BH: If you turn out to be the best-informed atheist to convert to Christianity that one can find, then your conversion story might be less compelling if you seem subject to confounding levels of anger, guilt and angst. Also, your witness (and that of e.g. Turkel and India) might come off as a little more courageous if you dared (as the Sec Web and I do) to actually link to opposing sites.

AJ: If I am the best informed ex-atheist, my emotions should make no difference. I should be able to present my intellectual reasons for my conversion and atheists should read them and convert by the dozens.

Your emotions of course make no difference to whether your arguments are objectively better than their best counter-arguments. But your emotions make all the difference to someone like me trying to determine whether your comparison of the arguments has been confounded by non-rational factors, and thus are relevant in evaluating whether you know of arguments that should persuade someone who currently is the well-informed atheist that you once were.
AJ: However, my goal is not to convert atheists; my presence on the web is to encourage Christians.
So, despite your talk about truth below, you are more interested in Joe Web Surfer remaining Christian than in him having solid reasons for believing whatever it is he believes. My goal is the opposite: promote truth by elucidation of the best evidence, and have confidence that truth in the long run defeats falsehood.
AJ: I will never link to atheist sites for the same reason my Christian bookstore doesn't carry Hustler magazine. If one wants Hustler magazine, one knows where they can find it.
Your analogy is ridiculously specious, and merely confirms your inadequate commitment to light and truth. If you were confident that Christianity's case was stronger than atheism's, you would loudly refer Christians toward the latter, in order to strengthen their belief. By contrast, we on the Secular Web do not fear light and truth, and are eager for people to compare what we write with Christianity's best arguments.
AJ: Most of my friends are either church goers who don't believe in the reality of God but who believe that the concept promotes morality, or atheists who are apathetic in their non-belief. I do have two friends who are a little more vocal in their disbelief. One is a lady, whom I love very dearly, and she has been a life long friend and a good example. The other is a man who is very articulate concerning his atheism, but who leaves much to be desired concerning his character.
To clarify: have you interacted with a nontheist who was (nearly) as well-informed and intelligent an atheist as you were but who nevertheless seems to have a good character and a solid sense of hope and meaning in life?  Would the example of such a nontheist have been able to lower the probability of your conversion to Christianity?
AJ: The only time I have met a humanist ‘in real life’ who hated Christians was when I met my husband. It was our mutual hatred and criticism of the church that allowed us to fall in love and get married.
I hope your mutual happiness survived your conversion to Christianity, since it apparently didn't so survive for Mr. Jordan.
AJ: I don't dispute the fact that most non-theists believe their life has meaning.
Which is more likely to serve better: a meaning rigidly dictated by a confusing and contradictory set of millenia-old texts, or a meaning self-chosen through an ongoing evaluation of one's nature and of mankind's entire accumulated experience with meaningfulness (which includes the aforementioned texts)?
AJ: However, I consider any self-assigned meaning to be worthless.
I do not dispute that theists believe their life has meaning, and I don't even think that self-delusion is always entirely without worth, since for some people the only ready alternative is confusion, fear, angst, and hopelessness.
AJ: If God is real, all of our lives, whether we believe in His reality or not, have an inherent, genuine and objective purpose, even if we aren't aware of what that purpose may be.
If our universe were merely a simulation in some meta-reality high school science project, then it would have an equally "inherent, genuine, and objective purpose" -- and we would be foolish to give that purpose unquestioning acceptance in deciding our intentions and values. The Divine Command Theory counterargument still applies: even if the the universe has an intentional designer, then either the designer's goals are arbitrary, or they can be chosen by us without reference to the designer's intentions through the same logic that makes them non-arbitrary.
AJ: If God is not real, then all of our lives have only the superficial, subjective and imaginary purpose that we give to them.
1. A purpose self-chosen through an ongoing evaluation of one's nature and of mankind's entire accumulated experience with meaningfulness is not "superficial", but rather is as non-superficial as a purpose can be.
2. As the Divine Command Theory counterargument shows, adding God to the equation cannot create objectivity. If God's purpose was chosen objectively, then his reasoning is independent (i.e. objective) of his intentions. If his purpose is mere whim, then it is by definition subjective.
3. Which is more likely to yield results that can be criticized as "imaginary": an ongoing self-critical public evaluation of human nature and humanity's experience with purpose, or obeisance to a fixed set of texts that have the prima facie form of myth and fantasy?
BH: I can think of at least one debate in which I conceded that I was wrong about the question under discussion.

