Put Your Atheistic Faith
To The Test: Accept Christ
Steve

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Only after sending this off and beginning the chore of formatting this did I realize that it's an attempt at commenting on the Dan Barker quip we've had on our Front Page for some time.

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I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive:
     You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil -- you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself.
          -- Dan Barker, former clergyman, quoted from his book, Losing Faith in Faith

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Ah, this guy thinks he's so cute! But he's oblivious that he let himself get caught in Dan's trap. While attempting to twist Dan's every word so that it somehow has Dan Barker (of all people) endorsing Christianity, he admits to just about every subtle accusation Dan has laid down in this little quip against the Christian religion.
     Meanwhile, I had read the first part and then took the writer up on his offer to skip down to the last paragraph. As you can see, that's what I did, and that's how my reply went. As I mentioned, only now have I bothered to read the rest of the letter. I mean, face it: the spelling error in the first word is so hilarious that it's hard to take anything else in it seriously: "Bare with me here." -- "Oh, you mean, let's take our clothes off together? Gee! I didn't realize you were that kind of guy!"
     Then there's all those little rows of dots! Don't they teach people how to punctuate at school any more?
     Finally (and this is always my favorite kind), this clown probably didn't even make it past the front page. I doubt it very seriously, considering that he clicked the WebMaster link!
     I'm sorry! Sometimes this stuff just gets plain old weird! I mean, this is an atheist web site -- an entirely noncommercial atheistic web site -- with a target audience of atheists. So who sends us the most mail? Christian marketing execs who want to sales pitch religion! What is it? What!?
     No, I'd simply love to hear from some Christians who have ideas as to how we can end the bigotry against atheists. Such Christians just don't write to our web site, though! The only Christians who write here either want to sell us their religion or hurl abuses our way.
     Nevertheless, I try to keep an open mind and hope (against hope) that some day I'll bump into just the right combination!
     But notice that this fellow doesn't think I'll read the letter simply because it's from a Christian. Does he, perhaps, know something about the motives of a Christian that maybe I'm not aware of?
          -- Cliff Walker, Editor

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You are an intelligent human being.

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Your life is valuable for its own sake.

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You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind.

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You are not inherently evil -- you are inherently human

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possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Turner, Steve"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: May 24, 2002 10:02 PM

That's not the point. It's not who writes it but, rather, what is the motive for writing? If your motive is to engage in a mutual quest to discover truth, I'm game; if your motive is to sales-pitch religion, I hereby stick my thumbs in my ears, wiggle my fingers, stick out my tongue (compressing it firmly between my lips), and squeeze a good, hearty yell through that mess, uttering the familiar childhood sound usually represented in print as follows:

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"Bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl-bl!"

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Considering my taste for a challenge, and considering that you misspelled the very first word of your sales pitch, I think I'll take you up on your offer.
 

(Cliff skips to the last paragraph):

You don't fool me.

Not believing is anything but faith and is anything but a claim. Not believing is just that: not believing. It is nothing more than that. To call not believing a faith claim is like calling an HIV-negative person "diseased." As Don Hirschberg once wrote to Ann Landers, "Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color." No. Atheism, the lack of a god-belief, is an absence, not a "thing."

Atheism is the absence of theism; atheism is how I distinguish myself from theists, not how I distinguish myself among theists!

Someone who has never thought about their atheism might fall for this ruse, but very few who have given their atheism much thought will. When you go back to Sunday School class, tell the instructor that what he taught you about atheism being a faith is wrong. Then warn your fellow class-members not to try to use this stratagem on atheists in a real-life setting. Doing so serves only to make your faith appear every bit as contrived as I suspect it to be.
 

In calling atheism a form of faith, you appear to be reducing atheism to the level of faith! Man, if you're going to stump for a prefabricated viewpoint such as the Christian religion, at least grant that viewpoint a little class, and don't use arguments or presentations that make it look as if you are lowering anything to your level! I mean, you would be so much better off (and more honest) if you would simply engage in the quest for truth, but since you choose to be a follower, then if you cannot pick a viewpoint worth following, then at least talk about it as if it is worthy of your time, effort, and the sacrifice of your reputation as a truthful man.
 

