No Room For Improvement
In Believer Land
Christine Lehman

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Christine Lehman"
Subject: Re: Let Dictionaries Usurp Ur Right To Self-Definition/Bobby Minnows
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 11:04 PM

Yeah, but when I pointed out that he is taking the dictionary too seriously, he denied having done this. Sound familiar?

I suspect that Minnows is a fundamentalist agnostic, though, rather than a fundamentalist believer. Very strange place for your head to be: "It's dark and dirty out there! You might poke your eye out! Wait'll your father gets home!" (Firesign Theater).

Tittle? As in Jot and Tittle? Jesus said that "not one jot or tittle will be removed from the (Mosaic) law until all is fulfilled (whatever "all is fulfilled" means). Jots and tittles are little marks placed above and below the letters in Hebrew writing, similar to accents on Roman characters. In Hebrew, the jots and titles are like the vowels, and changing them changed the meanings of the words. This becomes important when we realize that jots and tittles are comparatively recent inventions, and before that, what the stream of pure consonants actually meant was often anybody's guess.

This also means that the Bible Jesus did endorse the barbaric law requiring parents to stone a rebellious son (a son who did not go along with the parents' religious beliefs). In fact, he criticized the Pharasees for their humanitarian struggle to soften its impact by rendering it virtually unenforcable.

[1] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
[2] Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
[3] But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
[4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
[5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
[6] And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
[7] Ye hypocrites ...
     -- from Matthew 15

 

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

Graphic Rule
Added: April 25, 2001

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Christine Lehman"
Subject: Re: Let Dictionaries Usurp Ur Right To Self-Definition/Bobby Minnows
Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 11:26 PM

The bottom line that they refuse to listen to is the one of self-definition as a people group. And that's the one that they cannot argue: it's how the majority of self-aware atheists define it and it's the way the majority of atheistic writers have defined it through history. Even many of the dictionaries allow it: "one who does not believe in a god or gods" is entirely compatible with "one who lacks a god belief."

But the discussion in the second half of Smith's piece is, for me, the clincher, because he examines the use of the prefix "a" and suggests that a-theism means "no theism" -- not "no-god-ism." If theism means the belief that gods exist, then atheism means the absence of that belief.

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

Graphic Rule

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