AJ: At least one? Heehee, well I’m glad to see that you are not wrong very often.

I'm sometimes wrong -- just not in ways that affect the overall truth of the theses I debate. The last time I was even close to wrong was last summer when I implied that Judaism was always as non-proselytizing at it is now. Have you been wrong more recently than a few days ago, when you said I called your conversion "purely emotional"? :-)
AJ: I've never lost a debate, although I’m sure that almost every opponent I've engaged thinks that I have.
Doesn't that divergence of opinion bother you just a little?  How do you explain your opponents' opinions, and how can you be sure that they've been wrong every time?

By "lost" do you mean anything other than "conceded"?  In roughly what fraction of the time do you end up making unanswered comments versus letting comments go unanswered (for whatever reason)?

AJ: I rarely saved any of my written debates, but when my computer crashed many years ago, I lost the ones that were on the hard drive. I do have several college papers, but I only have hard copies and it would take some digging to locate them.
Without any documentation whatsoever of your eight years of atheist debating, it's hard to corroborate your history as a well-informed atheist. A search at yields no corroboration; did you never debate on Usenet?
BH: Only if by "real whipping" you include Christians (such as yourself?) rationalizing their inability to answer what I write by dismissing me as "arrogant".

AJ: You are arrogant, but frankly, I see arrogance as an attribute. Also, whatever I dismiss isn’t due to my inability to answer but my lack of desire to quibble over that which is irrelevant.

Sigh. Yet another Christian unwilling -- and presumably unable -- to substantiate her (frustrated?) charge of "arrogance". One more try, in the (unanswered) words I sent to the last such Christian:
BH: Here's a possibility that I wonder whether you're non-arrogant enough to ponder for even a moment. If by some chance I were actually right and you were in fact wrong, would you really instantly recognize a more-valid worldview when you finally saw it well defended?  Or is it just possible that this trauma would cause you to mistake open-minded confidence in that more-valid worldview for arrogance?
In other words, if there is any chance at all that you're wrong, then what would a person who is right sound like, if not like me? :-)
BH: My respect for your self-professed history of atheist inquiry has only been somewhat damaged by your recent emails to me

AJ: I’m surprised. When I read material, I rarely take into consideration the personality of its author. If what is written cannot stand on its own, then it should fall. Don't get the impression that I am this wonderful Christian skipping through life throwing out rose petals every day. (I take Thursdays off)

Recall that I am reading your material for the specific purpose of determining whether the conversion of a well-informed atheist (like me?) was due more to psychological factors than to arguments that I haven't heard or appreciated.
AJ: If sarcasm bothers you, I will try to keep it to a minimum.
I enjoy intelligent sarcasm. Sophomoric sarcasm doesn't "bother" me; it just signals me that the conversation is wasting my time.
AJ: Concerning the ‘liar’ insinuation, I was being petty for the sake of humor. I shall refrain from this type of thing in the future.
Thank you.
BH: I suspect your moral intuitions are better too, since you sometimes seem to admit your god's prima facie immorality.

AJ: I see nothing immoral about the actions of my God.

Of course that's what you'd say now. :-)
AJ: The only statement that I made concerning God's morality was that I initially questioned it, but then had to admit that it was right.
Your essay does not describe you simply re-evaluating the evidence and arguments:
AJ: What was I doing when I condemned this god for commanding Moses to kill? Was I arrogantly making my morality superior to that of the being who allegedly authored all of morality? [..] More than humbled, I was broken. [..] The truth wasn't about [events in the Bible]. It was the truth about [..] the perfect love of God! [..] I was made aware of my despicable nature [..] I was what was wrong with the world. I began praying for forgiveness. [..] The more I emptied myself of myself, the clearer the truth became. It had been my own selfish sin that had kept me from seeing it before. [..] There is a point that one can reach in prayer where there is nothing at all left of oneself, and it is in that moment that God makes Himself known. [..] It wasn't that the information available to me had changed, but that my perception had changed and as a result, I was changed. I was dead, but Christ woke me up! He saved me from my selfish self [..]
Instead, it describes you making a prima facie moral judgment, and then having a wrenching experience that led you to discount (as opposed to disprove) your prior judgment.
BH: Just like Turkel, you dismiss a judgment as "subjective" apparently just because you have no argument against it. I can easily defend each of my assertions as a reasonable inference from the text of your essay.  You seem to recognize this, as you again do not substantively dispute a single one of them.

