Originally posted here.
I'm trying to imagine a conversation with a person who believes it's really their business to find out exactly what I believe--given that I am willing to comply with the grilling.
Fundy: Where do you go to church?
Me: I haven't been to church in a long time.
Fundy: Are you an atheist then?
Me: Depends what you mean by "atheist."
Fundy: Well, you know what an atheist is--someone who doesn't believe in God!
Me: Someone who doesn't believe in God or someone who says there is no God?
Fundy: But...those are both the same....
Me: Oh no they're not! Which is it?
Fundy: Which do you believe?
Me: I didn't say I believe either. You asked me if I am an atheist and I asked you what you mean by atheist. You haven't told me yet so I can't answer your question.
Fundy: Let's drop that question and start over. You told me you don't go to church. What do you believe if you don't go to church?
Me: I believe that our society operates on a seven-day week schedule because the Bible says God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day.
Fundy: So you do believe that God created the world and that it didn't just happen by chance?
Me: I never said anything of the sort.
Fundy: But...well....okay, what did you say? Can you repeat what you just said?
Me: Sure. I said: I believe our society operates on a seven-day week schedule because the Bible says God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day.
Fundy: And if the Bible says so then it has to be true, right? Or don't you believe the Bible?
Me: I believe the parts that are true.
Fundy: Which are???
Me: The last part of Genesis 1:5 and the last part of Gen. 1:8 are true in some contexts, and some other similar verses. According to the New Revised Standard Version, Genesis 1:8 says And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
Fundy: I don't understand. Why do you say it is true in some contexts?
Me: Because every Monday we have a second day of the week. Every month we have a second day of the month. You get the picture.
Fundy: But this meant the second day of the earth's existence! You can't change the rules to suit your tastes half-way through the game!
Me: At the beginning of this part of our conversation I indicated that I was going to talk about parts of the Bible that are true today. I did not indicate that they were true in the past. You agreed to the premise. Thus you have to accept the premise now. You can't change the rules half-way through the game when you see that they don't work the way you want them to.
Fundy: Well, if that is the way you use the Bible, then it means nothing. Do you believe in any part of the Bible that means anything?
Me: (Trying to stifle a chuckle) Probably I don't believe in any part of the Bible that means anything to you.
Fundy: (accusingly) You say that as though the things that I find important in the Bible are meaningless.
Me: Are you saying that to yourself perhaps?
Fundy: No! I'm saying it to you!
Me: Oh. Okay. Well, it seems as though the parts that are meaningful to me are meaningless to you. And the parts that are meaningless to me are meaningful to you. Is that about the size of it?
Fundy: You are intentionally twisting things. NONE of the Bible is meaningless to me...
Me: You just told me that the parts I liked didn't count.
Fundy: You know what I mean. Don't be so difficult.
Me: I do not believe that God created the universe. I do not believe that Jesus died for my sins. I do not believe that there will be a judgment or a resurrection of the dead. I do not think that we go to heaven or hell when we die. Now I have to go. Have a good day.
I walk away. The fundy desperately tries to keep me but sees I'm gone.
I cannot think of anyone outside my family who would talk to me like this. And they have forfeited the right.