Finally, getting to the point of your argument itself, you have here defined "true religion" as any religious expression that agrees with your personal outlook and "false religion" (or "falsehood" period) as any religious expression (or any expression at all) that disagrees with your personal outlook.

Can you see the dishonesty in that?

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

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Added: May 29, 2002

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Steve writes back, completely ignoring my challenges. I'll let him have this one, but his next one needs to come up with some tough answers, 'cause I'm not going to let him slide. I may have stuck out my tongue and laughed at his audacity; nevertheless, I asked him some legitimate questions and I think he owes us some answers, particularly in light of some of the statements he made in his first letter!
     Still, a big part of ending the stigma and bigotry against atheists is to further a more realistic understanding of what atheism is and is not. I'm not sure that people even need to like what they hear, as long as what they hear is closer to the truth than the lies about us that issue forth from the pulpits each Sunday.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Turner, Steve"
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: May 28, 2002 9:09 PM

Did you read anything I wrote? Anything?

You are not a scientist or a philosopher or even closely related to a seeker of truth: you are, instead, a salesman. You have a product to sell, and your role is to sell that product and that product only.
 

Or so the biographers tell us.

Actually, that's not even true: the biographies tell of numerous instances where people listened to and believed what the Jesus character told them, including many prominent members of the Pharisee party.

Funny how the "martyr syndrome" is so effective at averting critical scrutiny: "That poor guy! Nobody listened to him! I think I'll 'even things out' by believing, without question, what his allies say about him!"

Funny how much of what Jesus is alleged to have said was a direct violation of Deuteronomy 13:6-10. Funny how the superstitious Jews of the time tended to take the Laws of Moses quite seriously, considering what their Scripture told them would happen to them if they didn't.
 

Disagree. This whole discussion is about one thing and one thing only: You are making a god-claim. That claim consists entirely and exclusively of words arranged to form sentences for the purpose of conveying ideas. If you cannot convey your god as an idea, I have no business wasting my time with you.

Semantics get people killed. Poorly written laws ruin lives; poorly written Constitutions spark unrest and revolution.
 

I've never met a spell-checker I didn't like: they have a way of profoundly affecting how readers perceive you. Also, there are some great web sites that list all the words that spell-checkers commonly miss. Those lists aren't that hard to learn.
 

If you don't know, they why should I even hold a dialogue with you?

If you are that dishonest, then I rest my case regarding Paul in Romans 3:9:

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For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto His glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

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As I mentioned above, you are anything but a truth seeker! You are just a believer: what the leadership of the Christian religion told you to believe, that's what you believe, down to the late-twentieth century flavor of all the doctrines you've discussed; that is, you haven't even found a few points where you prefer how they thought during the Reformation or during the times of Augustin, like many Christians do (such as Calvin's doctrine of salvation or Thomas's understanding of the nature of Christ; you wouldn't even venture past a pre-1990s understanding of the Ten Commandments)! You haven't done anything for yourself, but have let others run your entire religious life for you. What today's leadership tells you to do is what you do.

This is a very dangerous situation for you to be in. Very scary.
 

That is no concern of mine, since I choose not to associate in any way with the Christian religion.
 

Thy appear to be required to force non-Christians to follow them, or to at least give them lip-service. This is shown by the zeal with which Christians attempt to have an abridged version of the Protestant listing of the First Tables of Stone edition posted in public places, particularly the public schoolroom. Most Christians could not recite the Ten Commandments if you held a gun to the head of their firstborn child, and hardly any of them understand the original meaning behind them, as opposed to how they are popularly interpreted today. (What did it used to mean to "covet" somebody's ass?)

