Atheists Likened
To Hitler, Stalin
[name suppressed by request
after the Abraham Smith scam]

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: pa-via_positive_atheism_index
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 2:44 AM

Send the quotes to me, and document them so I can verify, independently, that they are genuine quotes. Also, document that the individuals quoted "feel they are the higher species."
 

Speak for yourself. Unless you can show that I or any of the readers have done horrible things, please do not include us in this charge with your use of the word we.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Here is two to get you started, I'll send more.
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 2:49 PM

Very Frightening indeed. This abuse of science is not unlike the abuse of science that resulted in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the existence of germ warfare, and other methods of madness.

Read the article An Evolutionist Looks at Modern Man by Loren Eiseley for a more realistic view of the meaning of evolution.
 

Your question presupposes many things that evolutionists do not say. You then proceed to set up a "straw man" -- a false, easily refuted pretense that nobody believes -- and then "knock down" that "straw man" argument. This form of dishonesty is common in letters we get from Christians, and serves only to demonstrate that many, many Christians show a fierce disrespect for truthfulness.

In brief, things behave according to their characteristics. If environmental conditions are a certain way, then amino acids will tend to form. Once this is done, t is only a matter of time and the right environmental conditions before life in some form thrives. It's not "chance" and it's not magic.

Your question also presupposes that some moral foundations are not man-made, and thus cannot be scrutinized or, if need be, adjusted. This is very dangerous thinking, such as that which Hitler and Stalin utilized. Both men had standards that were siomehow "above" discussion and "above" criticism. Out of one side of his mouth, Hitler spoke of the laws of God; out of the other, he made scientific-sounding pronouncements. Both forms of rhetoric were based upon the idea that "truth" is a matter of pronouncement, "above" or "beyond" man's scrutiny. With this kind of reasoning, unthinking men can be persuaded toward almost any atrocity.

Meanwhile, all pronouncements are man-made -- even those attributed to the gods. Science is the closest we have come to developing a method for discerning truth from falsehood. All moral methods have been developed by men and women. Some of these methods purport to be man-made and some are alleged to be of divine origin. Since none of those claiming divine origin can demonstrate the existence of the divine, I think they fail on that account alone. Why follow a moral system whose very origins are in question?

Also, most theists pick and choose which "divind" pronouncements to obey and which to ignore or reinterpret. For example, I know of no Christians who refrain from wearing mixed-fiber clothing, although this is as important to Old Testament law as is the pronouncements against adultery, murder, bestiality and homosexuality. So, then, even those who claim to follow divine pronouncements do at least some of their own thinking!

What you seem to be saying is that it is moral to act out of blind obedience. This, to me, is immoral, not moral. I can only be culpable if I do something wrong that I know is wrong. For this reason, I choose to think about what things I will do and what I will refrain from doing. Culpability is so important that I will not take someone else's word for it. To do so is immoral.

How do I know about human rights? Simple! I am human. As an atheist, I believe that self-consistency is the highest virtue. If I know what I don't want done to me, I know to refrain from doing those things to others. This is an inversion of Jesus' "Golden Rule." I personally tend toward whatever action, among several choices, which leads to the minimal amount of suffering. This does not mean that I choose whatever actions will bring me the least suffering, but what will bring the least overall suffering. This is what differentiates me from a hedonist, the fact that I strive for minimal suffering rather than maximal happiness.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Here is two to get you started, I'll send more.
Date: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 4:06 PM

The natural processes of organic matter is to strive for survival. Until man evolved, this was primarily the survival of the fittest individuals, passing its characteristics to its offspring.

With man this has changed somewhat. It is not the fittest individuals that survive, but the societies that develop the fairest and most consistent ethical and judicial systems whose members stand the best chances of long, productive lives.

The American experiment of Liberty has shown that Liberty is the basis of the ethical systems that best promote survival of humans. Liberty, according to Thomas Paine, always includes the concept of accountability. Without the concept of accountability, we are not talking about Liberty, but about hedonism. Thomas Jefferson said that "the legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others."

