One of the biggest challenges of skeptics/atheists/etc is to communicate respectfully but honestly with those who disagree with us. My recent post discussing the recent UNCG Debate initiated a lengthy back-and-forth with a Fundamentalist Christian, who takes the Bible totally literally and places it as the supreme authority on all matters. I don't know if I completed my challenge to be respectful but honest successfully. However, I thought it would be of value to present my final comment as a separate post as a possible example of how to handle disagreement from theists. By the way, this blogger's assessment of the Fundamentalist Christian was that he was very forceful but respectful. Here is my final comment:
Thanks for your usual courteous and detailed response.
To clarify something at the outset, I consider myself a "Naturalist", which includes "Materialism" but certainly also includes all the real "immaterial" concepts we have agreed exist. I believe these "immaterial" realities emanated or emerged from our material existence, whereas, you attribute them to a supernatural entity.
As I said in my last post, we bring to this discussion polar opposite assumptions, as we have formed our worldviews from different influences:
You place the authority of Scripture as an assumption (from your comments, I assume you are a Presuppositional apologist) and weigh all matters against what the Scriptures say.
I work from the assumption that my best understanding of truth comes from evidence found through observation and experiment. Authority and personal testimony play no role.
You are metaphysically certain of your authority and beliefs.
I am uncertain in my beliefs and all of them are metaphysically provisional. My beliefs are based on probabilities from known facts.
I am going out on a limb and state that we probably agree that science and religion are really not compatible. By that I mean that you probably have some respect for science but many of the findings of science are directly opposed to theism in general and Christianity in particular, thus, are not accepting of them. This statement also ties into my opinion that Christians of your view are the most logical of all Christians. From your assumptions, you are very logical and reasoned. Christians who take a more figurative understanding of Scripture in the face of refuting scientific or historical evidence are really trying to "have their cake and eat it too", in my opinion.
I respect you, even though we profoundly disagree in this matter. I have no problem with you practicing your faith and hope you flourish. My only reservation would be if your beliefs cause actions that violate the US Constitution and/or encourage non-scientific views into the science curriculum in schools.
I hope that you have perceived me as an honest, thoughtful and respectful fellow human being. Most fellow atheists are of that character, as are most theists. I hope we at least can agree on that.
This is my final communication.
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If you have taken the time to read my UNCG Debate post, and all the comments, and have an opinion of how I handled the discussion, please let me know.