My Experience With Atheists:
Negative, Reactive, Insecure, Hateful
[name withheld]

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule Black 1

We have formatted this into individual paragraphs to make it easier to read.
-- the Editor

The author of this letter later wrote several times, pretending to be the father of the author and threatening PAM with legal action if we did not remove the letter. (These threats were uttered in the very first contact by the pretended "father" figure!) Eventually, several exchanges and almost two years later, the author admitted that he had lied about being the father and also admitted to having regrets over the content of this letter.
-- the Publisher

Quote Graphic Rule Black 1
Transparent Spacer

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "[name withheld]"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: June 05, 2002 6:01 AM

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

We recognize the Negro [the way] God, and God's Book and God's Laws, in nature, tell us to recognize him -- our inferior, fitted expressly for servitude.
    -- Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

Atheism is pure reaction. Were it not for the claims of theists, we would be on the outside what we are through and through: human beings. If theists would simply practice private religion, they would not hear a peep from atheists except that percentage of bigots you will find in every group. And if you take the small number of bigots and use them as your model in portraying all atheists (and you have your work cut out for you in convincing me that this is not what you have done toward atheists), then you are among that small number of bigots within your own group.

Atheists are constantly being called "negative" by Christians who are quickly shown to have goaded said atheists to react as anybody would when treated the same way the Christian has treated said atheist! One need not read very far in our Forum section to see this activity in action. My personal favorite is "Let's Go To The Atheist Page Just For Laughs" with Rich Zawadzki. Mr. Zawadzki thought it would be fun to "go slummin'," as they say, and give the atheists some grief, rather than simply to let us live our lives in peace and pursue our goal of ending bigotry against our kind. Or he could have offered some constructive advice as to how we might further our goal of ending said bigotry. Had he done this, he would have been treated with the utmost respect.

Instead, he told me,

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

you sound like a very bitter and unhappy man. I've never met a happy atheist yet (I have a family member who's one -- They're angry and bitter all the time).

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

(And unlike yourself, Mr. Zawadzki at least had the pseudo-dignity to wait until his second letter to deliver that particular "below-the-belt" swipe at all atheists, based upon his experience with one atheist!)

My response to him was,

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

Very few Christian bigots will encounter atheists who are happy about encountering Christian bigots. The only atheists I know who would snicker upon encountering someone such as yourself might be the one or two Satanists who would consider your being a fundamentalist Christian to be an even more fitting curse than even they could conjure! Even if the atheist you meet actually is happy (I had a blast preparing that response to you last night), the Christian bigot will color his interpretation of the encounter with his preconceptions.

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

Meanwhile, you can visit all the Christian boards and Forums on the entire Internet and you will not find a single entry signed Cliff Walker.

This is because I really have nothing to say to Christians except,

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 6Red6 3

STOP PRACTICING YOUR OBSCENITY IN PUBLIC AND AT PUBLIC EXPENSE!!

Quote Graphic Rule 6Red6 3
Transparent Spacer

This is the entire point of the National Bible Week Poster:

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 6Red6 3

NO! STOP!! DO THIS BIBLICAL STUFF IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN BEDROOMS! KEEP IT OUT OF THE WORKINGS OF OUR GOVERNMENT!! AND FOR GAUD SAKES KEEP IT AWAY FROM OUR CHILDREN!

Quote Graphic Rule 6Red6 3
Transparent Spacer

(Aha! The things one discovers when reading something in context!)

And since this message involves the failings of our government, not the failings of Christians, we send this message to the public, the owners of the government, urging our fellow citizens to demand that our government obey the laws that our forebears laid down for them on our behalf about 210 years ago. The National Bible Week Poster was not directed to you, as you appear to have your "citizenship in Heaven"; we send our message, rather, to the citizens of the United States.
 

That it does. That it does!

Read your Bible! Read all of your Bible, not just the small parts of it that your Sunday School teacher has read to you! Then study what noted historians have to say about those times. Don't just study the Christian apologists (who are in the business of telling the Fundamentalist Christian voting block what the political lobbies pay them to say) but noted historians.

Before Thomas Paine's antislavery message went directly against the Bible, before he and numerous others influenced hoards of Victorian-era Christians into rejecting Christianity on moral grounds, for its position on slavery, for the Christian Hell that Jesus invented, for its position on women, and for jmore down-home teachings such as the doctrine of Redemption on the Cross, you could not find a Christian who believed the way you insist that the Bible teaches!

