This afternoon I was re-reading a dialogue I had with an atheist friend of mine from a few years ago (in October 2008), and I have decided to extract part of it for a post. The dialogue itself was something which I think I would have been much better prepared for today than I was back then, due to various factors (not the least of which being that I read a lot more philosophy in the form of good books, posts, and comments by people such as Edward Feser and Mike Flynn , that would have been greatly helpful to me if I had known about them then.) As I made sure to emphasize at the time to my friend, I wasn't exactly prepared for a dialogue on atheism at that point. (I still don't have really any experience in such dialogues, for that matter, and hence cannot state I am exactly prepared now).
Yet the reason I am making this post is because there are some areas in which I was able to formulate my thoughts even then on some things that are of a more general nature than the specific topic of atheism itself. The following is one such example. While the immediate circumstances for the words that follow, as can be clearly seen, were from a criticism of religion he made from an atheistic perspective, in it I explain my own views in such a way that it would also address some criticisms that are also made by non-Catholic Christians against a Catholic perspective of how it is legitimate to take the various good aspects of non-Christian cultures, and bring them into a Christian context, as Aquinas did with Aristotle (while, of course, rejecting any error that is associated with them.) Again, since I was addressing them to an atheist friend, the way I explained it is not the same approach I would take to a non-Catholic Christian, but since some of the areas of criticism between an atheist and such a non-Catholic Christian would overlap, I have included it below:
Anyway, here is the extract, which I have not touched at all (except for replacing my friend's name with dashes in two spots).