Hey, look at me...I'm going to Heaven and you're going to Hell. What a loser you are!
Of course, they are perfectly willing to share the magic words that will let you join in on the Heaven fun, but I guess some of us are just too stupid to see the truth right there in front of us! This kind of self-righteousness, I believe, has its roots in the idea that that many Christians have that Christianity is the only valid source of morality, and unless the rest of us accept that, we're doomed to be a failure and, oh yeah, to roast forever on some sort of fiery barbecue.
PREACHER: The apostle Paul said, "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards." I think it goes without saying that Christians aren't necessarily the smartest lot. "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." So, Christians aren't any better than the rest of mankind. Morally speaking there is no significant difference, as the the only difference we can claim is a relationship with the Creator of the universe and His Son. If it is that claim of a relationship with Him that you despise, then go ahead and despise us all you want.
My experience on this blog has shone me that atheists are very interesting, beautiful people. That is not surprising since they are created in the image of God, just as everyone else is. However, if you criticize us for insinuating that you might have to roast forever, remember that it is your decision that you have made. You can talk all day about how your decision not to believe is our fault, but nothing is changed except that hair on the back of our necks stood up a bit.
SKEPTIC: Why do you feel the need to amp up my observation that something "bugs" us (i.e. Christians' attitudes) into somehow that means we "despise" you (Christians). That's a pretty big leap from "bug" to "despise," my friend.
I applaud you for saying that "Christians aren't any better than the rest of mankind," but then you go on to explain why you actually, kinda, really are better than the rest of mankind, seeing that you're going to Heaven and the rest of us are going to Hell, but hey, it's your own damn fault for not believing what we believe. It's this kind of disconnect between a "loving" God and a God who stands ready to torture most of humanity in a fiery pit that has turned many people away from Christianity (particularly the Evangelical flavor). The idea that Christians are "saved" and everyone else is "unsaved" causes Christians to create an unhealthy "us" vs. "them" mentality. And by the way - where, when and how did I ever say that my decision to not believe is your fault (i.e. Christians' fault)? That seemed like kind of an odd thing to say on your part. But what's your understanding of atheists' morality vs. Christians' morality?
PREACHER: First of all when it comes to atheists' morality, it all depends on which atheist you talk to. Those like you have a very high level of morality, thanks in part to the influences of a culture permeated with Christian values that you have adopted. This you have developed and improved on according to your supreme reasoning ability. However, if you observe people like the dictator of Korea, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Pol Pot who ruled in Cambodia (and a whole group of other infamous atheists) you get another very different view of morality. What is morality anyway? Is it anything more than the opinions of some really smart people or some people who happen to have a lot of power? And what gives your or my opinions more weight than theirs in the end anyway?
There is one issue that makes a big divide between atheists and Christians (and of course Muslims and Jews too for that matter). The denial of ones Creator is the most heinous act of immorality possible. That is why Muslim Sharia law calls for the death penalty for blasphemy. We Christians have been taught to love our enemies so we don't have such a law.
SKEPTIC: Thank you for conceding that even atheists can have high moral character. But when you try to tie my moral character to my previous exposure to Christianity, that's just another way of saying that the Christian view of morality is the only (or maybe most) valid one. And sure, we can agree that the dictators you cited are not men of high moral character, but to attempt to tie that immorality to their supposed atheism is ridiculous and no more valid than saying that they are immoral because they are left-handed or refuse to eat vegetables. I'm guessing that the political and cultural environments these men came from had a lot more to do with their misdeeds than whether or not they believed in God.
But the most interesting thing for me is that you believe "the denial of ones Creator is the most heinous act of immorality possible." Seriously? Anyone who doesn't believe in God is heinously immoral? I think that kind of makes my point. Christians DO think they are better than the rest of us.
But thank you for not wanting to kill us. That makes me feel better.
PREACHER: And thanks for not wanting to kill us either. That's what makes this blog very significant. We both believe in accepting someone who is opposed to what we believe and are willing to talk about it. However what is the main source of your morality? If it isn't the Bible, what is it? If Christianity had never developed into a world religion, would we have the same moral consensus that we have today? Do you believe that moral development is part of the process of evolution (a theory that I don't believe)? Then you guys are better than us Christians since you have moved up the chain of evolution a step or two further and have a greater genetic capacity to understand morality. So, we both think we are better than each other based on our different foundations. I believe that God has revealed through the Bible that He is more pleased with fools (sheep) that believe in Him than geniuses (goats) that don't. You believe that your superior intelegence is the result of evolution, and eons later maybe my descendants will come to understand.
SKEPTIC: Why do we need some sort of ancient holy book to serve as the source of morality? Where does morality come from? It comes from human beings knowing that if they want to survive and thrive together in a community, they need to live and act in a way that will best ensure their goals. It's really not that mysterious. We discovered a long, long time ago that killing our fellow citizens, for example, is something that was not going to serve us well as a community and so we outlawed it. We didn't need the Bible to figure out that killing someone was a bad thing.
PREACHER: If morality was just about not killing each other, your point makes sense to me. However you still need to convince terrorists and many governments that killing is wrong, whether it is done in war or as a punishment of crime. Then again, when we realize that morality is more than just about killing fellow human beings, we discover a whole lot of issues that we don't agree on. So, on those issues are you claiming to be more qualified than those who disagree with you to make the proper judgement? If you are, what are your qualifications?