Internet radio interview – debrief

Man, that was fun! I’ve never done anything like that before, and it was very strange. I’m used to thinking slowly (some might say veeeeeeeeery slowly) but being “live” makes you think on your feet, parallel-process concepts and what have you. I especially enjoyed the fellow who called in at the end, even though there was not enough time to really explore his area of interest. I think he said his name was John, but it was hard to hear him. I had some thoughts on how I would approach a conversation with him regarding near death experiences which was obviously an important subject to him.

[By the way, the show was recorded here if you care to listen to it. Update: it’s now also at Youtube.]

First, he seemed to be suggesting (though he never came out and said it) that because the near death experiences are roughly the same across cultures and ideologies that all religions really lead to the same path. I would have to confirm with him that his conclusion is some form of syncretism. If so, that would lead me to want to ask a whole series of questions.

  1. What are his thoughts on the law of non-contradiction? This is kind of an important concept to any investigation of truth, so it’s important to know where he stands on it. Most people (if they didn’t know the concept beforehand) understand and accept the law of non-contradiction when it is explained to them. I would assume he does to, but I would want to clarify.
  2. His idea seemed to be that we are unjustified in claiming that there is only one right religion, given the apparent consistency in near death experiences. This thinking seems, to me, perfectly backwards. Given the immense similarly in near death experiences would it not make more sense to conclude there is, in fact, only one right answer with respect to what happens after death? Rather than leading me to conclude that it is impossible that only one religion is right, that should lead me to conclude that it must be the case that only one religion is right. Of course it is possible that all present religions are wrong and we have yet to discover the true religion, but it certainly seems counter-intuitive to conclude that all religions are right. I would certainly like to hear his thoughts on how he arrived at his conclusion, and of course, whether or not I have properly understood his conclusion in the first place.
  3. I would also really like to have heard more of the data he referenced. Which studies did he read? Who were the authors? What was their methodology? So many questions need to be asked to better understand the basis of his convictions. Mark mentioned the research of Gary Habermas in this area – some audio files of his are here (just search for “near death” on the page).
  4. He also seemed to imply (it was a brief comment so I may have misunderstood) that religious texts are merely man-made and that near death experiences were the real deal. I think it would be interesting to explore that. Records of near death experiences are documentation of what a person experiences, but religious texts – I will focus on the Bible, obviously – are pretty much exactly the same thing. God did things, said things, inspired thoughts and people wrote them down. I would have loved to explore his basis for taking the written records of near death experiences seriously, but seemingly brushing aside the written records of interactions with God himself.

Anyway, he was a fascinating caller with some very interesting ideas and it is a shame we only had a few minutes to chat. The conversation did shed some light on a few points I raise in Arguing with Friends.

  1. Talk in person, whenever possible. It’s radio, so it was obviously not possible this time, but I hope God brings some thoughtful Christians into his life that he can dialogue with in person.
  2. These kinds of conversations take time. Clearly we hardly scratched the surface. John didn’t get all his thought in, Mark didn’t get all his thoughts in, and clearly I certainly had a number of questions that I would have liked to ask. I imagine if the three of us were sitting down over coffee we would have chatted on nothing but that one conversation for easily a couple of hours.
  3. Do your homework. If I were a friend of his and we had the opportunity to talk in person I would take the time to read up on near death experiences. Those experiences are obviously very important to him so that’s a great place to start the conversation.
  4. Ask questions. Like I said already, there are so many questions that could have been asked, and points that needed clarification. Take the time to understand his perspective.

All said, though, what a great experience. I’m not sure I want to make a habit of radio interviews, but it sure was an invigorating once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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18 thoughts on “Internet radio interview – debrief

  1. Hello Paul this is John. It was a pleasure talking with you yesterday via the radio show. I would like to address some of the questions and issues you have presented here.

    1. In regards to the Law of Non Contradiction, I am fairly familiar with this philosophical concept. However, from all I can gather regarding the complexity of our world, especially what we have been shown in Quantum Mechanics, I tend to lean towards Dialetheism.

