A Christian & An Atheist: A Discussion [a table of contents]


Schrott-Cigarettes-Bible-Jeremiah

I had the privilege over the past couple of weeks of engaging in a spirited back-and-forth with a good friend of mine, Daniel Bastian. Unfortunately, in the speed with which this exchange occurred, I know it was hard for people to keep track of the writings, the arguments, and the comments. And so, I’m writing this post in hopes of making it easier for people to follow. Here you will find a “Table of Contents” of sorts for the entire exchange, as it appeared on this blog.

Sadly, much was said over Facebook comments (and even blog comments) that cannot be sorted out and highlighted in their proper place. Comments on each post were scattered among different places and sites and posts, and so to try and consolidate them and make any sense of them for the reader would be nearly impossible. These long-form pieces will have to do, though I’ve provided the link to the Facebook comments when able, in case the interested reader wants to wade in.

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A Christian & An Atheist: A Discussion

What Would Convince You? (Daniel) | This was the Facebook post that started it all. Daniel wrote this post giving the twenty things that could convince him to return to Christianity, and what he thinks keeps him an Atheist. He then asked religious folks to offer their own similar lists.

Simplistic Christianity leads to Simplistic Atheism: it’s our fault (Paul) I began writing my own response to his points and thinking through my own list, but as I was doing so, I was struck with some thoughts for Christians I wanted to share. My basic argument: the shape of our Christianity shapes the kinds of people that leave Christianity and enter Atheism. [Facebook]

Simplistic Christianity; Simplistic Atheists: a response (Daniel)Daniel read the previous post and believed it to be a direct response to his post, and so responded with understandable frustration as well as substantive critique. I posted his response to the blog, as well as brief clarifying comments. Others on Facebook also had some harsh words for me (see above link).

Simplistic Atheism {1}: a Reason & Spirituality that’s too small (Paul) | I then began my “official” response to his post. I wanted to start with the bigger ideas behind the way Daniel arrives at and discusses these ideas, and then slowly move on towards specific concrete items. Again, Facebook got mad at me. [Facebook]

Simplistic Atheism {2}: Science “versus” Theology (Paul) | I then moved on to try and offer a “Christianly” view of science. I attempted to give a picture of how a Christian can hold to every scientific tenet Daniel does, and it actually creates a fuller picture of the natural world, rather than a reason to exclude God. [Facebook]

The Cocoon of Unfalsifiability (Daniel)Daniel’s first long-form response. In it, he responds to the previous two posts and primarily points out the convenient “flexibility” and liberties I appear to take with the Christian faith in order to justify what I say in defense of it. This time Facebook offers him some spirited critique. [Facebook]

Simplistic Atheism {3}: The Bible, Miracles, & History (Paul) | I continued my series by getting very specific in responding to his points, namely those concerning the “trustworthiness” of the Bible, the historical development of Christianity, and the way miracles function in the modern world and why it seems so at odds with the biblical presentation. On this post, Facebook was quiet.

How We Prove God (a prayer by Karl Barth) (Paul) I don’t think people knew this was part of this “series”, but it was a meditative prayer I ran across by Karl Barth that spoke to the spiritual dimension within which Christians should always have these types of discussions.

New Testament Historicity: A Response (Daniel) Daniel took serious issue with how I went about defending the Bible and wrote this piece to address my points and criticisms. This post also had the longest and (seriously) most productive Facebook exchange of the whole series. It ended up hitting on all the other points this series covered and even got to the bottom of a lot of the bigger issues at hand. I really encourage everyone to read it. [Facebook]

New Testament & History: Christians can be confident [a retort] (Paul) I ended up writing a “double reply” to Daniel’s pieces because I felt his reply would give lots of confusion to Christians that may have read it. I tried to offer as comprehensive of a defense as I could of biblical trustworthiness and reliance on the Resurrection as the central aspect of Christianity. Facebook discussed this post on the thread linked to above.

Daniel’s Reply to the “retort” (Daniel)Because I wanted to move on with the series, I (perhaps a little unfairly) asked Daniel’s reply to remain in the comment section rather than a whole post. Here is the link to that response.

Simplistic Atheism {4}: What could make me an Atheist? (Paul)  | I end my part of the series with this piece. I offer some summarizing and concluding words in response to his original Facebook post, and then I give my own “twenty things” that would lead me to Atheism.

Simplistic Atheism: a final response (Daniel)  | Taking me up on my offer to have the final word, Daniel wrote this post as a point-by-point response to my list, thus closing out the series.

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In time, perhaps I’ll assemble these into a single pdf or other medium that’s more appropriate for such long-form pieces, but for now I hope this helps people engage in this wonderful discussion. I certainly enjoyed myself (even I appeared snarky or exasperated in the comments at times).

What did you think of the series overall? How as the discussion handled? What annoyed you? What made you happy to see? What was different with this as compared to other similar exchanges you’ve encountered? Sound off in the comments below.

[image credit: photo by David Schrott]

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13 thoughts on “A Christian & An Atheist: A Discussion [a table of contents]

  1. Pingback: Simplistic Atheism {4}: What could make me an Atheist? | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  2. Pingback: Simplistic Christianity leads to Simplistic Atheism: it’s our fault | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  3. Pingback: New Testament & History: Christians can be confident [a retort] | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  4. Pingback: “New Testament Historicity: A Response” by Daniel Bastian [GUEST POST] | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  5. Pingback: How We Prove God (a prayer by Karl Barth) | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  6. Pingback: Simplistic Atheism {3}: The Bible, Miracles, & History | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  7. Pingback: “The Cocoon of Unfalsifiability” by Daniel Bastian [GUEST POST] | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  8. Pingback: Simplistic Atheism {2}: Science “versus” Theology | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  9. Pingback: Simplistic Atheism {1}: a Reason & Spirituality that’s too small | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

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  12. Pingback: “Simplistic Atheism: a final response” by Daniel Bastian [GUEST POST] | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

  13. Pingback: Putting the FUN back in Fundamentalism! (vs. Atheism) | the long way home | Prodigal Paul

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