conversations with a born-again atheist: the ground rules

faith and reasonIf you’re new to the party, HERE are the previous posts in this series. If you want to skip the history and prefer the twitter version, I’m having an ongoing conversation with a born-again atheist. When I say “born-again atheist” I mean he was a born again Christian, but is now an atheist.

Below is the email exchange in which we set the ground rules for blog posting. One thing I want to emphasize is the pseudonym. I’m going to respect the pseudonym. Don’t ask me about the identity of AtypicalAtheist, because if you do, I’m going to give you the look that says “seriously? You did NOT just ask me that.

AtypicalAtheist: Well – I’m not an expert with respect to atheism or philosophy, and I’m not sure I’m the guy to fully represent rational thought on religion. Ultimately, I’ve read the opinions of many philosophers on the topic as well as the bible at least six times and I’ve come to the conclusion that atheism makes sense to me.

JSM: I’m definitely not an expert either. My formal education is in communication and business, not theology. I’m just finding this conversation a tremendous impetus for learning and as a teacher/trainer, I always want to share learning experiences and what they teach me. I’ve never discussed theology with an atheist before and I can already say – It’s definitely not boring.

I suppose you can post stuff about this on your blog as long as:

AtypicalAtheist: “I’m not named – I would hate for my beliefs to negatively affect any person or organization I’m associated with. There are many Christians that believe that atheists are somehow inherently amoral and not to be trusted. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and have imbued that within my kids. I just don’t happen to require the promise of paradise or the threat of hell to do what’s right.”

JSM: Anonymity is definitely what I had in mind. There’s absolutely no reason to and nothing to be gained from identifying you. Although I personally don’t know any Christians who view atheists as inherently amoral or untrustworthy, I understand your concern. I would never put you, your family or any organization you are associated with at risk. I realize I will run the risk of nasty comments/emails, but it’s my blog and I can filter or block comments. And I know how to delete emails.

AtypicalAtheist: “That none of my beliefs are associated in any way with what my wife believes. She was brought up Catholic as a child, and now more closely aligns with protestants. Yeah – a protestant and an atheist have been married for over 25 years – who’d have thunk it?”

JSM: Understood. AtypicalWife and I have our own discussions about faith. (obviously, very different from the one you and find ourselves engaged it)

AtypicalAtheist: “That none of my beliefs affect the relationship between our families. I shared something with you that I don’t normally share with other people because I believe that religion (or lack thereof) is a personal choice. I don’t want this to somehow taint your view any of my kids. They are their own beings, and I don’t force my views onto them. I encouraged my children to study and compare religions and to not just choose Christianity or atheism because their parents are one or another.

JSM: I would never let that happen. My family has known for months that you are an atheist and I don’t see that it has strained our relationship at all. I see this dialog as an exploration. Your explanation of why you don’t believe there is a God, as well as your statement “It does not trouble me for people believe in god any more than it troubles me for people to believe in UFO visits, guardian angels, or Santa Clause.” leads me to conclude you don’t view faith as reasonable, logical or rational. Actually, I think you’ve used all three of those words. I’m curious as to why you believe faith in Christ is incompatible with reason and logic. And I don’t take it at all personally, that holding such a belief, you might view me as lacking in reason and logic because I myself have faith in Christ.

AtypicalAtheist: * Your OK that since I’m not an expert, that I won’t have all the answers – I will likely have to research things and evaluate different opinions. No matter what, I’m constantly in a state of learning.

JSM: me. too.

Click HERE to see all “conversations with a born-again atheist” posts.
NOTE: All comments will be held for approval. This blog is a no-hate zone.
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2 thoughts on “conversations with a born-again atheist: the ground rules

  1. I LOVE this, and I cannot wait to read more. Very curious (in a completely curiosity-only-non-judgmental way) to see what unfolds in these next posts. I am a Believer married to an UnBeliever. I am excited about new doors being opened for discussion!

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