I STILL GET MAIL!
If people write me who seem genuine and not just trying to stir the pot and pick fights with atheists just to say they faced off with one, then I'm happy to answer.
Here is the conversation with one such person who left comments elsewhere on this site. I figured the questions were tame enough but still insightful enough to share here.
You asked: “First of all I understand you, your arguments are not uncommon. Out of curiosity, is your work stimulated by the desire to know the truth, existentially speaking?”
Yes, in part. It’s partially an innate desire to know the truth of things, but it’s also more about using reason pragmatically. I don’t think we can be given a gift as special as the ability to have consciousness and reason and then not use it. And when I strive toward a more logical, more consistent view of the universe, God shrinks away to nothing.
Other people have differing opinions on the nuanced philosophical questions, but this is good. Anything that challenges the status quo gives us more things to reason through and can, in the long run, strengthen our reasoning skills.
Secondly, you mentioned: “It seems that to question the validity of the notion of "God's" existence inevitably prerequisites the collapse of any belief of truth at all.”
Why would the non-theistic or agnostic worldview presuppose nihilism? I don’t think that’s accurate.
I don’t believe any metaphysical assumption is necessary regarding truth apart from perhaps our ability to decipher it. More specifically, if there is anything such as an objective, ultimate truth, I think we would more than likely come to it by logic and reason regardless of whether or not God exists.
You went on to say that “If one doesn't believe that true or false exists, then what is existence altogether?”
Well, ultimate truths and the fact of existence are different questions. I don’t know what you’re trying to ask here. But they are unrelated, for the most part.
“I would like for you to get to yourself, slow down and honestly ask yourself, Do I really believe that I am a worthless, bastardized being and that when my body dies I will simply cease to exist?”
Well, I’m not a bastard because I know who my father was. But, yes, when we die we join back into the cosmos just as the wave of the ocean – which has shape, form, and function – one day ceases to exist and joins the great vast ocean.
If that thought scares you, think of it like this. You will feel and sense everything as you would before you were ever conceived by your parents. That is – the nothingness of pre-existence and the nothingness of a post-existence are two sides of the same coin.
It is only that brief flash of existence that is the coin’s thinly lit edge where we experience all life and existence. And then, in a flash, it’s gone again. But we won’t know it beyond the memories we leave behind. I can only imagine it is as peaceful and calm after death as it is before life.
“(Pardon me if I have assumed the idea that you do not believe in any afterlife).”
No, you are correct. I don’t believe in any afterlife of the metaphysical or supernatural variety. So, that is an accurate assumption.
“I want to tell you my dear friend that you are not a worthless, bastardized being and that you have a Creator that loves you and cares enough for His creation as to not leave it wandering with no purpose or definition.”
This is false. I’ve been presented with no evidence for the thing you speak of. How can something that doesn’t exist be capable of love? And, moreover, even if it should exist, how would you know personally that such a being loves me specifically?
I think you are falling into the trap of assuming more than you technically can given the state of the evidence and the fact that the question of such a being's existence remains entirely unanswered. The rest of your comments read as hollow preaching (no offense).
But apologetic talk is often a trained response and doesn’t show or demonstrate original thinking so much as it just parrots commonly shared views among the like-minded. It’s fine to have community and feel a part of something bigger than yourself, but please realize, not everybody wants that.
Sometimes, people just like to be lonely monks living on a mountain top meditating and living a peaceful life of nature and serenity. I hope I answered your questions adequately. Sorry, it took me so long to reply. I don’t discuss religion much anymore these days. I sort of got bored with it.
But I wish you well on your own journey for truth and the answers. I’m content that I’ve found most of the answers I’m looking for, although the pursuit of better reasoning and more logical thinking is always an ongoing endeavor. As is the pursuit of self-improvement, mindfulness, and finding inner peace. Sincerely, The Advocatus Atheist