If Fred Killed Bob,
Why Do You
Still Not Believe?
Daniel McAloon

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon"
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 07, 2002 4:41 AM

Who Killed Whom?

I don't know what this has to do with our stated desire to see the end of the unprecedented, unjustifiable, and uncalled-for levels of bigotry that are leveled against unbelievers in the United States, or why religious people, claiming to have a vastly superior sense of morality than we, would, on such a wholesale scale, commit this wickedness against a class that has, as a class, harmed nobody. But I will give it a try nonetheless:
 

1. Nobody killed anybody because this is clearly a story that was contrived for the purpose of enticing or coercing listeners unto loyalty of some form or another. Numerous individuals cannot be satisfied with letting people run their own lives and trusting them to make wise decisions for themselves, their families, their community, indeed, their species; thus, such individuals tirelessly stockpile followers or "sheep," who, in sufficient number, can upset the natural course of just about anything. In my country, these people are called "Evangelical Christians." I'd be interested in knowing if you have any such people in your country, and if so, what they call themselves.

2. Now, although I generally strive for a higher degree of morality than to do this, I will take your story at face value and respond as if it were true -- even though we both know that it is a lie:

We cannot say that God killed anybody and still remain moral individuals. Why? Because if you don't know whether or not a proposition is true, and you go around saying it is true nonetheless, you are guilty of falsehood -- even if what you had been saying happens, unbeknownst to you, to have been true! Why? Simple: You went around fully aware that you did not know, but acted and spoke as if you did know.

It is for this reason that I even bother opposing the printing of "In God We Trust" on public money: since it is our money, and that is our opinion that is ostensibly being printed on our money, this little advertisement for religion (that's what it is) makes me a liar: it includes me among the "we" who, without knowing whether or not a claim is true, still have the audacity to assert that it is, in fact, true.
 

3. The language "excuse" is patently biased in that it presupposes that it is humankind's duty to believe rather than to go with the facts and follow truth wherever she may lead. In other words, as explained above (2), it is immoral to say a claim is true when, in fact, you don't know whether it is or not. What you are saying is that we who suspend judgement, etc., must justify our behavior in the face of its very immorality. So, for you to imply, through your use of language, that it humankind's duty to believe is for you to advocate immorality.
 

I cannot respond because the way you punctuate this sentence is unorthodox, to say the least. We thus have no cues, at least by the sentence structure, anyway, as to how the author (you) might have intended for the reader to interpret the meaning. (To learn how to punctuate a sentence takes work but is not an insurmountable endeavor.)

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

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon""Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 08, 2002 7:05 AM

I don't care what others believe or don't believe, so I don't debate. Put it this way: I've never dated an atheist I truly liked. All I care about, here, is bigotry against atheists and helping atheists learn their own heritage.

Thanks!

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

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Added: August 14, 2002

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon"
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 09, 2002 8:32 PM

I have no way of verifying that claim. For me to state that a thing is true when I don't know if it is true is falsehood. I do not wish to commit falsehood, being a very moral man. That's about the size of it.

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

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon"
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 10, 2002 1:42 PM

This is fine and well -- until you approach another individual with the expectation that she or he ought to go along with your views. If you do this, it becomes your responsibility to provide such individuals with compelling reasons to go along with your viewpoint. If you fail to make such provisions, then you are being unfair, at minimum, and outright dishonest when it comes down to it.

I highly respect what I call "the Argument from Personal Religious Experience" (which is a nonargument, really, being rightly divorced from the quest to evangelize). In fact, this is about the only "argument" (if you will) or attempt at giving a compelling reason that I've heard that I do respect. However, while this angle is highly respectable, it is, at the same time, the weakest among attempts to provide a compelling reason to go along with the claim that a God exists. This is because the Religious Experience is not replicable (except, of course, in the Andrew Newberg sense, in which case, to the extent that it is replicable, it is not religious, and to the extent that it is religious, it is not replicable).

I hope you can see my dilemma, and see it as my honest opinion rather than as an excuse (though many Evangelical types will call it an excuse without even knowing me!). Most of all, I wish I could come up with a way (or some ways) to help others see that this is my honest opinion, that I am following truth wherever she leads, and she has not led me toward anything resembling a belief in the supernatural.

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

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon"
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 13, 2002 4:16 AM

If this were the case, you would have my respect. You would tell me, "I believe such and so," and I would respond, "Well, thanks for sharing that with me." In this case, you would have been describing your state of mind to me, rather than making a claim.

However, I do not see this as being the case, otherwise, you would have left it be several exchanges ago and would not still be discussing it. Because you still discuss it, because you still bring forth emotionally charged arguments and reasons to believe, you have demonstrated that you are seeking to change my mind on this matter.

What you are doing is making a claim.

When you make such a claim to me, I am obligated to respond to your claim. I am obligated to at least tell you that what you say is not enough for me to justify going along with your claim. I would need much more than that.
 

This is a threat of physical violence. Nobody who believed for this reason really believes, but is simply intimidated into behaving a certain way. They certainly do not believe in honesty and purity, but rather, they believe because of what they can gain out of the deal (avoiding the Christian Hell). This is not morality in any sense of the word.

If it were true, God would be the most immoral of ogres in existence. Since it is not, those who tell it become even more immoral than God would have been, because on top of the coercion, they have said that something is true without knowing (except by hearsay) if it is true.
 

This is hearsay. If she was told something, then she is responsible for it, not you, and not I.

I can think of a number of motives for somebody doing this. I can even think of a number of motives for a person actually lying for the purpose of trying to convince someone that the Christian religion is a religion of truthfulness. In fact, people log onto my Forum and do this every day. They lie and lie and lie, and I catch them at it almost every time.
 