This behavior on their part serves only to send a mixed message to the rest of us, whom, I would hope, the Christians would want to respect the Christian religion, at least, if not join it. The mixed message comes when the, first of all, do not keep the Sabbath holy, but worship instead on the first day of the week. Neither do they refrain from making graven images of things under the sea (etc.): I see images of little metallic fish all over the place! And all those Jesuses, too! Ah, but they can't all be Jesuses, cause if he looked like any of them, he looked like only one of them! And most Christians are entirely clueless as to what "coveting" was during primitive times and in primitive, superstitious, nomadic, goat-herding, camel-porking cultures. (Speaking of that, why on Earth did they feel the need to pass so much legislation regarding having sex with animals? Were they having such a terrible problem with that behavior as to warrant so many stern, ominous prohibitions against it?)

Most of all, the two major sects of Christianity cannot agree as to which Commandments are the real Ten! Neither of them agree with the Hebrews, who count "I am the Lord thy God," etc., as one of the Commandments! It is the Second Commandment that starts off, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," etc.

And nobody but nobody (except Positive Atheism Magazine, and now the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who recently followed suit) pays any attention to the second tables of stone!

After Moses (allegedly) smashed the first tables of stone (one morning, in a fit of pique), God created another set that had the same wording as the first. We all know what the first said, but have you read what the second one, that's just like the first one, says?

This is the only collection of laws in the entire Bible that is specifically called "the ten commandments (see the King James).

They are listed in Exodus 34:

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1. Thou shalt worship no other god (For the Lord is a jealous god).

2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.

4. All the first-born are mine.

5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.

6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.

7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.

8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.

9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.

10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk.

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In fact, this is the only list of laws or precepts anywhere in the entire Bible that the Bible itself calls the "ten commandments" (see the King James).

But whether or not Christians are required or expected to obey the Ten Commandments is moot, since nobody can agree as to what the Ten Commandments even are!!
 

In my opinion, never. Church is not healthy for children and other living things. I cannot think of an instance where it ever stopped a war.
 

I don't understand your question. "Right" and "wrong" are never properly divorced from both a context and a human opinion.
 

I assume this is supposed to say, "Why did God create Hell, and what is it like?"

My response: This is a loaded question, presupposing the truthfulness of something that neither of us can establish as being true, and then asking me to explain why it is so, when neither of us can even verify that it is, in fact, so.

Thus, it is your burden to show that (1) the claims for the existence of a Christian Hell are truthful. And even if you could do this, you would then have the burden of explaining (2) why any god would do such a thing and still have the audacity of demanding respect from me!
 

If Jesus lived at all, which is not very easy to prove, and if he died on a Roman cross, then he died for the only reason the Romans ever crucified anybody: he died as punishment for rebellion against the authority of the State of Rome. The Romans never crucified anybody for any other reason during the time Jesus is alleged to have died. Thus, if Jesus lived and was crucified, he was guilty of sedition against the Roman government, probably for claiming to have been the Hebrew Messiah (the King of the Jews; the King of the autonomous Jewish State, having freed herself from the clutches of the Roman occupation -- about which the New Testament is suspiciously silent, except for a few vague references such as the one about "going the extra mile" should a group of Roman soldiers compel a group of Hebrews to carry their equipment for the maximum allowed one mile).

If Jesus was the King of the Jews, then that meant that he had no older brothers or cousins or anything like that who would, according to the Law of Moses, precede him in line for the crown (as with any other inheritance, which the crown is, by the way; why else would they bother to give his genealogy?). Well, Jesus was safe in that he didn't have any older cousins. Not any more, anyway, now that that ol' black-sheep of a cousin, John the Baptist, having been six months his senior, whom everyone had though was long gone after he flipped out and joined that weird cult out East, but had returned unexpectedly and was making his own moves for the crown, baptizing his own citizens and the like, had been beheaded and was safely out of the way! Aha! Now we know why Jesus was so mysterious about not visiting John and so conspicuously ignored his plight! After all, had he not commanded his followers to visit the imprisoned? Would this not especially hold if the prisoner were a relative? And would this not especially hold if the prisoner were innocent!?