Today, the only ones who deny that the Bible advocated human slavery are the Fundamentalists; everybody else accepts the truth as to what the Bible really says, and rejects the Bible's message!

You are so desperate to divorce yourself from the evil that is the Bible's moral code that you would alter the very words of your own God just to make them conform to what the laws and thoughts of man have become within the past 135 years!

And your desperation shows in your willingness to slander the author of that poster just to keep from admitting that the moral code of the Bible is flawed! just to keep your Bible "in tune with the times" in that humankind has, within the past 150 years, pronounced human slavery to be evil and the church, for the most part agrees with the pronouncements of men rather than clinging to what her Bible, her God, has to say on the subject!
 

The section is titled, "How to Mark Your Property" not "How to Mark Your Slaves"! In this tale, it matters naught whether someone is a "voluntary indentured servant" or a kidnap victim forced unwillingly into toothess slavery. The subject, in this story, is nevertheless the master's property. In ancient Hebrew culture (according to the Hebrews' own writings on the matter), the master owned his slaves -- all of them! The only difference was that the slave with the injured ear w0uld never see freedom.

Why do you insist on slapping me around for saying more than I have actually said?

Meanwhile, this slave had been kidnaped from his own culture and had already been held against his will for seven years. His own culture was probably decimated long ago by the very man who will now run an awl through his ear. His original family, the woman of his own choosing, given to him according to the customs of his own fathers, was long gone. She was probably killed by the very same man! Worse, she might have become a sex slave to him or to one of his brothers. He has two choices: to continue what meager and dishonorable life as he has for the past seven years -- or -- or what!? What other choice does he have!?

And how much does what you call "voluntary indentured servitude" pay? What are the wages? And what kind of severance package were you saying goes along with this career choice? Ha ha ha ha ha!
 

You have committed two evils, here: First, you have called evil good. Secondly, you have slandered a man who has done no evil, slandered him for the purpose of defending an mere idea! If that weren't degrading enough, the idea you uphold with your slander is not even your own idea but is the thinking of another person! You do injury to a fellow human just on the hope of upholding somebody else's ideas!

As such (as either), you are among the lowest, morally, in my understanding of morality: to slander a man for any reason is one of the highest wrongs I can think of, and to call evil good is up there with slander!
 

Now, how would you know about such things?

The mission of PositiveAtheism.ORG (we're noncommercial) is to stop the practice of bigotry against atheists simply because they are atheists.

Had you actually read very much of our web site at all (as you claim you have, even though your use of the "WebMaster" link on the front page strongly suggests otherwise), you would know better than to falsely accuse us of even wanting people to accept atheism.

In almost every description of our mission, our point, our raison d'être, etc., we strongly stress, with great clarity, that we don't give a rat what others believe, and that we would prefer that most of the Christians who have written to us remain Christians: atheism, particularly the philosophy of Positive Atheism, requires an extremely strong sense of truthfulness, a truly Gandhian respect for doing what one says, saying what one does, and keeping no secrets.

Ah, but in your bitterness and hatred, you could not settle for simply painting us as wanting people to accept atheism: you had to carry it further by accuse us of "fooling" people through "misleading statements," through "twists of the truth," and through "outright lies." And you accuse us of committing these crimes for the purpose of accomplishing something that is not even our goal!!

And your defense is utterly transparent: Josh McDowell-level apologetics: "Oh, he wasn't a real slave! He was just a voluntary indentured servant!" Ha ha ha! Our National Bible Week poster's only point was that one human was being marked as the property of another! No matter what you call it, one human is still the property of another!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

You're really racking up the charges, are you not?

And you're doing this -- what? -- for someone else's idea?

You're committing this evil in the name of whom, Christ?

For shame!

Short Graphic Rule

Before you committed yourself by writing this letter, you had several choices:

You could have simply remained mum like most Christians do, shrugging their shoulders and saying, "I don't know" when confronted with the plain and undeniable fact that the Bible clearly advocates human slavery.

Or you could have admitted that the Bible does teach evil as good and could have responded how you would in that situation under any other circumstances (I responded by abandoning my faith in the Christian religion, the only morally right choice I could think of at the time and the only morally right choice I can still think of doing, if I find myself supporting an organization that teaches evil as good).

