The first man laughed and said, "So do you blame Santa when he does not bring you gifts on Christmas. Do you shake your fist at the sky and shout, 'Why Santa, why?!'"
"Yeah, yeah....I already said I must've picked up some theistic assumptions from the culture. I could still say that I'm just holding you to your theistic philosophy and challenging you on why evil exists. But you already gave your answer and I already corrected my assumption, so let's not go back over it. As I said, I would not assume that Santa exists any more than I would assume God exists. Besides, it's not my fault that my culture is theistic. I bet if it was Santa-istic I might begin to assume Santa's existence too and blame him for not coming down from the sky with gifts. Hmmm?"
"Actually, there was a saint Nicholas who is historical. You deny his existence?"
"What the...? Sheesh, alright then, I don't believe in God like I don't believe in the Easter Bunny. They're both just a fairytale meant to make people feel good."
"Actually....just kidding, has anyone made a serious claim to be the Easter Bunny? What are the attributes of the Easter Bunny and do they match or support any basic logic or observations? "
"....hold on, hold on. Alright, let's just drop the Bunny. The main thing is that God is invisible and further, there are a lot of myths on the issue, like the Bunny. It's just a story that people make up about invisible things. Then you cannot verify their fairytales. It's all just made up. That's all."
"I wonder if we might need some fairytale in our lives. But alright, so your main point is that God is invisible and stories can be written, created, just made up. There is a lot to be said about all this. I think this bit about the invisible is important. It's important to note that according to the Bible God has typically been invisible."
"I don't believe in the Bible."
"I'm not talking about what you believe."
"Well I.... Oh."
"Another thing to note is that information itself is invisible. In fact, it seems that it is not physical. For instance, you can store information in the physical. Yet it does not matter how you do so, the information can be the same regardless its mode of transport or expression. Thanks to information theory and key insights about this we live in a computer age in which information can be transmitted in numerous physical ways. Yet information itself does not seem to be physical. Would you agree that it seems to be nonphysical?"
"Maybe...but we still have to observe it to really know it exists. That means we would have to see it in the visible, the physical. Yeah, so I still say that is the way you know something exists. And God is supposedly 'invisible,' at least most of the time....how convenient!"
"So if God has a type of nonphysical existence (as indeed God would given that such a Creator would be responsible for the existence of the physical itself) you would wait until you could see their impact on the physical, i.e. the invisible becoming visible?"
"Well, I have to go with what can be observed. And it seems a bit convenient that God is invisible at a time when we can make more observations. Hmmm?"
"I think you may be overestimating some time-frames. If we look at the "fairytale" that you do not believe, God's activity or visibility in Nature has been quite short, with very long stretches of total invisibility. In fact, such spurts of activity have been in dealing with very few people in the over all perspective. For instance, it seems that you have Moses and a few others who see the invisible become visible. They write the text of the whole Old Testament. It's interesting to note that light is the best physical conduit of information. Then there is Jesus and the one who writes most of the text of the New Testament, Paul, also sees the light. These people who see the light seem to write a lot of the text that is supposed to be as testaments to us."
"Well, like I said, I don't believe the Bible. And you say you're not talking about what I blelieve. Okay, fine, so you're looking at the Bible and its claims."
"Yes, it's like when you began to talk about pluralism. That didn't have much to do with anything I was saying. And your lack of belief in the Bible also does not matter when it comes to looking at the text. I mean no offense, but you seem to use your own beliefs to control the conversation."
"Maybe, but you do too. I mean, you're telling me things as if it is so."
"It is so, as far as what is written and the facts about things. I do not need to shift the conversation away to my own personal beliefs about it. But if you are going to shift into your own personal beliefs quite a bit and are going to say what you believe about it, say you believe it to be fairytale and so on, then you ought to know what it is."
"Well, I thought this was about my own personal beliefs."
"I thought it was about whether God exists."
"Yeah, and that's my personal belief."
"There is something holding you back, relativism and subjectivism. Let's try to focus on whether God exists and the facts we've been discussing, rather than your personal beliefs."
"I still feel that relativism may work, even if you say it is contradictory or that I can't and don't live by it. I mean, it sure is easy, that's for sure."
"Relativism is the easy way, that is true. But I'm not focused on your personal beliefs."
"Aren't you supposed to be trying to convince me though?"
"No, the truth can convince you or not. It's not up to me."
"Huh....some other theists I talk to just want to convince me and they care about what I believe. I think you ought to care about what I believe too."
"Well, I....didn't Jesus care what people believed?"
"He cared about the truth first."
"How can you say that? He cared about people first. So he cared about what they believed."
"No, not first....as I recall, he said things like do not cast your pearls before swine, if people do not believe then shake the dust from your feet and leave their town...."
"Alright, alright....so according to you, you do not have to focus on or care about what I believe."
"Yeah, the truth can convince you or you can remain unconvinced. That's not up to me. I leave it up to the truth. Besides, this way you can't keep putting yourself in the way, which is convenient."
"I find that a bit odd. But okay, you say that...."
(Is this worth continuing? It's getting long, longer than I thought.)