Monday, July 11, 2016

Try to understand their perspective

Hello everyone,

Sorry I have been away for so long. I'm not planning on giving up blogging entirely, but I likely won't be writing regularly for at least another year. I do plan on writing the occasional post like today's.

Although I have not had very much time to write in the last couple of years I still try to keep up with things by listening to podcasts. My goal is to listen to both atheist and Christian podcast in order to keep my finger on the pulse of the other perspective. I must admit I listen to more atheist podcast than Christian ones so if anybody knows a good Christian podcast that they would recommend I would very much appreciate it.

Back when I was writing regularly one of the things that always concerned me was that I might be accidentally strawmanning the other side. I always did my best to try to correctly describe the Christian perspective but looking back there are definitely a few times that come to mind where I think I did a poor job. When something strikes me as incorrect it is easy to want to just jump in and start ripping it apart. However I think the more important thing to do is first really try to understand the other person's perspective and try to understand why they think this thing that I see is incorrect. It does nobody any good if I'm proving wrong some idea that nobody actually thinks in reality. For my own blog when I get back to looking at the Bible what I would like to do is try to seek out answers to my objections. Now I tried this before with mixed results but ithink I can do better. In particular there are a few things from Genesis that have really stuck in the back of my brain for the last couple of years that I would like to revisit. If I can find some Christian who has addressed it I think it would be much more valuable than me simply trying to imagine what I would have thought when I was a Christian. I think this is especially important since I was a Christian when I was a child and teenager and even if I'm being accurate about how I would have approached it I might be giving a poor answer simply because I was a Christian when I was young and fairly uninformed.

I think we would have a much better dialogue between the two camps if each side was constantly trying to really understand the other side. Although I thought about this kind of thing many times in the past what got me on this line of thinking today is a Christian podcast I was listening to. They were addressing several atheist lines of thinking and then turning them down from their side but their description of the atheist perspective was terrible. As I mentioned above I listen to quite a few atheist podcast and I have never seen a single time them having the particular perspective that this podcast was using. Now they weren't super far off on a surface level but there were key details that completely changed the form of the arguments.

For instance they were constantly trying to claim that we as atheist worship various things. I think the reason they were doing this is that they worship God and they can't help but view our perspective from their own lens. As a result most of the things that they were refuting were not really my position or the position of any other atheists. They would highly benefit from trying to go the extra mile to really see things the way we see things rather than taking our position on a surface level and understanding it from their own instincts. Doing it right is of course extremely difficult but I think it is the only way to get valuable dialogue between two disagreeing sides. When I do eventually start blogging on a regular basis this is going to be something that I focus on a lot. It does no good for Christians to put out content that says that we atheist worship science or the universe or ourselves. Any atheist that comes across these arguments is not going to be moved. Instead they will probably just dismiss it out of hand. no worthwhile dialogue will be had. On the same token it does no good for atheists to come out and say that all Christians are bigots. Is does nothing but shut down the conversation before it gets started. If we can really try to see things the way the other side we can perhaps get through to each other.

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