December 10, 2006 3:55 am

It comes as a bit of a surprise, although it should not, that some readers cast aspersions on the mental capacity of theists, while lauding the alleged mental superiority of atheists. As if differences in conclusions were caused only by differences in mental capacity, not differences in axioms, reasoning, judgments, experiences, evidence.

It occurs to me that we have at hand the means to perform a survey of almost scientific accuracy, and compare the thinking of a theist and an atheist of the exact came education, background, attitude, and intelligence: namely, myself at two different periods in time.

If we look back to some earlier posts of mine, before my conversion, and compare them with the later, we can see if we detect a sudden drop in mental coherence.

Compare it with this

Now, to me, these look like the same arguments given in almost the same terms. One is written by an absolute atheist, who has no particle of supernaturalism in any part of his philosophy, one is written by a theist gladly submissive to the Will of God, and who has no earnest doubts about the dogma of the Church. If anything, thelater argument seems to be more honed and precise.

While we are looking at the past, here is an account of my intellectual journey toward a more traditional view of life:

It is on this basis that I have little reason to be persuaded by wags who assure me I believe such-and-such only because I am religious. (If I could take seriously the testimony of strangers who claim to know my inmost thoughts, but cannot seem to read a sentence I write and get the meaning I put into it.)

The cause and effect is reversed. Logic and wisdom led me to certain conclusions: looking at the world around me, I saw only one group shared those conclusions: the Church. She and I differed only on the question of supernaturalism. Then I had a supernatural experience. Game, set, match.

(And thank God I was able to throw down my old burden of pride. What a loathsome burden to bear: like the fox hidden in the tunic of the Spartan boy, it just gnaws out your guts while you carry it. I may still sound like an fool when I talk, but a humble fool can be amusing, but a proud fool is insufferable. Particularly when he boasts about how smart he is.)

I am trapped in a logical paradox if I go back to my old ways of belief. If I am insane for believing in what I saw, if I never saw it, then either my wits or my senses are deranged. But my wits or my senses are deranged, on what grounds should I trust my conclusions in other areas, related or unrelated? In other words, if I have lost the capacity for logic, how shall I be secure in the conclusion that atheism is the only logical conclusion?