An Open Apology
I believe in intellectual honesty and this means admitting when you are wrong. This morning and yesterday, I have said some things to two correspondents (MyAtheistLife and Makagutu) that I should not have said and I am offering this post as an open apology to both of these correspondents.
Your argument concerning the link between created beings and evil is valid. I have failed to make a good case for the link and I should not have called your point garbage.
Your defense of being selfish and self-centered was refreshingly intellectually honest. This is also a valid argument and I should not have called it garbage. I believe that my advocacy of enlightened self-interest through an advanced understanding of Game Theory, however, is a sufficient response to this argument. You will find it in in the post entitled “Speculations Concerning the Divine Plan”.
Your third point of God preventing the famine or being responsible for it is also valid. I should not have called it garbage. I will address it in the future when I post my arguments on why God has put human beings into this world.
Motivation for the Website
Having made my apology, I trust that I can offer something by way of explanation without appearing to justify my inappropriate behavior?
On my website, I am trying to present some very difficult ideas in a concise and lucid way. In the post in question, I failed and I was not happy with the result. I thought it sucked and I said so. I have been struggling to present these ideas in a concise way that is simple to understand for years. It remains the weakest element in my entire defense of Christianity.
Now some atheists are intellectually honest. They know that defending the Christian religion is much harder than poking holes in it and they cut you some slack. I didn’t think that MyAtheistLife was that way, but he was. He understands that the arguments I am trying to make are very hard and he acknowledges the difficulty. He is an intellectually honest person and I appreciate that.
Many atheists are not intellectually honest in this way. There are legions of 15 year-old nihilists who watch a couple of Richard Dawkins videos on Youtube and think they understand the entire of the universe. They don’t understand that it is in principle much more difficult to create a consistent interpretive framework for the Bible and the world then it is to find inconsistencies and difficulties with such a framework. Just like I can take a vase that some master craftsman has labored on for hundreds of hours and smash it to pieces with a hammer in minutes. Some tasks are just intrinsically harder than others. It is much easier to be a critic than to be an artist.
Now to be honest, I am determined not to let any such thoughtless nihilists on my site. Trying to communicate with someone who cannot understand my arguments is a waste of my time and prevents me from accomplishing my purpose and this I cannot allow. I am sorry if this has made me a bit overzealous, but my purpose is very important to me.
What is my purpose? Why do I spend three hours a night trying to share what I believe? Is it the money? The cars? The fabulous women? No. My purpose is far more important to me than any of those things. I am trying to reach people like I was twenty years ago. People who look out at the world in quiet desperation and say, “HELP! I am alone in an ocean of stupidity and barbarity” People who look at atheism and nihilism with revulsion and despair. People who look at Christian teaching and want to jump off of a building. I want to say to them, “The atheists are wrong and the Christians are not much better, but don’t worry. God is incarnate love and if you believe in Jesus Christ there is hope.” There are not be many of these people, but I know they are out there. They need God in their lives too much to live as atheists, but many Christian beliefs strike them as too horrible to be true. I want to help. I will not be diverted.
Rules of Posting
Now let us be intellectually honest with one another. I am not going to persuade determined atheists that Christianity is a compelling world view. They have made their choice and they like it. They are not my target audience. Neither am I going to change the minds of young earth creationists or other such Christians. They also are not my target audience. Hard core atheists and committed Christians are welcome to my site, obviously, but I am not going to go out of my way to answer their questions. I don’t have the time.
Having said that, however, I don’t mind giving brief explanations or answering quick questions, but there need to be some ground rules to prevent things from getting out of hand:
- Brevity is a necessity. If you have a long comment, make a post of your own and link to it. If I find a brief summary interesting, I will take the time to read it. Otherwise I will not.
- Keep to the topic at hand. If you have a related question say “What about this?” and I will link an argument that I have made or (more likely at this state) tell you that I am going to address that issue later on. (I suppose it could happen that you make an argument that I haven’t thought of, but after nineteen years thinking about these issues that would be surprising.)
- Do not make arguments that you don’t believe in. I could give a crap less if you are an atheist and you say that God obviously meant “morally good” when he talked about creation in Genesis. That is not why you are an atheist and if the argument isn’t important to you, then why should it be important to me? It is a total waste of my time and I will either delete the comment or allow it and not respond.
- If I say that I answer that question in another post and you do not read the post that I mention, then you don’t care about the argument and I am going to delete your comment.
- If I say that an argument is weak in a given area or way, pointing that out to me is not useful or helpful. If I say an argument sucks and you tell me that it sucks, your comment will be deleted.
- Obviously any form of profanity or abuse of any kind will be deleted immediately.