If Jesus claimed to have been King of the Jews in the sense of the Cleansing of the Temple (which was now his Temple to cleanse, by replacing the existing Priesthood with his own appointments) and the Triumphal Entry (and where did all those palm leaves come from in the springtime, anyway?), then he at least wanted the people and the authorities to believe that he planned to usurp the authority of the Roman Occupation.

If he was trying to fulfil Zechariah's prophesy about the "foal of an ass," then he also planned to fulfill it in the sense of the Mount of Olives splitting in two and swallowing up the Romans in a crushing military defeat incorporating spectacular supernatural feats that would have made Moses and Aaron stand in awe.

Most importantly, if Jesus were the King of the Jews and had planned to pull a coup against Rome, we can expect it to have occurred during the Feast of Booths, which feast prefigured the long-awaited triumph of Israel's Messiah over her enemies. During the Feast of Booths, you will remember, the families built a small shack or "booth" on the roof of the house or somewhere away from attack. Then they entered this "upper room" and had a very light meal, consisting only of bread and wine. The meal had to be light to symbolize the fact that when the time came to get the hell out of Dodge and go hide in the wilderness, there would be very little warning ("woe to those who give suck"; "one will be seized and the other will escape").

Thus, it would have been necessary for him to assemble a large contingent of Roman soldiers at the foot of the Mount of Olives. How better than to send an intelligence agent (Judas) into their camp in an attempt to fool them into thinking that he was betraying his leader. Aha! Now we no longer have to wonder how an omnipotent Jesus could pick a betrayer! neither do we need to struggle with why he would choose and entice someone to commit a punishable deed!

Thousands of members of the Pharisee party, particularly those of the sub-sect of the Zealots, were brutally executed in this manner during the reign of Pontius Pilate. Thus it is easy to see how a myth about someone who was executed during that time would portray the character as having been crucified. In addition, several of the god-man myths which involved the god-man dying to expiate the sins of the people, had the god-man's body being impaled or hung on a pole or cross-like instrument. So it's a natch for the makers of a god-man who (for some strange reason) wanted the followers to believe that the myth was actual history (which was uncommon before Christianity) to have the god-man crucified for some reason. And since the only reason anybody was ever crucified was sedition, the writers of all four Gospels therefore had to portray Jesus as having done something to prompt Pilate to accuse him of sedition against Rome.

But we know the story, as this part could never be revised: When the Romans came to "get" Jesus, that is, when Jesus tricked them into assembling together to grab him, that is, when the supernatural miracles were (in the mind of the wannabe Messiah) to vanquish the enemies and their quislings. In case you forgot, what happened was this:

No miracle occurred!

That's right. The Mount of Olives did not cleave in two, it just sat there and remains pretty much the same shape today. Jesus, if he existed and if he thought he was King of the Jews, was mistaken about a number of things, including the existence of the supernatural and including the prophesy of Zechariah and, most likely, the very existence of God. That's okay, though, because all one needed to do with his biography is hang the pagan and Zoroastrian scenario of a dying and resurrected deity upon it, and Jesus now died a "spiritual" death with which his followers may now "identify" through a ritual such as immersion into water (symbolizing death) and emerging aback out (symbolizing resurrection).

So the Romans arrested him. He probably languished in prison for half a year, at which time, during his trial, the people called for the release of "the son of the Father" (bar Abbas). Since the biographers probably could not erase this scene from the memory of the people, they changed it to refer to another, "Barabbas," and portrayed Jews as seeking the brutal death (!) of their own Hebrew comrade (!) who had been accused of sedition! This is so unthinkable as to be tantamount to slander and arguably the most devious case of slander in written history!

But that had to happen if Paul and his followers were to get away with portraying God as having taken from his beloved children the covenant He had sworn would be theirs forever, and having handed that covenant over to "dogs" (Jesus's derogatory term, or slur, for "Gentiles").
 

I don't know. I can't tell you because I don't know any other existence but being human. I cannot even imagine being anything but human.
 

