12 April 2014

An atheist and I go toe to toe. . .

Here's the link to the vid of my discussion with the prez of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Society.  

I watched it, and I can say that I was MUCH too polite and accommodating.  

The best part of the discussion happened after the taping ended.  Too bad.

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19 comments:

  1. It was his show, and it was somewhat incumbent upon you to be polite and deferential. It is always challenging upon a first meeting/debate to know where the other person is coming from and to try to understand their basis and biases - it is always best to listen more than talk... and I do find it hard to discuss issues with a person who gets their information from sources other than what I know to be good and relatively unbiased sources :-). Personally having dealt with literal cr... uh ... stuff today, I didn't have much patience in listening to this today and from my perspective found that he wasn't really listening to what you were saying - and he committed the cardinal sin of saying "We feel ..... "

    Could you have presented your arguments more strongly? Sure. But then you would have risked coming off as rude and arrogant. Having said that, most secular humanists who truly live what they profess are perfectly lovely people. They're just wrong. Nobody's perfect!

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    1. I'd planned on going in strong but quickly realized that my host didn't know a thing about theism. My arguments would've fallen on deaf ears.

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    2. Fr. P,

      The host's ears might be deaf, but the other members of his society and in the Interwebs might actually be itching to hear your strong voice.

      Just a thought.

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  2. Would have liked to watch this clipbut alas no closed captions. Times like this makes me wish that the industry do more for those that are hoh(hard of hearing)/deaf like myself.
    But I'm sure that knowing that since Father Philip is talking that this was a good or better of interviews!
    Keep up the good work Father!

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    1. If the vid is posted on Youtube, you might get captions. Watch for it there.

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  3. Anonymous7:41 AM

    Most of modern American society is anxiety-ridden and despairing. It is easy to see, What causes this? The culture. Who sets the culture? Modern secularist humanism.

    I thought you did well, Father.

    Marc

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    1. Thank you, Marc. I saw nothing good coming from a nasty confrontation. Besides, Mr Greenberger was reasonably polite.

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  4. Fun video...right off I was surprised that most folks on the institutional clip were baby boomers who looked nice and amenable and not at all like nerdy Facebook/YouTube neo-atheist types...they looked like folks we could see in church, and the corny horn music reinforced that impression.

    Overall I think you meekness ended up being very positive as it underscored the slight uneasiness of the gentleman (and borderline passive-agressiveness when he interrupted you with some mental gymnastics to gloss over the concept of atheism).

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    1. After we stopped taping I noted to my host that the Church agrees with 90% of the things said in the show's intro. He didn't believe me. He actually believes that the Church opposes reason and science. I suggested Veritas splendour to him. He contacted me a few days later with a quote from VS that noted the origins of Church teachings in revelation. He dismissed everything in VS b/c the pope mentioned God. OY! Such open-mindedness. Honestly, I think he was thrown by the fact that I wasn't a fire-breathing fundie.

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    2. Oh yeah, a papal document mentioning God...what a disappointment to him, huh...? Surprisingly he didn't mention Catholic Latin America to counter you mention of the situation you saw in materialistic States, at least...

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  5. Good job, Father. 30 minutes wasn't nearly long enough to tackle the subject at hand -- especially given your host's glacial pace. I hope you have a chance to visit his group!

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    1. I may or may not do that. I don't know. Depends on how evangelical I'm feeling at the time of the invitation.

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  6. I commend you for your generosity, yet this whole atheistic or humanistic shtick has a sour-grapes taste overall. If the examination of the evidence about God excludes philosophy and logic, it's lopsided and incomplete. Understandably, most atheists accept only physical evidence when considering God, though not in their daily lives, and dismiss philosophy and logic, though this position is philosophical even if they're unaware of it.

    And this patent lack of criticism about their own thought process makes it hard for me to consider them seriously as having a mature thought. Alas, they come across as quite immature, even when they cloak themselves with politeness, but quickly cut you off when the argument either goes over their head or you start making sense to them. It's all quite silly, fundamentalist and dogmatist all jammed up together.

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    1. I agree. Of course, a serious academic atheist would've eaten my lunch and made me say thank you. But Mr Greenberger -- though polite -- was obviously rattled by some of the things I said. This happens when you only talk to people who agree with you all the time. One advantage Catholics have in the US right now is that as outsiders we understand the insiders better than they understand us.

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  7. That was excruciating to watch, Father. I laughed when your host kept citing "the internet" as a source.

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  8. I may not have heard it right but he asserts that Atheism is a conclusion based on evidence but Theism is a belief because it is based on no evidence? But I have to ask what evidence does he have that something comes from nothing? Or if the universe is eternal why do we perceive that it is decaying and dying.

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    1. Then, as rational person, an atheist knows that lack of physical evidence is not evidence of nonexistence, unless he's... irrational. If an atheist admits philosophic evidence, then there's plenty evidence of God. Then again, there's no physical evidence that only physical evidence is admissible, this is a philosophical statement. Therefore, a consistent atheist must consider the philosophic evidence, but then he'd cease to be atheistic, unless he's... inconsistent. And this, boys and girls, covers 99% of the atheists in general and 100% of the Internet atheists.

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    2. Exactly. This is basically what I mean when I say that some atheists seem to confuse empiricism with reason, meaning when they say, "I follow reason alone" what they really mean is "I follow the empirical evidence." I think this is b/c it's more satisfying to call theists "irrational" than "unempirical."

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    3. I liked your point about empiricism; you hit the nail on the head.

      While empiricism is rational, it's irrational to think of it as the only form of rationality.

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