I usually do a New Year’s post, and here it is the 2nd already, so, here’s an article that fits in with my current series.
I’ve been thinking about “intellectually honest” ways to approach religion. This is something my fellow atheists balk at, sometimes vehemently. It shuts down any possibility of discussion when you simply call someone’s point of view stupid. It also gives the theist the opportunity to call them stupid, or maybe stupider, because they can’t see that maybe something that has been part of humanity for a few thousand years has some sort of basis and maybe even some value.
The question to engage then is, how do you determine what is intellectually honest? In this article, he recounts a conversation where he wants someone to reconsider a dogmatic position and they answer with how they “can’t do that”. This is definitely intellectually dishonest. Further, their reasoning is, if they reconsider that Biblically based position, and find their grandparents were wrong, they will have to reconsider every other position.
Sadly, their grandparents probably did reconsider some position, so applying new perspectives to traditions is actually traditional. For example, most people in the United States who have slave owning ancestors now hold a different position on that. We all are free to choose whose ancestors we want to agree with. Biblical non-literalists can be found throughout Christian history, even in the Bible.
Atheist or theist, admitting you were wrong is a great way to open a conversation.
Jesus tells us he teaches in allegory, Book of Mark
Allegory of burning cities
"For the kingdom is like..."