    In case you are unfamiliar, Dialetheism is the view that some statements can be both true and false simultaneously. More precisely, it is the belief that there can be a true statement whose negation is also true. Such statements are called “true contradictions”,(from wiki)

    2. Let me try to explain what I have learned about NDEs and religion. First its not really a matter of being “right” or “wrong”. The short answer would be all religions are right and wrong. It seems as though religion has certain concepts that can be verified through these NDEs. For example religion says we go on after death, according to NDEs this is True. However it’s the doctrinal statements of religions that mess things up. ie. “you must accept our religion to be true in order to get to heaven”. This is where the manipulation of man gets in the way of truth. Of course we know why religions do this, it’s all about numbers. The most effective way to sustain a religion is by controlling people fear.

    But what we have seen time and time again from these NDEs, is that there is no one way into bliss/heaven. And even people that have led morally questionable lives can end up in that place of love and peace.

    I want to address one thing that the host said at the end regarding people seeing the light and feeling the warmth then being burned etc..

    In order to get a really clear picture of NDEs and what truth might be seen through them you have to study the over arching theme in the reports. So lets say 1,000 NDErs are studied as P.M.H. Atwater, Raymond Moody and Jeffery Long have all done. Now what they did was questione the NDErs and searched for constancy in the results.

    So yes you will have a person here or there that deviates from the standard NDE. For example one man reported that he was being stabbed with a pitchfork and then felt extreme heat, so he thought he was in Hell. When he came to the nurses had being poking him with needles and he was under some sort of heating device in the hospital. His thought that he was in “hell” was a misinterpretation.

    The key here is to look at the over arching statics with large groups of NDEs. Those statics have shown over and over that there is no religious or even moral way to get to bliss/heaven.

    3. I want to say it is very VERY important that you DO NOT study NDEs from a christian or religious author, because they are most likely biased. The best references out there are Doctors and Scientists who are aren’t trying to validate any particular world view. They are simply trying to understand the phenomena.

    A great place to start would be the following..

    (1). Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences (Dr. Jeffery Long)

    (2) .Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death (Dr Raymond Moody)

    (3) Near-Death Experiences, The Rest of the Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose (P.M.H. Atwater)

    4. Religion isn’t completely wrong as I said earlier. However, with this NDE research we can cross reference the data from religious books with what we are finding out through this phenomena. The main contention that seems to arise is the claim of Christianity to be the only way to bliss. Like I said earlier, religions get certain things right and others wrong or arise from manipulation. Once you put all the data on the table I think you can get a clearer picture of what is true.

    I wanted to bring up one small fact that I’m not sure you know, in regards to debating with people.

    Neuroscience has shown that when you oppose another persons world view/belief system, the same physical “fight or flight” chemical is released in their brain, making them automatically defensive. This is a physiological process that occurs in all of us. So even if we are rational “open minded” individuals, the chemical reaction to “fight or flight” happens to us when our beliefs are challenged.

    Of course over time beliefs can and do change however this chemical process is an interesting point to address.

    • Hi, John. This is an interesting topic to me, too. I noticed two claims that you made:
      1). “For example religion says we go on after death, according to NDEs this is True.”

      2). “what we have seen time and time again from these NDEs, is that there is no one way into bliss/heaven. ”

      This link (http://iands.org/about-ndes/common-questions.html) is from the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) website, and under _Common Questions about NDEs_, the question posed was “DON’T NDES PROVE THAT THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEATH?“

      Their answer: “Certainly this is a very popular interpretation, although there is no ‘proof’ in a statistical sense and no consensus of opinion. A more cautious explanation is that NDEs suggest that some aspect of human consciousness may continue after physical death. No means currently exists to demonstrate whether this speculation is true.” I think what NDEs really show, from reading some of the accounts of outer body experiences, that the consciousness can also be separate from the body, which is another thing religious people believe in.

