Most of my friends are Christians at one level or another.
As an atheist I often see discussions between atheists and Christians where each are trying to persuade the other there way of thinking is correct. Typically this devolves into alienation, ad hominem and anger.
Last night I was interviewed by Larry Rhodes on the Free Thought Radio Hour about this topic and I lined out some ways atheists can talk to Christians in civil and mutually beneficial ways. We even had an interesting Christian caller who demonstrated this technique perfectly.
If you would like to listen in, click the link below (it’s an mp3 of the show). You can write click to download or click and it will open in a new tab to listen:
Feel free to leave your comments, questions and rants below. I’m happy to learn from you.
Tonight I’ll be on Free Thought Radio with Larry Rhodes at 6pm Eastern time. I’ll be talking about how an atheist can have a discussion with a Christian about faith in a reasonable way.
I’d love for you to listen in and, possibly, call in.
It will stream live online here:
The call in number is (865)333-5937
Hope to “meet” you on the phone tonight.
“I LOVE your apartment, Jack!” Sarah’s voice was faux-effervescent in the annoying way a woman tries to be “bubbly” at the beginning of a relationship.
“It’ll do” replied Jack’s monotone. “Let me open a bottle of wine and let it breathe. Red or white?”
“Oh, thank you! White please, red makes me blush.”
While Jack busied himself in the kitchen, Sarah surveyed his living room. Neat, orderly, clean. Cleaner than her’s ever. Nice leather furniture, industrial accessories complete with the bare brick wall. Giant television. Expensive looking stereo.
The brick wall anchored shelves displaying an eclectic assortment of oddities, lit by track lighting. Their prominence made Sarah think they must be important to him. She walked over to the display and eyed an antique locket.
“This is a beautiful locket” she spoke over her shoulder to the kitchen.
“Thank you, just one of the things I’ve collected along the way.” Jack was always polite and gracious. “Pick it up if you want, it won’t break, it’s endured worse.”
Sarah’s eyes took inventory of some of the other items. A pair of concert tickets in a small frame, a swatch of cloth in another, a mag strip Hilton hotel key in a third.
Jack joined her at her side, placing his arm around her waist, fingers caressing the curve of her hip.
“Why all the wine bottles?” she asked, counting 11 empties on the shelf.
“Wine represents the joy of life. When I share wine with a friend, I sometimes like to keep the bottle to remind me of the joy of that moment.”
Sarah turned into him, their faces just a few inches apart. “A ‘friend’, huh?”
“Yeah, a friend.” Jack pulled her tight against him, kissing her deeply. His hands explored her back as she felt him harden against her thigh.
They had been dating four weeks. Six dates. He had been to her’s twice, but he had been slow to invite her to his. He had been slow about everything. They would talk late into the night with sexually charged conversations, and they had made out almost to the point of no return several times, but he had refused to take the plunge.
She was sure tonight they would, and she ached for it. He was smart, sexy, funny and surprisingly compassionate. He wasn’t like the other men.
He broke off the embrace. “Let me go pour our wine. You sit on the couch.”
Sarah obliged. She always did as told. Jack returned with two glasses and handed one to her.
“How did you become a crime writer?” she asked, hoping the conversation would be short and they would move to the bedroom. They had talked enough.
“I just find it fascinating, the psychology of criminals. Especially the most deviant ones. Murderers, especially serial killers, have fascinating psychology.”
“That sounds creepy.” Sarah gave a little shiver.
“I guess the fascinating thing for me was discovering they’re not much different than a so-called ‘normal’ person. We all have the capacity to kill for many reasons – financial gain, sex, ego or even just the thrill. The difference in serial killers is they don’t have an ‘off’ switch. We all have the same desires, but serials don’t have the limits other people have.”
“I guess that is fascinating” Sarah lied. “I don’t think I could kill anyone.”
“The crime shows always get it wrong. They picture these people as monsters. We’re all monsters, just some have the ability to suppress it. Some don’t…” Jack’s words trailed off as he took another sip of wine.
