Letter to Josh’s Grandma or a Letter to Everyone’s Grandma, Parents, Friends and Family?

Because I think this is incredibly important, this post is going to be a pretty close rip-off of Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta who posted about a guy named Josh. Josh’s grandmother — out of love and compassion — sent him a letter explaining her Christian views on the world and a request for him to turn away from his atheism. Her letter can be read here, here and here.

Josh responded in a 30-page letter explaining his views.

I find Josh’s letter a compelling resource as it’s well researched and cited extensively. Citations don’t make it “right” or “correct”. It makes for good academia.

I’ve been having an on-going conversation with another liberal minded person that I know who lives in North Carolina. He encourages me about the tactics of discussion, debate and argument. Yesterday, he said (emphasis mine),”Everyone when they argue a political or religious point makes all other standpoints inferior and illogical.  The trick is to understand where they are coming from and what they are saying so that you can incorporate this information into your own thought process and improve yourself. If only more people did this it would be a much better, more understanding world.”

While I wouldn’t say this is the first time I’ve heard this advice or haven’t thought of it myself, it’s a great reminder. The trick is understanding the other person. I know too many people who refuse to understand the opposition, which causes discussion to end in screaming and gnashing of teeth. NOOOOO.

I know many people who don’t attempt to listen. Surely, I’m guilty of it too. One reason Christians don’t listen is because the Christian is deeply intent on convincing people of hell and the repercussions of NOT believing. One of the largest issues with this approach is, atheists and (dare I say most) agnostics don’t believe in hell, so it’s a moot argument point and completely superfluous to dialogue.

The best discussion points are provable visual points. I guess personal experience is valid, but it’s usually yawned at by so many.

So the best advice is to ignore the elephant in the room and finish your dessert, right?