Thursday, March 8, 2007

Send In The Lions

Having briefly scuffled with the atheist Rational Response Squad (RRS) for the first time this last week, I felt compelled to explore their web presence and discussion forums. I've spent little chunks of time over the past few days listening to large portions of a podcast exchange between a group of atheists and Ergun Caner, President of Liberty University.

For an admitted Christian progressive, this was greatly amusing at first, albeit in a Roman circus sort of way. It's nice to be in the audience for a change. However, after about 10 minutes of listening and noshing from my bag of fried ocelot spleens, it started to get..well..tedious.

Dr. Caner opened the discussion with an expressed desire to find common ground with his soon-to-be rhetorical assailants, but it soon became evident that there was no potential there at all. Expressing the hope for common ground is one thing, but he had absolutely no shared frames of reference with the RRS folks, nor they with him. Their practiced attacks on his literalism and his monomanaically literalist biblical defenses meant that there were repeated failures on both sides to have any clue as to what the other was talking about.

It was a bit like watching a band of rhesus monkeys shrieking ritual challenges at an interloping orangutan. They each know there's a conflict...but neither has a clue what the other is saying. Other than a few scratches, bruises and toothmarks, both come out the far side of the exchange essentially unchanged.

We've got to be able to do better than that.