|Prof. Michael Jaworski and I posed for a photo after our public debate at UT-Pan American. He’s a cool guy. That’s Prof. Tom Pearson, moderator, behind us.|
At the close of my public debate with Michael Jaworski, I met Jake, an atheist. I found him to be respectful and well-spoken.
I’d like to give you a peek into the email correspondence we agreed to launch.
In my first message to Jake I asked which atheists he reads and why he holds his position. Here’s a summary of his reply:
1. He found famous atheists such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to be helpful in articulating his position.
2. With history littered with so many religious prophets and deities (including many of virgin birth), it is arrogant to think our little sliver of time contains the one true and final god.
3. Honesty and realism demand that we put away childish beliefs and superstitions and engage in the hard work of coming to grips with the human condition — and improving it.
My first response to Jake was to question why Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens would be considered authorities on God’s existence when none are actual philosophers or theologians.
They probably would not want philosophers doing science. Yet, they’ve no qualms about doing philosophy (badly, in my view).
So what I’m trying to do early in the argument is get to the bottom of Jake’s sources: Who does he read, and what makes him think his sources are trustworthy?
* * *
Lesson for dialogue with skeptics: Take your time. Don’t jump into the actual arguments quickly. Find out the other person’s sources and methodology first.
Next week: Responding to #2 above, about whether it’s arrogant to think we can know the true God when history is filled with so many prophets and deities.