My Non-Debate with a Christian Pastor (Reloaded) April 7, 2009

My Non-Debate with a Christian Pastor (Reloaded)

I posted before about my non-debate with a Christian pastor. (Jay Gamelin and I took questions from the audience — via moderators — and talked about faith and atheism and politics and stereotypes and all things entertaining.)

A longer video of the event is now available. It’s broken up into two parts but you can see the entire thing below:

(Thanks to Ashley for the videos!)

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  • Ryan

    That earthcomesalive guy really has proof by verbosity down pat.

  • Jonsi

    Is that the biggest popped collar ever in the lower right? Or is it just a poofy coat type collar? Other than that, I enjoyed it.

  • Hemant, I think you’re doing a very valuable service by helping Christians see a friendly atheist face, and for that I am very grateful. It seems odd though that in order to do this you’re actually helping them reach the unchurched, something that as an atheist you cannot want.

    This is a kind of a catch 22, but if churches become more atheist “friendly” due to your efforts it will be worth it. Glad you don’t take the party line but that you cross lines to help us all see each other as people and not as ideas to refute.

  • Ramon Caballero

    That multiply site is just trying to get you to register.
    I replied to that brain stuff:
    Ok, believe it or not I read it completely, although you repeat yourself like 20 times :S
    You make a lot of assertions and jump off conclusions so easily, I can “imagine” stuff but I would not say this is “impossible” just because I don’t fully understand it (yet).
    First, “Little Voice in my head”, what are you talking about?, really, you said: Try to read this words without hearing your little voice….when I learn to read I spoke at loud, when I learn some more I learned to read in silence, that voice you mention is ME, READING. I even hear myself while writing…it is in my brain.
    Now you said try to remember something, what did you do?, Nothing!, no, it is not nothing I was trying to remember, do you know what you do to move your hand? you do nothing…you move your hand, how do you know? because you saw it moving or because you feel it, you sent the command to move and a physical part gets moved, you sent the command to remember and a memory get accessible, it is not magical; if you loose the nerve to your hand you can command all what you want, it will not move, if you get brain damage and loose your memory you can try to remember all what you want and you won’t be able.
    There is no need for another dimension, I mean you can speculate, but I don’t see the need.
    You said a cell cannot store information, but information is the sum of the most indivisible bit, you may say a molecule cannot move a building, or air cannot move it, but a wind, a tornado can, your mind is the sum of all that it resides in your brain.
    Then you said a neuron is digital (0/1, on/off) no man, that is a bit in computing, a gate in transistor is either open or closed, that is our binary system working; a neuron has a lot of states, a lot of gates with other neurons, and just like the sum of bits of storage and the sum of gates in microchips you can program, store, retrieve, interact with your computer.
    We (our brains) are really complex, current technology is dreaming to mimic the most basic brain in nature, ours is years, decades ahead (unless there is a breakthrough in computing)
    And talking about lesser brains, the other animals, they cannot learn?, they don’t have mind? consciousness? The voice inside of them…are those barks? birds singing?.
    The capacity of learning is known as the capacity to connect neurons in our brain, is it really that hard to understand that the brain is one organ with specialized functions depending the area you are looking for, and there are “blank areas” ready to be programmed?
    Anyway, keep thinking, it is good to do so, just try to research more and avoid supernatural explanations, I am ok with other dimensions as long as they are mathematical, just because you cannot measure a thought that doesn’t mean a thought is in a “higher plane”, dimension or supernatural/mystical something.
    My 2 cents.
    -Ramon Caballero

  • My experience with churches trying to outreach to the “unchurched” is that they tailor their sermons so as to be palatable to people who don’t yet believe the whole shebang. But as you become more familiar with the church, they always have it a s a goal to believe the whole shebang. They always think of spirituality as a progression from 1 to 10 where everybody is at a certain point along the way. 10 is completely believing everything in the bible. 1 is a complete atheist. The sermons are presented at around 5 for the benefit of the unchurched. They don’t even recognize different interpretations of spirituality. For them it’s all a progression to what they think is true.

    That being said, I think Hemant is doing a good service just in showing that a normal guy can be an atheist.

    It was a nice conversation… I listened to most of it. Of course it never got to the point where the religious contributors said that Hemant was going to burn in Hell if he didn’t repent and accept Jesus (which is the definition of Christianity) but I’m sure they were thinking it. How could you not if you sincerely believe that?

  • Idrill

    This is in response to Jonsi’s question about the “Popped collar”. That was MY coat thrown over MY shoulders because the lecture room was so blasted cold. (Hmmph, “Popped collar” indeed!)

    On to more appropriate topics – Hemant was terrific. It was exciting to hear atheism presented in such a positive manner. As a lifelong atheist who has to hide my beliefs for job security, I loved just being in the audience.

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