“For example: Trophies. They think serials keep trophies so they can go back and, what, masturbate on them? That’s not why serial killers keep trophies.”
“OK, that’s just gross.”
“But, see,” Jack continued, “that’s exactly what I am talking about. The media portrays these people as sex-crazed monsters, but that’s rarely the truth. When you really study them you begin to understand that isn’t an accurate picture.”
“So tell me, newspaper boy, why does a serial killer keep trophies?”
“For the same reason you have that picture of your grandmother on your end table. It makes you smile to remember her, it brings back memories of the time you spent together. It gives you a moment of joy. A smile.”
“But enough about that stuff,” Jack said, standing. “I have plans for you tonight.”
Sarah smiled a coy smile. Jack took her hand, pulled her to her feet and led her to the bedroom. Finally Jack would get the release he had been anticipating for weeks.
An hour later, Sarah emerged, fully satisfied, freshly showered and dressed. She didn’t enjoy the “after.” She grabbed the bottle from the counter, pouring it into the sink. Corking it, she placed the bottle in her ample purse.
“Crime writers always get it wrong,” thought Sarah, as she locked the door behind her.
For two years now She had been His joy.
He was working through a difficult time. Walking through mud. Business was picking up, His long hours were beginning to bear fruit, emotionally He was tired.
They were seeing each other less to give Him time to right His ship. She had come to His last weekend and it was delightful. Monday at 6am they waved goodbye and He was back to work.
When He knew they would be apart He would take down His pictures of Her. The wallpaper on His phone and computers changed from Her smile to something that didn’t immediately remind Him of Her. Pictures that didn’t create the longing to feel Her pressed against Him, tightly encircled by His arms.
Today he put them back up again, maybe only for a day. He needed the energy, the peace, the touchless embrace of Her smile.
And for the first time this weekend, He felt joy.
I try to understand the words you’re not saying,
the soul buried deep beneath the veneer of smiles and laughter,
avoiding my gaze that sees you in spite of yourself.
Hiding is an art for you, a skill from a lifetime of practice.
You only reveal to others what you want them to see.
The confident, the wise, the controlled.
Somehow I read the tea leaves. Seeing glimpses of real.
The distance of text messages and phone calls made it easier.
No eyes on you.
Gradually you let me in. Testing the waters. Scared yet hoping.
Someone who might see you, love you as you are.
Yet waiting for the second shoe to drop.
You surrendered your body, but it was just a body.
You had surrendered it once before without being seen.
An anonymous placeholder.
We navigated together the revelations.
The hurt. The misunderstandings.
Mishearing words never spoken.
“You only pursue me because I run” you said.
Not realizing the truth:
I pursue you because I see you.
It was past his bedtime, an hour past. He couldn’t sleep. His chest ached for want of Her.
They had made a considered decision: His business was flagging and needed Him to make it a priority. He would spend less time with Her and more focusing on His business. They knew it meant the weeks of living together would be put on pause, but in the long run it would mean He could move to Her city.
They had now been apart for most of a month.
Tonight He longed for Her. He longed for Her in a way that transcended sex. For the last couple weeks porn had lost any appeal. He didn’t want sex, He wanted Her. All of Her. The intimacy. Making love. The holding after. Waking up together the next day. The Knowing.
Tonight the emptiness of His arms screamed loud.
He pulled a pillow into His chest and willed it to become Her.
Saw this a couple places recently and wanted to post it here. It’s deep. I don’t know who created it, so if you know put it in the comments so I can credit the author. – Kevin
An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path. He wasn’t sure of which direction to go, and he’d forgotten both where he was traveling to…and who he was. He remembered absolutely nothing. He suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: “Now your third wish. What will it be?”
“Third wish?” The man was baffled. “How can it be a third wish if I haven’t had a first and second wish?”
“You’ve had two wishes already,” the hag said, “but your second wish was for you to forget everything you know.” She cackled at the poor man. “So it is that you have one wish left.”
“All right,” he said hesitantly, “I don’t believe this, but there’s no harm in trying. I wish to know who I truly am.”
“Funny,” said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. “That was your first wish…”