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Here is two to get you started, I'll send more.
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 4:21 AM

You are truly wicked. I get real tired of you people (almost always Christians) who twist what I say and then set forth to refute the skewed result. I know there is no biblical command that you incorporate the "straw man" ruse in making your case for Christianity. (Even the Bible is more dignified than this!) Where does this come from? Do you do this as a result of faith? Is this what spiritual is ? (I don't even know what spiritual means!) Please explain. Here is a case in point:
 

Even if all I had said in that section was the part about striving for minimal suffering, exterminating large numbers of people is still not my idea of minimizing suffering (especially considering that premature death constitutes suffering).

However, I said much more than this. How could you accuse me of thinking like this in light all that I said about Liberty and integrity?

You asked me where I get my morals and I told you. I made the case that theists get their morals the same way, though many deny that they are doing this.
 

Then what should I call it when you flat-out take "God's" word for something? How do you even know it is "God's" word without making some sort of judgement as to whether an alleged Scripture is really from "God" and not mere pretence (Deut. xviii. 20-22)? And if you are, in fact, making some sort of judgement as to whether a given Scripture (the Bible; the Koran; the Upanishads; the "Mo" Letters; the Golden Plates of Joe Smith) is or is not the word of "God," then how do you differ from an atheist in this respect? How do you differ from an atheist who is making judgements on virtues and moral principles and the rightness or wrongness of certain behavior? You not only judge whether or not a Scripture (such as the Bible) is from "God," you also interpret the ones you deem bona fide.

Secondly, if good is good and evil is evil simply because "God" deems it so, then you are de facto following blindly. Contrawise, if "God" simply knows what is good and evil, and is subject to a system of good and evil that is independent of "God," then is subject to and subservient to something that is greater than he: the principles of good and evil. In this case, we don't need "God" to tell us good from evil, we can find that out on our own. We only need "God" if he is the source of right and wrong, the first cause of good and evil. In this case, our relationship to "God" is either one of obedience or disobedience. To think for ourselves becomes sin (Rom. ix. 20).
 

You have interpreted your Bible here. Did he or did he not state that "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (Jn. xv. 6)? The Inquisitors used this commandment for centuries to justify burning my predecessors at the stake. Dating back to St. Augustine (fourth century), the passage, "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Lk. xiv. 23) was interpreted to mean that Christian faith is compulsory (that's what the word compel means, in Greek, Latin, and English). Adherence to Christian doctrine, including faith, is to be enforced by civil authorities.

Jesus also taught to obey the Old Testament, saying that, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Mt. v. 18). The Old Testament not only forbids the wearing of mixed fiber clothing (because it symbolizes mixed-race marriages between Israelites and those tribes they were to conquer), but it also commands that when they conquer these tribes, they were to, in one case, "smite every male thereof witht he edge of the sword: but the the women ... thou shalt take unty thyself" (Dt. xx.13-14; cf. Dt. xxi. 10-14; Num. xxxi. 9, 35; see also Is. xiii. 15-16; Dt. xxviii. 30; Jer. vi. 11-12; Jer. viii. 10; Zec. xiv. 2.). All this madness (and this isn't the half of it) is either commanded or inflicted by the Bible god whom Jesus called "Father" and whom Jesus commanded his followers to obey.

Besides, any Christian that teaches the doctrine of Salvation reigns terror upon the people who believe it. What are you being "saved" from? What fate was so terrible that it took the death of "God's" son to save us from it? Can you imagine what terror goes through the mind of a child who has heard, for the first time, that "God" actually sends people to burn in Hell forever? Describe to me the natural response of a believer who reads the words of Jesus, saying, "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." The Christian doctrine of salvation is the single most terrifying and terrorizing teaching that history has known. At least for the Jews, death ended the misery. Christianity seeks to prolong and magnify human misery forever. The suffering that the entire world endures, man and animal, for its ehtire lifespan, is but a drop compared to the suffering of a single individual cast into the Christian Hell.

