Hi, Rabbi Rami,
I was enrolled in your class this semester but had to drop it at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict. After reading your four-part series, I am kicking myself. I hope to see you next semester.
As an atheist, I feel your pain. Interfaith dialogue seems to be dialing down the inter-hate long enough to hate on non-believers.
I just concluded a class at MTSU with Dr. Oliver entitled Atheism and Philosophy. It was a rigorous study of the arguments for God as well as a wealth of essays from free-thinkers, skeptics, humanists, philosophers and scientists. We finished off the semester with Sam Harris's "The Moral Landscape" for a diverse discussion of morality without a god.
The class was comprised of believers and nonbelievers from all stripes. We had wonderful, engaging, open and polite discussions about all-things religious. What was most interesting to me was even after weeks of vigorous study, logically dismantling the arguments for God, I don't think anyone changed their beliefs. One thing I will say, when hard questions are put to believers about their beliefs, the Bible becomes very metaphorical and God moves way out there beyond space, time, and understanding. That being said, I don't think it's possible to "fail" at trying to reason with unreasonable people.
This is just a thought, but maybe your talents and passion to fight hate, bigotry, Anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, subjugation of women, and xenophobia would be better spent with us here on the outside. What joy could come from sitting around and having a discussion with a bunch of people who "know" we're going to burn in hell for eternity.
I'll leave you with a quote from that shining diamond of wisdom, Thomas Jefferson:
“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”