Are you a recovering intellectual?

My name is Seth, and I’m a recovering intellectual.

I say intellectual not because I consider myself intelligent, but rather to describe my typical approach when interacting with the world.  I am most comfortable in situations that can be understood and resolved intellectually. My knee-jerk reaction is usually to attempt to rationalize, analyze, and deduce.

I say recovering because I have come to realize that this approach is not always the most appropriate. (more…)

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The Wrap Up – Part 1

So much to say, and hundreds of ways to say it.  I must have tackled this post a dozen times, only to leave it unfinished to go and sleep on it, so to speak.

What I’ve decided to do is to make a wrap-up post in two parts, concerning my exchange with the folks at Roll to Disbelieve (which started here and, by way of here, here, here and here, left off here).  Throughout the course of the discussion, several people weighed in, many of whom brought up some really good points that I’m anxious to discuss further.  Alas, though, my free time to write is sporadic at best these days, and facing an army of opposition single-handedly only compounds and exacerbates this predicament.  I hope those who engaged do not begrudge me the delay — after I finish these two posts, my goal is to have responded directly to those comments that I found the most relevant and engaging.  Thank you for your patience!

To preface this wrap-up, my nutshell assessment of how the discussion went down is something like this:  In essence, the entire discussion comes down to evidence — whether or not the Christian claims have the evidential legs to be taken seriously as a feasible (or even likely) model to explain the reality of our world.  This comprised perhaps 3% of the discussion.  The other 97% or so was a kitchen sink of statements and accusations concerning topics such as my discussion tactics, my motivation in becoming a Christian, my motivation in sharing my faith, my sub-par mental faculties, my flawed character, my failure to apply the teachings of Jesus in my own life, my vile hatred of those who oppose Christianity and the various ways I have threatened and insulted them, my inability to understand the points being presented to me, my failure at presenting good arguments in favor of my worldview, my poor logic skills, my inability to think for myself, my penchant for parroting other peoples’ opinions without understanding or questioning them, and my general depravity as a human being.

Pretty par for the course, I’d say, when it comes to typical discussions of this nature. (more…)

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PRATTS and PAWs

I’m thoroughly enjoying the tennis match with my friend Captain Cassidy😀 I really do hope the feeling is mutual — she seems to be pretty sporting about it all so far, so I think I’m not overstepping my bounds to hope that she’s also getting something out of our exchange.  Thanks also to others who have weighed in on the matter — I’ve gotten to meet several new people so far, which is always a good thing!  Y’all are very welcome, make yourselves at home🙂

This time, I must thank the good Captain for introducing me to a new term: PRATT, which stands for “Point Refuted A Thousand Times.”  In her recent article, she establishes the groundwork for this term and then outlines a list of examples of such that I am supposed to have employed against her.  (The points she made therein seemed very similar to those she made in her first response.)  Some are fair points, others I’m pretty sure are not so fair — and some are more addressed at my tactics than my points themselves.  (If you’re interested in my answer to some of these points, feel welcome to check out my response article and my direct response to her comment.)  All, however, seem to come with a hefty dose of caricature, to the point where even I can’t find much about them to take seriously (even though I am supposed to have said them myself).

However, the article the Captain cited on RationalWiki that dealt with PRATTs had a few examples of its own — and, since they seem to be the authority on the matter, I figure I’ll go right to the source. (more…)

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Ahoy Mateys! A Response to the Captain and Her Crew

Boy, I’ve sure stuck a stick in the hornet’s nest now, haven’t I?🙂

My thanks to all who engaged in this discussion so far, both on my blog and on Captain Cassidy’s.  The situation in a nutshell:  The Captain wrote an article about Christian rebirth, I wrote a response, she and some of her readers responded in kind… and then I left to go visit my in-laws for the weekend, so I couldn’t respond with the promptness that I would have liked.  In a way, though, it was nice to have a break — allowed me to slow-cook some of the important issues that were brought up.