We evolved. We have the ability (and the desire) to "find peace" for bringing our young to an age where they can bear their own young. "Finding peace" does not stand entirely off to the side, but neither is it a make-or-break feature of humanity, like eyesight, the ability to speak, the ability to walk upright, and such. A loch in the gene pool that consistently produces offspring with any of these features missing would dry up before too long, except in the most affluent of times when the rest of the species can easily afford to carry the weight of those individuals who lack these abilities.

As long as society consistently chooses to raise the offspring of rape victims, the ability to form lasting and "peaceful" relationships will never be absolutely essential to the survival of the species, because somebody who arguably lacks the ability to be peaceful (a rapist) has now passed his genes back into the gene pool regardless of whether his offspring reach the age of puberty. True, the ability to form "peaceful" and lasting relationships is essential to the species as a whole. We could not bring human children safely to a point of being able to bear their own young for long if everybody lacked or was severely handicapped in such traits as getting along ("finding peace"), nurturing, and compassion, among others, but most importantly, the ability to formulate, communicate, negotiate, revise, and follow complex and unique ethical systems that apply only to the immediate family unit.
 

The growth of the neocortex in the human, in evolutionary terms, has been likened to the growth of a tumor. As such, we cannot expect it to be all that securely bolted down to the midbrain.

Those features which most makes us uniquely human all came about so quickly, ranging from the neocortex to the upright spine to the feet to the teeth and in this highly useful (quirky) mouth (which, itself, was naturally selected and, perhaps eventually unnaturally selected through infanticide, the killing off of babies who had a certain "look" -- which, if there's anything to this notion, could easily have boiled down to what we would now consider an inferior or even deformed mouth structure.

What do you expect from a designer that has absolutely zero in the way of foresight, but bases its design policy entirely and exclusively on what has worked in the past? What do you expect from a designer that has absolutely zero in the way of compassion? What do you expect from a designer working in a medium in which it is impossible to make two things exactly the same, literally guaranteeing that its product will prominently feature the trait of individuality (that is, having quirks), but still bases its design policy on what works as a general rule, thus (for the most part) literally penalizing individuality?

Things would be much different if we had been designed and created by an intelligent, compassionate entity who had foresight and who could have made the ability for two things to be identical if he had wanted to (essentially giving a designer absolute control, which the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle shows is not necessarily the case in our Universe). When we observe nature, we see what we'd expect if it came about through natural selection; we do not see what could be expected were there an intelligent creator, one with foresight, compassion, and a sense of thrift, calling the shots.
 

Who says the modern concept of the "nuclear family" is even healthy, much less right? I think a 50-percent divorce rate is actually quite good when you consider that humans in the West are literally coerced into forming and living in family units that consist of a single heterosexual union between two people plus offspring in various permutations of "yours, mine, ours, theirs, and (occasionally) whose?"

If gays were allowed to be gay and if lesbians were allowed to be lesbian, and polyamorous individuals wanted to start one big "happy family," that would take care of a lot of the problem you describe. If couples could cohabit without a life-long, "till death do we part" commitment, if that was what they thought was the right thing for them to do, if individuals such as Bobbi and I, who do not have an amorous relationship with one another but exist more like brother and sister than anything, wish to share "domestic partner" benefits back and forth and be seen, socially, as the equivalent of domestic partners (regardless of what does or does not happen behind closed doors), then why are these Christians in Washington trying to make it illegal for us to live the way we think is right, trying to force us to live in a manner that we think is not only wrong for us but immoral from the start? Who are they to tell her not to be polyamorous? Who am I to tell her that? My only options are (1) to do nothing, (2) to work for change, or (3) to leave! And who are they to tell me that I must have sexual relations with somebody? But if I'm married to somebody (because society more and more passes their proposed legislation bringing beaucoup benefits to those who undergo the Christian religion's ritual of heterosexual "marriage" (who forced it upon this tiny tribe known as the Hebrews, though they originally practiced multi-wife marriage situations, and Muslims still do), thus, if I wanted the economic benefits of a domestic partnership, I'd have to find a woman, even if I didn't want to live with a woman, and I'd have to have sex with her, even if I didn't want to have sex with anybody, because refusing sexual gratification is grounds for divorce! This is what the Christians in Washington are trying to do as I type this reply!

