I had lightbulb realization this morning. When talking with believers about my questions and doubts, I have a very specific list of things I want and don’t want in the conversation.
- I do not want you to try to save my soul. I do not want you to try and convince me of your viewpoint. Please stop. It sounds desperate, and irritating.
- I do want to hear why you believe what you believe. I am interested. I would not have asked otherwise.
- I want to know specifics about why you think what you think, and how you came to draw these conclusions. Give me something tangible, measurable, concrete.
- I do not want to hear catchphrases and churchy platitudes. They are not well thought out. They are not real. They are not your words. Use your words.
- I want you to listen when it’s my turn to talk. I don’t want to debate you. I am not Christopher Hitchens. I want to have a nice conversation where we share our ideas and remain friendly and courteous.
- I do not want to convince you that you are wrong. Really. I don’t.
- I do want you to acknowledge the times when faith does not make sense. I want you to honestly examine your faith and see the holes in it that I see. That doesn’t have to change your opinion, maybe you are still capable of faith at that point. But I am not. Can you just acknowledge that faith isn’t easy to have, it isn’t reasonable, and not believing is not a flaw in me?
That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable list.