Don’t You Feel Lonely
Without a Loving Creator-God
to Help You?

Sherri Auer

From: “Sherri Auer”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Sent: July 29, 2003
Subject: Positive Atheism Letters Section

Hello, there!

It’s been a very interesting read this last hour. I am a devoted believer in God, Jesus is my savior and the Holy Spirit dwells in my heart. :) I’m really sorry that you don’t have a loving creator-god. Don’t you feel lonely?

I was wondering if you’ve ever considered that perhaps God is “putting you flat on your back”, so to speak, with your health problems so that you will look up and see Him? That seems to be a pretty frequent way of His to get someone’s attention.

Also, you say He’s never revealed Himself to you. All I have to say is, Have you ever asked Him to? Just try it. Even if you feel foolish talking to an “imaginary person”.   :)

You definitely seem like a very intelligent person. I recommend you read “The Case for Christ”. It is very logical and well-researched. Anyway, I wish you the best in this life — whatever direction it takes. But mostly I hope to see you in Eternity with God. You may not like to hear this, but I will be praying for you.

Blessings,
Sherri

  

From: “Positive Atheism”
To: “Sherri Auer”
Subject: Positive Atheism Letters Section
Date: July 30, 2003

I’m really sorry that you don’t have a loving creator-god. Don’t you feel lonely?

I am actually happy, quite proud, in fact, that I can endure what I do without resorting to an imaginary playmate (or helpmeet, or whatever) such as you describe. I was telling my good friend Andrew just this evening that I would rather be alone than be a liar. He said he is the same way: truth (morality) before comfort. We agreed that not all people are this way, and that many would gladly sacrifice truth for relief from loneliness. I have done this before, and it still ranks among the most destructive mistakes I have ever made. By the way, I have not seen Andrew in person for almost ten years. Ditto for Dirk and Jeanne. James I haven’t seen for more than twenty years. Add two others and you have my core group of friends which, in eight years, has changed once with the addition of Dennis three years ago.*

*Note: Dennis, a Baptist minister, disappeared from my life without explanation shortly after I wrote this response, and has since done me a world of harm — financial and otherwise. As of this posting three-and-one-half years later, Andrew and one other have likewise left. This happens when illness strikes. A third has died, rest his bones. By joining the local atheist group I have met a few new friends and rekindled some old friendships. Take what I’ve previously said about groups with salt. —Cliff

  

So, you feel sorry for me because I am not like you?

Is that not the epitome of bigotry? the superiority complex in full swing? the God Complex? You don’t even know me, and yet you know better than I do how I should live my own life!

Please demonstrate to me that what I say is not so!

I consider you a bigot of the first order. But I do not feel sorry for you. This is because you chose to write this letter to me, fully aware of its condescending tone. (You even apologize for this at one point!) Again, I don’t want you to change. Rather, I would really enjoy it if you wrote letters like this to every atheist who has an Inbox. The sooner we can all see what is really at stake, the more quickly we will get off our duffs and work for a solution to this menacing, subtle, and very destructive problem called antiatheistic bigotry.

I was wondering if you’ve ever considered that perhaps God is “putting you flat on your back”, so to speak, with your health problems so that you will look up and see Him? That seems to be a pretty frequent way of His to get someone’s attention.

What a guy!

Sure glad this imaginary friend of yours cannot possibly exist, that the descriptions I’ve heard of him are physically and logically impossible! I’d surely be hatin’ it if this Universe were actually run by such an ogre as the Jesus Christ described by modern American Evangelicals. If I had a choice (and I don’t), I would prefer the World that has revealed itself to me, a World where by doing certain things, certain results follow, a World where finding one’s own purpose and creating a moral system or process for oneself is infinitely more important than trying to attribute objective reality or philosophical validity to what the opportunists of yore managed in order to intimidate the uneducated masses into obedience.

Also, you say He’s never revealed Himself to you. All I have to say is, Have you ever asked Him to? Just try it. Even if you feel foolish talking to an “imaginary person”. :)

In other words, you want me to lie.

