REPLY #75 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
First off, I should say that I subscribe to none of Man's organized religions, nor do I believe in any of the Gods that Man has invented for himself. Therefore, I feel that I'm able to look at the subject of religion from an unbiased and objective point-of-view.
(R) This is a recursively incorrect statement. By the very fact of saying you do not believe in God, you are not unbiased nor objective. You have already made up your mind on the subject.
(MB) No, I haven't. I am always willing to change any or all of my views if the evidence demands that I do so. Since I base my views solely upon the available facts and evidence and not upon what I might want to be true, there are no presuppositions interfering with my opinions. Therefore, I can evaluate religions and their claims (as well as any other topics) entirely on their merits (or lack of them). The fact that this evaluation has resulted in my being a non-believer can not then be taken as some sort of retroactive bias on my part.
Religion's main purpose seems to be to give people something upon which to base their opinions when they don't have (or don't care about) the facts. Defending one's opinion with 'God said it. I believe it. That settles it.' is considered a conclusive argument by far too many people.
(R) This is a non-sequitur. The fact that some people (even if that "some" is a majority) say stupid things about their beliefs and their relevance in argumentation does not intrinsically mean that the main purpose of religion is to have one's opinion fed to oneself from an outside source. The two statements are only barely related at even a thematic level. From the logical level they're separate statements with no relationship.
(MB) My purpose here was to relate a common example of the type of argument used by too many religious believers. The Bible itself has many passages which support this type of argument and which support blind faith above all else. Since there has never been a religion which is based on anything other than blind faith, this failing must be a common element in religion. Can you give an example of a religion which does not seek to tell its adherents what their beliefs are supposed to be? If not, it's hard to understand how you can dispute what I said.
Religions are at their best when they provide believers with a set of guidelines under which they can live happy lives in harmony with their fellow Man. They are at their worst when they seek to become the entirety of one's life - or to force themselves upon others.
(R) You will get no arguments from me on this point. I think the rest of your diatribe is redundant, fallacious or just plain incorrect however.
(MB) Without further details about specific objections, it will be difficult to defend anything else. Perhaps, you'll go through some of the numerous additional replies to this essay and find a few specifics that we could debate.