Originally posted by Tiberius
3) Often, people can have a resistance to an idea because they dislike what they THINK it is based on, or they fear where they THINK it may lead. Discussing other levels of the worldview may help to alleviate that concern, or at least make it more realistic. For example, I often get strong resistance from people when I debate the rationality of my atheistic position. Not in all cases, but in many I find that the force of their resistance comes, not from the facts actually being discussed, but from the fear they have that my conclusions would lead to meaninglessness and despair. Therefore, it may be helpful for me to share my humanistic beliefs with them, even though we may still disagree as to their foundations. This often shows them that there IS a secular basis for leading an ethical and meaningful life. With those concerns dealt with (at least somewhat), it is then easier to return to the atheistic debate and for both of us to focus on those facts, instead of having an irrelevant aversion or distraction based on other levels of the worldview.
Personally I find solace in existence itsself. I don't need to be reinfornced by a "God" in order to be thankful for my life and the opportunities it presents. For some reason people seem to have trouble with the concept that we just exist and that weather it's through Universal randomness or divine intervetion, life is still life.
When two people disagree, there are only two possibilities: one of them is wrong, or both of them are wrong. Both cannot be right in my view (note, if both merely misunderstand each other, then they may be right but they are both "wrong" in the sense that they are misunderstanding each other). Therefore, debate presents the opportunity for one or both to improve. The true winner in a debate is the loser, because s/he has had the opportunity to learn and adjust their views to what is likely more accurate. My favorite debates are the ones I lose, but that's only valuable to me if I made the other work for their victory.
Not to sound prophetic, but if there is knowledge and understanding gained from a loss, then no one ever truly looses. People don't remember you when you win, but how you handle yourself when you loose.