I've been having very interesting and thought-provoking (for me, at any rate) discussions with this Poor Unhappy Soul. His responses have been intelligent, reasoned, reasonable and displayed none of the whining despair you might expect of a tortured soul ;¬). In fact, I get the feeling that in the real world we'd get on pretty well, especially if we steered clear of certain topics.
I've just been doing a bit of research to prepare my latest response to him (this time to a comment on his own blog - sorry, I'm not linking to it, but I have linked to his blog in the post that led to the earlier discussion - please take note of his content warning if you're likely to be offended by bad language etc). I've found some absolute knock-down arguments in favour of my point of view.
The thing is, though...
Well, the thing is, we don't actually live in the same world. And because we don't live in the same world, neither of us is going to be able to convince the other that our point of view is correct, unless one of us agrees to cross the divide and come into the same world.
I have the same trouble with some of my atheist friends in real life. If you accept the basic premise on which their arguments are founded, then the arguments are logical and often impossible to fault. If you don't, there is no way any reasonable person could hang onto those same arguments. And they see my arguments the same way.
The basic premise that underpins my view on absolutely anything in life is that God exists. I live in a world which was created by a loving God. He made me and everything around me, and He loves me, despite everything I can do at times to make myself unlovable. I don't reject the evidence of science, but I see its findings through the filter of God's Will. I live in a world where I have been given many great gifts, but the greatest gift of all is the love of my Creator and the fact that I have been given the grace to seek His face. And the greatest reward for me will come not in this life, but after I die, and in a form that I can't begin to understand fully now.
An atheist lives in a world with no God. I've never inhabited that world, and I can't really understand it or see what it looks like. What I do understand is that some of the views that I legitimately hold in my world will never make sense to the atheist in his world, because they start from the premise that God is at the centre of everything. He would have to come to my world and accept my basic premise to accept my arguments, but without the gift of faith, my world is closed to him.
And so on topic after topic, after an interesting and lively debate, we end up agreeing to differ. I finally realised, after a good hour of research on a particular topic this evening, that my arguments would never stand up if looked at through PUS's filter. Looked at through mine, they are the only arguments that I could validly hold.
So sorry, PUS, this is my way of saying I'm too tired to argue pointlessly tonight, but I'll be back for more when my batteries are recharged.
Your blog or mine?