If You Were On
A Burning Plane...

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: Atheist Mag Online
Date: Friday, June 06, 1997 3:37 PM

So, then, should I also go sit on Santa's lap this winter? considering that I don't believe in Santa?

I don't understand your logic here.

I can see how, by believing anyway, against my better judgement, I could psych myself into the delusion that there is such a thing as a god. I can see this happening much sooner than six months.

If there is no god, then the best I can do is to learn how to develop my own understanding of reality. If there is no supernatural, then I do best to fulfill my needs and desires through natural means such as working for them.

I tried Christianity for three years, and it took me over five years to "deprogram" myself and return to my former self. Experimenting with religion in the manner you suggest is not necessarily the benign, "interesting" exercise that you represent it to be.

In such a situation, I probably wouldn't be myself, seeing that my bloodstream would be raging with adrenaline and other psychoactive chemicals, and the possibility would exist that I would go into shock and pass out.

Then again, the last time I prayed, was while I was having a tonic-clonic seizure after an accident, and the result of that prayer was my realization that, even in death, I am on my own. At that moment, I was able to understand that since my autonomic breathing mechanism was not bringing oxygen into my lungs, I needed to put every bit of what little energy and consciousness I had at the moment into forcing my diaphram to take air into my lungs. I credit this realization for my having survived this accident, and for my return to the atheism of my youth.

Since the scrolls which teach about Hell (Bible, Koran, etc.) are patently erroneous on matters which can be verified, I have no reason to think these scrolls are correct on untestable matters such as Hell, salvation, gods, etc.

Since I do not think there's a god -- since I think the notion of a god's existence is erroneous -- I have no reflex toward asking any god for help. I doubt I would act reflexively even when death comes. I am not gay, and thus would probably not engage in homosexual sex if I knew the end was inevitably near, so I don't think I would do anything else which is against my nature -- such a pray.

Many other atheists throughout history have faced death without lapsing into the error of theistic groveling; therefore, I doubt I would do much differently than these others have done.

For a theist to assume that everyone in a falling aircraft prays to a god is erroneous, and to say as much is slanderous. This simply is not the case, as has been proven when a falling aircraft has regained control. A situation that comes to mind is artist-musician Laurie Anderson, who does a Performance Art piece about her experience in a falling aircraft which subsequently regained control.

I agree that faith in Jesus Christ can make a massive impact on a person. What concerns me is the following:

1. Causality: Faith in something, followed by a massive change, does not indicate that the object of faith (Jesus, a god, etc.) exists or caused the change.

2. Pragmatism: A massive change, albeit impressive and possibly comforting, is not necessarily good or healthy for the individual.

3. Testimonials: Just because an individual claims to have had a cause-and-effect experience, does not mean that that experience happened or that the experience was healthy or that the cause-and-effect chain took place in the manner observed by the individual.

As a Christian, I think you will agree with me that a religious experience in, say, Islam or Hinduism is not necessarily true or healthy -- despite the insistence by the Muslim or Hindu that the experience is true and healthy.

In other words, you are atheistic toward Allah and Brahma and so am I. Can you see why I am also atheistic toward Jehovah and Jesus?

Cliff Walker

Graphic Rule

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