Atheists: Same As
A Group Of Believers
Duane Hutton

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Duane Hutton"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2000 3:01 PM

I have a pulse, and so do many believers. I like ham sandwiches, and so do many believers. I am honest, and so are many believers. I like to tip a Guinness every now and then, and so do many believers.

What is your point?
 

You lie!

Show me where Positive Atheism Magazine has made the statement that we are persecuted. PAM's official statements are those written by Cliff Walker -- the FAQ, the responses to the Letters, and Cliff's editorials -- our disclaimer specifically states that we post other material as food for thought and choose not to defend what others say, even if those sayings live on our webpage.

If you can find where I have represented myself or atheists as a persecuted minority, copy and paste the text and the URL into your reply and I will apologize. Until then, I am so certain that I have not done this that I can, with all confidence, assert that you have just lied about me and about the Positive Atheism editorial policy.

If I remember correctly, I have stated that more Americans think it's okay to discriminate against atheists than think it's okay to discriminate against homosexuals -- but I fail to see how this is persecution. I also once said that atheists get lied about by Christians and then sometimes persecuted for believing what the lying Christians tell themselves that we believe (though we do not actually believe that way). I have noted that we have been persecuted in the past, and that we are currently being persecuted in other parts of the world (in the Arab world where we are not even the minority -- I don't think 40 percent, one estimate for the number of closeted atheists in Iran, constitutes a minority).

But I have never presented myself (or atheists) as a persecuted minority, because I am not and we are not. We are at least 10 percent in the United States -- there are more atheists in the U.S. than Jews in the world. We are at least 17 percent in my home state of Oregon. We are probably one-fifth of the world's population, not counting atheistic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism. We are more people in the world than the Roman Catholic Church currently boasts. How could this make us a minority?

True, in the United States, we are treated as if we are a minority. We are marginalized and misrepresented; we endure personal and institutionalized bigotry for which no Jew or African American would today remain silent. But we are not, in the U.S., being systematically slaughtered (like the Christians used to do to us in Europe) and we are not being systematically locked up for our views (like the Christians in Europe and, to a much lesser extent, pre-U.S. America used to do to us). We are being forced to support religion through our tax dollar, both directly and through religion's tax exemptions, but this is not persecution, it is marginalization at best.
 

Bullshit!

I wrote a whole piece on logic in our FAQ. I have interviewed the leading particle physicist Victor Stenger. We have an entire Science section in our Web Guide.

I have also carefully used logic and reason in my responses in our Letters section, not simply shouting about it but actually implementing some of the most effective techniques of logic and reasoning thus far known to humankind.
 

Huh?

There is no evidence that Moses existed, though we atheistic taxpayers are required to support posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings. I don't remember commenting on the ark, because that one is so laughable as to not warrant much attention from me. (There is no geological evidence for a worldwide flood and there is much evidence that no such flood ever occurred: why would we comment on whether an ark lies upon Ararat?)

Meanwhile, logic dictates that the person making the claim (such as for the existence of a historical Moses) be the one to back up the claim. The lack of evidence (logic tells us) is all we need to write off such claims. Science also works by the same rules of logic that I do.

You are a liar of the posturing variety.
 

No. The wealth of evidence for astrophysics and natural selection point strongly toward these sciences being valid. Your dishonesty is suggesting, once again, that Christianity is not what it's cracked up to be when it comes to the claim that Christianity promotes morality. Here is one Christian who is about as immoral as they come, stooping so low as to lie to a webmaster about what his own webpage says and does not say! The Christian faith is generally about as good as sheer chance at making people moral, but Christianity often inspires people to act immorally when they feel it is their duty to defend the Christian faith at all costs.
 

Several 19th century humorists are featured on our site. In fact, the main purpose of this site is to share with others some of my favorite writings -- many of which are very difficult to find in stores and libraries. Most of the other material we have available to us already has adequate web presence, or we would post it too. The only redundancy is over the Internet Infidels' versions being such poor transcriptions (the Bank of Wisdom material), whereas our copies are tediously and meticulously corrected to the original. The other stuff (the more modern stuff) is still protected by copyright.

So what's the problem?
 

I am not about fellowship and fun, but have a powerful desire to learn and to help my fellow humans and to be helped by them. I am not sure, but I think humans evolved as social animals, and that natural selection weeded out those traits that impair socialization and compassion and nurturing. This makes sense to me. I don't need to resort to positing a supernatural deity to explain this.

Then again, why would the "hand" of a supernatural deity be "at work" to aid and abet a man who propagates atheism? I would think such a deity would actively thwart my activities if He were the Jealous God that they make Him out to be!

Besides, I didn't know that supernatural deities had hands. As a matter of fact, they don't: as far as I can tell, supernatural deities don't even exist, so they can't possibly have hands!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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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.