The only pride that is at stake is that I am proud to be a moral man. It is not easy to do this in these times, that is for sure. It is hard to look somebody in the eye and tell them, "No, what you tell me about God and Jesus and angels and demons, what you say to me, is a bald-faced lie." This is not easy to do. Most people would rather go ahead and say, "Okay, sure, whatever you say," and then chuckle about it when they get home. That, to me, is not honesty; that, to me, is not morality.
 

First, that is not the deal at all: I will not say that something is true unless I think it is true. I don't think the Christian claim is true.

Secondly, you are trying to get me to say a thing is true based upon personal gain. This is immoral, and I will not stand for it: I will not behave this way.
 

If God is, then He is trying to hide Himself from me and billions of others.

Nevertheless, as you implied above, if we do not believe in this hidden god, we will be cast into the lake of fire.

Why would any being hold us accountable for knowing information that He has deliberately hidden from us? Not even the "bad guys" in the movies do that!
 

Truth is not a sentient being but a human abstraction.
 

It is a friendship if and only if it is not based upon you seeking to see my conversion out of it. That is not friendship, and if that is your motive even for being friendly toward me, I would just as soon be onel

I realize that many Christians like me for who I am.

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

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Daniel McAloon"
Subject: Re: Who killed who
Date: August 13, 2002 9:58 AM

As I said before, I do not tolerate threats of physical violence. To attempt to coerce someone to act a certain way through threats of physical violence is not only patently immoral, it is illegal in the United States and in most countries. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a constitution which protects from prosecution Christians who engage in this most despicable activity.
 

How can you say this when you just got through -- one sentence before -- threatening me in an attempt to alter my behavior, telling me that I'd be in the Christian Hell if I did not do as you say and join the Christian religion?

Don't you see what you're doing?

Or is it that you just don't care?

Are you willing to commit any act of immorality so long as it results in persuading more people to join the Christian religion?
 

If we were friends, that is, if you considered me your friend, you would have left the religion thing alone from the very beginning. Religion is too unimportant, to me, to get in the way of friendships. I have, however, had to end friendships because the other party refused to stop committing acts of dishonesty and immorality in her or his attempts to persuade me to join the Christian religion.

And you do care what I believe, otherwise you would leave it alone.

How are the Cubs doing this year?
 

And if I try and don't find anything but a randomly formed Universe, then what?
 

Actually, it is not my burden to try to prove your claim: you are the one who is responsible for proving that the claim you make is true. However, as I said, I don't even care to hear it any more: I have studied the claims of the Christian religion for over thirty years, and I have encountered very few systems of philosophy that are as despicably dishonest and are, from the core, as patently immoral as the Christian religion even at its best.

Particularly chilling to any careful person is the Christian doctrine of salvation, involving Jesus dying on the Cross to save us from the Christian Hell that the Christian god Himself (allegedly) created. Unfortunately, most humans value tribal loyalism over truthfulness, and will readily lie if that's what it takes to keep the member of their clan happy with them. Even a child will lie to keep Mom from getting mad at him. Does he fear the switch or the belt or the hairbrush? No, because kids whose parents don't believe in corporal punishment still lie to keep Mom from getting mad at them! I know, because I was one of those kids! I had to learn my strong values for honesty as a teenager and an adult!

Some of the punished kids likewise learned morality -- on their own. Others did not, of course. But what they have that I don't have is a reflexive fear of punishment! Because of this, they are unwitting slaves to any police state that rises above them and threatens to punish them.
 

The saddest part is that many kids grow up in Christian homes and do not learn morality (as the Christian religion teaches obedience, not morality). Then, when they became teenagers, some hot-shot rock star opened their eyes to the truth about the Christian religion, and they said, "Yeah, that's right! I don't want to live my life this way!"

But because they learned obedience where they should have learned morality, the reject what they think is the Christian religion: obedience to the Christian principles and to the phony Christian godhead. They walk away thinking, "Okay, since there is no Christian Hell, I can do whatever I please and I won't be punished!" Now why would someone do that? because they did not learn morality, that's why! Instead of learning how to determine whether something is right or wrong or a matter of choice, they memorized a list of dos and don'ts, with the attendant punishments attached to each don't and the rewards attached to each do.

This is why the doctrine of Christian Hell is harmful, not only to the poor individual who snaps awake night after night in abject nightmare over grandpa who wasn't a Christian when he died and who surely is burning in the Christian Hell as we speak. The doctrine of Christian Hell is harmful to the rest of us, who wish we could leave the Christian religion alone and remain unaffected by it (but that's impossible). The practice of teaching people that they will be punished for their "sins" (which most take to mean "acts of wickedness") backfires in everybody's faces when the former Christian realizes that she or he has been lied to by their own parents! They never learned morality. Instead, what they should have learned as morality they learned as obedience! And obedience works only as long as the one being obeyed is perceived as worthy of reverence.

Unfortunately, as the years go by, more and more Christians are becoming atheists. If they take what they have learned as Christian morality and try to transfer that directly over to atheism, there will be a world of trouble, not just for them, but for the rest of us as well!
 

It is for this reason that religion was created in the first place: infused into the defenseless minds of children early enough, they will grow up with a fear of punishment that overrides all sensibility. The kids grow up and whoever gains the upper hand, politically, has a very simple time keeping the populace in check. The people are not free even if they call their nation "The Land of the Free."
 

The rest of what you say is pure Josh McDowell falsehood, and I will not address it. Even you should be able to see through this stuff: it is that transparent! I saw through all of it even while I remained a very active Christian, and considered McDowell to be quite the detriment to the Christian Church. I was never on to think that leading someone to Christ through falsehood was legitimate.

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

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