During you’re arguments, you have come mainly to the premise as follows
That people who have utter faith in God due to feelings cannot be construed as unintelligent, since that is their feeling and is not able ot be proved or disproved. You also claim that a person who has this faith would be wrong or unintelligent to use this faith as a belief and try to justify a similar belief to others.
I ask you this: if I, and I believe myself a rational person, feel overwhelmingly that God exists; how can I morally ignore people who sin will go to hell if they are not Enlightened? Your reader claims unintelligence lies in not recognizing the source of your beliefs. I fully recognize that God has implanted in me feelings of His Glory, and I also understand that He has chosen not to do this in others. As a rational person, I ask myself why would He do this? The only answer I can get is that He has set out this as a challenge for me. Intellectually, if I believe that you will go to Hell for not recognizing the Truth, how can I allow you to succumb to your fate without trying to convert you?
I put it to you that those people – even those misguided persons that swear and insult, who try to convert you because of their faith do so only to redeem your soul, they do you out of love for you and their Lord.
You also say that most religious people place their belief in God on emotion, not scientific reasons. Even though I myself am one of the former, I want to know whhy you find it so hard to believe that we could believe n the Bible. You say yourself it is a historical text, and most historians agree that Jesus existed and spread the word of God. They have even found evidence of a flood of Noah’s proportions!
If I choose to believe this evidence over speculation and elaboration that supports evolution, or scientific mumbo jumbo about carbon dating which was propagated by a bunch of non-believers itself, than how am I unintelligent?
You misstate my position slightly. I don’t say that someone who has faith based on feelings is not unintelligent, but rather that such faith is not in-and-of-itself evidence of unintelligence. However, I don’t think that this misstatement make much of a difference in the context of you letter, and you make some very good points.
You are absolutely correct that if you believe certain types of behavior will lead others to hell then you may be morally compelled to try and show them the error of their ways. In fact, I wish more people took their professed beliefs this strongly — I see far too many examples of people who say that they are religious breaking significant commandments, seemingly without batting an eye. As a concept, I have no problem with attempts to convert others to a certain belief system for their own good (in a sense, that’s what this Web site is, so I can’t very well argue against such actions). However, I do believe that we can condemn certain methods of attempted conversion (physical force, harassment, discrimination, force of law, etc.)
I have met many people who really, honestly want me to be religious for my own good. On the other hand, I am going to need quite a bit of convincing before I accept that those who curse at me, spit at me, or try and have me silenced are motivated by anything but their own needs.
I don’t find it hard to accept that many people believe in the Bible. There are, however, degrees of Bible belief. For example, I can accept that someone might believe that the Bible is truth and science is not an effective means of obtaining knowledge. I start to worry about consistency, though, when you speak about evidence of Noah’s flood (which is, so far as I have read, incredibly shaky) but seem very skeptical about evolution (for which evidence is monumental — and which was popularized by Darwin, a Christian).
If you have looked into the subject of science versus Biblical literalism as I have, then I applaud you for having the intellectual courage to do the research, even if you have come to a different conclusion that I. I find that one of the most valuable exercises is reading texts from all points of view and trying to figure out what I agree with and what I disagree with. I would not call you unintelligent just because we disagree or because you have a different criteria for judging scientific truth than I do. I would, however, be interested in learning more about your beliefs.