RESPONSE TO COMMENTS
ON THE "FRIENDLY ATHEIST" BLOG
ABOUT MY CHAPTER ONE, POSTED THERE
[Note: Yes, amazingly, Hemant Mehta, one of America's most prominent atheists, posted Chapter 1 of my just-published book The End of Unbelief on his popular blog The Friendly Atheist, knowing his aggressively atheist readers would attack it -- and me -- mercilessly. They did not disappoint. Over 500 comments made me feel their passionate contempt for my views. Then Hemant was kind enough to let me write a response to those comments. The response was in five parts (which drew over 1,000 more comments). Here is the third part.]
How Is My Approach Different and More Effective?
One of the most balanced and incisive comments was made by Overlapping Magisteria, who said:
It surprised me that the overwhelming tenor of the comments was that "this is the same old stuff, rehashed; nothing new here at all." No one thought it noteworthy or interesting that here is a Christian author who not only doesn't try to prove God's existence or quote scripture at us, he proclaims himself an agnostic. The title of the chapter Hemant posted -- Chapter 1 -- was An Agnostic Argues for Faith. A few modern Christian authors admit, quietly, deep into the text of their books, that they don't think God's existence can be proven. But they don't follow that concession to its rigorous logical conclusion -- that we can't then know whether there is a God or not.
I, on the other hand, use agnosticism (my own) to make an argument for faith. In the posted excerpt I say:
Hemant included only Chapter 1 of the book in the posted excerpt. In Chapter 2, Believing Without Proof, I say:
That may strike you as contradictory, illogical, or self-delusive. It is none of those. But do me this justice. Concede that subtle, sometimes complicated, philosophical arguments may have to be expanded on in a book-length work. It's easy to shoot down out-of-context passages, or even a full chapter, which might be cogent and persuasive in the context of the whole book. I need space to explain why, in my dialectic, "agnostic" does not mean "unbeliever"; and the crucial difference between one's philosophical position and one's personal belief.