AJ: We are on to bigger and better things.

If you say so. :-)
BH: You are quite excused, since it saves me the time of rebutting your accusations, and increases my confidence that your accusations are insubstantive.

AJ: I made my point concerning the previous issues, and you are welcome to defend yourself.

Against what?  I already pointed out that your accusations are unsubstantiated, and each of my assertions stands unrebutted.
AJ: I choose not to go back, find the original arguments and hash them out just for the futile sake of proving myself right. It appeared to me that your initial arguments attempted to paint my conversion as emotional. If that was not your intent, fine.
As I explicitly stated from the beginning, it was indeed my intent to determine to what extent your conversion was confounded by emotional and other non-rational factors. I never tried to paint your conversion as "purely" emotional, and you now finally seem to concede this by omitting that qualifier.
AJ: You have never lost a debate with a Christian concerning Christianity and I doubt that you will lose this one with me. [..]  I never insist on having the last word, especially with someone who is rarely wrong.
I don't insist on having the last word, but in my pursuit of truth I try to respond (by rebuttal or concession) to any substantive criticism of anything I assert as true. I don't think either of us will concede "losing" this discussion -- it's not quite yet a "debate" -- but I indeed doubt that you will be able to demonstrate that anything I write is false.
AJ: I still consider you to be one who is not honest with himself. This is my opinion. You are welcome to disagree with my opinion, nevertheless, I shall keep my opinion.
Are you saying I'm dishonest or self-deceiving?  And about what, precisely?
AJ: When it comes to points of theology, I will never dismiss an argument in the manner that I have dismissed the aforementioned; one type of argument is pertinent to our subject, the other is not. We have both demonstrated to the other our ability to argue. Let the games begin.
I agree that are respective abilities are on display, but I should point out before any games begin that I'm more interested in what theology you knew (e.g. Divine Command Theory) as an atheist than in what theology you defend now as a Christian. So I may try to steer our discussion away from arguments between us now and toward the arguments that you were aware of as you converted. One exception might be not theology but rather epistemology: your arguments from paradox and jabberwocky seem somewhat original and though weak are nevertheless worth the exercise of rebutting.
AJ: Miracles usually describe actions that leave behind no objective evidence.

BH: That's a convenient habit that miracles have.  :-)

AJ: Just as convenient as describing the Big Bang as a singularity.

BH: Your analogy fails. No serious scientist says that any truth about the Big Bang is based on something which "left behind no objective evidence".  And I think few nontheist philosophers would agree that anything -- gods, big bangs, singularities -- can be a self-explaining fact.

AJ: A ‘singularity’, when applied to the Big Bang, does not indicate that the theory is ‘based on something which left behind no objective evidence’.