Or you could do what you have done: agree with the Bible to call evil good.

Or you could have gone further than that, as you have also done, and slander a man who points out what the vast majority of the World's Christians already admit, that the Bible teaches evil as good! (Only Bible Fundamentalists, dominant only in the United States, practice this quirk you have laid on our readers.)

Now that you have acted, you have no choice left but to apologize, publicly, to me (and to anybody else you may have slandered along these lines in the past). The mission of Positive Atheism includes making this recommendation to you for having done this to the author of the work you have quoted, which author you have slandered.

The reason we do this is because your doing it will work powerfully toward ending the bigotry that is everywhere leveled against atheists. If just one Christian would publicly repent, just one, then thousands of others might follow. We could conceivably end a great evil in no time!

I have done my part: the ball is in your court, as they say.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six-and-a-half years of service
    to people with no reason to believe

 

Graphic Rule

 

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: ""
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: June 05, 2002 10:16 PM

And I explained to you why, didn't I? I could have simply copied a page from the dictionary for what it's worth and you would have thought the same of me, simply because I am an atheist and for no other reason.
 

To quote someone who has been every bit the pest, of late, that you have been, "Well, that's because you're closed-minded." However, this is that writer's opinion: I have none on the matter of what you think. As I pointed out in the statement you pulled, which prompted this response, my argument includes exegesis as well as the almost unanimous opinion of Bible readers over the period of almost two millennia! just to cover Christianity alone! I won't get into how much longer before then that the Bible existed, but for as long as it existed at least back to the tale of Noah's grandson, the Bible mentioned human slavery without denouncing it.

I repeat: The Bible mentions human slavery numerous times, but never once does the Bible ever denounce the institution of human slavery.
 

You here suggest (rather, assert -- see below) that by removing mention of the "voluntary" part I have completely reversed the meaning of the sentence.

You still refuse to admit that I am not talking about whether the slavery is voluntary or mandatory or at a transition from one form of slavery to another: All I'm talking about is that (1) the Bible says that the slave is the property of the slave owner (regardless of whether this relationship is voluntary), and (2) the owner is instructed by the Bible to mark his property by running an awl through the ear of his property.

That is all that I am saying; that is all that I wanted to say in the poster that you quoted.

I don't even care if it's voluntary or not: the slave is still the slave-owner's property.

Again you slander a man solely for the purpose of defending the reputation of a mere idea which is not even your idea but somebody else's thinking.

I will demonstrate your deliberate slander in more detail, because I want even our Christian readers to be able to see what their fellow Christian has done for the purpose of defending an obscure passage of the Bible from what turns out to be honest treatment from me:
 

You lie! You lie! You lie! You lie!

Just where do I even mention "how to make a person a slave"?

The simple answer is that I don't say anything about "how to make a person a slave." This whole section has but one topic: how to mark your property!
 

Q. What is the section called?

A. "How to mark your property"
 

Q. What else in that entire section can be even remotely considered the original writing of the section's author?

A1. The source citation, which identifies the passage as being from (quote) Deuteronomy 15:17 (AV).

A2. The bracketed explanatory note indicating that a word in the King James, aul, has been changed to the word awl, which is actually done to conform to all the other translations and pseudotranslations we had on hand when creating this work.

A3. Everything else in the entire section, besides the title, "How to mark your property," is a direct quotation from the King James Bible.
 

Q. This is the subsection of a larger section. What is the larger section called?

A. "Slavery Endorsed"
 

Q. Does the instruction to "...take an aul, and thrust it through his ear..., and he shall be thy servant for ever" appear to be an endorsement of human slavery?

A. By all means.
 

Q. If we fill in the portions deleted from this verse, does it alter whether this appears to endorse human slavery? The full verse:

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

[17] Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

A. By no means.
 

Q. Well, then, what had been omitted from this verse (Deuteronomy 15:17)?

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

[17] Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

A. Above is the full verse, with deleted portions underlined and in a lighter color.

The first set of ellipses points replaced a single word: "Then," which adverb makes the sentence awkward by modern standards. The second set of ellipses points replaced the phrase, "unto the door," which is a parenthetic clarification that is unnecessary to the essential meaning of the sentence.
 

