I have, apparently, gotten to the point where I'm receiving now and again letters trying to refute whatever position I'm making. They're not nearly as cool as comments, where the person's absurdity is out there in the open for everyone to see, but I feel this is progress towards having my own brand of home grown fundie Christian trolls!
In any event, here's a missive I got from a Christian. I'm posting it as I got it except for putting in some paragraph breaks which make it flow easier:
You asked for a response from a "smart Christian" so here it is: I promise not to use a single verse out of the Bible to make a stand.
How do you know you exist? Rene Descartes puts "cognito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). The next question you should ask your self is how did I and my ancestors come into being? Well evolution is a sound theory except it relies on the same principal of Christianity. Faith. Only micro-evolution has been truly proven. All other forms are based on circular reasoning. Quoting from Kant "If anything exists in the cosmos, then there must be an absolutely necessary Being."
Now for the Atheist argument. Ancient teachings are inaccurate because the writers of old did not know even one-quarter of what we know today. I rebuke this as untrue. The ancient Egyptians knew about "modern medical practices." They performed brain surgeries on concussions thousands of years before we. The ancient Indians had indoor plumbing in their houses years before the Romans even had aqueducts.
In the face of these things you will say that we lost most of our knowledge during the Crusades were the Christians in their ignorance burned the Library of Alexandria simply because it was Pagan. We slay the Muslims because of greed and we denied any medical advancement during the reign of the Holy Catholic Church. Have I not made an accurate assessment of your views? Our perception of the world is based on faith and faith alone. Truth is only the abstract conclusion of many minds.
So it doesn't matter whether you are an Atheist or a Christian or any other religion, you are only following the truth of faith. God plays dice and sometimes he craps. That's not to say that he doesn't love his creations it's just that he rather make it fun. Knowing you, you'll try to rebuke me with Bible. Go ahead and read for "The truth shall set you free." And "Ye shall be as gods." Sorry I couldn't keep the Bible out of the rebuke. Oh, and yes a mans' hands did scribe the bible, but let's do a little mind experiment.
Take one child, maybe just old enough to write (let's say a 3rd grader), and have the child write every instruction you give him exactly. Next take another child (let's use a 12th grader) and give the child a general idea of what you want. More than likely the 3rd grader who you told step by step to do will come out with better instructions than the 12th grader with just a general picture of what you wanted. This is basically the model of the Bible. God told the prophets what to write and they wrote. The New Testament is only a compilation of the letters of the church leaders save for Revelations and the four Gospels.
In conclusion Christianity is basically a Crap game. I'm putting my life to a God who may or may not exist, yet one side not God has not been proven not to exist so he must exist. For if there is no reproof for the proof provided by our elders then the elders must be right. Like I said before faith is a dice game and I could crap. But crapping is a chance I'll be willing to take for my god.
I wish I'd gotten the idea of posting the other letters I'd gotten. I want to say that pretty much all of them are about this level of . . . whatever.
How do you respond to something like this? Seriously. He starts off with irrelevant passages from Descartes and Kant (two philosophers I hate, I should also add - I HATE that I think therefore I am crap!). He then goes on to give the old canard about religion and science are the same because they both rely on faith. Which is nonsense. Science has proof and can do things, it never involves the intervention of supernatural beings.
Then the guy just gets weird. Not the things he gets that are merely factually wrong (like the Library at Alexandria being burned by the Crusaders . . . the Crusaders never conquered Alexandria) and then his bizarre thought experiment, and referring to religion as a "crap shoot" and ending up with a crude restatement of Pascal's wager. Or what's that stuff about how the ancients were more knowledgeable than us? That's just so . . . well, it's this bizarre stupidity whose end I thought we'd put soundly to rest by the Renaissance and the death of Scholasticism. Also, stupid on inspection. Where's the ancient aluminum or airplanes or steel reinforced concrete or Plexiglas, blah, blah, blah. I mean, sure, a few Egyptians might have had brain surgery, but . . . the survival rates for such procedures were v. low. Oh, sure, what the hell - the patient is gonna die, anyway. Might as well dose 'em up on opium and crack open the ol' brainpan. But to equate what the Egyptians did with surgery compared to modern medical techniques is daft. Daft and bizarre.
I just don't know what to say to this! I COULD just correct where he's factually wrong. Talk about the differences between science and religion, for example. I could critique his bringing up Descartes and Kant as irrelevant, and even veer into a discussion why I think that Descartes, as a philosopher, made a fine mathematician. I can talk about history, science and philosophy at some length.
But somehow I get the feeling it wouldn't work. If anyone has an idea of what might work, please, say so! Otherwise, I guess I'm just posting this as an example of the sorts of things I am getting in my inbox, nowadays. Which is fine! It makes opening my mail an interesting and unique experience every time.