If It Wasn't For God,
I'd Be Dead, Etc.
Explain That!
Emporia Bullock

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This is the first of two that we received back-to-back. Not wanting to tamper with the text, we will treat them as separate works.


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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Emporia Bullock"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 04, 2002 2:31 AM

I cannot verify that your story is even true! How would I possibly explain it?

My little brother died a horribly painful death at about the age of six, from a disease that he was born with (in the parlance of theism, that only his Creator could have given to him). The State of California took him away from us when he was age two, because they don't want the families to have to watch their children go through this horrible disease and its agonizingly painful death.

Does that prove there is a God, too?

My Grandfather never harmed a soul. He worked hard and everybody loved him and he spent all his spare time helping people. He was an atheist. The very month he retired, he contracted Shingles in the neck and shoulder. The viral warts bored so deep into his neck and shoulders that they attacked the major nerves there. During the attack, it felt as if people were screwing corkscrews into his flesh and then yanking them out -- hundreds of times every few minutes. It was like the "pins and needles" feeling only instead of pins and needles it felt like corkscrews.

When the virus finally went away, the pain was still there. It was like "Phantom Limb Pain" except that it was his neck and shoulders. It was the corkscrews all day long -- for twenty-five years until it finally wore him out and he died. He refused to kill himself because he had a lot to give and even though he could barely move from the pain and even though he could barely think, he still had things he felt he needed to do. He helped hundreds of young people start their own businesses by volunteering for an organization called SCORE, the Service Corps Of Retired Executives. He also had a lot of wisdom that he got from his father, a Unitarian who was also atheistic in that he preached Spinoza's god, which means that when he says "God" what he is saying is "Nature." This is the same way Albert Einstein believed, and it was the same way Stephan Hawking believes, according to a letter he wrote to a "Positive Atheism" correspondent. (We will post this letter after we have published it in the Print Edition.)

Does my Grandfather's pain prove there is a God?

I went to a miracle faith healer and the man was making people's legs grow longer, ostensibly to alleviate back pain. He also was fixing teeth, not simply filling them but fixing them. Or so he said. I didn't know much about charlatans and hucksters back then so I asked him to heal my Grandfather of his pain, and the man said "Okay" and we prayed together. This was about halfway between when he caught the condition and when he died from its pain having worn him down.

The same way I explain Mormons speaking in tongues, Roman Catholics speaking in tongues, Muslims speaking in tongues, Witches speaking in tongues, Satanists speaking in tongues, and atheists speaking in tongues:

The people teach themselves to do it. They start out with a dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit dit-dit-dit. Then, after practicing that for a while it starts to grow easier for them, and the sounds branch out to become more complex: dit-dit-dit, dit-dit-dit-dit, dit-dit, dah, dit-dah-dit-dah-dit. Then they practice and practice and are under a great deal of pressure because everybody is watching and if they speak in tongues, they are accepted, but if they don't they are shunned, so they'd better learn how to do it, and even if it doesn't feel "right" just do it anyway.

I've been to a lot of tongue-speaking churches, and have never had anybody Prove to me that they could do this. They all "spoke in the spirit" (whatever that means) and often one would stand up and yell out a bunch of gibberish, and then another would stand up and yell something out in English.

But nobody could prove that the second person understood anything.

And you can't prove that the second person understands anything, either: it could all be random sounds for all we outside observers can tell. Do you know why this is? Why is it that nobody can prove that the second person understands what the first person's gibberish means?

I'll tell you: If the second person is the only person who is supposed to know, and if nobody else knows but this second person, then you cannot check to see if she or he was right! You cannot check to see if she or he was lying. In order to prove anything along these lines, you would need for other people to also be able to understand.

Now, if the first person started speaking in French and the second person said she or he would translate it, we could prove right away whether or not this second person was really translating it, because all we'd need to do is bring in some French-speaking people who also speak English and ask them if the second person translated it correctly.

But since the only person who knows whether or not the second person is telling the truth is the second person, we cannot verify anything.

Do you see how the religious leaders have pulled the wool over your eyes? Do you see how they have fooled you and taken you for a big ride? If this is your idea of having fun, be my guest, but please leave me out of it: I do not like to watch people taking advantage of other people. It makes me sad and I just don't like to watch it. So please, leave your Christianity at home when you come to my house to visit, okay?

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

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