(Abraham Smith's Sabotage)
Cliff, my esteemed friend,
I truly think that you are making a mistake attacking old Abe for his petulant, childish behavior. Calling him a liar and other names isn't very productive, after all, his entire life is a sort of lie and a true pathological liar simply doesn't realize that he is lying.
Also, your use of threats and other vituperative, retributive language only lowers you to his level. Anyone who puts his name on the net must to be opened to attack and nuisance, that's what the "discard" key is for. This whole game is fraught with unwarranted emotion and is becoming overly personalized. If he resorts to underhanded practices, rise above it, turn the other cheek.
His bankrupt position falls of its own weight. The more he comes from irrational emotion, the more you should retain your equanimity and come from cool logic and reason. By reacting to his taunts, you merely encourage him and give him the upper hand.
In a perverse way, you two are very much alike, frustrated and hurt that the other will not accept your point of view. This debate has been raging for 2000 years and there are no winners, except, of course, for the self-declared ones. The true purpose of the debate is to get ideas out into the marketplace and not to claim a final and absolute victory. If you are having delusions of winning, you are seriously misguided and naive. Again, I say this in respect for you and your zeal.
Take the high road and leave the petty bickering to the lower lights. Call off the AOL dogs. Fight your own battles and show that you're made of better stuff than a frightened, superstitious, brainwashed, Bible thumper. Abe is OK, it's just that he grew older without growing up. I have the distinct feeling that he is an unhappy, unfulfilled man who is desperately seeking answers in all the wrong places.
Remember, his beliefs REQUIRE that he defend the faith and go out and recruit soldiers for the Lord. He's just following orders. You, on the other hand, act out of free will with only your enlightened mind to motivate you. Time is on your side, look around you, the world is largely secular, science works, technology reigns, few actually practice their religion in their day to day lives. You know as well as I that money talks and bullshit walks. The one true God is mammon in the real world.
If the roots of your convictions are so tenuous and shallow that an "Abe" can rile you up, you had better take stock.
Sidebar for Abe.
Abe, if you're reading this, I hope you'll accept it in the spirit in which it's offered. I'd like to you and Cliff kiss and make up and continue on in the field of honorary debate. Men of good will should learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Friendly advice
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 20:04:11 -0700
I have asked Mr. Smith numerous times to stop writing me. He refuses. That is probably my only valid complaint against him to the AOL Abuse Team.
In order to cover my own ass for the nuisance he has caused in my name (I have to abide by my server's Terms of Service Agreement, and prevent them from having to field complaints about me), I must take responsibility for my part. This includes: (1) apologizing for posting the addresses (by the way, posting addresses is a common practice); (2) attempting to prevent him (and others) from using the list he stole from us (by again contacting the AOL Abuse Team); and (3) removing the addresses. I have done the first two, and you will notice that every file in our Letters section has been replaced with a "Temporarily Down" explanation until I can go through each of these e-mails and remove the addresses.
I am not doing this because I enjoy it; I am doing it under tremendous pressure. Thus, I feel no qualms about transferring some of that pressure to the real culprit in this matter: Mr. Abraham Smith.
I also note that you have bought into Smith's bullshit that I am "frustrated and hurt" -- that he "will not accept your point of view." I don't care what you think. I don't care what Mr. Smith thinks. The point is that he has got me in a real bind with his shenannegans (as was likely his unspoken intention), and I must now cover my ass the best I know how. I will do this by notifying everyone that he is back to using the original list which contains names of people from whom I have received complaints. I will warn everyone on the list that I intend to forward anything I receive from the list that was sent "Reply to All" to that person's server's Abuse Team. If I do all this, I may be able to prevent my website from having to seek a new server with a "Termination" on my record and a fine levied from my pocket. This, I'm convinced, is Mr. Smith's real motive in doing what he is doing, and I doubt it has much if anything to do with winning or losing an argument.
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