it's a horrible debate topic.
Well the original purpose of the thread was to get people to examine Atheism with the same rigour that they were doing with all the threads on the Christian beliefs at the time. It was only fair. ;)
And what do you mean by "Pagan" by the way? I never really get this... It's a derogatory term for non-Christians really. :/ (but has since been extended to mean any religion that isn't one of the big five) Which specific non-big 5 are you then? I don't mean to be insulting but "pagan" is a bit general.
Yes, because hundreds of years of scientific method, with all of its rigor, peer review, failures, triumphs, cures for disease, remarkable leaps in metallurgy and science which produced these diddly beepy things that we use to post over the intertubes and doesn't answer everything is *exactly the same* as the earth is only 10,000 years old, some guy rose from the dead after using a bag of infinite fish and bread.
That doesn't define Atheists and non Atheists in any way at all. This is the problem we always get back to I think; characterising one group as crazies and one group as sensible, The "straw man" people keep going on about?
The discussion didn't die due to people having talked it out, the trouble was that I don't think many people were ever secure enough in their beliefs to be able to discuss them without defending
them or attacking those of others (religious people and
Atheists). But you CAN
discuss something like Atheism without defending it all the time, Just like you can talk about nuclear power without defending it; there is
enough meat in the subject itself, even though people's natural reaction is to attack it (or defend it).
But I think it comes down to what I said about being secure enough in your beliefs. If you really are
secure in your beliefs and convictions then you shouldn't always feel then need to defend them, you should be able to attack them and examine them for yourself! Like the way they do on the Atheist discussion groups... I tend to feel that the most intractable and vehement people in these kinds of debates are usually the crazy ones (on all sides), the people who're most likely to switch sides in later life and become zealots for the cause. (I've seen it happen so
many times and we can point to many cases in history- -I'm talking about ideologues in general here)