Animosity Between Christians & Atheists
Three things you should never talk about at the dinner table are sex, politics, and religion which is the reason why the internet postings between christians and atheists are so contentious. People are not used to talking about differing viewpoints without things getting heated up when it come to the most personal and important paradigm of our existence.
The contentious escalation stems from insulting the other in a superior fashion that is more self serving for the person's ego rather than a true conversation between two respectful persons. The stereotypical attitude of a bible thumping christian is that atheism is the opposite of religion and therefore atheists are satanists or believe in nothing at all. The atheist attacks the fundamental belief of a christian as illogical and therefore naive at best and stubbornly stupid in the face of overwhelming logical proof. "Dispelling myths about religious and scientific communities could lay the groundwork for a new kind of dialogue — one based more on serious thinking and scholarship than caricature."
This animosity is recent because historically science and religion are not mutually exclusive paradigms. The myth of animosity between science and religion began with John Tyndall in 1874 in his address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science followed by Andrew White in his book, 'The Warfare of Science' in 1876. For more information on the Victorian birth of this fake war read the hub 'The War Between Church, Science, and History' by Radical Moderate.
In the book 'Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science' by Ronald L. Numbers, he wrote that, "The Italian Inquisition did incinerate the sixteenth-century Copernican Giordano Bruno for his heretical theological notions." The mythbusting book outlines fallacies taken as historical truth that perpetuate the ongoing animosity between christians and atheists today. One example is that a scientist does not have to be an atheist.
Different beliefs about the nature of god has led to the French Crusades wiping out the heretical christians who believed that the god that Catholics worshiped was not the true god of creation but an evil god. The Albigensian Crusade was "an alliance between the Church looking to suppress a heresy and northern French nobles looking to seize new lands." A more contemporary argument reflecting the disbelief that this world was not made by a all-good God using present day knowledge is, "If, however, we annoy a God who, as the Christians assure us, has in common with humans the emotional behavioral trait we refer to as vengefulness, in spite of presumably having neither an amygdala, orbital cingulate cortex, or any other of the bits of gray matter responsible for expression of the trait in mere mortals, then, unless we don’t at least make a convincing show of pretending to do what he wants, we stand to burn in hell for quadrillions and quintillions of years to satisfy the requirements of divine justice."
Is there a way for two friends with different beliefs to talk to each other without the goal of proving the other wrong? Yes. Start with a common belief, premises and assumptions. Math is considered a common language that even ETs in UFOs can relate to. "In mathematics, a proof is a demonstration that if some fundamental statements (axioms) are assumed to be true, then some mathematical statement is necessarily true"
Mat Grime wrote, "Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that the axioms we choose are (preferably minimal and) consistent with themselves. They are not absolutely true, and no mathematician I can think of would claim they are. If in this system we can do something practical (ie that models the world in a repeatedly verifiable way) then all well and good."
A good counter argument to the myth that a person can never prove a negative, so therefore atheism requires as much faith as religion can be found at 'Atheism: Proving The Negative', (Analyses of God beliefs, atheism, religion, faith, miracles, evidence for religious claims, evil and God, arguments for and against God, atheism, agnosticism, the role of religion in society, and related issues), this website could be described as an example of evangelistic atheism.
Next time on a online debate about christians and atheists - try not to attack the other person as stupid or evil but use instead standard logic. A good example is Kurt Gödel's ontological proof; "God, by definition, is that for which no greater can be conceived. God exists in the understanding. If God exists in the understanding, we could imagine Him to be greater by existing in reality. Therefore, God must exist."
1 - Elaine Howard Ecklund, 'Myths widen the science-religion divide' 07.18.2010
2 - Tom Oberhofer, 'The Albigensian Crusade: People, Coinage, Places' 07.27.2011
3 - Helian, '…and One More Thing about Religion' 02.15.2012
4 - anon, 'Mathematical Proof' 2.18.2012
5 - Matt Grime 'Mathematics and unprovable assumptions' 11.28.2004
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