Here are some excerpts from the Cleveland Freethinkers' recent email threads...
JOSH, on a common misinterpretation of atheism:
I think atheism (as most I know define it) is misunderstood. It's not the belief in no god, but rather the lack of a belief in god. There is a big difference. I don't say "there is no god". I say "whether there is god or not, I've seen nothing to make think he has any effect on my life, so I choose to live as if he does not exist". Does that make sense? I'm through and through a skeptic, so I'll always leave open the possibility that I'm wrong, but I don't let it affect the way I live.
RICHARD, on the value of an Atheist speaking his/her mind to a Theist:
It does much to speak words of reality to those that try to live outside of it in their own minds. It takes more work to protect their religious minds than it takes for us to simply live. The majority of religious people do not work very hard to protect their dogma... they become vulnerable to glimpses of reality.
CLOUDBERRY, on the "atheist's burden" (the challenge to "prove" that God doesn't exist):
The thing about the God dilemma is that it seems to be hinging on this: If I say I believe in God, and I don't consider myself stupid enough to believe in something unless it exists, then I believe God exists... and it is an insult to me to say that God doesn't exist. So, if I say God exists, and someone questions that, I begin to revert to the methods of childhood. I get mad, and then I say, "all right- you think I'm so wrong, prove it. I bet you can't."
The trouble is, there is no way I know of to prove that something does not exist- even something simple, like an apple. If I am holding an apple and I say I believe this apple exists, because I can see it and touch it and smell it and eat it, then almost everyone will agree that the apple is real. Very few people will argue the apple does not exist. They might call it by another name, but they will agree there is such a thing as an apple. But, if I have no apple, and no one has ever seen or touched or eaten an apple, and I insist that I have a vision of an apple in my head and I believe it exists, does that mean it is real?
GORDON, in response to the following statement: "Agnosticism leads to truth and investigation without limitations."
Just for clarity, when one arrives at truth, does it have to be taken on faith?
Zinger! More to follow.