Based on a lot of deep theological (yet painfully respectful) conversations we've been having, my mother has agreed to read one of my counter-apologetics (minus the swear words) and let me know what she thinks of both what the Christian said and my objections. This is a pretty big deal, since I only told her I was an atheist maybe six or eight months ago, and at the time we agreed to not talk about god or religion at all (which proved impossible, as we're both working through the spiritual abuse done to us by her mother, and in many respects there's no one better to talk to).
In a conversation we had yesterday, I got her to agree that even if a god exists, it matters whether or not that god is good. It started from talking about Elisha and the she-bears. I said, "Does God say things because they're good, or are the good because he said so, and he just called everything he didn't like sin? If good and evil exist outside of God, and He's just conveying the message to us - not denying that that's important - than it is at least possible to know right from wrong without God. And if He the arbiter of right and wrong, than how can we judge God's actions to see if He is moral or immoral? Because otherwise, it's just might makes right, and I don't want to worship that god."
She agreed that this was of vital importance. But when presented with things that make no sense (problem of pain, et al) she said that the best explanation she'd heard for how to deal with this problem was from George MacDonald (one of my favorite writers as a Christian child - a Scottish priest and father who wrote loving and beautiful fairy tales and fantasy stories.) He said essentially that God is loving, and therefore even if things don't make sense, we know they must be out of a loving motive. I was rather pained to hear such a crappy argument from a guy I really like and rather respected. (And after reading those linked quotes, can't respect as a thinker anymore. "Attitudes are more important than facts." Ouch.)
I told my mom, "That's a very nice sentiment, but it's terrible logic. It's starting with a conclusion and trying to make the facts fit." She agreed (because I've spent the last year and a half - starting six months before I told her I was an atheist - teaching her about and getting her excited about critical thinking, logic, and rationality.) Today she agreed, on the basis of having a deep theological discussion, to read one of my counter-apologetics. I've got to pick one, and then copy/paste and tweak it into email format, minus some zombie Jesus jokes and swear words. Hey, I'll change the message for her, because I think she's ripe for some seeds of doubt, and I'm only too happy to oblige. Atheism has been such a positive in my life, and I'm so thankful to the people and videos and websites that were around to tell me about it, and to make me question my faith, that I want to do the same for others.
Which brings me to the happiest news of the day (or month). One of my readers, my fellow female-cult-leader-granddaughter, and friend DominoRed has made the transition from agnostic deist to atheist. :) Welcome to skepticism, disbelief, and rational thought, Red. It's actually a lot of fun (and the guys tend to be smarter and/or better educated - some are even feminists).
To all my readers who send emails and comments, thanks so much. I'm really glad to be able to explore these issues of faith, reality, and how we ought to treat each other with all of you. *bloglove!*