And I was very, very impressed by your admission that in your religious upbringing the element of fear was far more prevalent than the element of hope. Man, do we - and millions of others - have that in common!
And when fear is the primary emotional underpinning of religiosity, hope (of all kinds) is not the only positive emotion that gets squashed, either.
Maybe with that realization you can begin to relate a little bit to why people like me and far more famous folk like Richard Dawkins feel that religion-oriented childhood environments often are properly called abusive, psychologically if not physically.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to agree with me that teaching a child that a supernatural overseer is hearing his or her thoughts and watching their every act is a supremely unfortunate practice, regardless of whether or not fear is overwhelmingly instilled otherwise.
Finally, it’s no accident that fear plays such a large role in Christianity for both children and adults is it? Why do you think the Bible passages you found that present such a strong case for hope outweigh the fear generating passages that so many Christians think are the very essence of the faith?
Those who know the most of nature believe the least about theology. - Robert Ingersoll