Where was I? Oh, right. When someone comes to me and asks me to have a conversation with them about religion and atheism, I feel it's my responsibility as an atheist to show that a discourse is possible. I want to show religious people that I am indeed a living, breathing ethical atheist. I am rather nice to people, especially if they aren't visiting my home for more than one night. (Then all bets are off) I try to show people how to use reason, logic and facts to find out things for themselves.
Sure, sometimes I can get a bit testy when a christian insults my intelligence or pointedly tries to manipulate the discussion into an argument. I am not a debater, and I can't stand logical fallacies, especially when employed specifically to win unfairly. This is unethical and inexcusable to me.
Of course, people often use logical fallacies because they don't know any better. I will then happily teach a person about the logical fallacy being used, and will then expect that person to refrain from further use of it as we go through our discussions.
Of course, often a person will stubbornly cling to their beliefs and faith and eschew reason, logic and common sense. They will pull out dirty tricks to try to show their beliefs to be the "truth".
This is where we are with Beth. And I have come to a decision. I've written a short note which I am sending to her in a few minutes. Here it is in its entirety:
After careful thought, I have come to the conclusion that you are after confirmation in your faith. You want to know that the path you're on is just and right. My many attempts to direct you to facts and historical information have been shunned and ignored in favor of apologetic christians bent on "proving" christianity with logical fallacies and misinformation.
Your refusal to even acknowledge the simple concept of cherry-picking in favor of blind faith has led me to the realization that this "conversation" is completely one-sided and closed.
What you seem to want is simple faith, based on your beliefs, culled from the best concepts of religion, the happiest and most loving ideas mashed together to suit your wish for a supreme being to watch over you, love you unconditionally, and give you eternal life.
Facts, science, reason and logic have no part in this quest of yours.
Therefore our conversation will never give you what you're looking for. All it will ever do is frustrate you and cause you to burrow ever deeper away from reality and logic.
I wish you a pleasant journey down the path of faith and belief. Perhaps it can fulfill you and give you the peace you seem to be searching for.
You see, Beth and I have diametrically opposed goals for this discussion. This has become a stalemate. I feel, for my sake as well as yours, that there is little to no benefit with continuing this argument any further. I am still open to talking to other christians. Hell, I could even be talked into opening the dialogue with Beth again in the future, if she would simply be willing to learn new information, instead of just parroting tired old apologetic christians in an attempt to cling to preconceived myths and notions.
But for now, I think this path has reached a very definite dead end. Let's call it a day and use our time for more productive and fun pursuits. What do you think?