Instead, if we could determine for ourselves what a "domestic partnership" means to us, families, including the "nuclear" variety, would be much more stable.

But no, these busybody Christians want to force even their fellow Christians to conform to their own very narrow (and, in my opinion, very destructive) lifestul
 

No.

I don't have any such thing, as I never do things that I would want to keep secret. There are things that I won't tell you because they are none of your business, but there is nothing that I could rightly describe as "dark" or "deep."
 

It takes work to live this kind of life. It takes nerve to stand up to the peer pressure and say, "No! I'm not going to believe that nonsense and I'm not going to live that sort of life! I know better how I ought to run my own life, and I will run it that way
 

I don't know, because I really don't think in terms of people hurting me. When I do it's always a situation where I'm the last one to admit that somebody else did something that harmed me: I just don't think like that. Besides: hurt is not isolated from help; harm is not isolated from healing; pain is not isolated from joy. Hell, death is as naturally a component of life as birth: one is the end of what the other begins. Similarly, menopause is made from the very same stuff as puberty and the first cramp and trickle from that very first menstruation period: both are a release from one stage to the next.

If I said the woman who put me up for adoption, she is the one who brought me to term. If I said the people who made that arrangement complete by being the one component without which she would have been forced to raise me herself (those who ended up raising me; those whom I call my parents), they raised me and gave me all they had plus a few things they didn't even have to give -- just as some very important things were left out. It's all very painful and has crippled me now for 45 years, and probably will end up having crippled me for life, but it's what I got and it's probably what prompted parts of me to have to work that much harder, giving me what talents and abilities I do have. In all the harm that was done as the result of this one small aspect of my life, I cannot say that anybody harmed me, either intentionally, negligently, or coincidentally.

If I didn't have to pick one, I wouldn't, because of what I said above and because I don't think in terms of other people hurting me. If I had to pick one, it would be Harvey, who "visited" our party-house while everybody was at work, rummaged around looking for dope, found mine, borrowed my syringe, and then was thoughtful enough to put it back when he was done "borrowing" it, which left me with a (thus far) nonfatal case of what him out within the year: what we now know as Hepatitis C. Not, he did not calculate my infection, he was just stupid and greedy, that's all. But then, I think almost all of what most of us call "evil" is better seen as stupidity and greed. Besides, even though I was being about as careful as one possibly could and still indulge, I nevertheless indulged in a risky project knowing that it was risky and knowing that some of the potential down-side consequences were unknown at the time. So, once again, was it Harvey that did this to me? Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. The answer is not cut-and-dried.
 

Thankfully!

Even those who have an ounce of integrity still do a world of damage to those who seek only their help. Although Bob Guccione once spelled it "the rapist," the culprit is not necessarily the therapist, who often herself suffers from a compulsion to "help" and "fix" others; rather, the malefactors tend to be the forms of therapy themselves, particularly when one method is lauded above all others or to the exclusion of all others (sound familiar?). Therapy can easily be done on one's own, beginning with devising one's own method of therapy (play the guitar? go surfing?) and on through the point of deciding that therapy is no longer needed. If one chooses guided therapy (with another "therapist" as one's guide), then the best route is to find one who is skilled in numerous methods and has a knack for interviewing the subject and determining which methods would most likely elicit positive results in a given patient.

See? Even though this was just a throwaway line, I turned it into constructive advice. Perhaps someone will read it and benefit thereby!

I'm not sure if it's the atheist in me that did this. However, if I were a theist, and if the sect to which I belonged offered therapy as a sideline, and if I were to comment on a quip like this, you can be sure that I'd use the opportunity to plug the method affiliated with my sect! This is the nature of theism: the sect comes above all things, even the truth, and in many cases the sect comes above the truth in particular!. As an atheist, I have no such alliances. I am not alliance-free, to be sure, but this is one type of alliance, the religion based alliance, is not one that affects my behavior or opinion.

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

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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.