Q. If we add to this the preceding verse, Deuteronomy 15:16, as you suggest, does it alter whether this appears to endorse the institution human slavery, meaning the literal ownership of one human being by another? The two verses:

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

[16] And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;
[17] Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

A. By no means. The Bible is here describing a form of human slavery and is never seen denouncing this or any other form of human slavery.
 

Q. From where Deuteronomy 15 stops discussing alms to the poor and begins the topic of human slavery, to where the topic of human slavery ends and the subject changes to the prohibition against using the first-born of any animal (for anything except as alms for the priests), is there anything at all which would suggest that this subject, particularly the verse in question, verse 17, is not about the purchase of one human being by another human? The seven verses:

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2

[12] And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman , be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
[13] And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:
[14] Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.
[15] And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.
[16] And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee;
[17] Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
[18] It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.

Quote Graphic Rule 3Red3 2
Transparent Spacer

A. By no means.
 

Q. Is what the author of the poster did, in omitting the words, contrary to the guidelines set down by the Chicago Manual of Style (Fourteenth Edition)?

A. No. CMS was followed precisely during the entire project in regards to omitting portions of quoted material. In this project, the omission of words and phrases from quotations was an unfortunate necessity.
 

Q. Can the way in which the author made these omissions be considered "overkill" according to the guidelines set down by the Chicago Manual of Style? In other words, was the author more cautious than he needed to be?

A. Yes. The author was much more cautious than he needed to be, much more careful than anybody really should have to be. "Chicago" does not require a plethora of ellipses points in informal writing, particularly if the word omitted is one such as "Then," which introduces the text. The ellipses replacing that word does not need to be there. This is particularly true considering that the omitted word then appears at the beginning of the sentence.

The author was overly cautious in anticipation of the one or two Fundamentalist Christians who still would not be satisfied no matter how cautious he might have been in this respect!
 

Q. Why were these two tiny phrases omitted from Deuteronomy 15:17?

A. Believe it or not, space considerations! When making the poster, very strict space considerations had to be followed, so that every word on the entire 11×17-inch page could both fit exactly into the proper column as well as be set at precisely the same font size and line height. Also, the spacing surrounding the headings had to be the same for all sections. This required the author to literally write the piece for the space with which he had to work. Only sheer accident and numerous strokes of luck would have allowed anybody to write this work beforehand and then pour it into the columns and have it fit. Typesetting of that caliber is very rare in this day and age.
 

Q. Is there anything about the slave having changed by law from an indentured slave to a voluntary slave that changes the fact that he's a slave?

A. Now what kind of question is that? Like -- since when is a slave not a slave?
 

Q. According to Biblical Law, after a slave becomes a voluntary slave (that is, after he does what culminates in having his ear thrust through with an awl), is he then, allowed, for example, to decide, ten years later, that he no longer wants to be a slave, that he'd rather be a free man?

A. No. He must make the decision at the moment the choice is offered to him. If his owner has planned for this event and has been arranging things to make continued servitude seem inviting, and if the slave opts for continued servitude, the owner may revert to the old ways and the slave is stuck. He has made his decision, and even if the owner deceived him into thinking things would be a certain way, that's just too bad: he must work for the owner without monetary compensation for the rest of his life -- at least according to Biblical Law. This last part is moot unless Biblical Law happens to be the law of the land. The problem with making Biblical Law (or the law of any revealed religion) the law of the land is that it is not negotiable. It is seen as "God's Law" and therefore final.
 

Q. Is it possible to see Mr. [removed]'s slander of Mr. Walker as "gratuitous"?

A. Yes, this is one way to see it.
 

Q. Is "gratuitous" a way one could expect numerous observers to describe Mr. [removed]'s slander of Mr. Walker?

A. Yes, "gratuitous" is not an obscure conclusion that one might expect from only a small handful of people. Many, it seems, would consider Mr. [removed]'s having written to Mr. Walker out of the blue and having lied to him about his own writing to be wholly unnecessary and without any conceivable motive.
 

Q. If Mr. [removed] is correct in portraying himself as knowledgeable in Bible interpretation, is the error excusable, such as he made in accusing Mr. Walker of having deliberately deceived his readers.

