Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Epic Debate with an Immature Atheist Assoul

I don't usually like to engage these people -- for it just encourages them -- but a couple of days ago I received a letter from an unhinged atheist. It contains two pages of single spaced text, with fifteen arguments against God in general and Christianity in particular.

It's actually from someone I used to know. In fact, we were once quite intimate, and shared a lot of good times. However, I hadn't given him much thought in a number of years, and for all I knew, the man was dead.

The letter is from me.

It seems that my brother was clearing out his dusty archives, and found this ancient screed among his treasures. I'm not sure when this demented memento was written, but it's pre-computer, since it was done on a typewriter.

I thought it might be fun to engage in a dialogue with this inappropriately confident metaphysical yahoo, by publishing his rant word for word, and then giving my response. How often does one have the opportunity to do battle with an original sincarnation of onesoaf?

One can only do so if one has actually changed, and changed dramatically ("to improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often"). There has to be a pretty dramatic rupture or maybe even rapture, not just an evolution of one's views. After all, a linear evolution is easy to explain, if only because of the maturity that occurs with time and experience.

But in this case, I'm dealing with a jackass-of-all-tirades who holds views that are not just the polar opposite of mine. For that implies a simplistic linear map of psychic space, like the continuum of left and right. The problem is that the spiritual and worldly are not on a horizontal continuum; rather, as we discussed a number of weeks ago, they are on a vertical continuum.

Furthermore, this spiritual continuum extends above and below the empirical ego, so that few materialists are merely "a-spiritual." Rather, for reasons that we will discuss in more detail below, the a-spiritual tends to (and justifies) the anti-spiritual, just as the amoral soon enough ushers in the immoral, and the a-soul becomes the assoul. If man is not creatively ascending, he is usually frantically descending (cf. the three gunas, specifically, the unchecked tamasic quality of darkness, obscurity, delusion and ignorance).

Man being what he is, the staunchest atheist is nevertheless going to be situated somewhere on the very vertical plane he denies, since it is and must be prior to the horizontal plane to which the materialist has artificially confined himself. Here again, this is one of the intrinsic difficulties in debunking an atheist, for in order to do so, one must descend to their crude level of bunk, since they deny up front what they claim to disprove with their tin-eared reason.

But as we have said many times, reason cannot furnish its own material on which to operate. Rather, that involves a vertical act of judgment. Which is why one must be very cautious with that first philosophical booby step, for if not, one will be stepping into an abyss, or sacred cowpie, that will naturally be conflated with reality. In the absence of light, the darkness looks like a wall, and a tangled web can feel like a footbridge.

We get the occasional atheist troll who complains about my dismissive treatment of them, but I certainly don't treat them any worse than the alterbob who composed this rant, whom I thought I had killed and buried in an appropriately shallow grave. If nothing else, Oldbob shows that Newbob is completely familiar with all of the typtopical atheist sophistries, since he once believed them. Truly, there's nothing new under the sonofabitch. You could even say that Oldbob was just like Hitchens, minus the charm and drunkenness. No, wait. Just not that drunk.

The point is, I am at an advantage over Oldbob, since I know how he turned out. I know that his arguments, once so passionately held, are now as meaningful to him as, say, Teletubbies is to my son, now that he's moved on to Sponge Bob.

That may sound like a stretch, but it really isn't. At each developmental stage, we require external models in order to actualize the latent potential within us. If we do not have access to the appropriate external model, then it is likely that our development will stall at that stage.

Ken Wilber -- I think it was Wilber -- has discussed this idea, that the "interior collective" of culture only allows for a certain level of development, but no higher. Of note, it will tend to punish not only the people who fail to achieve that level, but also those who surpass it. Basically, the elites will attempt to delegitimize anyone who calls their ossified maps and mythic narratives into question (cf. Sarah Palin).

In fact, what did the Master say? A prophet is not without honor save in his own country.

Let's move on to the letter.

Tomorrow.

11 Comments:

Blogger swiftone said...

subtr: today's WV

I look forward to the engagement. Perhaps this is a minor argument for engaging the odd troll. Something brings them here. Something keeps them coming back for more. It's impossible to know which little pine's roots will finally break through and move a mountain's boulders on their way.

11/22/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Heh heh... you had me at "Assoul"

;-)

wv:fugation

11/22/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"But as we have said many times, reason cannot furnish its own material on which to operate. Rather, that involves a vertical act of judgment. Which is why one must be very cautious with that first philosophical booby step, for if not, one will be stepping into an abyss, or sacred cowpie, that will naturally be conflated with reality. In the absence of light, the darkness looks like a wall, and a tangled web can feel like a footbridge."

Descartes...? Party of two... Descartes? Ah, this way sir, just follow the... er... footbridge....

11/22/2009 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

".. now as meaningful to him as, say, Teletubbies is to my son, now that he's moved on to Sponge Bob."

What an epically huge idea, masquerading as a wisecrack... "...simultaneously an arrival and a return, like the prodigal son..."

11/22/2009 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

Looking forward to meeting the old Bob. The process by which someone undergoes a radical change in worldview is one I'm very interested in, so I always love to hear others' experiences.

Oh, and I love this paragraph:

"Furthermore, this spiritual continuum extends above and below the empirical ego, so that few materialists are merely "a-spiritual." Rather, for reasons that we will discuss in more detail below, the a-spiritual tends to (and justifies) the anti-spiritual, just as the amoral soon enough ushers in the immoral, and the a-soul becomes the assoul. If man is not creatively ascending, he is usually frantically descending (cf. the three gunas, specifically, the unchecked tamasic quality of darkness, obscurity, delusion and ignorance)."

How true this strikes me! Thanks new Bob.

11/22/2009 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Go easy on Bob, Bob. He's just a kid. He knowth not what he do.
RR

11/22/2009 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous pete townshend said...

"...Meet the NewBob,
(not the) same as the OldBob..."

11/22/2009 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The problem is that the spiritual and worldly are not on a horizontal continuum; rather, as we discussed a number of weeks ago, they are on a vertical continuum."

I can picture Gnu B'ob takin' the express O'levator up while Old Bob flounders in the debasement sayin' "this is all that there is! Can't you see?!"

11/22/2009 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I don't usually like to engage these people -- for it just encourages them -- but a couple of days ago I received a letter from an unhinged atheist. It contains two pages of single spaced text, with fifteen arguments against God in general and Christianity in particular."

Wow. Fifteen arguments, SINGLE spaced. How can anyone demolish those ironclod arguments?

It took the blowtorch n' pliers and Holy waterboarding for Old ben to realize he was a poor little fool, so I can jest imagine what Old Bob went through. :^)

11/22/2009 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Bob! You should "stop blogging" more often! I like the blog better than ever. :D I can't wait to see NewBob engage OldBob.

11/22/2009 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous looptloop said...

-- An Atheist In The Woods --

An atheist was walking through the woods.
'What majestic trees!
'What powerful rivers!
'What beautiful animals!
He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.

He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder
& saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground.

He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, 'Oh my God!'

Time Stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

'You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident.'

'Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?

The atheist looked directly into the light, 'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian'?

'Very Well,' said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:

'Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.

11/23/2009 11:16:00 AM  

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