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Too Many Facts

Entry 767, on 2008-05-11 at 20:43:22 (Rating 4, Comments)

On one of the social web sites where I blog and participate in discussions I have caused a small amount of trouble. I only loaded blog entries to this site for weeks but was persuaded to join in discussions by a member there. Of course I immediately headed for the most controversial subject: religion. I always think there's not much point in debating something that everyone agrees with anyway.

One of the other members of the site had a discussion topic inviting people to ask him questions about his Christian beliefs, so I asked some. I asked fairly standard questions such as why there's no independent historical evidence of Jesus' existence, why most of the Old Testament stories aren't true, why prayer doesn't work, why god does such a terrible job of running the world, and why scientific explanations are constantly replacing religious beliefs.

I never did get real answers to any of these questions but the discussion rapidly progressed from there into a bit of a shouting match between me and one or two others on the anti-religion side, and one person in particular, plus a few more on the pro-religion side. For the first time in all the time I have spent debating on the Internet I was actually threatened with physical violence!

One of the "Christians" suggested we settle the debate with a fight! But he did warn me he was 6 foot 3 inches and knew how to box. I assured him that if we ever met for real I wouldn't be stopping and would proceed rapidly in the opposite direction. Is trying to avoid violence being a coward? I was accused of being one and I really don't know if that's reasonable. The morality that Christians use is so bizarre I just can't figure it out!

Of course I took the opportunity to point out how ironic it was that a Christian was threatening violence when most Christians claim their beliefs make them better people than the rest of us, but I never heard from the person again so I don't know how that comment might have affected him.

The other person I was debating against got a bit annoyed with me whenever I offered him evidence to support my ideas. He would continually accuse me of just offering what he called superficial opinions, but when I provided links to more in-depth information he refused to look at them and said the discussion was just becoming boring.

He was obviously suffering from self-delusion and he must have been worried that if he saw too many facts it might have affected his beliefs. But if the facts cause you to doubt your beliefs isn't that a good thing? It seems to fit in to my thoughts on faith: faith is believing something even when you know its not true.

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