It would be nice if Grimm were to come back into his thread.
His last post very early on in #8 and he hasn't yet responded back to Jst' post #13.
Grimm where are you
Honestly, though, I don't have much to say. I was hoping to talk about the OTF and, tangentially, our propensity (as a community) to overwhelm and abuse theists that stop in, and from post 13 until I had opportunity to say something, either the community covered what I was hoping to say or both proved and fought against my thesis about our treatment of others.
I haven't had much to contribute.
I do think that JST has just dismissed the OTF without consideration of what it really means, much as I think statements like:
"It is true, though. If we were Christians, we wouldn't be calling him an idiot, unless we were fucking Catholics."
.. just to pick on one, aren't exactly constructive in any sense, much as I think JST's statement:
"I can't picture Ghandi, Jesus, or Buddha calling someone an idiot. Maybe a fool, but not an idiot."
is just as worthless.
JST, the ultimate point of the OTF is to say one thing as simply as possible: Your faith is unlikely to be foundational
. You were raised Christian (or exposed to it constantly from an early age), you were told Christianity was right, you were 'preprogrammed' to reject competing points of view. The unsavory truth I hoped to reach was simply that this is true of everyone else who does not believe as you do as well
It's a huge and important concept, one that I think cuts through a lot of nonsense in the ongoing debate around faith. A devout hindu has precisely the same reasons to believe and why
they believe as you do. Their emotion, their inner voice, their sense of rightness in their faith? No different at all from your own, in no way whatsoever. You can no more offer them an argument that will prove them 'wrong' than we can offer one to you.
How is that even remotely possible? Why does that hindu think your faith is risible? If your faith is true and correct, shouldn't it offer something that exists outside of our predisoposition (here in the States, anyway) to accept Christianity is true on bias?
As for the community? We athiests are good people, but I think we lose sight of the idea behind forums like these. Perhaps it is that I am off base in what this forum intends to be, I don't know. However, if what is wanted is open and honest communication of ideas? You don't get that with intentionally inflammatory language - that only scores you points with the locals, not the visitors.
Discourse relies on civility, written discourse on hypercivility. That doesn't mean compromising your position, but it does mean choosing words and thoughts that keep your discussion engaged.
I'm not here to 'win' debates. I want to communicate difficult concepts as clearly as posible and with an eye to bringing understanding to people that cannot concieve of a lack of faith - guys like JST. Whether I convince him or not of the 'rightness' of my position is immaterial. Instead, for him specifically, I want to both answer his questions and show him why
I have reached the conclusions I have. If I do so well and succinctly, with a certain amount of grace, then I also lay out a philosophy that someone looking on can understand, who, like I was once, can begin to see that letting go of faith isn't necessarially a bad thing.
I doubt my argument - or any of our arguments - will 'convert' JST, but they're being read by dozens of people who never say a word. When we call JST an 'idiot', we're calling them stupid as well. You don't show the validity of your position by alienating everyone who questions it.
I took (and take) a great deal of inspiration from Hermes. I miss him, in fact - he was one of the fellows that showed me atheism wasn't the end of everything. He reminds me of QualiaSoup's "professor", in fact, and was, perhaps, mine.
Personally, I wish I caught everyone as they arrived, and could do what Hermes once did - his virtual welcome basket, his off-camera conversations, and his easy humor? They made a difference in my own casting about after losing my own faith. The rage and loaded conversation does nothing, by comparison.
... so. I suppose I had more to say than I thought. Hmm.