      The second claim, though, is not easily verifiable. Why? Because there are Christians who would argue that the experiences were only glimpses of heaven or hell. We believe you have to be really dead (not near dead) to actually be in heaven or hell. So there are questions that surround that. Were these people really in heaven or hell? Were they even really dead? How do we know that those weren’t just tastes/glimpses of glory, and how do they know that they would be able to go back there a second time? We don’t. There are just too many questions that can’t be definitely answered. Going through the site that I linked, I didn’t find any claim that said that NDEs prove that heaven and hell are for real. Christians believe heaven is for real from another source, the Bible. Since nowhere in the site does it say that NDEs prove that heaven and hell exist, nor will we ever know the final status of these people, then I don’t see how one can confidently say that “there is no one way into bliss/heaven” based upon NDEs.

      • Hi Graceus thank you for responding.

        First let me say of course there is no way to 100% prove heaven exists. But then again there isn’t a way to 100% prove that we exist in the first place. (ref Descartes)

        That being said I think the way to get to any sort of truth is to weigh out all of the evidence at hand. I must correct you on something first.

        you said “We believe you have to be really dead (not near dead) to actually be in heaven or hell.”

        The term “Near Death Experience” was coined by Raymond Moody and to me isn’t the greatest term of what is happening. The use of the word “Near” is misleading.

        By all accounts these people aren’t “near” death, they are Dead. Absolutley flatlined, Zero brain activity. In some cases for DAYS even as much as a week! (some have come back to life in a morgue). That is not “near” that IS dead.

        But the term Near Death was coined and thats what people call the phenomena.

        These peoples stories are about what they saw after they were absolutely dead. So even though these experiences are glimpses, that in no way takes away from the fact that across the board, the vast majority of them regardless of their morality and/or religious affiliation, ended up in bliss. Many of the NDErs ask the question of “who comes here to bliss” while they are on the other side, and are basically told that this place of Bliss is where we come from and where we return to.

        As for hellish NDEs, first and foremost they are a much smaller percentage than the blissfull NDEs. They are also very transitory and in no way are thought to be a place of judegment. (from a research site..)

        “Why do some people have NDEs that resembles the fire and brimstone hell of the Bible while other people describe a different kind of hell? The quick answer is that there are many kinds of hells and many kinds of heavens. A person’s situation in life and after death is based upon many factors including: perception, perspective, cultural and religious background, spirituality or lack thereof, and education. If you examine enough hellish NDEs that resemble the traditional hellfire and brimstone, you will notice that they mostly occur to fundamentalist Christians. Life after death often means “getting what you expect”,

        I have seen this across the board with hellish NDEs. People that have strong beliefs and fears of going to a hell like place can end up there, but it is in no way permanent. Many NDErs that have Hellish experiences report being transported out of that place into the light and bliss (which according to christian doctrine is impossible, since once your dead and sent to “hell” there is no way out).

        Like i said earlier it is important when studying NDEs to look at the over arching statistical finds, in order to get a clear picture of what is going on.

        Check out this article from an NDE research site that delves deeper into who goes to “bliss” and why.

        http://www.thelightbehindgod.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64&Itemid=58

        • Alright, I couldn’t resist tossing out a couple more thoughts. It would seem to me that some level of even-handedness needs to be introduced here. You say, “there is no way to 100% prove heaven exists … there isn’t a way to 100% prove that we exist.” To be perfect balanced in all this, there is also no way to 100% prove NDE actually happen. Whatever skepticism you apply to the claims of others, those others will apply to NDE and that is only reasonable.

          Furthermore, “the way to get to any sort of truth is to weigh out all of the evidence at hand.” Agreed, but to be even-handed again, I would insist that we include evidence from Christianity. In particular, I would insist that we accept the evidence of Jesus who was dead for the better part of three days and came back. Has any NDE patient been dead that long? If not, then he would have spent the most time on the other side, and his experience should be considered primary. Rather than dismiss the Bible, or the claims of Christianity, his experience would seem to bring the most to the table of this discussion.