In order to determine whether your claim is true or false, I must first presuppose your proposition to be true! That’s backwards from how it works: the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, which, in this case, is you. You claim the existence of these things called a “Jesus” and a “God” and a “Holy Ghost.” First you must demonstrate to me that such things as you claim do, in fact, exist. Then you must demonstrate to me that these things are indeed what you claim them to be.

If and only if you can do these two things, that is, if you can demonstrate to me that your god-claim is valid, that is, truthful, then (and only then) will I be justified in following your little totem ritual. I cannot perform a ritual to a god unless I know that she or he does, in fact, exist. I cannot conduct such a ritual if I merely think she or he or it exists.

You definitely seem like a very intelligent person. I recommend you read “The Case for Christ”.

Now you call me a liar!

Please go back to our front page and read what it say under “And Think Before You Click!” Read it to the very end, and then follow the instructions on the very last line. We don’t ask you to do anything stupid or try to invoke the supernatural. It’s just an instruction to consult our Guidelines for Submission before submitting material to our magazine. That’s all.

I’m sure that if you were to write a letter to Time or Newsweek, you’d first consult their guidelines. Why don’t Evangelical Christians consult our Guidelines? Are they trying to degrade us? Do they consider us “untrustworthy,” as the Barna Foundation has reported they do, or just plain “unworthy,” as Paul suggested they should?

It is very logical and well-researched.

It was commissioned by megabucks interests for the purpose of keeping the offspring of the church’s “lambs” in the fold, that is, to keep them from investigating the challenges made by atheists, now the fastest growing “religious” group in the United States. The author knew he had a goldmine on his hands before he even started writing the book. I’ll bet the advance was quite substantial. He’s an excellent and very persuasive writer, and he knows this. He also knew that and his subject matter is in big demand.

Since those who would even consider reading such a book already want what it says be true (and sorely want to believe that it’s true), it doesn’t need to be logical, well-researched, or even true. And I promise you that it isn’t any one of these things. Most of what can be called “research” that went in to Strobel’s book is along the lines of which arguments tend to squash doubts versus which ones do not. In fact, throughout his various books you can observe him all but admitting that this is what he had in mind when he wrote the book!

  

The easiest way to appear to refute one’s opponent is to describe that opponent yourself, rather than consulting that opponent’s self-definition. And the most convincing way to do that is to find a member or former member of the opposition who didn’t know much about the opposition’s position, and let him or her do the dirty deed.

Then, having built your opposition out of straw, it is very easy for you to appear to knock down the opponent. However, all you’ve done is to knock down the straw-man of your own creation: your opponents played absolutely no role in the discussion whatsoever because you did all the talking.

This is the technique of McDowell and the technique of Strobel. They don’t need to be very good at what they do. And neither of them are! Just check the criticism of both coming from their own camp (those who read Cornelius Van Til and the like). They don’t need to be very good because they know that their readership is already convinced that the books are right before they’ve even earned the money with which they intend to purchase the books!

Worst of all, their readership will settle for anything that even remotely resembles a legitimate reason to believe that the Christian god-claim is valid and realistic, that it meets the standards set down for today’s scientific and skeptical world. (This is why Cornelius Van Til is so unassailable as a Christian apologist: he doesn’t pretend that what he claims can meet mankind’s standards! Van Til also uses such a big, postgraduate vocabulary that only a handful of individuals can even read his stuff: you need more than just a theological dictionary, that’s for sure!)

In any case and for the most part, the target audience of any of Strobel’s apologetics — er, novels (ahem!) — is already convinced that Strobel is telling the truth long before the cash register even scans the book.

Where is critical thought?

Hey! I asked you a question!

Where is critical thought?

Where is it?

You may not like to hear this, but I will be praying for you.

You have every right to pray for me and I cannot stop you from meddling into my affairs like that, as long as this is done completely within the privacy of your own mind.

And had you kept this matter to yourself’you would have been entirely polite in your handling of this matter.

(In fact, I think it’s kinda funny that I could take up so much “real estate” in your brain!)

However, for you to tell me that you are praying for me is yet another example of Christian condescension at play. You are telling me that you know better how I should lead my life than I do.

Imagine one person thinking she knows better how another ought to live his life — without even knowing the person!

Brrrr! Gives me chills just thinking about it!

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Eight years of service to people
                        with no reason to believe