“........intellectual religious conversation.”
What? Of course you are joking? There is no such thing as an “intellectual religious conversation.” Here are the ways others who are far more intellectual than I am have said it (although I added my own thought about it at the end!):
Jefferson’s response to questions about “his” university cover this issue quite well when he refused to allow a department of theology at the University of Virginia because he did not regard it as an academic subject.
“I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.” Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President
“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Benjamin Franklin
“What have been Christianity’s fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” James Madison, 4th U.S. President
“So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the gospels in praise of intelligence.” Bertrand Russell
“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep-seated need to believe.” Carl Sagan
“Faith is often the boast of the man who is too lazy to investigate.” F.M. Knowles
“I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake .... Religion is all bunk.” Thomas Edison
“Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass; he is actually ill.” H.L. Menchen
“Not one man in ten thousand has the goodness of heart or strength of mind to be an atheist.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“To discuss Christianity with a Christian is to support his/her path of ignorance and stupidity because, by recognizing his/her belief and faith as worthy of discussion is to recognize their existence as things worthy of your time and understanding.” Chris Morton
George is a nice guy and tries very hard to help everyone else on these boards to be nice. As far as I’m concerned I’ve never heard of a worthwhile discussion with a Christian about Christianity. And those discussions we’ve had on this board have always degenerated into typical empty Christian posturing. Ciceronianus says he thinks that Christianity has produced some great thinkers and quotes Aquinas (who encouraged authorities to execute non-Christians and those who refused to become Christians - great thinking!) and Augustine (who had a very bad case of verbal diarrhea but who wrote one thing that is worthwhile - his treatise on truth - which the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church immediately ignored, and have done so ever since). So, Johnny, your title is contradictory, your initial comments are drivel, and your expectations are from misinformation; so stick to your Christian ilk - a group of untruthful, ignorant, uneducated and stupid people.
Of course, Jesus never existed (thus the entire assumption behind Christianity is false).
Here is some reading for you, then you may come back to discuss what you have read if you like (I try to get other members of this board to read, too, but most of them regard reading as an archaic for of self amusement and choose not to do it, too: (The easiest to read are marked with asterisks for your help).
1. *Dan Baker (1992) “Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist,” FFRF, Madison, WI.
2. *Earl Doherty (1999) “The Jesus Puzzle. Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? : Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus,” Canadian Humanist Press, Toronto.
3. *James G. Dwyer (1998) “Religious Schools V. Children’s Rights,” Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.
4. *Sam Harris (2006) “Letter To A Christian Nation,” Afred E. Knopf, New York.
5. Michael Martin (1993) “The Case Against Christianity,” Temple University Press.
6. *Darrel W. Ray (2009) “The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture,” IPC Press, Bonner Springs, Kansas.
7. Jason Berry & Gerald Renner (2004) “Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II,” Simon & Schuster, NY.
8. Bertrand Russell (1957) “Why I Am Not A Christian and other essays on religion and related subjects”, Touchstone Books, London.
9. *Charles Templeton (1996) “Farewell To God: My Reasons For Rejecting the Christian Faith,” McClelland & Stewart, Toronto.
10. Garry Wills, (2000) “Papal Sin: Structure of Deceit,” Doubleday, New York. (I quote this one because Gary Wills is a Catholic and has also written the Biography of Augustine.)