Thus you concede that the aspect of miracles that I called "convenient" does not even apply to your proposed analogy of the Big Bang.
AJ: A singularity is a one time event that has no explanation. In that respect, the Big Bang is just as convenient as a miracle. The theist may say, “Jesus had the water and viola, a miracle happened and it turned into wine.” The physicist may say, “There was a field of positive and negative energy, and viola, a singularity occurred and the Big Bang gave birth to our universe”.
That naturalism posits some brute (i.e. unexplained) facts about the world (e.g. the laws of physics, or the initial conditions of the universe) does not make it epistemologically equivalent to supernaturalism. As I say in my book, supernaturalism is the thesis that the fundamental laws of physics make irreducible reference to, or were created by, some agency's volition. Saying that something is unexplained is simply not "just as convenient" as saying that something was willed by omnipotent intentionality. Your analogy still fails spectacularly.
AJ: The Bible describes the personality of Jesus. I think that His personality is perfect in that it reflects the nature of one who would judge Him.
More amusing Christian double-think: Jesus' nature is not objective and so any flaws perceptible in it are the fault not of Jesus but of the perceiver.
AJ: Personalities are rarely all nice or all bad. I don't place much value on ‘nice’. The character of Christ purportedly died for all men, knowing that all men were sinful. In other words, He died for us knowing our faults. How are you going to weigh his personality ‘faults’,
I weigh his potential faults just like I weigh anything: by evaluating the available evidence, and the best arguments about it, against the standard of truth: logical and parsimonious consistency with evidence and with other truth. (Are you trying to imply that only a faultless personality can evaluate personality faults?)
AJ: which, by the way, not everyone sees as such?
Enough people see them as such. Even the harshest critic of Christianity does not see Jesus as greedy or intemperate, but a prima facie case can be made that Jesus was less than perfectly wise or fair or courageous or kind (as defined here).
AJ: I find it interesting that Jesus takes upon Himself the burden of the cross for men who would condemn Him for calling them ‘dogs’.
You only find it interesting because you believe the Christian doctrine that Jesus' crucifixion was "for" such men. I, meanwhile, find it interesting that you think Jesus/El/Yahweh would endow men with reason and innate morality and then let those two be sufficient -- even in the absence of sinfulness -- to reject Him and thus earn eternal net punishment or inflicted suffering.
BH: So if the gospels had elsewhere quoted Jesus as also comparing gentiles to stubborn asses, that would have been an imperfection?

AJ: That all depends on the truth of the matter of whether or not Gentiles were indeed stubborn asses.

You can decide whether gentiles were "dogs", but you can't decide whether they were stubborn asses?  Or did you just decide the former on the basis of what the Bible says?  (Can you say "circular reasoning"? :-)
AJ: I never confuse ‘niceness’ with ‘truth’. In fact, ‘niceness’ is often used to conceal truth. I would rather that my God be truthful than nice.
You'll have to pardon me for questioning whether your highest value is Truth, because you
I already did: I believe that if the gospels lacked the "dogs" remark, you would still say Jesus' words are "perfect". Your argument from the perfection of Jesus' words is just not defensible, and I don't think you'd stand by its logical implications.
AJ: I consider both His words and those words attributed to Him throughout the NT as the establishment of His perfect Personality.  I consider the entire bible to be optimal and ‘unimprovable’ in the truth that it intends to reveal.
This by contrast is a far more defensible position, if only because it leaves you free to reinterpret that "truth". For example, consider your statement that "it was the truth about each of us, imperfect in our love for one another, needing to be made complete by the perfect love of God!". Lose the hyperventilating exclamation point, and you have a sentence that is arguably more beautiful than any sentence in the Bible. It also happens to say something that I don't think the Bible actually says, but you can always claim that the Bible "intended" to say it.
AJ: I don't consider this to be synonymous with ‘inerrant’. As I have stated before, the truth of the Bible isn’t about animal husbandry aboard a self-contained vessel.
You're wise not to follow Turkel down the losing path of inerrantism -- but I don't think Jabberwockism fares any better. :-)
BH: Could his "words" not have been better [by omitting that he] punishes finite sin with eternal hellfire?

AJ: Also, if there is a hell, then He wouldn't be very loving if He didn't warn us of it..

BH: The issue is whether a benevolent god would in the first place allow anyone to suffer an eternity of torment by hellfire. Your question-begging here marks you as yet another Christian who is apparently uncomfortable defending the justness of hell.

AJ: I am not begging the question in the above statement.