          You say, “it is very VERY important that you DO NOT study NDEs from a christian or religious author, because they are most likely biased.” To be even-handed I must insist that every single human is biased, including the authors of NDE studies. If we do not accept the authority of anybody with biases (like Christian authors) then I cannot accept the authority of any NDE researcher regarding NDE; they are biased after all.

          And, of course, I cannot help but point out that, if you truly believe “that some statements can be both true and false simultaneously” then why could we not apply that to NDE? Thus you are right to affirm your interpretation of NDE, and others are right to affirm alternate interpretations of NDE. After all, your interpretation – a “statement” – can be both true and false simultaneously. Thus you are right to say it is true and others are right to say it is false.

          I think the core issue here is that you are asking Christians to keep certain aspects of their faith (Heaven) while rejecting certain other aspects of their faith (the exclusivity of Christ). Your reason for sifting through Christian doctrine in this manner appears to be that you feel the data from NDE trumps the Biblical data. You say it’s a matter of examining – and interpretting – the evidence. The evidence from NDE is fairly clear that something happens beyond physical death; we all agree. The interpretation of that evidence, however, appears to be rather more open. Graceus pointed to the fact that other NDE experts view the same data and come to vastly different interpretations. Like your claim that Christian authors are biased, they most certainly are too. But so are you. So am I. In fact, I discuss the universal reality of human bias in Arguing with Friends. Dismissing somebody because they are biased will really get you nowhere.

          In fact, NDE are inherently subjective and simply do not leave any objective, independently verifiable evidence behind. In a sense, the experience itself, prior to any interpretation from outsiders, is subjected to bias as it is relayed from the patient to the researcher. The experience is 100% in the memories of those who came back from the dead so the evidence itself is subjected to bias from the patient even before the bias of the researchers comes into play. Contrast that with the central miracle claim of Christianity – that Jesus rose from the dead. What objective evidence do we have for that? The empty tomb, for one. At the time, in Jerusalem, that physical evidence (independently verifiable by any interested person) would have been a major eyesore for the anti-Jesus crowd. But there it was, clear as the noon-day sun. And the reality of that empty tomb, combined with other complementary evidence, gave rise to the early church because the most reasonable interpretation of that collection of evidences was that Jesus rose from the dead, just as he predicted he would. For more info on the evidence that we have from antiquity you may wish to take a look at these videos – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYa_70-XL6Y&feature=share&list=PLD19E118A03DC5F17

          At the end of the day, though, I agree with you that there is good reason to investigate NDE and take them seriously, but I do not see why the evidence from NDE should trump the Biblical evidence, especially when the data is open to such widely divergent interpretations.

  2. John, thanks for dropping me a line, and thank you so much for calling in. I certainly enjoyed the dialogue that resulted.

    It is obvious you know substantially more than I do about NDE so I cannot add anything significant to that part of the conversations. I guess I would like to comment on a few other points related to what you said on the show, and how you have now filled in a few more details.

    First, with respect to the law of non-contradiction, what I have found is that people who deny it explicitly tend to turn around and affirm it implicitly. For instance, you adhere to the view of Dialetheism (that is a new one for me, I will have to read about it). Whatever that view is, though, you seem to feel that it is correct and the opposite of it is incorrect. In other words, you seem to believe the statement “Dialetheism is true” is correct and the statement “Dialetheism is not true” is incorrect. Such a view of reality is completely in accordance with the law of non-contradiction. If, on the other hand, you were to agree that Dialetheism is true AND Dialetheism is also false, then you would be a consistent denier of the law of non-contradiction. However, you seem to be suggesting it is true. Period. End of statement. Such declarations implicitly affirm the law of non-contradiction.

