How To Avoid Just Talking To Ourselves

It is inevitable that when people form a community they have a tendency to eventually forget why they formed that community in the first place. It depends on the type of community of course, but usually this is this case. So communities are in danger of becoming myopic and focused on themselves, their needs, and their issues. Being involved in a community demands that people in that community talk to one another about their community needs. They must talk about the issues of that community for they are relevant to the people in it. I have noticed this when it comes to some of the Freethought Bloggers, but other places as well.

Many of the issues we talk about are specific to our respective communities. For instance, I stopped visiting the Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board (FRDB) long before it closed up because most skeptics there just wanted to discuss the historicity of Jesus. I remember posting something about Jesus and the ensuing discussion, all of it, was denying the validity of my argument because Jesus never existed. All they had was a one note song, one that atheists were mostly interested in but didn't phase Christians much at all. Then too, Christian presuppositionalists who initially visited here years ago had a one note song as well. No matter what I wrote, their only response was to ask how I can trust reason enough to make my argument. They finally gave up. They were just talking to themselves too.

At Freethought Blogs there is a lot of political commentary of interest to atheists in Christianized America. But no Christian who believes the Bible or the theology based on it will find that commentary persuasive unless they already agree with it, since what they believe is based elsewhere. Many of these posts are relevant only to atheists, which might hopefully build up the wall of separation between Church and State, something needed, but won't change the mind of the believer in any other way. There is actually a lot they write that most educated Christians would agree with. The only believers who might disagree with it all are politically disenfranchised groups like the KKK, Fred Phelp's gang, Appalachian snake handlers, and other fundamentalists on the fringes of society, so they might as well be ignored for the most part. Hey, we already know they are deluded. We already know they are misinformed. We already know they are stupid, haters, fear-mongers, and so forth.

My former professor James Strauss taught me something important as a budding Christian apologist. He would regularly chide Christians who were only talking to themselves. His point was that too many Christians do not argue in ways that would actually change minds. They assume too much, like the Bible for instance. He taught his students to reach across the divide if we were ever to make an impact on the world. He taught us to understand the opposition better than they do themselves, if possible. Now on this side, as the opposition, I'm doing the same thing in reverse, except that I do understand the opposition better than most Christians because I believed.

From this side I now see the same things Strauss warned us about in reverse. Too many atheists are only talking to themselves. Too many atheists do not argue in ways that would actually change minds. Too many atheists do not understand the opposition enough to challenge them. If you're interested, really interested in how to do this right, then read my magnum opus, Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity.I say this to wannabe Christian apologists too. If you want to understand the atheist opposition better than many atheists do, you too need to get my book. Not just my book, but certainly mine. Unfortunately, since there are many books out there that all appear to say similar things, mine looks just like the rest of them. Since it does, most people who have read the other books don't bother getting it. But it is different, in a big way. At least that's what people are saying on both sides of the fence.

Read it and then let's talk. To atheists I urge them to try as best as possible to talk as much as possible to the other side. It's my niche. I'm an expert in this. The needs within one's own community are indeed important and should be addressed. But let's not lose our focus.