Re: [asa] A caution about the conversation on the "soul" and Christianity

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Fri Sep 25 2009 - 11:30:22 EDT

A quick answer, Ted.

It is a poor lawyer who cannot argue his opposers case.

Bernie's agenda, which I share, is to determine the truth or falsity
of Christianity, or at least some aspects of Christianity. I think
personally he has not explored the questions as much as he might --
certainly his arguments for atheism are pretty weak (IMHO). AS are
those of Dawkins,, BTW.

Specifically -- I do see "helping someone make a case against
Christianity" as a useful thing to do. Not because I hold that
position, of course, but for just the opposite reason. Having read a
lot of opposing views, I think I understand how weak the arguments for
atheism really are.

In sum, I do not see Bernie's posts as a threat, but as an opportunity.

Thanks for responding. The fact that we disagree on this does not
lessen our friendship!

On 9/25/09, Ted Davis <> wrote:
> I reply to Burgy's question below. Here it is:
> Do I understand you, Ted, to be saying that there is only one way of
> understanding; that Christianity is that way, and that no dissent from
> that position will be tolerated?
> If that is so, it may be time to leave the ASA. Bernie has given us
> all a lot to think about. I benefit from his struggles, even as I
> don't see my own faith under attack nor being in any danger of
> collapse. If we can't answer Bernie (and others) perhaps we ought to
> retreat into fundamentalism. I won't go there myself.
> My 2c worth. I think your dismissal of Brenie from this dialog is way off
> base.
> ***
> Burgy, as ASA president I note your opinion. I think you have read more
> into my comments than they contain.
> For me as your president, Burgy, it comes down to this: is the ASA
> interested in helping someone to "build a case against Christianity," as
> Bernie stated it? This isn't a question of anyone's right to dissent from
> someone else's opinion, whether or not it has anything to do with
> Christianity. It's a question of what the ASA list is for: to serve our
> members, and I just don't see where Bernie's agenda is consistent with ours.
> Do you disagree with this assessment?
> The specific topic of the thread, and the opinions that Bernie or anyone
> else expressed in it, are simply not the issue for me. And, like you, I
> don't see my faith being threatened here; nor would that be a proper reason
> to make the ruling I did. I simply cannot reconcile our identity and
> mission with helping anyone enhance their case against Christianity. If a
> person follows our conversations (which are public and publicly archived)
> and learns things to use in arguments against Christian faith, that's one
> thing. I might not like that, but there is nothing I can do about that and
> it's really no different from reading published literature by advocates of
> certain views and then arguing against them. That's what free discourse is
> about, and I'm all in favor of free discourse -- including free discourse
> among our members in this forum, as long as the topic is relevant to our
> identity (and the "soul" clearly is). It's a very different thing, however,
> if a person enters into conversation with our members with the specific
> stated goal of building a case against what we represent. That doesn't
> sound like open-minded inquiry, let alone faith seeking understanding. That
> sounds to me like using us to advance an agenda that is directly opposed to
> ours. Am I missing something here, Burgy?
> Ted

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Received on Fri Sep 25 11:31:00 2009

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