I was watching The View a couple of weeks ago (yes, sometimes I watch The View because it keeps me in touch with my femine side....no, actually I don't mind watching the Hot Topics part of the show). They were discussing the Presidential race and religious beliefs. The guest host was Sherri Shepherd . Barbara Walters, who was raised by an atheist father, was doing a fantastic job debating mostly Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck about the whether a President believed in God was relevant or not. Ms. Walters even said it was scary to think that a President may make decisions based on faith. They went on to discuss that Americans would not vote for an atheist, and somehow the topic of evolution came up. Walters asked Shepherd if she believed in evolution, to which she replied, "No." And Walters actually drilled her about it, she said something to the affect, "have you ever read Darwin's book or looked at the evidence for evolution"...the answer was "no, I believe the Bible." And she didn't stop, Walters then said that she should read it since she now has a child.
That was great TV.
I looked for a clip of the show all over the internet and I still can't find one. I did a blog search for reaction to the segment and I could only find one. In a theist's blog. A very nice theist, I might add. Singing In The Rain wrote a reaction to the confrontation in a post called "A Missed Opportunity." Here is what Rick Cavin (actually it is his wife Laurie) wrote:
"I was so disappointed. Here was an opportunity on national TV for someone to point out the dearth of evidence for evolution. The fact that hardcore evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould even admit they have no answers for major issues such as as how life began. The fact that there are very few supposed transitional forms.The fact that all of the present day phyla appear fully formed during the Cambrian explosion. But because Shepherd had not engaged the material and was not ready with an answer, Barbara Walters was able to attempt to portray her as uneducated - although maybe in a politically correct way."
Of course, the content of this disappointment was extremely typical of a creationists total misunderstanding of what evolution is as I pointed out in the comment section of that blog. No matter how well I explained the misconceptions and falsities in the post, the author wound up refusing to understand what I was clearly stating. Futility.
I mentioned my "belief" that the Exodus never happened an my "theory" that Jesus never existed. This actually caused another post to be written directed at me:
Historical Jesus. Again, if you read my comments, I was extremely friendly and cordial.
Now, I will be first to admit, that my mind is pretty set now. I'm an atheist because I've concluded that science has answered almost every important question out there regarding life on earth and the history of the universe, and that I'm positive that eventually, science will answer everything in an almost certain manner. I'm also set in my conviction that Jesus was an invention of Paul at best, and perhaps a later in time invention. I'm also convinced the Exodus didn't happen. Maybe 40 slaves escaped Egypt, but that was about it. I doubt Moses existence as well. And of course the story of Adam and Eve as well as Noah's Ark are too farcical to consider.
That being said, I'm open to new evidence, but it has to be pretty hard evidence to get me to sway on any of the above myths. I know, through my readings, research and conversations with theists, that no such evidence exists to date, and I find it highly unlikely that anything will be found to change my mind. But again, I'm a realist, and I'm admitting I'm willing to change my viewpoint based on facts, reality, and evidence. Becoming an atheist is all about changing ones mind because of evidence or lack of evidence.
I also had a nice conversation with Nick Brennan, of Christianity, Religion, Atheism and so on and so forth. I actually think Nick is open to new facts, more than most theists I have run across. I had a short reasonable conversation with him in the comment section of his post "Atheists Suffer From A Lack Of Intelligence," where Nick was actually defending atheists up to a point. I pointed out that he was wrong about morality, and he seemed to take it well.
In another post, "Fidelity and Morality Linked?," I again gave him some good some facts and logic to ponder, and he seemed fine with it.
I guess this is one reason why I debate. The odd theist is open to real facts and evidence. But the main reason I leave my mark on these types of blogs is because of the lurkers. I've said this before, it is unlikely to get someone who doesn't believe in evolution or an ancient earth, or who thinks that gays are an abomination in God's eyes, to change their mind. However many people haven't really formed their opinions or are on the fence when it comes to such issues. It is those people who I hope I'm influencing.
I am having a bit of a problem with a commenter in the Fidelity post named Livingsword. Is that Livings Word, or Living Sword? Doesn't matter. Anyway, he is stating he was an ex-atheist. I know that is bull. At best he was a secular agnostic, or someone who didn't ponder the existence of God much, but he was not an atheist. Atheism doesn't come overnight. We are born agnostic, not atheist.
Here is some of the junk he stated (get ready to grit your teeth my atheist friends):
"When I was an atheist (I didn’t become a follower of Jesus till my late 20’s) anything went, all (as in every one of) my atheist friends slept around, today I know a few atheists who don’t but they are still the minority. The vast majority of Jesus followers I know are totally devoted."
"With all due respect I am very aware of my own personal previous beliefs. I recognize that there are atheists that do not go around destroying the world in a systematic manner, and that the world may categorize as “good”. Please do not think that perhaps since I am now a follower of Jesus I have given up reason and logic and have no education or that I am a fool. I became a follower of Jesus because I was compelled to by the evidence, logic and reason. It has proven to be just that in the life I have experienced, living a life built upon the teaching of Scripture is breathtaking!
One of the other logical conclusions of atheism is that if there is no “higher power” or “authority” than myself (who is everybody else to tell me what to do they are just some biological fluke as I am, even if they outnumber me they cannot tell me what to do) then I can decide on “morals”. In other words “no God then all bets are off” and it is truly “survival of the fittest”.
When I speak of the contrast between my previous atheistic life and my present Jesus following life it is simply as an example off how those around me were so profoundly touched by the genuine amazing change (by God changing me not me making the changes) that they were “blown away”.
In my life surrounded by many unbelievers, quite a few of whom are atheists I see a drastic difference in the way they choose to lead their lives. My atheist male friends generally think it is no problem to cheat on their “partners”. Whereas when I am hanging out with the Jesus following men there is a profound sense of respect for their wives and for women in general. We never (and I mean never) say anything degrading about women.
I will throw out another matter. When I am hanging out with my atheist friends and our gay friends are not around the atheist friends often mock our gay friends, I have never (and I mean never) seen my Jesus following male friends do that when our gay friends are not around. The interesting thing is that the straight atheist guy’s act like being gay is very ok when the gay friends are around them but then say terrible things about the lifestyle when the gay friends are not around."