A. Hardly. There is more involved, here, than a simple error or ignorance regarding Biblical interpretation. Mr. [removed] has accused Mr. Walker of having quoted the Bible as giving instructions on how to make a person a slave, though Mr. Walker did no such thing, as is plain to see with even a cursory reading of what Mr. Walker wrote. It's very difficult to mistake the meaning of the five-word sentence, "How to mark your property." There is no room for thinking that Mr. Walker is talking about making a person a slave. On the contrary, "How to mark your property" assumes that the human being in question is already your property!
 

Q. Did Mr. Walker just pick the first thing that came to him, or was he trying to be extremely cautious and more than fair when composing this section?

A. The latter. Mr. Walker knew that anybody who published or distributed his work would receive beaucoup unfair criticism from Christians who can be described only as "sore losers." Backs against the wall, so to speak, it is only natural for them to claw and scratch their way back to their former position of having pulled a fast one on the public. Mr. Walker's goal, here, is to reveal the true motives of the National Bible Week supporters and juxtapose those against the overall general ignorance of the public as to just how patently immoral the Bible really is. When engaged in such a task, there is no such thing as being too careful! This is particularly true when one has engaged others, as Mr. Walker did when he encouraged his fellow activists to distribute this poster.

The approach to this work, at the start and throughout, was, "You cannot be too careful." This explains why many popular passages, which Bible opponents love to cite as reasons they don't respect the Bible, were not included in this work: if there was any doubt, if there could be any criticism leveled against any of the passages that could be seen as even remotely justified, Mr. Walker struck that passage from consideration.

As it stands, the only criticism Mr. Walker has fielded has been regarding the omission of the fact that the slavery described in Deuteronomy 15:17 is voluntary and the fact that the word moron appears in the "Stupid Gospel Tricks" section. This is, now, the second critic to assail Mr. Walker for the Deuteronomy passage. Nobody has criticized the work for any other reasons besides these two.
 

Q. Did Mr. Walker really call Jesus "a moron"?

A. No. The "moron critic" falsely accused Mr. Walker of calling Jesus "a moron." Actually, it was the "moron critic" himself who called Jesus "a moron," not Mr. Walker! This was deliberately designed into the text by Mr. Walker! The text carefully falls short of making a statement and poses a question, instead. This allows (or prompts) the reader to come to his own conclusion, to answer the question himself, when the text poses the question, "If it wasn't fig season, why would even a moron look for figs?"

No, I don't think that even a moron would go looking for figs in the early springtime!

Well, then, do you believe that Jesus went looking for figs in the early springtime?
 

Q. Does Mr. Walker believe that Jesus went looking for figs in the early springtime?

A. No.

First, Mr. Walker is not convinced that a Jesus even existed who resembled the character of that name as portrayed by the New Testament. This is not to "Thomas Jefferson-ize" the Jesus character and suggest that the New Testament character was merely a man, but to suggest that the New Testament character did not need for there to have been a human upon which to build its Jesus myth: this entire story could have come entirely as fiction, entirely from the creativity of human minds.

However, if a Jesus character existed, and if that Jesus character did go looking for figs, says Mr. Walker, then he most assuredly did not go looking for figs in the early springtime! Not even a moron would do something like that! Ah, but the New Testament would have us believe that God Himself did precisely that!

Having more compassion for the Jesus character than most Fundamentalist Christians show, the most favorable thing we can say about this problem (that is, the response which gives the Bible and the Jesus character the benefit of the doubt) is that the stories now attached to "Passion Week" were probably once attached to the Feast of Booths rather than the Passover, and were later switched to Passover by the New Testament editors or compilers. This would have the Triumphal Entry with the palm leaves having come from trees that had been growing them all summer rather than leaving open the question, "Where did the palm leaves come from?" Besides, the palm leaves scene is along the lines of a Feast of Booths tradition, as is a simple meal involving bread and wine, taking place in a "booth" or "upper room." In their zeal to make their Jesus the Passover lamb, the early Christians moved these events (including the fig tree incident) to early springtime, oblivious to the problems that a deception of this nature would cause. Later when it was realized that someone writing one of the source or "Q" did this, one of the many editors of Mark wrote, "for it was not the season for figs," thereby locking this problem into place forever! Now there's no way at all to address this problem!
 

