A redated post.
Duke wrote: Well, I guess I agree with the basic statement here, but I'm not trying to "convert" you to atheism. Believe in the Christian god, if you want; sure. Believe in Shiva. Believe in the Tooth Fairy. All I'm doing is pointing out that those three beliefs are equally irrational.
Really. Atheists aren't out to earn converts. You should really explain that to Dan Barker, the head of the Freedom of Religion Foundation and well-known atheist. See the link below.
I don't think of myself as engaged in evangelism. I do hope that my work helps to make it possible to believe, but I think the step of commitment to Christ is distinct from that of accepting arguments; it is an act of will, not of reason or the emotions. I actually think that I do most to support the credibility of my religion when I attempt to reflect honestly on philosophical matters pertaining to my religion, which means that I will reject popular apologetical lines if I think these lines lack rational support. For example, I took a lot of flack from fellow Christians a few months back because I opposed the view that there are really no atheists. I personally avoid making irrationality charges against people with whom I disagree. There are substantial arguments on both sides of the question of God, and there are plenty of people who are brilliant on both sides of this question. Do people really think that Christians like Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, and Robert Merrihew Adams are stupid, similar to an adult who retains belief in the tooth fairy?
I won't say I don't want people to believe the truth, especially the sorts of truths that matter. So do you, or you wouldn't bother to post. I'm sure you don't like seeing people who caught up in ancient superstitions, and rejoice when the leave the fold. I am nowhere near as "evangelistic" about my faith as some people are about getting out of Christianity.
So let's hear no more of this nonsense that atheists aren't interested in converting others.
Addendum 3/27/09. There's something incoherent (Ilion would use a different word), about saying on the one hand thar your belief is just as dumb as believing in the Tooth Fairy, but I really don't care whether you give up the belief or not.