If you think I'm trying to referee then you fail to grasp what I'm trying to get at. (I'll withhold the passive aggressive retort reserved for this space.)Yeah, we don't need you to referee, seldarane. We're all adults here. (Well, most of us.)
I'm simply trying to understand of the intentions and motivations of the people I'm engaging on contentious issues. Were I to engage, for example, a Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher on issues of faith I am crystal clear about what their ultimate goal in such discussion are. They are very open about it. Knowing that I can engage them on equal footing because I know I'm not really talking to them, but to the people gathered to watch the spectacle. No, in such a contest neither I nor Dawkins/Maher are going to change one another's minds.
That is all I'm trying to ascertain regarding you and ArchAngel. I've put my cards on the table for you both on a number of occasions and rather than be forthright, well, you specifically decide to take a less useful tack.
ArchAngel asks for a "credible" answer to a question. My question to him is if he can conceive of an answer a person of faith might give him he'd be willing to accept? (Hence my, "Yahweh won't fit into a lab," statement. If that is his criteria for credible than no one but Yahweh can satisfy it.) I do not doubt his intelligence. I have no doubt he's weighed the questions he posing in his own time and has formulated responses to anything he believes a theist might respond with, because he's found such responses lacking in advance. (As evidenced by his casual dismissal of " the standard explanation" I presented his inquiry.)
Then I wonder aloud to him (and you) what is the point of the exercise?
ChickenSoup's observation about being surrounded by yes-men doesn't answer the question, it simply deflects it. Should I surround myself with atheists I would be lying if I did not say my intention was to dissuade and convert should issues such as the ones discussed here come up. That doesn't mean I can't be friendly, affable, and anything else with them, but on matters such as this I have a clear intent and motivation.
So I wonder aloud once more: What is the point of the exercise you and ArchAngel are engaging in? Either you wish to make believers stronger in their faith by assisting them hone their arguments, or you wish to show them that their arguments, and their faith, are folly.
Unless, as I've noted, you're sadists.
You engage in these discussions to an end. They might be fun, invigorating, entertaining or whatever else (as ChickenSoup notes), but these are fundamental issues that define a person's innermost core. You do not engage these topics lightly if you care at all about that. To do so is the height of callousness, and I do not believe anyone here is so careless. It may be entertaining talk, but it's important talk because to persuade someone on these matters it to, quite literally, alter their course in life. ArchAngel the believer that was, and ArchAngel the atheist that is, walked very different roads. From a Christian perspective, one toward salvation, the other to destruction.
Just stop and think about that for half a second. You have the power to lead a person to Yahweh, or lead them away, and become a catalyst for everything that follows. If you do not tremble at that thought, in humility at the greatness of the task you're undertaking, I argue you aren't paying attention and ought not to be allowed around pointy things.
So because I do tremble, and I wish to ensure I'm not expending my energies on those not ready, or not willing, to consider what I have to say, I put my cards on the table openly. I tell you my intent.
Why won't you?
Am I debating with a Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher, people who have no interest in knowing Yahweh but love the debate, or am I engaging someone who is genuinely unclear on issues of faith and is seeking clarification?
I am truly perplexed why asking the question is so scandalous.