Posted by: Jennie Z | February 12, 2009

irreconcilable differences?

I have to say, I think the topic of this seminar is really interesting and I like the way that discussions are shaping up, both here on the blog and in class. At the same time, though, there’s something that’s been troubling me about all of this – I feel like it’s a fight that can never be won.I know that it’s silly to think of what we’re doing as a fight, but in a way, isn’t that what it is? The New Atheists are saying that there is no God and religion is harmful to humanity; as theists, we are saying the opposite. We can tell ourselves that we are engaging in dialogue, having an intellectual discussion, or exploring the issues, but at the end of the day, aren’t we really only justifying our belief? Can we honestly say that we are capable of suspending our feelings and objectively evaluating what people like Dawkins and Harris have to say?

Moreover, how can we ever come to anything other than an impasse? There is no way to definitively convince either the atheists or the theists that the other side is right. And when both sides are so adamant in what they believe in, what’s the point? At least when people of two different religions dialogue, there is a certain degree of respect offered and some points of convergence of beliefs. How do you dialogue with a group of people that both a) have a worldview completely opposite of your own and b) are relentless in their quest to destroy what you believe?

I guess that I just don’t understand what it is we are trying to achieve here. I feel like we’re coming up with insightful, thought-provoking points, but I also feel like if Richard Dawkins walked into our class one day, he would shoot us all down without breaking a sweat. Is it possible to come to some kind of resolution, or is this just an uphill battle? Maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong…


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