I obviously was asking why hell exists, not why Jesus informs us about hell. You assumed hell's existence, and thus begged the question of hell's justness.
AJ: The ‘If there is a hell’ portion in the above statement is what is known as a condition precedent and the segment ‘then He wouldn't be very loving if He didn't warn us of it’ is the antecedent. It is a simple ‘if, then’ statement and in no way reflects my view as to whether or not hell exists. The condition precedent does not establish any doubt as to whether or not Hell does indeed exists; it establishes the condition by which the antecedent would be truthful. I’m sure that your mistake was due to casual reading
As a professional computer programmer, I'm paid to know what "if..then" means, thanks. :-)  The only "casual reading" here was you not understanding that I was asking why hell exists instead of why Jesus informs us about hell.  If instead that was your most perspicacious reading of what I wrote, then there's not much point to further discussion.
AJ: and familiarity with standard Christian responses.
LOL, as you surely are familiar with the standard atheist belief in the unjustness of hell.
AJ: I believe that hell does exist, but reconciling the paradoxes that describe it, I don't agree with your description of ‘torment by hellfire’.
Your disagreement is with Jesus, because "eternal fire" are his words, not mine. Or are you saying that "eternal fire" would not constitute "torment"?
AJ: Hell is described both as a place of darkness and a flaming lake. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of fire.
And non-supernatural fire cannot be eternal.  Are you forgetting that your Yahweh is omnipotent? If Yahweh can make fire eternal, he can also make people in eternal fire perceive only darkness.
AJ: Therefore, we must accept both definitions as metaphor if the Bible is to remain true.
(Actually, even if you were right about the inconsistency of darkness and fire, you'd only need to take one description as metaphor.) It's interesting that, once again, your commitment to the Bible seems to be greater than your commitment to Truth. How different would the text of the Bible have had to be for it not to have converted you?  Are you intellectually honest and open-minded enough to even seriously explore this question?
AJ: However, we can safely assume that hell is not a good place to be. From the experience of being born again, I conclude that hell is a prison of self torment from which there is no escape. It is a prison of one's own making and therefore in proportion to the hellishness that is already present.
Thus, just as I told India when I debated her into the same corner:
BH: You do not defend the justness of the traditional notion of Hell as an irrevocable unending period of net punishment or inflicted suffering for even repentant persons. Thus you you consider indefensible one of the central ethical doctrines of traditional Christianity.  Welcome to the club!
Interestingly, she later changed her mind about the justness of irrevocability, and her hell article now simply ignores the obvious flaws I demonstrated in her analysis of infinity and repentance (here and here).

It's a measure of the incoherence of Christian revelation that Christians wildly disagree about the nature of hell. Of course, you would probably interpret that incoherence as a paradoxical virtue.

AJ: I’m an atheist every other minute and a Christian in between.  The evidence for atheism is right in front of me, but it is the same evidence for Christianity. [..]

BH: Why is it rational to say perfect epistemological ambivalence can exist on a matter of such objective fact as whether certain events occurred in Palestine 2000 years ago? On what other phenomena could both an assertion and its negation ever simultaneously or alternately be well-justified?  Why shouldn't you just be an agnostic until you can further investigate this epistemological strangeness that you're experiencing?

AJ: Perhaps I could answer them better if you state them more simply.

By "perfect epistemological ambivalence" and "simultaneously or alternately be well-justified" I mean that you seem to claim that a very convincing case can be made both for the truth and falsity of a proposition.
BH: On what other phenomena could both an assertion and its negation ever simultaneously or alternately be well-justified?  Why shouldn't you just be an agnostic until you can further investigate this epistemological strangeness that you're experiencing?

AJ: If God is an illusion, aspects of life that we consider to be real are actually illusory.

"We" who? God is not an "illusion", God is a misunderstanding.
AJ: If God is a reality, aspects of life that we consider to be real are indeed real. Therefore, in order to not deny that which I know or feel to be real, I must accept God as being equally real.
I seriously doubt there are any aspects or feelings in your life that can only be explained by asserting the existence of god(s) -- and I doubt even more you have any private revelation or justifiable awareness that Christianity is true.
AJ: This is what I meant to convey with the old woman/young lady illusion. This is what I will be addressing on ex-atheist in its formality. I don't wish to go into this argument until I have made the strongest case for it.
I too am interested in limiting the scope of our discussion. Despite what you see above, my goal here is not to debate atheism vs. Christianity, but to discuss/debate that debate itself.  Thus I'm more interested in discussing
I'm less interested in discussing
and for these I have no problem with us just noting our disagreement.