    This, of course, extends to the question of the truth of religions. Again you seem to be endorsing the idea that only one view of reality is correct; your view! In other words, the correct view of reality is that all religions lead to bliss, whereas the incorrect view of reality is that only one (or perhaps a small handful) of religions lead to bliss. On the one hand you seem to speak against any religion that claims to have an exclusive handle on truth, yet it seems that you are advancing a very narrow, very explicit, view of the truth. It’s hard to see how this is not a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    You seem to be under the impression that organized religion is really just a tool for manipulation, but I suggest that is an unfortunate misrepresentation of Christianity. There are certainly some who have used Christianity (as some have used every religion, political system, etc) to control and manipulate the masses, but the actual message of Christianity simply is not compatible with such methods. And one could certainly imagine ways in which people might use your own views to control people. For instance, an incredibly common theme of our present culture is that you are somehow a bad person if you claim that your truth is the only truth. Well, “demonizing the other guy” is precisely the kind of manipulative tool that I describe in Arguing with Friends. To endorse the idea that all views of reality lead to bliss leads to the idea that anybody who believes only some views of reality lead to bliss is wrong, which leads to the idea that they are the enemy, which leads to manipulation.

    Lastly, you point out that chemical reactions occur in the brain when a person’s worldview is challenged. Fair enough, but human freedom is able to step in and override the innate tendencies. When a person sees somebody drowning their instinct is to avoid the water, but their will (and their moral sensibilities) override that impulse and they jump into the water. Similarly, if we have an innate tendency to fight back (Karate chop as Mark suggested!) then we need to train ourselves to override that tendency. We need to, and we are able to. In Arguing with Friends I describe this in greater depth.

    Thanks again for the thought-provoking discussion.

    • This is a response to your last installment. For some reason there was no reply button on the bottom of that response.

      With all do respect the “evidence” of a resurrected Jesus is severely inept. Again I decline to debate christian doctrines because I’m not a scholar.

      But if you want to see William Lane Craig (top apologist) get destroyed by Bart Erhman regarding this topic click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhT4IENSwac

      Craig is a clever debater and when debating atheists regarding the existence of God, he always wins in my opinion. However, when trying to defend the veracity of New Testament scripture he fails miserably.

      As for not knowing things 100%, well of course we can’t. But we can see what is most plausible through sound research and logic.

      The reason I suggested staying away from Christian studies is that their findings will challenge their very doctrine,\ and world view which is that Jesus is the only way to bliss. Scientists and doctors have varying world views so for them a slanted view seems much less likely.

      You said “In fact, NDE are inherently subjective and simply do not leave any objective, independently verifiable evidence behind.”

      The out of body experience in which the person can accurately verify events and conversations in other wings of the hospital, as well as other locations like their homes, seems to me like objective evidence, that they in fact have left their bodies. Also thousands of corroborating stories from adults as well as children can’t be relegated to just a simply “subjective” experience.

      My suggestion to you if your sincerely interested in this subject, is to read the books I mentioned, and search NDE testimonials on youtube. The picture becomes very clear that there is no one way to bliss.

      • John,

        There was no reply button because I set the comments to only allow it to go 3 deep. I suppose I should change that. Thanks for pointing that out.

        You seem to have high respect for Ehrman. I have not watched his debate with Craig but I strongly suspect we will draw different conclusions than you with respect to who presented the most coherent case. I’ve seen Ehrman make other presentations and debate other scholars and with all due respect I think you’ve backed the wrong horse. There’s an entire website (http://www.ehrmanproject.com/) dedicated to showing the many ways that he has presented the Biblical data in a less-than-forthright manner in the many books he has written. I will have to watch his Craig debate to see if that changes my mind.

        You raise a good point about the independently verifiable facts observed by those who have experienced NDE. I forgot about those. The limitation of those independently verifiable facts is they do not relate to Heaven or Hell but are very much rooted in our present world. They provide evidence THAT NDE are happening, but no direct evidence of WHAT NDE look like with respect to anything beyond this present world. On the “eternal bliss” aspect of the NDE conversation we still have nothing but the purely subjective testimony of biased patients, but that is, frankly, the critical aspect of this entire discussion. We already agree that NDE occur, where we disagree is the best interpretation of them with respect to their bearing on Heaven and Hell.