Q. Did Mr. Walker know that Deuteronomy 15:17 referred to voluntary slavery before he composed the poster?

A. Yes. Mr. Walker researched this as early as 30 years ago, at age 15, in 1972, as the subject of human slavery was quite a sore point after the young Mr. Walker had been fast-talked into joining the Christian church by the slick operators and pleasant young women who worked his school for converts. Having looked up everything the Bible has to say about the subject during this time, Mr. Walker left the church for numerous reasons, but the issue of human slavery weighed heavily on his heart. He was aghast that his beloved Bible would actually endorse human slavery! He thought it ought to have been forward-thinking enough to have been vehemently opposed to such an idea! Alas, he concluded, it is not supernatural at all! This was just one thing, but was, this time around, the straw that broke the camel's back, the crack in the egg, the one thing that opened the way for all other things to become clear.
 

Q. Is this pretty much the end of this discussion?

A. Yes. We will not be fielding any more e-mail from Mr. [removed], except, perhaps, if that apology comes our way, we will post that in all fairness, but this discussion is very much over with.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six-and-a-half years of service
    to people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Fw: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: June 07, 2002 12:58 PM

Cut off discussion? This is already one of the longest threads in our entire Forum, I have given him more leeway than any other person showing a similar lack of candor -- and he says I'm cutting off discussion!
 

Dear Readers: Since the dialogue with this pest has stopped, we have posted for you Mr. [removed]'s rendition of the classic "you won't talk to me any more, so I guess that means I'm right" line of bullsh¡t (which is more than amply represented in all its variations on these pages by numerous Christians of the "sore loser" variety).

Then what follows is a rather unique version of the ever-ominous "you'll pay for this when The End comes" brutality, as we consider all such threats to be threats of physical violence, though this comes in the form of a reminder that life is only so long. This one is particularly aggressive in that it paints me as being someone who goes around getting into arguments with theists -- forgetting that he, like every other theist I've even spoken with about theism in the past twenty years (without exception), has started the discussion. From beginning to end, Mr. [removed] wishes to paint me in an unfavorable light. I cannot think of any reason he'd want to do this (why anybody would want to do this) other than the fact that I am an atheist and somehow deserve to have my reputation tarnished, even if it means lying in order to tarnish my reputation. As an almost life-long atheist, this is nothing new for me.
 

As an aside, and speaking of life being only so long, this is why I have chosen to end dialogues with a good dozen theists of the time-wasting variety this week alone (and it's only Thursday).

Every once in a while we get a rash of extremely time-wasting letters. This time we suspect a specific prayer group that we know that (for some reason) is concerned about my grave health situation and the various reports surrounding it. Yes, some Christians are morbid and some Christians are meddling twits. And at least one of these letter writers (who will remain unposted and unpublished) happens to be both. Fortunately for us, most Christians are neither.

Ah, but alas! These Christians rarely write to atheistic forums. Of course! They don't need to!

This fellow who instigated the prayer-group move even went so far as to ship me a copy of The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel, which I read from cover to cover. At one point was actually rooting for the author, hoping he'd overcome or transcend Josh McDowell's dishonesty! (Stroebel certainly is more real, more human -- shall I say more compassionate? -- than McDowell's mechanical, legalistic, almost lifeless approach to life!) I was actually hoping to find something other than the typical "business" for which McDowell has set such a solid precedent. And a few days back, one of our atheistic readers, knowing I long for a challenge above the drivel that usually comes our way, mentioned that the "Christian Think Tank" web site is different from the rest. I immediately checked it out and will admit that it is superior to all the others I've seen, but it is still of the same kind: it has not transcended anything; rather, it has merely cleaned up Christiandom's act a bit.

This is one of several reasons why I deliberately refuse to allow the "God-question" to be a topic on this web site. We will answer questions and will respond to challenges, but we do not care what others believe. We have issued statements such as the National Bible Week Poster which appear to be anti-Christian statements but when examined at face value show themselves to be political tracts calling for an end to the government sponsorship of National Bible Week: crucial to that message is to provide rational arguments in addition to legal ones, because the Christians who support NBW have made it clear that they don't care about the law of the land, the "Laws of God" being more important to them!
 

