Thursday, 8 September 2011

Steamroller approaching - reality beware!

He didn't need much time to get rolling, and once he got started it was well nigh impossible to get him stopped!

He threw out assertion after assertion, challenge after challenge, and seemed to have no desire to hear my attempts to give an answer.  Eventually I asked him to give me the opportunity to answer his challenges without interruption, and then he could respond, so he agreed to that, but I was maybe only four words into my response when he jumped in.  I reminded him of his commitment to let me speak, so he invited me to go ahead.  This time I got possibly six words in, and he jumped in again and wouldn't let me finish.  At this point I told him I would have to go, as he wasn't interested in having a conversation.

It was immensely frustrating because his arguments were (generally) completely juvenile, e.g. he seemed to think that the fact that chapter divisions and verses were inserted into the Bible hundreds of years later was somehow significant.  When he told me that the Bible wasn't originally written with chapters and verses, he thought he was telling me something I didn't know, and when I told him his observation was totally irrelevant, he laughed and exclaimed, "Irrelevant?!?  Irrelevant?!?" So I asked him what the significance of his observation was - he didn't tell me, and of course there is no significance!  Christianity came before, and is in no way dependant on, chapter divisions!

He challenged me in regard to the evil in the world, and God allowing Hitler to do what he did, etc.  Now this is a meaningful question, and there are answers to it, but he didn't want to hear them, and to tell the truth I wasn't interested in giving them to him, because there is a more foundational concern here that I wanted to go after.  I asked him if he was an atheist, and he admitted he was, then modified it to say he was agnostic.  I asked him to tell me was it evil for Hitler to kill six million Jews.  He said, "If you have to ask that question, I'm not going to answer it!"  I told him that I knew it was evil, and I knew why, but he had to answer the question while still standing on the ground of atheism, was it evil to kill six million Jews, and why?  Is there some law in nature that says it is evil to oppress the weak and kill the helpless?  Is there some law that is binding upon all of humanity to behave in a certain way?  I pointed that based on his worldview there is no objective standard and there are no moral obligations, just standards that we subjectively invent and enforce upon each other - we make the rules, but there is no objective good at which we are aiming, or transcendent law to which we are bound. 

So I asked him again, was it evil for Hitler to kill six million Jews?  He said, "To me, it's evil."  But this is the point, on his worldview evil is just a subjective thing, something you don't like, but why should Hitler be bound by what other people like or dislike?  He was the top dog, he made the rules in his country - was there some law above him that forbade killing innocent people?  Not on atheism.

I went for it one more time, was it evil for Hitler to kill six million Jews?  His response stunned me; he said, "It's not black and white!"  I told him it most certainly was black and white - it was evil, because it was a violation of God's law, written on our hearts and written in His Word.  Evil is a departure from our moral obligations.  But I pointed out that his worldview is the one which led him to say it's not black and white whether it's evil to kill six million Jews.  Atheism can't account for reality - evil exists, it's black and white.