        Again you keep pointing to the biases of those who disagree with you, but fail to acknowledge the biases of those who say what you want to hear. Conversations tend to progress the most efficiently when both sides stop merely pointing out that other group is biased – as though that settles the case – and start showing how their biases are skewing their interpretation of the data. This is the approach of the Ehrman project website. The scholars at that site are biased, certainly – so is Ehrman of course – but the scholars at that site do not settle for “it is very VERY important that you DO NOT study” Ehrman because he is biased. Nor do they say that they “don’t particularly want to get into a debate against” Ehrman (the front page is a debate, no less). Rather, they take time to carefully explain how Ehrman’s biases have skewed his handling of the data. I wish I could see this approach in your responses, but I see nothing more than your assertion that we should just reject certain Christian doctrines because they conflict with your, biased, interpretation of NDE data. No explanation has been given for how Christian scholars mishandle the data, just the simple assertion that we avoid them and accept your views.

        Can you see how that would not be very compelling to somebody who does not already embrace your personal biases?

  3. Dialethiesm Isn’t about it being “right”. It is an approach to finding truth through recognizing there are true contradictions that exist. So an approach can be neither right nor wrong. However, the Law of non contradiction implies a fixed manner in which the “truth” is deduced. ie “Law”.

    Dialetheism is way more open ended. Also dialetheism DOES NOT imply that everything is a true contradiction, it simply suggests that certian things can be. So to apply the dialetheism approach to everything in an attempt to cancel it out isn’t feesible.

    You said ” Again you seem to be endorsing the idea that only one view of reality is correct; your view! In other words, the correct view of reality is that all religions lead to bliss, whereas the incorrect view of reality is that only one (or perhaps a small handful) of religions lead to bliss.”

    My view isn’t narrow at all, its very open ended. But I think the best way of getting to the bottom of what is true is to examine ALL the data. My goal isn’t to prove religion wrong. Like I said several times earlier, religion has got some things correct other things can be proven falsifiable by the strong evidence in which NDE research has presented.

    you said “You seem to be under the impression that organized religion is really just a tool for manipulation”

    Again reference my previous post I didn’t single out religion to simply be a tool for manipulation although it certainly can be. I think in essence religion tries to put together the nebulous spiritual experiences of its followers, which can reveal some great wisdom and insight. However the system undoubtedly falls prey to corruption as well. That is the double edged sword of religion.

    My view as I said many times, is that religion presents some good and valid ideas and others not. Through NDEs we have a good chance of sifting through whats true about religion and what might not be.

    Im not really sure what you are implying with this statement..”To endorse the idea that all views of reality lead to bliss leads to the idea that anybody who believes only some views of reality lead to bliss is wrong, which leads to the idea that they are the enemy, which leads to manipulation.”

    Just because I disagree with someone based on strong evidence doesn’t make them my “enemy”.

    As for our culture rejecting people that posit they know their way is the only way. I would say if your going to make those kind of statements, then you probably are setting yourself up for opposition and you had better have solid evidence to back up what you believe to be true.

    I personally take it all in and weigh the evidence at hand, for me NDEs tip the scales.

  4. I suspect we are going to have to agree to disagree on most of the issues raised. I simply want to conclude my contribution to this interesting dialogue with a couple of final thoughts.

