I don’t often get into debates with Christians these days – but when they knock on my door, they are fair game.
A couple of JW’s came a’knocking today, a lovely couple in their sixties – Phil and Margaret. Phil is from Arkansas and had a wonderful Dali moustache that I could tell he was quite proud of (and rightly so).
They offered me their magazine and I politely declined, explaining that I’m an atheist. Margaret asked why I am. I said it was because I’d spent decades reading scientific, religious and philosophical books and that I’d come to the conclusion that there was no evidence for either God or Jesus (as an historical entity).
This started a 30 minute discussion which would have been much, MUCH longer, if my mate Adam hadn’t turned up with a donation of baby clothes and cigars.
Here’s a summary of the central theme of our discussion.
P&M: Religion has been the cause of most of the violence in the world.
CR: Well I think greed has been the cause, but it’s often been justified by religion or “spreading democracy”.
P&M: Agreed. We’re scientists. But we don’t believe in evolution.
CR: Seriously? Why not? There is overwhelming evidence for evolution.
P&M: Only atheists believe in evolution.
CR: The Vatican believes in evolution.
P&M: Catholics aren’t true Christians.
CR: Who gets to decide who is and isn’t a true Christian?
CR: And do you claim the know the mind of God?
CR: So how do you know Catholics aren’t true Christians?
P&M: Because of the violence they have been responsible for.
CR: Do you believe that the Old Testament is the literal word of God?
CR: So you believe that God ordered the genocide of men, women and children?
P&M: Yes – but he had good reasons.
CR: So you think it’s okay for God to order his believers to kill other people?
P&M: Yes – he has his reasons. They were non-believers.
CR: So if God appeared to you tomorrow and told you to kill me and my family because we are non-believers, would you obey?
P&M: He wouldn’t do that.
CR: How do you know?
P&M: Because he’s a god of love.
CR: But you just told me you believed he ordered genocide in the OT.
P&M: Yes but he wouldn’t do that NOW.
CR: Why not?
P&M: Because things are different.
P&M: It’s the end of days.
CR: How do you know it’s the end of days?
P&M: Because it’s in the Bible.
CR: If it’s in the Bible, how come people keep getting it wrong? Jesus told his disciples the second coming would happen in their lifetime. That obviously didn’t happen.
P&M: He meant the fall of the temple.
CR: Then why didn’t he say that?
P&M: mumble mumble
CR: Anyway, I want an answer – if God told you to kill me and my family, WOULD YOU OBEY?
P&M: He wouldn’t do that.
CR: DO YOU CLAIM TO KNOW THE MIND OF GOD?
CR: Then don’t tell me you know what he would and wouldn’t do. So answer the question – would you do it?
P&M: (after trying to avoid the question for about 5 minutes) – No.
CR: Then you would disobey your God?
P&M: (Starting to get distraught and obviously confused, suffering from cognitive dissonance.) No.
CR: So you would kill me? Are you potential baby killers? My wife is pregnant and you’d be prepared to kill her and our unborn baby? YOU SCARE THE HELL OUT OF ME.
And that’s about when Adam arrived and they escaped.