I am writing to give you some thoughts about your site. I'll try not to make it too long-winded, but it's a heavy topic.
The best way to open, I suppose, is to state that I do believe in God. I hope to convince you that believing in God is not unreasonable and the position of a theist is not always hostile against an atheist.
In fairness to you, I do not question your sincerity and reverence to the truth. Also, I will cede to you that all atheist are not necessarily wicked or, of course communist.
The problem I have with atheism is that it doesn't seem natural or sensible in any way for an atheist to be at the funeral of a dear loved one, a mother or spouse of several decades for example, and think to themselves (as a true atheist must) - "Well, you're just food for worms now - as useless as a rotted out log." Of course not! Life has situations in which there is no place for cold, scientific logic - we have feelings, we're human!
I also doubt that in a world populated exclusively by atheists that there would be much compassion outside of the immediate family. I mean, c'mon, how many soup kitchens are run in the name of atheism? Again, I don't consider atheism evil in general, but there does seem to be an every man for himself philosophy in atheism.
A true theist who believes in consqences for wrong actions whether or not he/she is caught in the physical world has a better conscience for it and is therefore more trusting.
I admit it's a bit much to believe that a man actually survived without oxygen for three days in the belly of a giant fish and got spat out on the beach due to his stubborness. And God wiping out Job's family to win a bet with the devil is too much for me to explain or defend. But I think the reason the Bible has stood the test of time is that it addresses human nature so well, you may not call it sin, but we can at least agree that we are all flawed and have a nature that is greedy and inconsiderate to others, else why would we have to constantly train our kids to share and not tease others?
In submitting this to you I have tried to offer insight that's not too banal or standard. I'm sure you've heard a lot of the same 'ol argument. I respect that you are open enough to say you might learn something and that you are not trying to recruit. I also respect that you stand firm on a position and are not a "fence sitter".
I welcome your response and perhaps further correspondence.
- Paul Dillon
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Paul Dillon"
Subject: Re: Feedback
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2000 1:12 PM
The problem I have with atheism is that it doesn't seem natural or sensible in any way for an atheist to be at the funeral of a dear loved one, a mother or spouse of several decades for example, and think to themselves (as a true atheist must)
How could this be? What kind of people do you think we are? Cold, unfeeling automatons? And how much more painful knowing that the person is gone, than thinking that the person is in a better place?
My grandmother (an atheist) used to mention some cultures where when someone died everyone was happy because, according to the dominant religion in that culture, the person who died was now in a far better place.
No. Please don't preach resurrection or a better place or the supremacy
of atheism at my funeral. Don't even have one unless it means that much
to you -- that is, don't do it for my sake. Most in my immediate
family have had no funerals, but I think that comes more from a distrust
of the preachers who would officiate them than from anything else. I don't
think I would trust even a humanist or atheist group to keep their group's
agenda out of the service.
I also doubt that in a world populated exclusively by atheists that there would be much compassion outside of the immediate family. I mean, c'mon, how many soup kitchens are run in the name of atheism?
Who would support a soup kitchen whose purpose is to stump for atheism? I wouldn't!
Nevertheless, I've eaten at quite a few soup kitchens whose purpose was to feed people -- not to stump for religion. (Yes. Such soup kitchens exist, even in America in the year 2000.) Even the Roman Catholic soup kitchens are better than the Evangelical ones because the only motive the Evangelicals display is preaching their agenda to a captive audience. The people will not hear the gospel voluntarily, and they know this; so the Evangelicals devise various ways to force it down our throats. The Roman Catholics do not make you listen to propaganda, and you can eat at the Roman Catholic place and walk out with your mind and sensibilities intact. The Roman Catholics and the Atheists think feeding the poor is right: the Roman Catholics because Jesus said so and the Atheists because they know that it's the only way some will be fed. In Portland, Oregon, if Atheists want to feed the poor, the only option we have is to support the Evangelical or Roman Catholic groups. I'll support the Roman Catholic group every time, because when you go there to eat, all you get is food unless you ask for more. At the Evangelical missions, you must endure the sales pitch or you will go hungry.
Meanwhile, the Evangelical missions get most of their money from the government (yes, Atheists paying to preach the Gospel of antiatheist bigotry). The rest comes mostly from public donations (including atheists and homosexuals -- both of whom are roundly denounced in the rescue mission sermons). The smallest chunck comes from the people that the missions say are the people feeding you: the Evangelical Christian churches. Even then, the primary motive for giving is to propagandize, not to express compassion or to effect change.
As an atheistic activist, my role (in part) is to denounce this exploitive behavior on the part of the Evangelicals.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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