    I appreciate your comment “I would say if your going to make those kind of statements, then you probably are setting yourself up for opposition and you had better have solid evidence to back up what you believe to be true.” Two thoughts. First, the fact that you called in to the show in a fairly obvious attempt to try and present us with solid evidence, and with some fairly clear intentions of trying to show us that our perspective was wrong, suggests to me that your views are also “setting yourself up for opposition.” Personally, I don’t see this as a bad thing at all. The only time you can have any kind of substantial dialogue is when people disagree with each other. If everybody always agreed there wouldn’t be anything to talk about! However, it does seem clear that you are quite comfortable advancing your arguments, meeting opposition, and dialoguing on it, just like every person ought to be when they believe they understand the truth and other people need to be persuaded to abandon false beliefs in favour of their true beliefs. You, like everybody else, believe you are right and those who disagree are wrong; it’s an unavoidable byproduct of simply having a belief, any belief. Unlike many others you have obviously thought about this a lot and are well able to engage in civil dialogue on the matter. That is much appreciated and others would do well to learn from you.

    Second thought; I would argue that Christianity has an absolute WEALTH of solid evidence to back up what it claims to be true. I have been studying Christian Apologetics for many years and I am consistently overwhelmed with the layers and layers of rich evidence from widely divergent fields that all attest to the factual accuracy of the Christian faith. If you research nothing else, take a look at the evidence for the literal, historical, physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Who better to tell us about the afterlife than the God who gave us life, lived as one of us, died, and came back from the grave? I have many very good reasons to trust that source. If you would like resources I can certainly suggest some.

    Again, thank you so much for dropping by.

    • Well at this point you are just anchoring your argument against mine on bias. “I’m Biased” “Barts Biased” Everyone is biased!

      I really don’t feel the need to go in circles any longer, since I already addressed the fact that I’m not biased. But if you want to have that view of me there’s nothing i can do about it.

      I have nothing to prove here.

      NDEs speak for themselves.

  5. “You, like everybody else, believe you are right and those who disagree are wrong; it’s an unavoidable byproduct of simply having a belief, any belief”.

    It is wrong for you to assume this about me. For me debating isn’t about saying “i’m right”.

    In philosophy there is something called the dialectic method. The dialectical method is dialogue between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter by dialogue, with reasoned arguments (from wiki)

    This is the kind of conversations I like to engage in. Unfortunately most debating these days especially on the internet do not follow this approach.

    I just want to get to the bottom of things. I am willing to be wrong, in fact I held firm to certain religious beliefs for decades until my pursuit of finding out what was true over ran my dogma. I had to really open my mind and put down my beliefs to hear opposing views so I could really weigh out the evidence.

    This is next to impossible for most religious people to do. I find it disingenuous how many christian apologetics and “intellects” try to say they are out to find the truth. And that they are open to scientific findings etc. The reality is these types of people want it both ways. They want to satisfy their mind while maintaining faith and often times fail miserably.

    For people of faith there really is no way to fully accept logic, because faith is illogical. And even when they are totally proven wrong they will somehow try to wiggle their way out of it, because their faith will always trump logic.

    So you see it is a futile endeavor to engage such a person. Because their fail safe will always be their faith.

    I don’t particularly want to get into a debate against Christianity. I will leave that to the Bart Ehrman’s of the world. They are scholars and can reveal the flaws of the doctrines way better than I can.

    Good talking to you to.

  6. Well we seem to be talking past each other so I’m happy to let you have the last word. Thanks for keeping it civil and for being willing to share your views, even if you believed I was a lost cause.

  7. Just a quick note (further to my last comment) I have enabled comments to go 6 deep now. We’ll see if that’s enough.

    And over at Common Sense Atheism the Craig-Ehrman debate is filed under the “bad” category which suggests Ehrman did not do so well. I’ll have to watch and see if I concur, but of the debates that I’ve seen of Craig’s (far from all of them!) I tend to agree with the assessments provided at this website.

    http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=392

    • I browsed this site and it seems kind of ridiculous to me that you would take the word of some random, non scholar 25 year old. But hey if it supports your angle then why not.

      Watch the debate for yourself.

  8. To anybody who is interested, I did take in the Craig-Ehrman debate and I have put together a blog entry on that wonderful interchange. The title is “Evidence of bias,” and you can see it at my main page.

  9. Pingback: Evidence of Bias « Ratio Christi- Apologetics At The Ohio State University

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