In the polemic which I entitled Don't Play Their Game and posted here last May, I said, addressing some of my fellow atheists who spend a lot of time and energy debating Christian clegypeople and theologians about subjects such as the existence of God:
We [don't] have to follow them into every absurd corner of their work in order to refute them. Indeed, if we do follow them around every turn of their labyrinths, I fear we may actually be aiding them in their work, which is taking a worldview which is simple, simplistic, primitive and crude as can be, and dressing it up and convincing people that it is complex and deep and subtle. Answering their detailed absurdities in detail may be showing too much courtesy to them and not enough respect to ourselves and to anyone else possessed of common sense
And I stand by that, except that I'm beginning to ask myself, "What you mean, 'we,' Kimosabe?" How naive of me was it to hope for solidarity from certain other atheists on this point? It's very often speculated, and not unreasonably, I think, that a significant number of clergy and theologians, and other scholars in related fields, may have completely lost their faith, but behave as if they still have it, purely and simply to protect the justification for their careers. I'm ashamed to say that it took more than 8 months after posting "Don't Play Their Game" before it occurred to me that some professional atheists might completely agree with me -- and with Nietzsche: see Morgenroethe, first book, aphorism 95 -- that Christian theology is too absurd and simplistic to merit any elaborate response, but that they might behave as if they don't agree, because if they did, well, they'd have to find some other sort of gig.
I never was very good at poker.