Using Falsehood
To Bolster
A Claim for Truth
Shawn Sutherland

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From: Positive Atheism Magazine <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Shawn Sutherland
Subject: Re: Marjoe Gortner
Date: Tuesday, September 07, 1999 6:57 PM

And all these years, I thought Benny Hinn was being sincere. He says he is! And so many sincere Christians sincerely believe he is sincere! What a disappointment!

(Why, he won't even let James Randi verify that his claims are true.)

You see, you are being as much of a fraud as Gortner said he was, because you portray the Gortner article as saying much more than it does, and as drawing a stronger conclusion than it does. You can study the "straw man" and other ploys in our "Clues" section at:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/tocawclu.htm

To misrepresent your opponent's position is to commit falsehood. And to do this in the defense of Christianity is to fall back on over 1900 years of Christian tradition, dating back to Paul (Rom. 3:7).

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Shawn Sutherland
Subject: Re: Marjoe Gortner
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 2:02 PM
 

If you lie, we will call you on it. That is stated on our front page.

All e-mail? I don't believe you. Here are three examples of e-mail from theists that did not result in anything remotely resembling an "accusatory vein" -- simply because these people (some admitting to being Christians) did not lie to us:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9933.htm
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9903.htm
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9946.htm
 

You believe what you want to about Christians. This atheist rejected Christianity because he has found it to be falsehood.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Shawn Sutherland
Subject: Re: Marjoe Gortner
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 2:27 PM

The Bible is hopelessly flawed and patently biased. Christianity bases itself upon the Bible, which is the closest we come to a contemporary account of Christ (40-60 years after the fact, written by zealous groups trying to make a point). I can make a good case that it is premature for anybody to presume that Christ even existed as a historical figure (and Mohammad, for that matter).

I also at one point watched a man carry biblical Christianity to its logical absurdity when he presented a speech (1983) advocating the return to human slavery in America ("We did it wrong back then; the Bible tells us how to do it right"). The biblical scholar in me agreed wholeheartedly, but the human in me would stand for no more -- so after a three year experiment with Christianity, I jumped ship and immediately became a small-"h" humanist.

Since then, the entire façade of Christianity has come unraveled. And Christianity is representative of other forms of theism: they all use variations of the same arguments. The Argument from Design, for example, is no more or less valid when discussing Allah or Quetzalcoatl or the triune godhead of Hinduism than when discussing Jehovah or Jesus. This holds for every argument that is not based upon the Bible -- which is hopelessly flawed.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism Magazine <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Shawn Sutherlan
Subject: Re: Marjoe Gortner
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 2:56 PM

I failed to answer the question of my age because it is irrelevant to the discussion. I left Christianity in 1982 or 83, having spent almost three years of intensive, full-time Bible study. This study is the only reason the Bible unraveled itself before my eyes. Had I simply sat and listened to the preachers, I might still be a Christian.

The Bible's warts are not the same as the warts of its characters, although there is much to be said for David being held up as respectable -- a man after God's own heart. This speaks volumes about the values of the deity character as presented in the Bible. Ditto for the way Esther was chosen to be queen (which the Bible narrative does not denounce) and for the institution of slavery.

What got me about the pro-slavery lecture was that it was so perfectly biblical as to be frightening. This guy was not a crackpot; he was my best friend. He was a good man who loves his wife and cares for his kids and even drinks a beer now and then. What was scarey was the fact that in order to be anti-slavery, a Christian must deny significant portions of the Bible.

I account for my decision to reject Christianity every day of my life. The prejudice against atheists in America is fierce; the only way to avoid it is to pretend you are not a Christian (or be fortunate enough to live in Oregon, where over 17 percent of us are out-of-the-closet non-theists.

If you are interested in a few details as to why I reject Christianity (so you will no longer make the social blunder of saying something like "each man has to account for his own acceptance/rejeciton of Christ"), I refer you to my comparison of the creation accounts at:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9971.htm
and my assessment of Jesus the false prophet at the bottom of:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9918.htm
and my argument against the historicity of Christ at:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9887.htm
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9895.htm

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism Magazine <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Shawn Sutherlan
Subject: Re: Marjoe Gortner
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 3:32 PM

There is no fear involved at all. The question is not relevant to the discussion. For an example of why it is not relevant, see the bottom of my exchange with a Twelve Stepper at:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9869.htm
He wrote me off because he (falsely) thinks I'm a "twenty-something."

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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