I will respond, in brief, to some of these specific topics in this response, but this will mostly be a meta-discussion so that everyone know where I’m coming from. (more…)

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The Doubtful Promise of Nothing

I like Captain Cassidy over at Roll to Disbelieve.  She’s a fantastic writer who seems to share somewhat of my distaste for confrontational debate tactics (she left a very nice comment on my mission statement for this blog) — I recall having several pleasant discussions with her on her blog and mine.  Plus, I infer that she shares my appreciation for RPGs🙂

She recently wrote what I regard as an excellent article, where she gives her point of view on the Christian doctrines of being born again and of the existence of an eternal afterlife.  I say it is excellent not because I agree with her viewpoint (I, in fact, thoroughly do not, much to the surprise of no one) — but because it is, as most of her works are, brilliantly crafted and even, in the beginning, quite beautiful and poetic.  I found myself legitimately moved by her ode to the purpose of life on this planet, which serves as a sort of introduction to her assessments of the aforementioned doctrines themselves.  I thoroughly recommend that everyone give it a read from top to bottom.

I wasn’t a few paragraphs in before I knew that I desired to respond to her strong points and opinions, and as I read I took notes on the statements in particular I wished to comment on.  I quickly found that my response fit better as a post on my own blog rather than as a comment on hers — for though I usually try to comment on others’ blogs for the sake of keeping the discussion on their platform, at the same time I do not wish to be inhospitable to her site by posting a novel in her comment section.  Plus, posting my response here gives me the opportunity to plug her blog, which in my opinion is well worth a subscription.

The rest of this entry will be directed at the good Captain, in direct response to her latest article: (more…)

Deconversion: A Response – Part 3 (Morality)

Ha, bet y’all thought I forgot about this series!

The third video in Evid3nc3’s series on deconversion concerns morality:

Again, can’t say enough how much I appreciate the author’s honesty and transparency about his experiences.  I glanced over the video’s comments and saw one by an atheist who said this series helped him understand more why Christians can believe as they do.  The ability to lead others to empathy like that requires a level of artistry and tact to which I aspire in my own writing.  His decisions about his faith notwithstanding, I want to be like this guy someday🙂

Nevertheless, I am beginning to sense a pattern in this fellow’s story, and it seems to manifest itself in the following sequence: (more…)

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“God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” by John Lennox

I owe you all an apology.  (No, it’s not for my long absence — I’ve been spending pretty much all my spare time with my son, and I have no regrets!😀 )

I just finished reading this book about a week ago, and I highly recommend it.  However, it knocked me squarely on my butt and showed me an area about which I have been wrong for so long.  And I would like to apologize. (more…)

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Deconversion: A Response – Part 2 (Prayer)

I got some Christmas gifts early this year — we wanted to open gifts with my mother-in-law while she was in town helping us adjust to life with the new baby.  One of the gifts I received was this neat-looking credit-card-sized multi-tool from my Amazon wishlist.  Though I could discern on sight how to use most of the elements of the tool, there were a few that baffled me, so I swallowed my man-pride and actually took a look at the instructions.

There was one problem, though:  The instructions were all in Chinese.  I couldn’t read them.

I went to the product’s Amazon page, and lo and behold one of the pictures was a key that showed the uses of each element (though now I have to go figure out how to use a “direction auxiliary indication”).  Out of curiosity, I proceeded to read some of the reviews, and I noticed that many who had received the tool had the same problem that I did with the instructions.  What struck me the most about these particular reviews was how many users gave the product a negative review based solely on their inability to understand the instructions.  Ironically, in leaving their review, they had to visit the very page where I was able to discover clear instructions, so they could have easily overcame the linguistic difficulty, just as I had — and yet, their entire opinion of the efficacy of the tool never ventured beyond their inability to understand how it was meant to be used.

Isn’t this exactly how so many people base their opinions on the inefficacy of intercessory prayer?  Once they realize the tool doesn’t work they way they thought or assumed it did, they give the whole system a negative review and state that “it doesn’t work.” (more…)