Jesus's 'Sword' Quip Is About
Stopping Family Quarrels
Kestrel Hauptman

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The Prince of Peace

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother ...
     -- Matthew 10:34-35 (AV)

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Kestrel Hauptman"
Subject: Re: Hmmmmm
Date: January 09, 2002 3:33 AM

It's very easy to simply say that we have been dishonest. What we insist that you do is show that we've been dishonest. For example, you said:

Huh? What references? Please show us that this passage discusses stopping quarreling; please show us how we can take the clear teaching of Jesus,

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"I am come to set a man at variance against his father"

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and cause it to mean anything except

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"I am come to set a man at variance against his father"

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How can it mean anything other than what it says, much less the exact opposite of what it says?
 

Furthermore, the Bible did not have reference numbers until very recently -- a few hundred years ago. Any argument even involving references can be dismissed before the one making the argument is finished enunciating or typing the word references!
 

Now, had you bothered to read the "Which Ten Commandments" piece before criticizing us, you would have seen that we are against posting these things on public (government) property. This is stated very clearly. In the introductory remarks, we say:

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... To popularize this knowledge is to knock the wind out of this entire move to place "The" Ten Commandments in our schools....

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If you are going to go about accusing other people of being dishonest, you had better check your facts, first. Make sure that the other party is actually doing what you think they are doing. To simply glance at something and then write your attack serves only to make you appear gratuitously dishonest.

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You said:

Please explain how on Earth this shows us to have been dishonest! You are not even making yourself clear! We can't even understand what you're trying to say!

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You also said:

Why don't you go tell this to somebody who is trying to convince people against religion? We are not trying "to 'convert' people to atheism" (and why you enclosed the word convert with quotation marks escapes us: do you not mean convert?). We don't care what people believe.

I'll bet you cannot find one place in our entire body of PAM editorial (my writings; the Letters responses; the FAQ) where I urge people to stop being theists and to start being atheists. I don't do this and never have; I only explain why I would never join theists in their folly, but I would never try to deconvert anybody.

In fact, in many different places throughout our web site, we state that Positive Atheism is for atheists, not theists! Please explain this: If this web site is meant for atheists and not meant for theists, then how could we possibly be trying to convert theists!? We don't intend for theists to even read this material! We do not create it with the theist in mind.

As I stated above, our only purpose in creating the "Which Ten Commandments?" piece is to give ammunition to those who want to oppose the posting of occultic superstitions in public buildings.

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Our web site is just fine, thank you.

It's just that occasionally people write to us who don't have all their facts in order. Then what happens is they end up falsely accusing us of being dishonest, or of trying to convert people to atheism, or whatever. Thdssssis not the fault of the web site.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six 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.