I leave this by repeating, just for emphasis, Mr. [removed]'s version of the theist juxtaposed against the atheist. This, I think, summarizes just what Mr. [removed] is getting at in what appear, at first glance, to be valid complaints against what I have written to him and about him during the course of this exchange. I could easily dust an entire evening going through, point by point, and showing his various low-blows, etc., to be falsehood, etc., but I will not. It is tempting, particularly the one where he restores the words omitted from my excerpt using a different translation in an apparent albeit subtle attempt to make me appear to have introduced brutality into the passage by omitting the word lobe where it says "take an awl and push it through his ear [lobe]" -- though the AV, which I used, does not have the word lobe in it! Or the part where he says, "For example, I cannot quote the Bible as saying, 'Thou shalt ... kill,' when, in fact, it says, 'Thou shalt not kill'" -- implying, no, asserting that I'd done something like this in omitting something impertinent to the point I've made! Practically every paragraph of his contains stuff like this, stuff that utilizes deliberate falsehood that is designed to make me look bad. (It's one thing to try to make someone look unbecoming, but no fair lying in order to do it!) The only reason I even post it at all is in the interest of completeness: it would be abjectly tacky of me to simply post his initial letter and his reply.

I won't defend what I've said or try to refute what he has brought forth as challenges. I don't have to: when placed next to this summary statement by Mr. [removed], it becomes a simple matter to see Mr. [removed]'s motives and values in this whole affair.

Notice that in this example, the theist's motives are only good, and that only the theist does works of charity (as we know all theists do [ahem]). Note that the atheist's motives can only be a ridiculous extreme of self-centeredness (the ultimate evil in some forms of Christianity) and that the atheist does no charity (as we know that no atheist has ever done a work of charity -- not even the atheist to whom Mr. [removed] addressed this lie, the atheist who, since retirement, has "donated" about 80-hours a week to various worthy causes without pay or compensation, who, in addition, donates over one-third of his real income plus every penny he can scrape up in the course of his activism back to supporting either those causes directly or supporting his involvement in those causes in the form of costs, etc.).

Keeping in mind that Positive Atheism's main message is an attempt to end bigotry against atheists, here, then, is Mr. [removed]'s comparison between people like himself (theists) and people such as you and I (atheists):

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 300-3

Let me ask you a question, Cliff. You can just think about it to yourself since you certainly won't talk to me. Who, of the following, do you think is more admirable? Which do you think is a better person?

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

1. A theist (of any religion) who is at least humble enought to believe in a Being higher than himself, who goes to church to try to make himself a better person, and who tries to follow through with his faith through good works (charity),

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

OR

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

2. An atheist, who believes that the buck stops at himself, that there could exist no higher moral entity than himself, and that right and wrong are based on personal desire and individual opinion.

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

Quote Graphic Rule 300-3
Transparent Spacer

Our only response is to ask, rhetorically and in return,

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 300-3

"Who do you think is more admirable? Which do you think is a better person?"

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

1. A person remains silent about a subject when he doesn't know all the facts.

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

 -- or --

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

2. A person wilfully says things which are deliberately designed to harm the reputation of another person, even if they're true.

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

 -- or --

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

3. A person wilfully says things which are deliberately designed to harm the reputation of another person, but who does not bother to check the facts; rather, he simply repeats what he has heard because it seems like such-and-so, being a member of a specific group, most assuredly cannot be a good man so it doesn't matter what we say about him.

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

 -- or --

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

4. A person wilfully says things which are deliberately designed to harm the reputation of another person, making sure to alter those statements, stretching them to the extreme edge of credibility so as to inflict the maximum damage possible, and who fully knows that at least one of the statements he has made about the individual is either stretched to the point of becoming falsehood, or is more than simply an omission of fact, but being a comparison, has become a bald-faced lie.

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

 -- or --

Transparent Spacer
Quote Graphic Rule 600-2

5. Person 4, described above, with the exception that he knows his statement will not be seen by anybody except the person he would have inflicted the damage upon. In other words, he is lying only to the one person who knows the truth of the situation and not to any others.
 

Quote Graphic Rule 600-2
Transparent Spacer

Quote Graphic Rule 300-3
Transparent Spacer

 
Finally, from the previous letter, a note of humor:

Jeez! Have we not heard this one before? Is this guy trying to provoke us into lumping him into the same category as Greg Auman and Chad Baxter? It can't be, I tell ya! Had he read far enough into the web site to know about them, he wouldn't have made the errors he did!

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six-and-a-half years of service
    to people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.