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Friday, September 26, 2008

Smarmy Colson well refuted in comments

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In this post at morganton.com, an "advertisement" touting The Faith by Charles Colson (one of the Watergate Seven), it says:

In his recent release, "The Faith," Charles Colson tells of an interesting encounter while attending a dinner the night before a governor's prayer breakfast.

"The gentleman seated next to me greeted me with a blunt warning that he was an atheist. I looked at him for a moment — graying temples, a wise expression, handsomely attired — the very image of a community leader. I told him I was glad to sit next to him because 'I've never really met an atheist.'

As his eyebrows arched, I explained, 'An atheist believes the existence of God can be disproved. So please, tell me how you've done that.'

A poster named pagoo posted a very well written reply (see the article itself and scroll down to the post by pagoo to read the whole post):

Seven months was not enough time for Mr. Colson to have spent in a cell. As Nixon's hatchet man he used to tell lies for a living. Not much has changed since he went religious. His story above, as so many of the stories he likes to tell, is so palpably untrue it is a wonder anyone treats him with any respect at all.

I've seen this type of story many times on atheist message boards and forums. Some theist claims to have met some mysterious atheist who "self identifies" as an atheist, and is then promptly put in their philosophical place by one allegedly sound theist argument.

It does get tiresome. I have yet to hear of an atheist who actually exists spontaneously telling everyone that they're an atheist. Generally, even those atheists who are "out" to everyone in their lives don't go around advertising about it. For one thing, it seems just plain weird. You don't generally see theists introducing themselves "Hi, I'm Bob and I'm a Baptist". If you do, they're generally more than a little nutty and looking for a good argument. The second thing is, any atheist willing to "self identify" like that would be more than prepared to argue their position, and I seriously doubt that an atheist would ever say that they hadn't really thought about their philosophical position.