The historical actions of the Church (Catholic and Protestant) are, from my reading, completely in line with the the spirit and the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New. This spirit can be summarized in a single word: terror. I will grant that today hardly any Christian bodies inflict bodily injury upon heretics. This is not from any enlightenment by Scripture, but is due simply to the fact that there are no truly Christian nations today. The rest of the world won't let them do this, and they know this, and have taught their followers a more human Gospel.
 

We, like Christians, revise our values as we see the need. Just like Christians now do not burn witches or own slaves, we revise our understanding through experience and learning and personal reflection. We are fallible and always learning. Humans have the longest childhood of any living thing on earth, and this speaks volumes about the human ability to ponder right and wrong, and just how complex these issues are and how tough they are to grasp.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Here is two to get you started, I'll send more.
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 4:48 AM

I am currently studying the arguments in favor of the Anthropic Principle. I have written a little about it, but apart from myself, only one atheist has taken this movement on and described its origins and the mechanism of its philosophical argument. Not being a scientist or a historian of science, I cannot comment on the scientific claims made by the AP's advocates.

As for some of the tenor of our Letters section, we post this stuff because it is very, very common (unfortunately for all of us). I get it here all the time and delete many of the letters I get. However, I think the importance of showing the the process of countering this material outweighs any mean undertone the Letters section may convey. I have removed links to Jerry Billings' and Reid Iford's material (though it is still there and can be accessed in a round-about way). I also have been very careful not to post truly caustic third-party articles unless the point they make shines so brightly as to outweigh the negative aspects. I would place Ingersoll and Twain and Lewis in this category: all three are caustic but oh, does the force of their arguments shine forth! James Hervey Johnson is right on the borderline in this respect; Madalyn Murray-O'Hair only occasionally shines brighter than her causticity burns. Most of the material I have, though, is decent and very fair. I have been very careful and have hand-picked all this material myself. There is nothing here that I haven't read and got something out of.

As for "Coverage of the Inevitable Apocalypso," yes. This is unbecoming, but I don't think anyone can make a case that it constitutes "hate" material. It is entirely news. Specifically, it is news-as-humor, news that contains a twist of irony. I have been collecting these little "filler" articles for as long as I have known how to read. I have a collection of these little clippings (that I have personally clipped) that dates, unbroken, back to the 1960s. I remember the first one I actually cut out regarding a 14-year-old kid who got drunk and passed out on the railroad tracks -- and it was the intoxication that saved him from injury as a half-mile train passed over him. Biased? Yes. We have only two or three articles about stupid atheists (such as Chicago's Rob Sherman who beat his son in order to "put the fear of God into him." The rest are about stupid theists. Come to think of it, I haven't read about the antics of very many stupid atheists. I wonder why that is. Someone sends me about a half-dozen stories about stupid or scary theists every day. very few articles about stupid or scary atheists, though. There must be some kind of conspiracy going on in the press, or something.

Yes, we do offer the "Apocalypso" section and we also offer what you might consider a more positive opinion.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Answering you last email
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 3:13 PM

Then why even mention it? How am I supposed to react when you do this?

Had I simply ignored what you implied, would you have responded by implying that what you said applies to my philosophy? Get real!
 

Yours has contained the most vicious implications and accusations of any e-mail we have received, and has gone about this in a manner that is at least as dishonest as any e-mail we have received. Check out our Letters section and see.

A simple question? No. You clearly implied that from the basis of my philosophy one could conclude that genocide is a good thing. You made this implication using a form of dishonesty that has been thoroughly documented on our website, both in the Letters section and under Writings, Clues.

You dishonestly implied that my philosophy could lead to genocide.

Earlier you (dishonestly) tried to link another element of my philosophy (evolutionism) with that of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

This was not a "simple question" but lies at the core of the fierce bigotry against atheists and other non-Christians.
 

If scripture says something that we don't want to see -- if it portrays a Jesus that is unlike the candy-coated one we learned about in Sunday School -- then we must be interpreting the sdripture improperly. I've heard that one before. It is only slightly more common than the "straw man" ruse and only slightly less common than that yarn about, "Oh, th ose people who burned millions at the stake weren't true Christians!" What were they, then, atheists? Muslims? Buddhists? Branch Davidians?

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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